The graduate certificate in Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) is a 100 percent online, four-course program that provides both current and prospective criminal justice professionals with the administrative and management preparation to further their careers and to move into leadership positions within criminal justice and social service organizations. 

The certificate program’s core courses provide students with foundational concepts in government management, an understanding of research methodology and data analysis, and a review of criminal justice planning and evaluation principles. With the elective course offerings, students can choose a course that most closely relates to their interests.

Students in the graduate certificate program are taught by the same professors and are in the same classes as students who are pursuing master’s degrees in Criminal Justice Administration. In fact, the 12 credits you earn for this certificate are applicable to the master’s degree program, should you choose to go on for further education.

Program Overview

  • Options: Graduate certificate, master’s completion
  • Location(s): 100 percent online
  • Credits: 12
  • Duration: Minimum 9 months
  • Cost: $855 per credit; $11,000 total
  • Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Start term(s): Fall and Spring semesters
  • Careers: Law enforcement, corrections, social services administration

Mercyhurst has built its solid reputation for educating those in fields related to criminal justice for more than 40 years. Criminal justice is a rapidly expanding field of academic study. Many government agencies are requiring advanced academic preparation for those in supervisory positions at criminal justice and social service agencies. The CJA program is designed to broaden the perspective of criminal justice practitioners, to equip practitioners with administrative skills, and to prepare students for further graduate work and scholarship. 

Learning Outcomes

Mercyhurst graduate programs are designed to give our students a competitive edge in the marketplace. Beginning with your first course, you will gain knowledge applicable to problem-solving in your field. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • Understand the history and current state of affairs in criminology and criminal justice.
  • Analyze research, evaluate methodologies, and examine criminological theories in the discipline.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory, research, and practice in the field and the interrelations between each of these concepts.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in oral, written, and electronic communication skills.
  • Demonstrate ethical leadership in the criminal justice and social services professions.

Course Requirements

Prospective students looking to earn a quick credential or ease into graduate school can opt for the four-course, 12-credit graduate certificate in Criminal Justice Administration. The 100 percent online program can be completed in as little as nine months. Required courses include:

  • CJA 501: Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CJA 604: Criminal Justice Planning and Evaluation
  • CJA 605: Government Management or CJA 622: Advanced Research and Analysis
  • CJA XXX: Elective (choose from more than 20 electives; some courses not offered each year)

Career Paths

Many prospective students choose our program to enter into or advance in the fields of criminal justice and social services. Some choose careers as trainers or college educators. Our alumni have administrative positions in a variety of criminal justice and social service agencies including:

  • Correctional institution administrators
  • County jail administrators and detectives
  • Directors of adult and juvenile probation departments (county, state)
  • Supervisors of juvenile justice and child care agencies
  • Adult and juvenile probation officers (county, state, and federal)
  • Case managers and supervisors for criminal justice and social service agencies
  • Federal and state law enforcement officers
  • Substance abuse counselors
  • Research policy and intelligence analysts

Admissions Requirements

Prospective applicants for the graduate certificate in Criminal Justice Administration must fulfill the following admissions requirements. At the discretion of the director of the criminal justice administration graduate program, admission may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admissions requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the director.
Admissions decisions are made by the program director on a rolling basis after a holistic review. Applicants can choose to start in either the Fall (preferred) or Spring semester.

  • Completed (free) a
  • A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited school with a preferred overall minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended 
  • A current resume with 3 references
  • A 500- to 750-word personal statement outlining your reasons for enrolling and personal and professional goals
  • International applicants whose records are written in a language other than English must have their documents translated into English and a notarized statement attesting to the accuracy of the translations
  • International applicants whose primary language is not English must attain a TOEFL score of at least 79 on the internet-based exam OR an IELTS score of at least 6.5 OR a Duolingo English Test score of no less than 100.

Cost and Financial Aid

Mercyhurst graduate programs are competitively priced. Our goals it to provide you with an education that earns you an excellent return on your investment.

Tuition for the graduate certificate in CJA is $855 per credit (2021/22 school year rates).

Estimated total program cost is $11,000.

Learn more about available financial aid for graduate programs including:

  • Graduate Assistant (GA) positions
  • Graduate Employment (GE) positions
  • Educational Benefits Supplemental Grant (EBSG)
  • Veteran benefits
  • Employer reimbursement
  • Federal direct loans

Contact Us

Maria L. Garase, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Phone: 814-824-3675

Kseniya Kampova
Graduate Enrollment Coordinator
Phone: 814-824-3384