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Criminal Justice and Human Rights Master’s Degree Online

We need ethical leaders who are better prepared to work with underserved populations and tackle today’s toughest challenges within the criminal justice system. With a unique emphasis on social justice and social policy, our online master’s in criminal justice and human rights degree is designed to do just that.

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Program Highlights


Master of Arts (MA)

2 years

Average time to complete





Total credits


Time of entry


Criminal Justice and Human Rights Professor

Master’s Degree in

Criminal Justice and Human Rights

The criminal justice master’s degree at Georgian Court University features hands-on research experiences, including opportunities to design your own research projects and apply classroom lessons to real-world human rights and social justice issues. Many of our students are recent bachelor’s-degree graduates while others come from many different professional backgrounds, including police officers, victim advocacy workers, and health care practitioners. What they all share is a desire to fight injustice, help people, serve their communities, and create positive change.



Whether you’re interested in advancing into a leadership role in your criminal justice career or looking to change jobs and pursue new professional opportunities that allow you to serve the public interest, the criminal justice and human rights degree program at GCU will prepare you for long-term success.

Criminal Justice and Human Rights forensics

Required courses for our online master’s in criminal justice and human rights cover topics such as criminology, human rights law and policy, and research methods and design (with the option of a capstone research project). You’ll also choose from a variety of elective criminal justice course options—classes such as Victimology, Understanding Terrorism, Torture and State Violence, and many more. 

Program Information

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Rights at Georgian Court University is a 30-credit program. The curriculum emphasizes knowledge of criminal justice systems and the protection of rights; leadership and ethical decision-making; and social science research skills.

Students complete ten courses totaling 30 credits, five required, and five electives.  Students may opt to complete CJ590 Capstone: Research Project as one of their electives.  For their elective courses, students may specialize in one of two tracks: Hate Studies or Victim Services & Issues (see Tracks tab). Maintenance of a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required to remain in the program.  Students who earn two or more grades of a B- or below will be formally reviewed by program faculty and may be subject to academic probation or dismissal. 

Required Courses
CJ501Theory & Practice in Criminology3.0
CJ503Criminal Justice & Society3.0
CJ505Human Rights Law & Policy3.0
CJ510Problem-Solving Research Strategies3.0
CJ511Designing Research for Social Problems3.0
Electives (Any five) 1
Select either CJ590 and four of the following or select five of the following: 115.0
Hidden Injuries, Control & Crime
Public Health, Guns & Mass Murder
Leadership & Policy Analysis
Radicalization & Rabbit Holes
Torture & State Violence
Understanding Terrorism
Terrorism in the Homeland
Post-Conflict Justice
Select Topic Crim. Justice Human Rights
Capstone: Research Project
Internship Criminal Justice Human Rights
One course can be one of the following:
Spirituality in Counseling
Holistic Stress Management
Integrative Counsel Coach Tech
Total Credits30.0

Student may choose to select electives from the list below that comprise one of two optional nine-credit tracks.  See separate tables for track options.

View the full curriculum and admission requirements.

If you’re interested in our master’s degree in criminal justice, here are other programs at GCU you might want to explore:

Why Earn Your Criminal Justice Master’s Degree at GCU?

Concerns about human rights and social justice, particularly in the context of the criminal justice system, are taking on greater importance every day. While many graduate-level programs in this field focus primarily on law enforcement, our criminal justice and human rights degree places a greater emphasis on social justice and social policy—incorporating the Mercy core values of respect, integrity, justice, compassion, and service throughout the curriculum.

Here are more reasons to earn your Criminal Justice Master’s Degree at GCU.

Learn From Diverse Criminal Justice and Human Rights Experts

You’ll learn from experts from diverse areas of the criminal justice system, including corrections, legal and human rights law, comparative and rehabilitative justice, anthropology, and mental health to provide students with a well-rounded educational experience to advance their careers. Our accomplished faculty also have research expertise in areas such as terrorism, sexual offending, persons with disabilities in the criminal justice system, social reform, punishment, and issues related to gender and crime, gender and law, freedom of expression, and post-conflict justice. For example, one of our instructors conducted research on human rights violations on detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Work Online at Your Own Pace

Offered 100% online, our criminal justice and human rights degree is designed for maximum flexibility. There are no prerequisites, and you can work at a pace that’s best for you—an ideal option for students with jobs and families.

Engage in Impactful Research

Students have the option to complete a capstone project. This offers students incredible opportunities to design a research project that addresses issues you care about—and make a real difference in the criminal justice system. One of our students collaborated on a project titled: New York City: COVID-19 Quarantine and Crime, published in the Journal of Criminal Psychology. Another evaluated the implementation and effectiveness of the New Jersey bail reform policy for a prosecutor’s office in the state.

Criminal Justice and Human Rights student
Criminal Justice Degree

What Can You Do With a Criminal Justice Degree?

Graduates of our master’s degree in criminal justice and human rights program gain expertise for careers in government agencies, law, social services, security, nonprofit, faith-based and international organizations, and research.

Earning your master’s in criminal justice will also help pave the way to career advancement opportunities and higher salary potential.

Master’s in Criminal Justice Jobs

What jobs can you get with a master’s in criminal justice? Here are several examples of criminal justice and human rights jobs you can pursue with this degree:

  • policy specialist, 
  • legal advocate, 
  • victim advocate, 
  • program coordinator, 
  • human rights / policy researcher, 
  • promotion as correction officer, 
  • promotion as law enforcement / federal agent, 
  • paralegal, 
  • social justice specialist,  
  • investigator, and  
  • research analyst.
Criminal Justice and Human Rights graphic
“Each professor taught in such accessible ways that I learned skills that made me a better professor just by being their student. They continued to be my mentors beyond graduation and helped me become a published Criminologist just months after graduating! So, in addition to the degree, I got mentors for life!”
Michelle Esposito
Michelle Esposito ’20
CUNY College of Staten Island

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