Graduate Program: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Simpson College’s  Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice is designed to meet the educational needs of professionals currently employed in the criminal justice system as well as those seeking to gain entry to a criminal justice career.

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 adjudication process, and the correctional system. Social justice, fairness, and integrity in one’s professional responses to others are integral to the overall mission of Simpson College and will be consistent themes evident 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.


Most courses in the MACJ are taught at Simpson’s Ankeny and West Des Moines campuses. Advanced Standing Program (ASP) undergraduates can enroll in elective graduate classes at the Indianola campus. The ASP is designed for exceptional undergraduates intending to complete the MACJ at Simpson. The program provides the opportunity for students to complete both degrees in five instead of six years.

Evening classes held in a hybrid format are offered at the Ankeny and West Des Moines campuses. Hybrid classes combine the personal interaction of face-to-face instruction with the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Students attend class one night a week and complete the remainder of the coursework on SCHOLAR, Simpson’s online learning environment. Courses are eight weeks, which permits dedicated students to complete as many as 16 credits per year. We estimate that 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 or JD qualified and, in the case of some of the elective classes taught by adjunct faculty, have a combination of degree and experiential qualifications that make them uniquely qualified to teach these courses.

Simpson is currently accepting applications for our MACJ program. For more information contact Craig Peck, the advisor for MACJ students, at or Dr. Fred Jones, the MACJ Graduate Program Director, at

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