Program director
Talolo Lepale

The M.S. in criminal justice emphasizes integrated behavioral health interventions, restorative justice, and community reintegration to address the prevention, early intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation needs of persons at risk for or who have already been incarcerated.

An interdisciplinary approach to this course of study considers the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being of victims, offenders, and communities. The curriculum provides a deeper understanding of crime and social justice through the lens of a forensic behavioral health specialization. 


The mission of the Criminal Justice Program is to prepare students to think critically and analytically about the problems of crime and social control in contemporary American society and to work with the legal system as it relates to a forensic behavioral health framework.

Program learning outcomes

By the end of this program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Integrate and utilize knowledge of social science and theories of criminology as applied to criminal justice issues within behavioral health settings.
  2. Describe the dimensions and causes of crime and delinquency.
  3. Describe the structure of the American criminal and juvenile justice systems.
  4. Use research in evaluating the effectiveness or practice and programs within criminal and juvenile justice settings.
  5. Practice ethical principles that guide the concepts of justice, fairness, and treatment within criminal and juvenile justice systems.
  6. Use mental illness and treatment interventions within a forensic behavioral health framework.
  7. Identify differences between retributive and restorative justice approaches in addressing the effects of crime.

General overview

The 48-quarter unit program begins with 20 units of foundation coursework that is divided into three professional areas of study: criminal justice, human wholeness, and social research methods. During the final year of study, students complete a forensic behavioral health specialization along with specialized selectives. Forensic behavioral health is a specialized branch of professional practice in which the behavioral health and criminal-justice worlds overlap. Students will focus on the needs of individuals in the criminal and/or juvenile justice systems who experience severe mental illness and may also present co-occurring substance use. Students will gain knowledge and skills in treatment programming. In addition, they will be prepared to assess and provide expert testimony regarding continued institutionalization versus readiness for community treatment. Students are required to have a laptop computer. For computer specifications, see the department website.

Students have two options to complete the program:

  1. Nonthesis: Professional practicum (540 hours of integrated practicum and seminar) and 8 units of didactic selectives.
  2. Thesis: 6 units of academic thesis and 2 units of didactic selectives.

In addition to Loma Linda University admission requirements, this program follows the admission requirements of the School of Behavioral Health, as follow:

  1. A four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  2. U.S. Citizenship
  3. At least three letters of recommendation—preferably one of which is from an academic source and one from a work supervisor
  4. Applicants must meet the minimum academic and professional compatibility criteria established by the program. These criteria include:
    • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants with lower grade point averages will be considered if the last 45-quarter credits (30 semester units) of non-field practica coursework shows significant improvement or if they have additional attributes that demonstrate preparedness and an appropriate fit for graduate education in the area of Criminal Justice. Further consideration will also be given to individuals who provide evidence of additional graduate coursework, certifications, and/or training that illustrate preliminary preparation for a career in Criminal Justice. Students who are admitted to the Criminal Justice Program with a cumulative G.P.A. below 3.0 may be required to participate in individualized academic assessment and a targeted learning assistance program.
    • Demonstration, through the application and interview processes, of compatibility with professional standards set by the program including the ability to develop and nurture interpersonal relationships, communication skills, self-awareness, professional comportment, critical thinking skills, fit with the mission and values of Loma Linda University and the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology, and the capacity to successfully complete the Master of Science in Criminal Justice curriculum.

The 48-unit curriculum for the M.S. degree in criminal justice provides the mix of academic, experiential, and research activities essential for M.S. degree students.

A grade of B or better indicates a student has mastered knowledge, skills, and professional practice performance competencies outlined by the program. In order to progress successfully through the program and complete the degree, students must meet the G.P.A. and course repeat expectations set by the School of Behavioral Health in the general regulations section of this CATALOG.

Core criminal justice courses
CRMJ 515Crime and Society3
CRMJ 517Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence3
CRMJ 574Theories of Crime and Restitution3
SOWK 585Legal and Ethical Aspects in Health and Behavioral Health Services3
Religion, wholeness, relationships
RELR 540Wholeness and Health 33
Social research methods
SOWK 548Research Methods5
Forensic Behavioral Health Specialization
CRMJ 519Expert Testimony: Procedure and Practice2
CRMJ 620Forensic Mental Health3
SOWK 513Human Behavior in a Culturally Diverse Environment4
SOWK 648Co-occurring Processes and Interventions3
SOWK 659Recovery in Behavioral Health2
SOWK 663Crisis and Trauma Interventions3
SOWK 681Behavioral Health Policies and Systems2
Degree completion options10
Nonthesis option:
Selectives (10 units) 1
Directed Study/Special Project
Women in Development
Child Abuse and Family Violence
Drug Addiction and Therapy
Advanced Policy Projects
Professional Practicum 2
Professional Practicum and Seminar
Professional Practicum and Seminar
Professional Practicum and Seminar
Field Orientation
Thesis option:
Selective (4 units from nonthesis option above)
Applied Research (4 units)
Thesis (2 units)
Total Units49

