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Master of Arts Criminal Justice Program – Online Format Only

The WOU Criminal Justice MA program provides students with an academic foundation for managerial and other advanced professional roles in the field of criminal justice.  It also prepares students for teaching at the community college level and for pursuing doctoral studies.

This degree will teach students how to conduct social science research and how to apply these methods toward solving the problems encountered in the administration of justice. In other words, students will learn how to put theory into practice.

Visit the Graduate Programs Website for information regarding the admissions process.  Please note that entrance into the CJ MA Program requires both an application to the WOU Graduate Program and to the Criminal Justice Department.

Dr. Terry Gingerich, CJ Graduate Program Coordinator



Program Prerequisites:
Completing your Degree:
Required Technology:
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice or Social Science
  • Background in Criminal Justice (preferred, but not required)
  • The desire to further your professional career



  • Two year program (may be finished in four quarters if enrolled full-time)
  • 45 credits
  • One of the following exit strategies:
    • Comprehensive Exams, Professional Project, Master’s Thesis
  • Online/Distance fall, winter, spring, & summer quarters
  • Computer with internet connection
  • Webcam & Video conferencing capability (Skype)
  • Printer (optional)




Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze the organizational structures and management challenges that define the field of criminal justice.
  2. Use methods of social science research to investigate problems and questions in the field of criminal justice.
  3. Apply theory-to-practice within the criminal justice environment.

Degree Description

Provides students with an academic foundation for managerial and other advanced professional roles in criminal justice. The program is also designed to prepare individuals to teach at the community college level or to prepare those interested in furthering their education at the doctoral level. Students complete five professional core classes, six electives, and complete an exit requirement consisting of a thesis, professional project, or comprehensive exams.

Your Plan of Study:

Once admitted to MA in Criminal Justice , you will work with an advisor to plan the courses you will take and how you will complete the academic requirements of the program.  The following forms are helpful tools in planning your course of study:

Program Requirements:

  • Complete all five core classes
    • CJ 608 Graduate Studies Workshop
    • CJ 612 Research in Criminal Justice
    • CJ 617 Criminal Justice Administration/Organizational Behavior
    • CJ 619 Ethics and Leadership in Criminal Justice
    • CJ 660 Theory and Research in Crime and Delinquency
  • Select six elective courses (500 level courses accepted in addition to the courses listed below)
    • CJ 616 Community Based Organizations
    • CJ 618 Theory of Criminal Law
    • CJ 620 Offender Treatment
    • CJ 621 Human Resources Management and Criminal Justice
    • CJ 622 Strategic Planning in Criminal Justice
    • CJ 656 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Exit Strategy
    • Thesis/Professional Project (4 credits)-no comprehensive exams
    • Special Individual Study (4 credits)-requires comprehensive exams

Course Descriptions

CJ 608 Graduate Studies Workshop (1 credit)

Students must take CJ-608, “Graduate Studies Workshop,” during their first term. This one-unit course (which is offered each term) introduces students to the methods, theories, and strategies of graduate study, to the online resources available at Hamersly Library, and to our online delivery platform-Mood le. It also serves as a point of initial academic advising wherein students will decide on an exit strategy, write a preliminary exit proposal, and begin the process of selecting a graduate advisor/committee.

CJ 612 Research in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

Course examines research techniques and methods necessary for a comprehensive understanding of crime, criminal justice, and their relationship to policy construction and implementation. Course will explore quantitative and qualitative social research methodologies, and examine their application in the study of crime and criminal justice in a variety of geographic environments (e.g. rural and/or urban settings).

CJ 616 Community-Based Corrections (4 credits)

Inventory, assessment and impact of community based programs implemented for treatment and care of the juvenile and adult offenders.

CJ 617 Criminal Justice Administration and Organizational Behavior (4 credits)

Review of theories of organization and administration, the application of these theories to criminal justice system organizations; review of research on criminal justice administration and organization.

CJ 618 Theory of Criminal Law (4 credits)

Development and application of criminal law in America. Focus on a variety of issues germane to the history and implementation of criminal law. Course will address philosophical, sociological, psychological and biological contributions to criminal law, and the implications of these contributions on social policies will be explored.

CJ 619 Ethics and Leadership in Criminal Justice Organizations (4 credits)

Course examines major theories of leadership and ethics relevant to criminal justice and social service institutions. Emphasis is placed on leadership and its relationship to ethics. Various models of leadership and research relevant to the criminal justice setting are discussed.

CJ 620 Offender Treatment (4 credits)

Exploration of various offender treatment programs. Students will examine the theoretical foundation for those programs, as well as the social, economic and political implications associated with adult and juvenile offender treatment programs.

CJ 621 Human Resource Management in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

Students will explore the recruiting, selection, training, assignment, discipline and promotion of personnel in criminal justice. Emphasis is on the philosophy, theory and practice of human resource management in the contemporary public safety agency.

CJ 622 Strategic Planning in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

Students will explore the development and design of strategic planning to provide the competence to develop a strategic plan for a criminal justice agency. Strategic planning will be contrasted to tactical planning and intuitive planning. The strategies for future thinking, visioning, organizational values, environmental concerns, stakeholders and forecasting will be studied. Study and research will focus on the philosophy, theory and application of strategic planning in criminal justice agencies.

CJ 656 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

A study of contemporary issues in criminal justice.

CJ 660 Advanced Theories and Research in Crime and Delinquency (4 credits)

Graduate students will have an opportunity to explore advanced applications of theory and social research methodologies. Students will be required to develop and apply critical analysis of a variety of theoretical and methodological applications within the realm of criminal justice and the broader study of crime. Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between theory, methods and social policy.




For More Information:


Graduate Programs

(503) 838-8597

CJ Graduate Program Coordinator

Dr. Terry Gingerich