The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is an eCampus program from BGSU College of Health and Human Services.   

A law enforcement professional on campus, graduates of the online masters in criminal justice are suited for leadership roles.
  • Masters Available
  • Masters Available

Master of Science

Criminal Justice

The BGSU master of science in criminal justice is an eCampus online program. Ranked #2 in Ohio and 25th 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.

With seven-week courses, asynchronous classes and 6 start dates throughout the year, this flexible course can be completed in under 2 years while working full time. 

Alumni Testimonial


Elvin V. Barren

  • Position: Chief of Police in Southwick, MI

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program provided a convenient course schedule that allowed me to balance my work-related responsibilities and academic tasks. The curriculum was relevant to my profession and enhanced my level of knowledge and awareness concerning important national topics associated with criminal justice. The research and network of information has made a tremendous impact on my career. 

The program’s small class size facilitates engaging relationships with nationally recognized faculty and fellow students from law enforcement, criminal justice and allied professions.

Advance your career with cutting edge research

The BGSU master’s in criminal justice faculty publish in leading academic and industry journals, consult with the National Institute of Justice, the Department of Justice and the FBI. 

The advanced theoretical foundations, cutting-edge research and deep professional experience, along with small class settings foster a dynamic relationship between the classes and students.

With students from criminal justice, psychology, journalism and security, the diverse class adds another layer of learning students report to be a great advantage.

Your Degree, Your Way

The flexibility of 100% online asynchronous learning, with optional online synchronous group discussions, is a crucial benefit of the program. Working night shifts, weekends or days, the coursework requires dedication, but is designed to be achievable while working full time.  

The flexibility of the program, the high-quality online learning environment and the fact that students have access to the same world-leading faculty as our on-campus programs are key factors in the program’s ranking success.

With online delivery and straightforward requirements for entry and graduation, the master’s of criminal justice program will evidence your expertise and open doors to rewarding new career paths.


The MSCJ curriculum is taught by faculty actively involved in policy-relevant research or with a professional background in criminal justice.

The BGSU master of science in criminal justice curriculum covers foundational theories, processes and institutions as well as studying policy, data analysis, research methods and ethics of criminal justice in the 6 core courses.   

The elective courses offer the chance to tailor the course to your personal and professional goals. Courses in organization and management, contemporary issues across policing, juvenile justice and corrections and well as broader issues of race, gender and diversity can be studied, among other subjects. 

Whether as preparation for a leadership position, a doctoral degree, or career change, or advancement, the BGSU masters of criminal justice will give you a solid foundation in the theory and current research of every area of criminal justice. 

The final stage of the master’s degree in criminal justice comprises a capstone experience of either; a thesis, major project, comprehensive online exam, or portfolio. The final choice depends on career objectives.

Unmatched Student Support

BGSU is the only university in Ohio and only one of ten in the nation to earn the Quality Matters Online Learner Support certificate that recognizes our commitment to online student success. The eCampus team proudly offers a one-stop-shop experience for all of your questions. Our main goal is simple: your success from registration to graduation 


BGSU Alumni, Elaine Bryant, named chief of Columbus police. 

Class of 2019 alumna earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from nationally ranked criminal justice program. Bryant, who previously was the deputy chief of police for the City of Detroit, was selected this summer after an extensive national search and community engagement process. She earned a Master of Science in criminal justice (MSCJ) from Bowling Green State University, which is highly ranked in Ohio and the nation by the U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings

Read more - about Elain Bryant's Story

Request Information


Easy enrollment

Complete an online application

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

Submit Official Transcripts

TRANSCRIPTS: As part of the online application process you will upload scanned copies of transcripts from all institutions attended. Upon admission, final official transcripts from each degree-granting institution must be submitted to the Graduate College.

Non-native speakers of English must have a minimum 80 TOEFL IBT, 53 PTEA, or 7.0 IELTS score.

The online application requires that you upload a resume, a letter of application, 2 letters of recommendation and a current professional resume.  

Stand Out in courses like

  • Criminal Justice Processes & Institutions
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Data and Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice
  • The Nature of Crime
  • Criminal Justice Policy Analysis
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Ethics

Ranked #2 in Ohio and 25 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.   

Three members of Detroit Police Dept. earn master’s degrees in criminal justice


Read why three Detroit Police Dept. members chose BGSU to earn their master’s degrees in criminal justice. Many other professions benefit from a master’s degree, either as preparation for a leadership or management role, increased responsibilities, or a job change. 

Legal professionals, corrections officers, forensic and independent investigators, psychologists, therapists, social workers and journalists have all benefited from the BGSU online master’s of criminal justice in the past. 

See what you can do with an MSCJ degree.

GO FAR with a career in

  • DNA analyst
  • Forensic Biologist
  • Forensic Lab Technician
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Serologist

Program Information

The BGSU master of science in criminal justice degree, or MSCJ degree, offers the best combination of high-quality, affordable tuition, stimulating cohorts and course flexibility. 

There are currently 10 courses (30 credit hours) required for the MSCJ 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 18 months to complete the degree if students complete a course every seven weeks. Longer time frames are possible, which reduces the workload.

We offer rolling admissions so you will not have to wait until the next semester to join us.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 (12 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. 

Steps to Apply + CTA


Submit Your Application Online

Note: There is a non-refundable application fee of $45.

If, for some reason, all of your transcripts do not arrive or you decide not to begin for a given semester, another application and fee will be required for the next semester.

Apply for the MSCJ degree online program


Submit Official Transcripts

TRANSCRIPTS: As part of the online application process you will upload scanned copies of transcripts from all institutions attended. Upon admission, final official transcripts from each degree-granting institution must be submitted to the Graduate College.

Request official transcripts are sent securely online, or by mail to:

Graduate College

200 University Hall

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, OH 43403

We commonly receive electronic transcripts via Parchment, eScript-Safe, National Student Clearinghouse and Articulation and Transfer Clearinghouse. We are willing to access electronic transcripts through any other secure sites hosted by the sending institution.

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


The online application requires that you upload the following: 

Two Letters of Recommendation: These should be from former or current instructors or other persons qualified to evaluate probable success in the master of science with a specialization in criminal justice. Letters will be collected through the Graduate Admissions system (referees will receive a system-generated email).

Statement of Purpose: Personal letter of application between 250 and 750 words outlining interests in graduate study, expectations and future goals.  

Resume/CV: This should be a one-to-two page current professional CV

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

Nontraditional and Military Student Services (NTMSS)

Bowling Green State University has once again been named one of the top universities in the United States for veterans by the Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 rankings.

The BGSU NTMSS service is available in-person or remotely. It provides assistance to support you as you make career and educational choices. Beginning, returning to, or continuing your college education can pose a variety of challenges. 

The NTMSS staff are familiar with the issues facing nontraditional and military students and can be a resource as you plan and complete your program.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The master’s of science in criminal justice program does not lead to professional licensure.

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The master’s of science in criminal justice program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.

Updated: 03/20/2023 03:00PM