Master of Science

Criminal Justice - Online

Ranked #1 in Ohio and 12th in the nation in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report, this high-caliber and affordable online program prepares you for leadership roles in criminal justice, as well as provides a solid base for pursuing a law or doctoral degree. The program’s class size facilitates engaging relationships with nationally-recognized faculty and with fellow students. 

Ranked #12 in the country by U.S. News and World Report!

Learn about three members of the Detroit Police Dept. that earned master’s degrees in criminal justice from our program.   


Criminal Justice Online Masters Program

Advance Your Career

  • Investigator
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Higher Ed Instructor/Administrator
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Solid base for the pursuit of a doctoral degree

QM LearnerSupport CertMark 2019 web.


  • 11 Courses - 33 Credit Hours
  • Tuition Estimate $14,964
  • Finish in under two years, part-time
  • Tuition calculator (select eCampus)

Program Benefits

  • World-class faculty that publish in leading journals, consult with the National Institute of Justice, the Department of Justice and the FBI
  • Small class settings foster a dynamic relationship with these professionals.
  • 6 start dates throughout the year
  • 7-week courses

BGSU Degree | World-class faculty | 7-week courses | 100% online

Program Requirements

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program offers two online courses each term. Here are the details, but certainly feel free to contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Adam Watkins, - 419-372-9540.

  • There are 11 courses (33 credit hours) required for the degree. One class is delivered approximately every seven weeks with a one week break in between classes each term each semester, including summers. 
  • It takes less than two years to complete the degree if students complete a course every seven weeks. 
  • In order to successfully complete your studies and graduate with an MSCJ degree, you will be required to compile a portfolio consisting of specific projects you will already be completing as part of your coursework.
  • We offer rolling admissions so you will not have to wait until the next semester to join us.

Course Requirements - You can start the program any semester!


Spring Semester
CRJU 6200 Seminar in Contemporary Corrections (1)
CRJU 6510 Seminar in Criminal Justice Ethics (2)

Summer Semester                         
CRJU 6100 Seminar in Contemporary Policing (1)
CRJU 6150 Seminar in Contemporary Juvenile Justice (2)

Fall Semester
CRJU 6020 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (1)
CRJU 6820 Topics in Criminal Justice (Victimology) (2)

Detailed Course Descriptions

* Course Descriptions.pdf
MSCJ Course Descriptions


Spring Semester
CRJU 6030 Data Analysis and Interpretation in Criminal Justice (1)
CRJU 6400 Criminal Justice Policy Analysis (2)

Summer Semester
CRJU 6550 Crime Analysis (1)
CRJU 6820 Topics in Criminal Justice (2)

Fall Semester
CRJU 6010 Criminal Justice Processes and Institutions (1)
CRJU 6050 The Nature of Crime (2)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program is 33 credit hours (11 courses).

It takes two years to complete the degree if students complete a course every seven weeks. One class is delivered approximately every seven weeks with a one week break in between classes each term each semester, including summers.

We utilize a learning management system called Canvas that allows us to have audio-visual conferences with students on a regular basis both as a class and individually. We schedule at least one hour a week where students and faculty get together in this virtual conference to discuss readings and expand on any lecture content posted for the course. We record these conferences so students who are unable to "attend" can watch it later.

There is a chat function on Canvas that allows for similar interactions as noted above but it involves mostly typing rather than speaking to one another. Some faculty hold chats once or twice a week in addition to the conference. All depends on the course. There may be group projects where students work together on projects with the professor virtually meeting with the groups on Canvas.

Essentially, the only difference between online and on campus is how the content is delivered. To illustrate, on campus, we are physically present and speaking to students directly. For online, we may record our content and post for delivery, we present our content using PowerPoint with and without voiceover, or we type up the content for students to read and then open up the items for discussion.

Our faculty work hard to develop productive relationships with students in their classes and are very responsive to emails, phone calls, and discussion posts. This is the same manner we approach our on campus students as well.

There are two courses offered each semester, approximately every seven weeks, for the online program, which means students can enter two times during the semester (i.e, Summer 1, Summer 2, Fall 1, Fall 2, Spring 1, Spring 2). 



Summer 1

April 10

Summer 2

June 1

Fall 1

August 10

Fall 2

September 30

Spring 1

December 14

Spring 2

February 15

We have a graduate non-degree seeking status option at the university where students earning a 3.0 or better in nine credit hours of graduate level coursework can be considered for admission into a graduate degree program. With careful selection of these three courses (i.e., nine credit hours), these same classes could also be applied towards your MSCJ degree. Earning Bs or better, these courses would demonstrate your ability to be successful in graduate level work and these grades will be reviewed in lieu of your undergraduate grade point average in our admission decision.


