Program Format

8-week courses

Program Information

36 credit hours (9 courses)
Faculty Profiles

18-19 Tuition Rate

$550/ credit hour

When Can I Start?

Fall, Spring or Summer Semester


Why a Masters in Criminal Justice From Simpson College

  • Work and advance your career in law enforcement, juvenile services, court systems and more
  • Affordable tuition
  • Flexible online course format to fit your schedule
  • Dedicated faculty and advisors

Find out more

Advance your career today

Become a leader in law enforcement, security management, corrections, investigation and loss prevention. Earn your Masters in Criminal Justice Degree from a leading Iowa College. Classes are offered in flexible schedules to fit your needs.

For more information about the Masters in Criminal Justice program contact:

Denise Leifker, PhD
Director of Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
(515) 961-1273

Related Links

Required Courses (36 credits)

CJ 570: Leadership in the Criminal Justice System 4cr.

In this seminar, students will learn principles of effective and ethical leadership through various projects and experiences, such as completing intensive case studies and interviews of leaders, identifying and developing themes and principles from these projects, and creating leadership plans to apply for their own careers.

CJ 503: Seminar in Theories of Criminal Justice and Crime 4cr.

This advanced criminal justice theory class focuses on theory application. Students will be given information about crime, court, corrections, and security or prevention issues and asked to apply particular theoretical schemes in the attempt to understand and create a basis for dealing with issue areas. Graduate standing required. Prerequisite CJ 342/542 or CJ 343/543 or permission of instructor.

CJ 505: Standards of Professional Behavior 4cr.

Ethical concerns for justice system professionals will be examined. Dilemmas involving confidentiality and privacy, conflicts of interest, deception, coercion and control, and human subjects review will be explored within the broader context of the concepts of justice, fairness and respect. In addition to theoretical constructs of ethical issues that arise in social science disciplines, various written codes of conduct (such as National Association of Social Workers, American Corrections Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, American Bar Association, and American Psychological Association) will be examined and analyzed from a justice system policy perspective. Graduate students will read original research and provide in-depth analysis of ethical issues. Graduate standing required.

CJ 540: Social Justice and Human Rights Issues 4cr.

This course is designed to examine social justice and human rights issues reflected in the U.S. Constitution and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights as they interplay in various aspects of the criminal justice system including corrections, juvenile justice, enforcement, administration and legal action. Issues will include, but not be limited to, the influence of sexism, racism, ethnicity, homophobia, ageism, disability and other discrimination in the form of harassment, inappropriate action, group conflict, prejudice and discrimination in the United States and in the world community. Graduate standing required.

CJ 581: Research Methodologies 4cr.

This course serves as the first of a two-course sequence that will produce an original research project of the student’s choice. CJ 581 provides an overview of scientific procedures in criminal justice research. Students will develop a formal prospectus including a research question, literature review, well-conceptualized variables and a research hypothesis. We will explore the nature of causal explanation, the relationship between theory and observation, and the differences between positivist and interpretive models of study. Surveys, experiments, fieldwork and archival methods will be studied with a critical emphasis on development of research designs that are appropriate to particular empirical goals. In the second course of the sequence (CJ 582) students will carry-out the capstone project, which will involve data analysis, findings, and conclusions. Prerequisites: Graduate standing required. Core courses: CJ 502, 503, 505, 540, or with instructor permission. Offered Term 1 yearly.

CJ 582: Capstone in Criminal Justice 4cr.

This course serves as the second of a two-course sequence (with CJ 581). In this half of the course sequence, students will examine the fundamentals of research showing the interplay between theory, research, the foundation for the use of statistical methods, and interpretation. With these skills, students will take the completed prospectus from CJ 581 and carry out the culminating capstone project that will involve analysis, interpretation of findings, and conclusions. The capstone project offers students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the theory and practice of the criminal justice by applying the knowledge gained in this program to a project of the students’ choice. This involves completing a project report reflecting the cumulative knowledge gained from these experiences. The completed capstone project will be subject to faculty final approval. Prerequisites: Graduate standing required. Prerequisite: (or Co-req): Core courses: CJ 502, 503, 505, 540, and 581, or with instructor permission. Offered during Term 2 yearly.

3 Electives (offerings vary by term and year) 12cr.

Elective options include:

  • CJ 500: Juvenile and Family Law
  • CJ 501: Victimology
  • CJ 504: Seminar in Justice System Decision Making
  • CJ 508: Legal Issues for Justice Professionals
  • CJ 509: Internship
  • CJ 524: Police and Society
  • CJ 535: Crime and Place
  • CJ 539: Budget Building and Resource Allocation
  • CJ 542: Juvenile Delinquency
  • CJ 543: Criminology
  • CJ 544: Correctional Practices in the U.S.
  • CJ 560: Criminal Law and the Legal Process
  • CJ 580: Independent Study
  • CJ 590: Special Topics Seminar
  • SW 501: Counseling Strategies I
  • SW 542: Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Click here for course descriptions

The classes [in] the MACJ curriculum really opened my eyes after many years of working in law enforcement. I really wish I would have had this knowledge sooner. It would have helped me understand societal stressors and recidivism…

Now I work in government [in areas of] veterans homelessness and shelters, suicide prevention and awareness, sexual trauma, and human trafficking, to name a few.

The cumulative knowledge from the MACJ program has provided me a much greater understanding into our society and I couldn’t be prouder to promote Simpson College.

Brenda Safranski, MACJ ’16, staff member of a U.S. Senator


Throughout my two years at Simpson College as a grad student and coach, I thought there would be times where I would find myself completely overwhelmed with nowhere to turn. This was not the case.

I had the chance to work with so many amazing faculty and staff members while earning my degree.

Joe Skow, MACJ '16