Applied Criminology

Applied Criminology Master of Arts (M.A.) in Social Science Degree Online

Applied Criminology

Become a top professional in criminology with specialized knowledge and in-demand skills.

If you want in-depth study in criminology and criminal justice, California University of Pennsylvania will provide you with a one-of-a-kind graduate program led by world-class faculty experts.  

 Cal U's 100% online Master of Arts in Applied Criminology degree program is on the forefront of presenting advanced criminological theories and examining the behavioral manifestations of violent offenders. By combining the best of criminal justice and criminology study, the applied criminology program enables students to build a strong foundation of theoretical and research knowledge and skills. Students also learn to apply this theoretical framework to real-world situations involving criminal investigative analysis, equivocal death analysis and geographical crime analysis.

Learn policies and hands-on practice from outstanding faculty experts.

This master's degree in applied criminology was developed with assistance of some of the original criminal profilers from the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va. The program enables students to apply knowledge to create policies and practices that prevent and/or predict the occurrences of serious offenses, and for those major crimes that have been committed, to identify the offenders and develop relevant admissible evidence before any number of courts or tribunals.

Graduate faculty members in applied criminology combine their multi- and inter-disciplinary expertise to develop subject matter from criminological, criminal investigative, forensic, socio-psychological, legal and research-driven perspectives.

Program Highlights: Applied Criminology

Solid foundation:  The online graduate program in applied criminology is 30 credits, which can be completed full time in just over one year. Required courses include Advanced Behavioral Analysis of Violent Crime, Equivocal Death Analysis, Criminal Investigative Analysis, and Geographic Crime Analysis. In the program's capstone experience, students can choose one of these options: complete an internship; write a thesis, particularly if they intend to go on for doctoral study; study abroad in such locations as Scotland Yard, Parliament and the Royal Court of Justice; or complete courses available through the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences, and receive a certificate for each course. Students who have attended the FBI National Academy, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, or who have graduated from other training or hold certain professional certifications, are eligible to receive six (6) credits for their prior learning, which will serve as their capstone experience.

Faculty expertise:  Most of the faculty members in the applied criminology degree program are full time and tenured. Dr. John Cencich is a retired U.S. federal agent and former senior international war crimes investigator with the United Nations; he earned the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science, the highest degree in law, from Notre Dame and an advanced law degree from the University of Kent at Canterbury, U.K. He is the immediate past chair of the International Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Dr. Aref M. Al-Khattar is a former intelligence officer from Jordan who was awarded the Medal of Independence from the King for his efforts toward national security. He is an expert in Middle East terrorism and criminological research methods. Dr. Michael Hummel holds a doctorate from Columbia University and specializes in criminal justice research and policy analysis. Professor Julie Warnick is a legal specialist with extensive experience in the courtroom and serves as the adviser and coach for the University's mock trial team.

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Ranking in 2017 for top online criminology degree by
Cal U recognized for best online programs in graduation education by U.S. News & World Report
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Degree Benefits

Cal U's 100% online graduate degree program in applied criminology is designed to prepare you for a solid career.  As an applied criminology student, you will:

  • Create a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge and research skills.
  • Undertake behavioral analysis and apply newly learned skills and techniques to prevent, predict and solve crimes having a major impact on societies throughout the world.  
  • Evaluate the ethical and legal aspects of the application of theory to practice.
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Graduate Outcomes


Earning your master's degree in applied criminology equips you with the education, skills and training to start in the fields of criminal justice and criminology or advance in your current position. With the help of highly qualified professors who have strong professional contacts, applied criminology graduates go on to positions in local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies; victim-witness units; threat assessment teams; and correctional institutions.

Applied Criminology (M.A.)
A criminology student assesses a crime scene.

On-Campus Expertise

The applied criminology program is also associated with the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences at California University of Pennsylvania, which provides an array of real-time investigative consulting activities along with professional training programs for police officers, detectives, district attorneys, public defenders and others involved in the administration of justice.

A students its in a classroom.

Job Outlook

Graduates in applied criminology can prepare for such career positions as police officer, criminal investigator, violent crime analyst, victim-witness coordinator and threat assessment specialist. 

A Cal U criminology professor teaches a class.

Professional Connection

Cal U is attuned to professional standards in applied criminology and criminal justice through faculty who are members of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.  ACJS is an international association established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice. ACJS promotes criminal justice education, research, and policy analysis within the discipline of criminal justice for both educators and practitioners.

M.A., Applied Criminology Courses

Applied criminology students build a strong foundation of theoretical and research knowledge and skills, and learn to apply this framework to real-world situations.

Course Examples
  • Advanced Criminological Theories
  • Advanced Behavioral Crime Analysis Theory
  • Research Methods In Criminology
  • Criminal Investigative Analysis
  • Equivocal Death Analysis
  • Ethical And Legal Aspects Of Criminology
  • Geographical Crime Analysis
  • Applied Research In Criminology

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M.A., Applied Criminology


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Applied Criminology Faculty

Dr. Aref M. Al-Khattar

Dr. John R. Cencich
Professor and Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences and Director of Criminal Justice Graduate Programs

Dr. Robert Clark
Adjunct Professor
Dr. Raymond J. Hsieh
Dr. Michael Hummel
Professor of Criminal Justice and Security Studies, Director of the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Global Online Homeland and International Security Concentration

Julie Warnick
Assistant Professor