Criminal Justice / Master of Science


The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a 36-hour course of study designed to provide students with a solid and broad-based understanding of the field of criminal/social justice. The course of study blends theory and practice to provide students the necessary knowledge and professional skills to critically analyze and ethically address the many complex issues routinely faced in contemporary society by criminal justice practitioners. The program includes seven core courses that place emphasis on organizational and management theory, the development of practical skills relating to the administration of criminal justice agencies, and the ability to apply theory and research to address and resolve practical problems. Elective courses are also offered to satisfy the diverse academic interests and professional needs of students who are either currently employed or seeking employment in criminal justice administration, law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice, and homeland security. Courses are offered year round, both day and evening, at several conveniently located sites in the Chicago metropolitan area allowing students to complete their graduate studies at their own scheduling pace, while maintaining a proper balance in both their personal and professional lives.

Program Objective

The primary objective of this graduate program is to provide students with a high quality educational program that will enhance their personal capacity to excel in the field of criminal/social justice, increase their potential for career advancement, and facilitate personal and professional growth.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program will be able to:

1. Synthesize theoretical and research concepts from multiple perspectives to inform inquiry and practice.

2. Formulate creative responses to complex issues through critical analysis.

3. Model ethical and professional behaviors to guide inquiry and practice in a global and diverse society.

4. Critically analyze issues relating to crime, law, and the administration of justice in contemporary society and develop creative solutions to address and resolve those issues.

5. Apply organizational and management theories and concepts to effectively manage finances and personnel and to efficiently allocate resources in the delivery of criminal justice services.

6. Systematically examine issues of social justice as it relates to public policy, relationship development, policy planning, development and implementation.

    Full Admission

    For full admission, the applicant must:

    1. Possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education with

        a. a major in social or behavioral science, OR

        b. be currently serving as a criminal justice practitioner, OR

        c. if the applicant's bachelor’s degree is not related to the social or behavioral sciences and if the applicant is not currently serving as a criminal justice practitioner, successfully complete two criminal justice courses selected by the Graduate Program Director with a grade of B or better prior to admission as a degree candidate.

    2. Submit a completed application, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.

    3. Submit two letters of recommendation.

    4. Submit official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended.

    5. Submit a personal statement.

    6. Have earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a scale of 4.0, calculated on the most recent 60 semester hours.

    7. Obtain acceptance by the College of Education and Social Sciences Graduate Council.

    Provisional Admission

    Provisional admission status may be granted to a student applicant who has applied for full admission but did not achieve an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. An applicant in this case may be granted provisional admission status provided the student achieved an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or greater on a scale of 4.0.  A provisionally-admitted student must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the first 9 credit hours of coursework before he or she will be reviewed for full admission by the Graduate Council in the College of Education and Social Sciences.  If a provisional student fails to achieve a 3.0 GPA in the first 9 credit hours, the student may not be able to continue in the program.

    International Students

    International students are required to meet all the admission requirements for full or provisional admission and also the admission requirements specified in the General Information section of this Catalog entitled "Entering International Students."



    A student-at-large is not a degree candidate. In order to be admitted as a student-at-large, the applicant must submit official documentation of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education and complete a modified application form. The decision to admit an at-large student to graduate courses belongs to the Graduate Program Director, whose decision is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s undergraduate coursework and possibly an interview. However, should the student decide to apply for full admission status at a later time, but within 5 years of course completion, only a maximum of 9 semester hours of graduate coursework completed as a student-at-large can be applied toward an advanced degree and only courses with grades of B or better will count toward the degree.

    Enrollment as a student-at-large does not guarantee admission to the program, but it does allow the student an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to perform successfully at the graduate level. Students must meet all admission requirements by the last day of the semester in their third course as a student-at-large or discontinue matriculation.

    Transfer Credits

    Students may apply up to 9 semester hours of graduate-level work from other regionally-accredited institutions. Ordinarily, all transfer credits must be documented and approved before full admission into the program will be granted. In addition to satisfying the above stated admission requirements, full or provisional, the following conditions apply to the acceptance of transfer credit:

    1. Only courses with a grade of B or better will be accepted.

    2. Coursework must have been completed or granted by a regionally-accredited graduate school.

    3. Appropriateness of coursework will be decided by the Graduate Program Director at the time of the student’s application to the program.

    4. Courses from outside the United States will be considered if they are evaluated as graduate level by the Office of Admission or the Commission on Accreditation of the American Council on Education. 

    5. Credit for prior learning is not awarded for graduate courses.

    Transfer of Credit after Matriculation

    Students who are already matriculated at Lewis University and who wish to transfer in a graduate course must seek written approval from the Graduate Program Director before a course is attempted at another institution. Permission may be granted only when extraordinary circumstances exist. If permission is granted, the transfer of credit for the course will be accepted only if the student earned a grade of B or better. Students may not transfer in graduate courses used to satisfy the requirements for a graduate degree in another program.

    Internal Transfer of Graduate Credits

    Students may take graduate courses from another graduate program offered by Lewis University. However, credit earned in a graduate course may not be counted toward more than one degree.  Students are required to obtain permission from their Graduate Program Director prior to registering for a course from another Lewis program.  The Graduate Program Director will determine whether that course can substitute for a course that satisfies the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program requirements. 

    Transfer of Graduate Courses from Accredited Universities

    A maximum of 9 semester hours of graduate level work earned at another regionally-accredited institution of higher education may be transferred provided the student satisfies all requirements in the sections above entitled “Transfer Credits” and “Transfer of Credit After Matriculation.” 

    Course Loads

    Graduate students registered for fewer than 5 hours during a semester are considered part-time students. Graduate students registered for 5 through 8 hours are considered half-time students. Those taking 9 credit hours per semester are considered full-time students. An overload may be permitted with the consent of the Graduate Program Director for students who have maintained a GPA of 3.0.

    Time Limitations

    Students must complete all requirements for degree completion within 7 years from the time of completion of their first graduate Criminal Justice course at Lewis University.  Students remain under the requirements of the catalog in effect at the time of matriculation unless they discontinue attendance for 2 consecutive years or more, in which case they will follow the catalog requirements in effect upon their return.

    Good Academic Standing

    See Good Academic Standing.

    Academic Probation and Dismissal

    See Academic Probation and Dismissal.

    Graduation Requirements

    To be awarded the Master of Science Criminal Justice, the student must:

    1. Complete 36 semester credit hours which may include no more than 3 credit hours of Independent Study.

    2. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

    3. Earn no more than two grades of C (2.0/4.0 scale).

    4. Make a timely application for graduation to the Registrar’s Office and pay all financial obligations to the University.

    5. Pass a Comprehensive Examination.

    Comprehensive Examination

    The student must pass a comprehensive examination administered by the Department of Justice, Law, and Public Safety Studies. The following core classes must be passed prior to taking this examination: Applied Research Methods 1, Applied Research Methods 2, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and Criminology. 

    Course Formats/Locations

    Courses are offered in a 16-week format during the Fall and Spring semesters. Class sessions are two and a half hours in length and meet one day a week. Normally, two courses are offered (at a minimum) on the same day at all locations. During the summer, semester courses are offered in an accelerated format (seven or eight weeks) and meet one day with class sessions that are four hours in length. Day and evening courses are offered at various satellite campus locations; evening courses are offered at the main campus.

    Criminal Justice courses may be offered onsite at the Lewis University campuses in Romeoville or Oak Brook. Classes may also be held at additional locations such as the Chicago Police Department’s Education and Training Division. The Criminal Justice program is also offered in an accelerated online format. Students must choose either the onsite or online option prior to matriculation. Current MSCJ students may not switch to the accelerated online curriculum.

    Degree Offered:  Master of Science

    Total Credit Hours:  36

    Degree Requirements

    Program: MS-CSJS-3

    I. Core Courses (15)

    CSJS-51200Applied Research Methods 1


    CSJS-51300Applied Research Methods 2


    CSJS-53600Criminal Procedure


    CSJS-55500Criminal Law




    II. Concentration Courses (12)

    Students may not complete multiple concentrations.

    Criminal Justice (12)

    Concentration: CSJS
    CSJS-50400Criminal Justice Administration and Management



    CSJS-51500Federal Criminal Justice Systems


    CSJS-51600Diversions From Incarceration


    CSJS-52000Violent Crime


    CSJS-50700Family Violence



    CSJS-58400Issues in Juvenile Crime


    Security Studies (12)

    Concentration: SECS
    CSJS-52300Introduction to Homeland Security/Defense




    CSJS-53400Role of Law Enforcement in Homeland Security/Defense


    CSJS-56700Intelligence Gathering: Issues and Controversies


    III. Electives (9)

    The Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice requires completion of 3 elective courses selected by the student in conjunction with an advisor from the Department of Justice, Law, and Public Safety Studies. Students can take any courses as an elective, including courses in the Public Safety Administration (PSAD) program.

    IV. Comprehensive Examination

    The student must pass a comprehensive examination administered by the Department of Justice, Law, and Public Safety Studies. The following core classes must be passed prior to taking this examination: Applied Research Methods 1, Applied Research Methods 2, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, and Criminology.