Grand Canyon University

M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies


3300 W Camelback Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85017

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

Format: Online

Program Description:

What Is a Master of Science in Criminal Justice With an Emphasis in Legal Studies?

A healthy, prosperous community is one that keeps its residents safe and features a thoughtfully designed criminal justice system. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies degree at Grand Canyon University is ideal for professionals in law enforcement. It is also ideal for decision-makers in the fields of public policy and justice administration. Students who are preparing to enter law school may also benefit from this legal studies degree program. The evidence-based curriculum aligns with current community demands. It empowers working professionals to develop the practical skills that are needed in modern communities.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the legal studies degree examines key concepts in crime analysis and strategic planning. Dynamic learning experiences guide criminal justice students in applying theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. The degree covers contemporary legal issues pertaining to public policy, social research and justice administration, with an emphasis on the importance of ethical decision making.

This master's degree in legal studies, offered online at GCU, provides working professionals with the opportunity to pursue their educational objectives while meeting their current job’s demands. All of GCU's online legal studies courses are taught by either full-time faculty members or fully trained adjunct instructors. Evening courses on the GCU campus are also available.

What Will You Learn in a Legal Studies Master of Science Degree Program?

The coursework for the master's degree in legal studies evaluates best practices in legal research and takes a close look at 21st century legal topics. Students explore methodological evaluations of criminal justice policy and the development of legal programs. Some of the courses included with this legal studies degree include:

    Criminal Behavior Analysis
    Exploration of Law and Public Policy
    Exploration of Constitutional Criminal Law
    Legal Research
    Legal Communication

There is an emphasis on the integration of moral values and ethics into legal decision making. Criminal justice students are encouraged to challenge themselves by engaging with current questions in legal ethics. Additionally, students examine the role of values, conflict management, personality and power dimensions in organizational behavior and leadership. Other core competencies of the legal studies degree include the following:

    The relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system
    The use of hardcopy and electronic resources to perform legal research into regulations, court orders, statutes and court decisions
    The constitutional system of criminal jurisprudence
    The intersections of law and socioeconomic issues as they pertain to the administration of justice

What Careers Are Available With a Master’s in Legal Studies Degree?

A Master of Science in Criminal Justice Legal Studies may enable you to pursue a position in law enforcement or government that allows you to serve your community with integrity. Students who are currently working within the law enforcement field may pursue advanced opportunities after earning a master’s degree in legal studies, such as chief of police, shift supervisor or police sergeant.

The legal studies master's degree at GCU guides students in developing critical reasoning, analytical and communication skills that transfer well to an array of career paths. Other careers that may be related to this master’s degree include:

    Legislative assistant
    Compliance officer
    Government relations officer
    Law librarian

Additional academic accomplishments or professional licensure or certification may be required for certain career paths.


North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Eligibility Requirements:

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree to apply.

Facts & Figures

Classification: Master's College or University I

Loans Offered: Perkins Loan, Stafford Student Loans, PLUS Loans, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) State Grant, Arizona Post-Secondary Education Voucher Program State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 0-999

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