Other courses may be approved for elective credits in consultation with the faculty advisor and in accordance with University policies for academic variances


Professional practicum and seminar units are not calculated into total didactic units required for the degree. Students pay program fees for professional practicum units instead of tuition. Practicum and seminar hours: 480 + 60.


Fulfills service learning requirement

Normal time to complete the program

Two (2) years (seven [7] quarters) — based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted


CRMJ 515. Crime and Society. 3 Units.

Discusses crime as a social problem and surveys its criminal justice responses. Provides an overview of criminological theory by placing crime in its cultural, social, political, and historical context. Describes the criminal justice system from an institutional perspective; and examines the intersecting roles of the police, forensic science agencies, the courts, and corrections as they aim to promote justice in the context of the social good.

CRMJ 517. Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence. 3 Units.

Presents criminal procedures as guided by the U.S. Constitution. Focuses on 4th-, 5th-, 6th-, and 14th-Amendment rights. Includes the introduction of scientific evidence in criminal trials as the point of intersection between science and law, pretrial discovery rules, access to expert witnesses and testing, and federal and state rules of admissibility as they shape the content and process of evidence presentation by expert witnesses.

CRMJ 519. Expert Testimony: Procedure and Practice. 2 Units.

Familiarizes students with judicial procedure, and provides opportunity in a simulated trial setting for them to practice testifying as expert witnesses.

CRMJ 520. Restorative Justice. 3 Units.

Provides a new perspective on the purpose and role of the criminal justice system by examining how restorative justice attempts to forge new relationships between offenders and the people and communities they have victimized.

CRMJ 574. Theories of Crime and Restitution. 3 Units.

Surveys theory and research with respect to the core criminology and restitution theories. Emphasis is on the practical application of the theoretical concepts introduced in the readings.

CRMJ 588. Topics in Forensic Science. 2 Units.

Addresses current interests in specific areas of forensic science, offered at the discretion of the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology. Topics may include quality assurance, forensic chemistry and controlled substances, forensic biology, forensic toxicology, questioned documents, and others. Sections consist of lectures but may also include laboratory experience under the guidance of criminalists.

CRMJ 599. Directed Study/Special Project. 1-4 Units.

Limited to matriculating master's degree in criminal justice students who wish to pursue independent investigations in criminal justice practice or policy under the direction of a department faculty member.

CRMJ 620. Forensic Mental Health. 3 Units.

Overviews the specialized mental health and substance-abuse disorders treatment for persons incarcerated in jails, prisons, or special forensic psychiatric hospitals. Reviews effective treatment methods in forensic institutions and examines the current criminal justice system's handling of persons with mental illness and substance-abuse disorders.

CRMJ 630. Criminal Justice Planning and Administration. 3 Units.

Examines the structure, function, and effective operation of criminal justice agencies and organizations—including law enforcement, the courts, and corrections—within the overall context of the criminal justice system.

CRMJ 697. Research. 2 Units.

Supports students who choose to complete the thesis option. Provides research matriculation in the collection and analysis of data for the thesis. Students required to register for two quarters, or a total of 4 units.

CRMJ 698. Thesis. 2 Units.

The culminating work of the student's independent research, under the direction of the research advisor. Registration during the quarter in which student defends research and submits final document to the department and School of Behavioral Health.

CRMJ 757A. Professional Practicum and Seminar. 3 Units.

Experiential learning in criminal justice. Students must satisfactorily complete 160 practicum hours and 20 hours of concurrent seminar.

CRMJ 757B. Professional Practicum and Seminar. 3 Units.

Experiential learning in criminal justice. Students must satisfactorily complete 160 practicum hours and 20 hours of concurrent seminar.

CRMJ 757C. Professional Practicum and Seminar. 3 Units.

Experiential learning in criminal justice. Students must satisfactorily complete 160 practicum hours and 20 hours of concurrent seminar.

CRMJ 787. Advanced Professional Practicum and Seminar. 1,4 Unit.

Provides experiential learning in advanced criminal justice practice. Students complete 200 practicum hours and 20 hours of concurrent seminar over one or four quarters, depending on the program option.