Graduate Program: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

The Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice

Why Simpson’s MACJ?  Because Simpson’s master’s of arts degree in criminal justice is designed to meet the educational needs of professionals currently working within the criminal justice arena while providing an enhanced opportunity for career-changers or those seeking to gain entry into criminal justice or social services careers.

Students enrolled in Simpson’s MACJ will develop a greater understanding of the criminal and juvenile justice processes, the causes and conditions that contribute to criminal behavior, the relevant issues in law enforcement, the courts, and correctional processes. Social justice, fairness, and integrity in one’s professional responses to others are integral to the overall mission of Simpson College and will are consistent themes in MACJ course work.

In pursuit of the mission of the program, the MACJ learning objectives are:

1. To apply criminological and criminal justice theory to concrete situations.

Rationale: Development of effective policy requires theoretical application which enables us to deal with problematic situations constructively.

2. To analyze and interpret criminological and criminal justice system data.

Rationale: Good policy decisions are dependent of critical thought based on the best information available to us.

3. To formulate ethical responses to professional situations.

Rationale: Ethical behavior in relationships with colleagues and the public are necessary to insure a just and fair criminal justice system.

Not only are these learning objectives threaded throughout the required and elective courses, they also comprise the main areas in the comprehensive written examination.  Successful completion of this examination, in addition to coursework, is required to confer the degree at the end of the program.

For new graduate students beginning in the fall 2016, the comprehensive examination has been eliminated, and a revised course sequence to include a capstone course and applied project will be implemented.


Courses in the MACJ are taught at Simpson’s Ankeny and West Des Moines campuses. The core classes are taught in Ankeny, but electives can be taken in West Des Moines or Ankeny.

If you are an undergraduate and looking to the future, please contact us about our unique Advanced Standing Program (ASP), which allows undergraduates to take several course for undergraduate and graduate credit. The ASP is designed for exceptional undergraduates intending to complete the MACJ at Simpson. The program provides the opportunity for students to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees in five instead of six years.

The MACJ classes are offered in the evenings, in a face-to-face format.  If a student is interested, some electives are offered completely online.

Typically, part-time students attend class one night a week and complete the remainder of the coursework on Scholar, Simpson’s online learning platform. Full-time graduate students can complete two courses per term. Courses are provided in eight-week terms. Most degree-seekers can complete the degree in about two years, though some who can devote more time may be able to finish more rapidly.

Fred Jones, MACJ Graduate Program Director

Who We Are

Simpson has an outstanding faculty dedicated to providing students with a high quality graduate experience.  Faculty are doctorally qualified.

Some of the elective classes taught by adjunct faculty, who have a combination of outstanding degrees and experiential qualifications that make them uniquely qualified to teach these courses. We are fortunate to have individuals from leadership positions in agencies such as the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Board of Parole, the U.S. Probation Office for the Northern District of Iowa, Iowa Department of Corrections, as well as several other entities including the Electronic Crime Institute at DMACC as adjunct faculty in our program.

Simpson is currently accepting applications for our MACJ program.

For more information, please contact Craig Peck, the advisor for MACJ students, at

Through the summer of 2016, you may contact Dr. Fred Jones, the MACJ Graduate Program Director tat

Beginning in August 2016, you may contact Dr. Samantha O’Hara, the incoming MACJ Graduate Program Director at

We look forward to hearing from you!

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