Legal Studies - Criminal Justice Concentration

Legal Studies - Criminal Justice Concentration Online Master of Science (M.S.)

About Criminal Justice

Prepare for leadership in the justice sector.

Advance your knowledge to fully participate in the legal and justice systems and support American communities. The master's degree in legal studies program at California University of Pennsylvania offers you an excellent education in the specialized concentration of criminal justice.

The graduate degree in legal studies also provides a core foundation for understanding the intersection of legal and policy issues related to criminal justice.

Build skills to expand your contribution to the community.

  • Choose our fully online graduate degree program for access to recognized faculty experts in Pennsylvania and across the country who have practical experience and knowledge in their teaching topics.
  • Earn your master's degree in two years to begin a new career or prepare for advancement in your current employment.


Core topics
The criminal justice concentration includes courses that focus on financial investigations, criminal justice organization and management, justice studies, sexual assault investigations, and the law and police process.

Elective courses
Criminal justice students in the legal studies master's degree program can choose from elective courses that address a range of topics: polygraph and lie detection; law, punishment and corrections; domestic extremism; digital imaging, forensic photography and the law; law and public policy; law, science and forensic applications; and other specialized areas.

Learn more about applying

As a fully online program, Cal U's M.S. in legal studies is specially designed for working professionals.
 Cal U Global Online offers affordable, top-quality education with more than 75 degree and non-degree programs.
icon undergrad for degree

Degree Benefits

The master's degree in legal studies with a concentration in criminal justice offers a wide range of courses to ensure interdisciplinary study of the functions and processes of the American justice system. Criminal justice students also:

  • Have the opportunity to partner with professors in completing research for publication in various academic and professional journals.

  • Can choose research topics relevant to their current employment. For instance, police officer students select specific police policies and present solutions in their white papers.

icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

Cal U's online master's degree in legal studies prepares you for well-paying and rewarding careers in the workplace. Because this graduate degree program blends the fields of humanities, business and political science with the legal and policy issues related to criminal justice, Cal U graduates are ready for career advancement in the legal and justice system in policing, law, corrections, investigations and human services.

Criminal Justice Concentration - M.S., Legal Studies
justice 1

Career network


Cal U students in the M.S. in legal studies program learn in cohorts, where they meet and study with other types of practitioners. Graduate students are from law enforcement, the police, corrections, investigations, human services and more. Cohort students become valuable career contacts and colleagues.


Professional resource

The Institute for Law and Public Policy at Cal U offers degree and certificate programs, as well as professional development and training opportunities for a wide range of professionals in southwestern Pennsylvania region.


Certificate option

Cal U students can choose to earn the 15-credit-hour, 100% online criminal justice certificate to refresh skills or expand professional knowledge. You'll study specialized topics that include financial investigations, criminal justice organizations and management, justice studies, sexual assault investigations, and law and police process.

Jonathan Whaton becomes a Police Cheif.

Student Success

“The unique M.S. in Legal Studies: Criminal Justice concentration provided me with an opportunity to take my criminal justice knowledge to the next level by expanding into areas of law and public policy." - Jonathan E. Wharton, Police Chief, Upper St. Clair Township Police Department

Read more

Criminal Justice Concentration Courses

This master's degree concentration prepares practitioners to assume leadership roles to contribute to the advancement of the legal and justice systems.



Course Credits
LAW 600 Law and Public Policy  3
LAW 601 Law and Ethics 3
LAW 602 Law, Civil Liberties and the Constitution 3
LAW 603 Law and Legal Method 3
LAW 605 Law and Police Process 3
PCJ 747 Financial Investigations 3
PCJ 748 Criminal Justice Organization and Management 3
PCJ 749 Seminar in Justice Studies 3
PCJ 750 Sexual Assault Investigations 3
PCJ 752 Digital Imaging, Forensic Photography and the Law 3
Total 30
Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • International Global Online Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements.  Those admitted conditionally based on missing document/s have up to a maximum of two semesters to satisfy these requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Unofficial transcripts
    • Resume with contact information for three professional references with an overview of professional work experience
    • 500-word essay supporting the application

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email ( or fax (724-938-5712) 

For additional information:
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Legal Studies Online Master of Science (M.S.)



M.S., Legal Studies Faculty

Larry Bassi

View profile
Jeffrey Davidson

View profile
Kevin Govern, J.D., LL.M.

View profile
David Heller
Adjunct Professor

View profile
Brian Kohlhepp, M.A.
Adjunct Faculty

View profile
William Morgan, J.D.
View profile
David Smith, M.S., M.A., J.D.

View profile
Dr. Christina A. Toras, J.D., M.A.
Professor, Director of the Institute for Law and Public Policy

View profile
Michael Vennum, J.D.

View profile
Dr. Karl Williams, M.D., M.P.H.

View profile