Graduate Certificate in Justice Leadership

Program Format

8-week courses

Program Information

16 credit hours (4 courses)
Faculty Profiles

18-19 Tuition Rate

$550/ credit hour

When Can I Start?

Fall, Spring or Summer Semester



Find out more

The Graduate Certificate in Justice Leadership will provide a 16-credit (4 course) series to post-baccalaureate learners who have a strong interest in continuing their education in the area of leadership, criminal justice, and ethics.

These core areas are essential to public and private sector professionals who work, or strive to work, in the areas of criminal and social justice.

History of excellence in social sciences

  • Simpson has more than seven decades of experience in providing educational opportunities to students in the area of social sciences.
  • The Department is unique in that it offers a strong liberal arts foundation to professional areas of study such as criminal justice and human services at the undergraduate level, and to the graduate level.

Your learning objectives

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Justice Leadership will gain greater understanding of:

  • procedural justice and fairness;
  • bias awareness, inclusivity, human rights, and tolerance;
  • ethical perspectives and ethical problem-solving, and
  • leadership development in the areas of government, non-profits, and the private sector.

Students will be able to formulate ethical responses to professional situations, and students will be able to develop leadership skills needed in working with diverse populations.

Why A Graduate Certificate in Justice Leadership at Simpson?

Simpson has been committed to education in the social sciences for over 70 years, and has been offering the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ) since 2009.

Graduates of the MACJ program can be found throughout Iowa and the Midwest, working in policy and analysis, corrections, human services, law enforcement, and in a variety of private sector agencies.

Required Courses (16 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. Offered once every two years.

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 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, 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.

1 Elective (offerings vary by term and year) 4cr.

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 570: Leadership in the Criminal Justice System
  • 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


All 16 credits can be applied toward the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program, which consists of a nine course (36 credit) program.

This allows students who may be wish to complete graduate work in criminal justice to earn a shorter certificate, rather than solely a master’s degree, or to decide at a later point to continue graduate work to earn the master’s degree, with only five courses remaining.

ED Gainful Employment Disclosure Template for Certificate in Justice Leadership

How long will it take me?

Students can complete the Graduate Certificate in Justice Leadership in one year (Term 1 and Term 2 during Fall semester, and Term 3 and Term 4 during Spring semester) or choose to take additional time, if their particular circumstances warrant doing so.

Contact Admissions Counselor Ginger Hermon at or MACJ Director Denise Leifker at for details!

As a working mother of two in my forties the thought of going back to school was both exciting and frightening. I was concerned that the learning environment of the college classroom had passed me by. However, at Simpson I felt welcomed and encouraged to challenge myself in areas I had not yet encountered in my work life or previous college career… I can proudly say I have a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Simpson College. But more than that, Simpson taught me to look at things in ways I hadn’t done before, it challenged me outside my learning comfort zone and provided me with a wonderful experience, friendship, as well as education that I can use in my profession and beyond!

Stacy Hartsfield, MACJ ’16, Lutheran Services of Iowa

Simpson college has been a veteran friendly college with a faculty and staff who are infectiously enthusiastic about their area of expertise. As a MACJ graduate, I can say that the professors and advisors are committed to knowing each student on a personal level and strive to help each reach his or her goals.

Michael Credidio, MACJ ’17, U.S. Department of Homeland Security