Required Courses (18 credit hours)

  • CRJU 6010: Criminal Justice Processes & Institutions
  • CRJU 6020: Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CRJU 6030: Data and Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice
  • CRJU 6050: The Nature of Crime
  • CRJU 6400: Criminal Justice Policy Analysis
  • CRJU 6510: Seminar in Criminal Justice Ethics

Elective Courses (15 credit hours needed)

  • CRJU 5200: The Organization & Management of Justice
  • CRJU 6100: Seminar in Contemporary Policing
  • CRJU 6150: Seminar in Contemporary Juvenile Justice
  • CRJU 6200: Seminar in Contemporary Corrections
  • CRJU 6500: Race, Gender, and Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice
  • CRJU 6550: Crime Analysis
  • CRJU 6820: Current Topics in Criminal Justice

Required Application Materials:

  • Online application at -
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Personal letter of application between 250 and 750 words outlining interests in graduate study, expectations, and future goals.
  • A resume

BGSU offers many services and resources to online students.

  • The Learning Commons: The Learning Commons provides students with academic resources that foster independent learning by offering individual and group tutoring and consultation sessions tailored to meet the needs of any student in any course at any time in the learning process. They currently offer online writing consultations and plan to add more resources and services for distance learners.  
  • BGSU Library: Access to online journals, inter-library loan, OhioLINK, as well as research support and advising.
  • BGSU Library: Distance Education Resource Guide: This guide was designed to offer you information and links to the various services that the library provides for students taking an online class, studying abroad, or completing a degree online. You can always visit the University Libraries homepage to access all of the library's resources, but this guide was created to highlight some of the resources that we think are particularly useful for distance students. 

Not necessarily. In general, you are not required to attend class at certain times. You are free to log in and complete your course work at times that are convenient for your schedule. However, your instructor will require that you meet deadlines for assignments and tests as well as reply within a given time frame to discussion board posts. Your instructor may also hold live presentations or lectures using web-conferencing tools or require a first day of the semester log in so be sure to check the class notes for special instructions when you register.

Below is the policy on transfer credits for the MSCJ program.

  • BGSU will accept up to nine credit hours of graduate credit from another institution in which the student earned a B or better. BGSU also permits a maximum of nine credit hours to be applied towards another degree at BGSU.
  • Students may not transfer in credit for core courses.
  • Students can only apply for their transfer credits after they have completed eight credit hours of graduate work.
  • Students may apply graduate credits from BGSU towards their MSCJ degree if the courses are appropriate as determined by the Graduate Coordinator. 
  • Courses older than six years are not eligible for transfer. The clock starts running at the end of the course(s) requested for transfer, and lasts for six years. Students must graduate before the six years expires or else these prior courses are too old and no longer will count regardless of whether the courses were taken at BGSU or another university. For example, courses from the fall of 2009 could be considered for transfer if you will graduate from the MSCJ program before the fall of 2015.

No, your undergraduate degree does not need to be in criminal justice. We currently have students who come from a wide range of backgrounds such as security, journalism, and psychology.

Yes - You can contact the Bursar’s Office to have your plan set up after you are enrolled in classes.

No, students in the online program graduate with the same diploma as on campus students.

No, the online classes are considered 100% Web-based courses and are delivered completely online and do not require time on campus. (But just because you are online does not mean that you cannot make a visit to campus anytime.)

Essentially, the only difference between online and on campus is how the content is delivered. Therefore, textbooks and other course materials are necessary for meeting the course objectives and completing assignments. 

There are two different plans of actions for degree completion.

Plan 1: Portfolio Option

The Portfolio Option is the most common plan chosen by students in the MSCJ program. Students compile an electronic portfolio consisting of papers and/or projects that are integrated across specific courses. A reflection paper discussing the contents of the portfolio’s significance and application relative to the degree program and practical considerations is also required.

Plan 2: Thesis Option

The thesis option is a major project of original research, conducted under the supervision of the student’s major advisor. Students electing this option must register for no fewer than three, or more than six, credit hours of thesis research as part of their degree program.

The time frame between applying and admission is 3-4 weeks. However, the sooner the applicant submits ALL supporting materials (i.e., transcript, letters of recommendation, and personal letter) the quicker they can expect to be notified about admission status. 

Student’s letters of recommendation can be from past professors, supervisors, or colleagues. 

Students may enroll in two courses (6 credit hours) each semester. One class is delivered approximately every seven weeks.

Grades can be accessed through your courses Canvas page under the tab “Grades”.

Students may view Mid-term and Final Grade information via the Student Center in MyBGSU. In Student Center, select the Other Academic field, pull down and select “Grades”. The student may then click the Mid-term Grades tab to view Mid-term grades.

The Office of Student Financial Aid provides information about funding your education at BGSU. 

Application Requirements


Submit Your Graduate College Application Online

Note:  All graduate level programs use the same Graduate College Application. There is a non-refundable application fee.


You will be able asked for the following during the online application process

  • GPA - Must have overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal letter of application between 250 and 750 words outlining interests in graduate study, expectations, and future goals.  
  • A resume


Submit Transcripts & Standardized Test Scores

Submit scanned copies of official or unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended to the Graduate College. Upon admission, final official transcripts from each degree granting institution must be submitted.

Official transcripts and test scores are to be sent to:

Graduate College
200 University Hall
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403

Non-native speakers of English must have a minimum 80 TOEFL IBT, 53 PTEA, or 7.0 IELTS score. For information on the GRE and TOEFL tests, visit the Educational Testing Service website.

You will be enrolled in and receive your graduate degree from the College of Health and Human Services