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M.A. Criminal Justice

We See You Shaping the Future of the Criminal Justice System
Take the lead as you protect and serve your community with our master’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Norfolk State University
Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ)

The safety and security of future generations depend on the leadership of those in the criminal justice field. Take the lead in your career and community with a master’s in criminal justice from Norfolk State University.

Work alongside experienced faculty with a proven track record in the field and in the classroom. Explore current policies and practices and research innovative new ways to positively impact the criminal justice system. Gain a deeper understanding of crime, criminal justice, deviance and social organization so you’ll have the credentials and know-how to advance your career in a leadership role.

Focused on working adults

At NSU, we designed our master’s degree in criminal justice for working adults who want to get ahead while still maintaining a work-life balance. We offer evening classes at our campus in Norfolk as well as select courses online to make it easier to earn your degree. You’ll study alongside classmates with similar career aspirations to expand your worldview and build your professional network.

Criminal Justice Degree at a Glance

  • Formats Offered: In Person
  • Total Credit Hours: 36

View M.A. Criminal Justice plan of study  | Request more information  | Apply now 

Why Study Criminal Justice at NSU?

Norfolk has a strong history of preparing students to lead in the criminal justice field. We deliver high-quality education, faculty support and experiential learning opportunities so you are ready to face challenges in an ever-changing world. The education and experience you gain here at NSU will prepare you for a meaningful career and help you stand out in a competitive job market.

Individualize your learning experience

Choose from two concentrations so you can focus on what matters most to you. Our Management and Planning concentration will prepare you for a career in administration. If you plan to work with youth, our Juvenile Justice concentration will provide advanced knowledge of current theories and practical applications that will set you up for success in a variety of criminal justice jobs.

Get hands-on experience in your field

Many of our students enjoy internships with local, state or federal agencies in the Hampton Roads area and throughout Virginia. Gain hands-on experience at probation agencies, police departments, safe houses, courts and district attorney’s offices, among others, to prepare you for a successful career in criminal justice.

Access first-class facilities

Our tech-advanced facilities include state-of-the-art classrooms and one of Virginia’s most progressive simulation labs.

What Courses Will I Take as a Criminal Justice Student?

All students earning our master’s degree in criminal justice study foundational coursework that encompasses theory, research, ethics and data and policy analysis. In addition, your concentration will include core and elective courses to tailor your degree to your interests and goals. At the end of the program, you will tie together everything you’ve learned by completing either a thesis or a comprehensive exam.

Management and Planning core courses:

  • Administration
  • Planning
  • Legal Issues

Juvenile Justice core courses:

  • Policing and Adjudicating
  • Corrections and Treatment
  • Juveniles and the Justice System

View the academic catalog 

Where Will My Criminal Justice Degree Take Me? 

Criminal justice leaders are needed now more than ever. As a graduate of our master’s degree in criminal justice, you will be fully prepared to advance into a role that has a direct impact on the criminal justice system in your community. Our graduates have gone on to pursue rewarding careers with criminal justice jobs such as:

  • ATF agent
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Criminal investigator
  • FBI agent
  • Homicide detective
  • Probation officer
  • Truancy case manager
  • U.S. Marshal

Career outlook for Criminal Justice majors

The criminal justice field offers a wide variety of career opportunities, and our master’s degree in criminal justice will prepare you for success in any criminal justice jobs that interest you.

How Do I Get Started in the Criminal Justice Program at NSU? 

We accept students with an undergraduate degree in any field, though previous coursework in criminal justice is preferred, especially in the areas of research, theory and statistics. Potential students are required to submit the NSU Graduate Application and supplemental materials to be considered for our May 1 or November 1 start dates. Most admissions decisions are made within two weeks of receiving all required application materials.

Our Office of Graduate Studies  is available to answer questions and help you navigate the admissions process. Questions about financing your education, including information about both institutional and external scholarships, can be directed to the NSU Financial Aid Office .

“My professors at NSU encourage me to continue with my studies while also stepping outside of my comfort zone. As a result, I am now among the most active students in the criminal justice graduate program. The faculty inspire you to go beyond your wildest expectations and help you develop professionally as a leader for the future.”

– Cheyla M. ’23, M.A. in Criminal Justice

Degree Programs Related to Criminal Justice

Accreditation for M.A. Criminal Justice at NSU

Norfolk State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Norfolk State University also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Norfolk State University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (