Criminal Justice

Master of Science in Criminal Justice Policy & Leadership


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30 Credit Hours

to Graduate

Up To 9 Hours

Transfer Credit
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EKU Online > Online Criminal Justice Degrees & Certificates > Master of Science in Criminal Justice Policy & Leadership

Infusing a Criminal Justice Core with a Social Justice Focus

EKU’s online master’s degree program prepares high-thinking individuals for leadership roles that challenge injustice, value diversity, and support the equitable treatment and human rights of all people.

The criminal justice policy and leadership master’s program allows for in-depth specialization with courses available in law enforcement, corrections and juvenile justice. This program prepares you to be a leader in the criminal justice field with the knowledge and skillsets needed to be an effective change agent in your community, region and state.


Benefits of EKU Online

Prepare for a rewarding career in criminal justice leadership and become an agent for positive change in your community.

  • Accelerated 8-week terms
  • Courses begin 6 times per year
  • Generous credit transfer policy
  • Reduced tuition for active duty service members and their spouses
  • No campus visits required
  • Focus on preparing justice leaders with political, ethical, and emotional intelligence
  • Nationally recognized instructors
  • Personal advisors stay with you from application to graduation
  • Free online tutoring and career services assistance
  • Dynamic, supportive learning environment

Criminal Justice Policy and Leadership Careers

A master’s degree in criminal justice policy and leadership can help you gain the management, communication and budgeting skills needed to make your mark in criminal justice leadership and influence policy makers. Graduates are prepared for career advancement and to take on leadership roles within community organizations that promote diversity and support the equitable treatment and human rights of all people.

Job opportunities include:

  • Police administration
  • Police chief
  • Correctional administration
  • Prison warden
  • Federal agents
  • Caseworker
  • Counselor
  • Policy analyst
  • Victim’s advocate
  • Change activist 
Find your career


Focusing on society’s need for justice leaders with political, ethical and emotional intelligence, EKU’s curriculum blends academic and professional preparation through course topics such as criminological theory for policy and leadership, advanced justice administration, policy evaluation and analysis, and ethics.

Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credits are required to graduate.

View the criminal justice policy and leadership program degree requirements:

Please review the admissions requirements before applying for this or any program. If you have questions about the program or are planning to register for classes, please speak to the program advisor.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer up to 9 hours of credit from accredited institutions.

Previously earned credits must be reviewed upon admittance to EKU for appropriate articulation. Learn more about transferring to EKU.

Sample Courses

For a full list of course descriptions please see section 7 of the University graduate catalog.

JPL 809 – Program/Policy Evaluation and Analysis (3)
Qualitative/quantitative concepts and procedures to manage, understand, and effectively consume program evaluation and statistically based-research. Reading, understanding, accurately interpreting evaluation-based research journals and governmentally produced research emphasized.

JPL 810 – Criminological Theory for Policy and Leadership (3)
Presents and critiques explanations of crime, delinquency, and criminalization processes, with emphasis on application of explanations to criminal/juvenile justice policy/leadership issues.

JPL 812 – Leading with Political, Ethical and Emotional Intelligence (3)
This course examines leadership within the justice field, focusing on three competencies essential for effective, just leadership: political, ethical, and emotional intelligence. Understanding mindset/tactics associated with administrators that do/don’t lead with these competencies.

JPL 835 – Advanced Justice Administration and Leadership (3)
An examination of theoretical bases and contemporary approaches to justice organizations, administration and leadership. Emphasis placed on the social, cultural, and political setting of justice administration and management.


Amy Eades

Amy Eades

Enrollment Advisor

Call or email Enrollment Advisor Amy Eades for information about the EKU Online Criminal Justice Policy and Leadership program.

Contact Info:

Application Deadlines

Term Application Deadline Classes Begin
Fall A July 15 August
Fall B September 1 October
Spring A December 1 January
Spring B February 15 March
Summer A April 15 May
Summer B June 1 June

Admission Requirements

Those meeting the requirements outlined below are eligible to apply for admission to EKU’s master’s degree program in Criminal Justice Policy & Leadership.
Applicants must:

  • be a graduate of an accredited institution with a bachelor’s degree
  • possess an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 overall or in the last 60 hours of the bachelor’s program
  • take the Graduate Record Examination* (GRE), achieving a score of 146 or above on the Verbal, 140 or above on the Quantitative and 4.0 or above on the Analytical Writing portions of the exam
  • have two persons qualified to assess their potential for graduate work submit letters of recommendation

NOTE: Applicants who do not meet these GPA or GRE requirements, but who otherwise demonstrate promise for successful graduate study, may be granted probationary admission, but such applicants must comply with all requirements of the Graduate School regarding probationary admission.

*Applicants with an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher are not required to submit GRE scores. If you have completed a master’s degree and wish to waive the GRE requirement and/or transfer any of the courses to the Criminal Justice, Policy and Leadership graduate program, you must have official transcripts from the degree-granting institution submitted directly

Additional Contact Information

Admissions: 859-622-2106
Academic Testing: 859-622-1281
Big E Central (Financial Aid & Student Account Services): 859-622-2361
Military & Veterans Affairs Office: 859-622-2345

Student Success

Toby Coyle

I chose EKU for my graduate degree because my undergraduate degree came from Eastern and because of the distinction EKU’s criminal justice programs. What sets EKU apart, first and foremost, would be the faculty and staff.

Toby CoyleEKU Online Criminal Justice Policy & Leadership Student

Online Military Students

EKU Online offers veterans and active duty military students an unparalleled online learning experience that provides accessibility, convenience and flexibility.

Special Tuition for Active Duty* Military
Eastern Kentucky University offers reduced tuition expenses to $250 per credit hour for undergraduate and $325 per credit hour for graduate courses to all service members currently serving on active duty.

*Active duty is defined as on federal orders for 180 days or more.

“I’d like to thank the EKU College of Justice & Safety for the opportunity to complete my degree online. It’s very user-friendly, and everyone has bent over backwards to make this happen.”

– 1LT Heath Bergmann, EKU Online Graduate

Heath Bergmann
  • “I can confidently say that — as someone who doesn’t even live in the United States — EKU’s online program has been extremely accommodating and flexible. I can discuss advising appointments over email, and I can have my textbooks shipped to my address overseas.” – Sydney Garner Lewis
  • “After the birth of our first child, I knew I needed to go back and finish what I started,” said McKenzie. “I was happy that I could pick up where I left off at EKU even though I lived in a different state.” – EKU Online student and mom
  • “I chose EKU because I am a unique student with unique needs, and EKU provides an avenue for students like me to succeed.” – EKU Online Psychology student Jason Tate
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