Transfer Credit Opportunities

San Diego Regional Leadership Institute

Best Online Criminal Justice Program 2024 2023 Ranking by US News & World Report 2022 Ranking by US News & World Report Officer Tested & Field Rated

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Recognized as one of America's Best Online Programs by US News & World Report

SDCRLI Graduates

Take the next step in your leadership development by earning your master’s degree in Law Enforcement Leadership – 100% online

Designed for current law enforcement professionals who want to grow and lead, this 100% online, leadership-focused master’s degree program builds upon the excellent training you received at the San Diego County Regional Leadership Institute, with a practical curriculum designed specifically for law enforcement professionals who want to be more effective leaders and enhance their promotional opportunities.

Through a unique partnership between the University of San Diego and the San Diego County Regional Leadership Institute, your SDCRLI coursework can be evaluated, given an academic grade, and validated for 6 graduate-level extension units if you completed the program within the last five years. This process must be started before the start of your first term in the MS-LEPSL program. Then, as a student in the MS-LEPSL program, these units will be applied to the following two courses:

There is a $79 per unit fee for the credit validation service, but you will save the tuition cost for those courses, and receive a 7-week break in your course load for each class. If you are planning to use financial aid to fund your degree, you will not be eligible to receive funding for any term in which you are taking less than 6 units. Please plan to self-fund your tuition for the terms in which you’ll be using transfer credit.

At a Glance

20 Months
31 Units
$679 with discount
September 3
August 2

Build on Your SDCRLI Training While Exploring Current Issues in Law Enforcement

As a student in USD’s online MS in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership program, you will delve into some of America’s most pressing public safety issues while learning practical management and leadership skills specific to law enforcement, including:

  • Organizational leadership frameworks, and how to influence others for the common good
  • Constitutional law and how it shapes law enforcement policy
  • Budget, finance and resource allocation
  • Collective bargaining and contract negotiation
  • Communication techniques, including interpersonal dialogue, written/electronic communications, report and grant writing, media relations and communicating to large audiences
  • Techniques for successful community engagement
  • Dispute and conflict resolution skills that emphasize ethics, personal and professional integrity
  • Research methods for conducting community and organizational assessments
  • Analytical procedures for evaluating crime trends

Program Structure

In its entirety, USD’s online MS in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership is a 31-unit program designed to be completed in 5 semesters (20 months). Coursework is taken year-round, with three 14-week semesters each year. Each 14-week semester consists of two courses running for seven weeks each back to back, allowing you to focus on one course at a time.

When a course for which you have transfer credit is scheduled, you will enjoy a 7-week break.

Who enrolls in the program?, MS in Law Enforcement Leadership

Prof. Fritzvold describes the LEPSL student

Benefits to SDCRLI Graduates

  • Application fee waived
  • No GRE is required for admission
  • $50 per unit discount on tuition with proof of law enforcement union/association membership
  • Free transcript ordering service (ask your enrollment advisor)
  • Finish your Master’s degree with just 8 classes plus a capstone

Matt O’Deane describes the MS-LEPSL difference

Matthew O’Deane is the Senior Law Enforcement Consultant for the Training, Delivery and Compliance Bureau with California POST, a former commander for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and an instructor in University of San Diego’s 100% online Master of Science in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership program. In this video, he talks about the high-level criminal justice professionals who enroll in the program.

Matthew O’Deane, Ph.D, Instructor, MS in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership

MCapt. Mike Loarie (ret.) talks about practical curriculum

Mike Loarie is a retired Captain with the Escondido Police Department, and an instructor with the University of San Diego’s 100% online Master of Science in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership program. In this video, he talks about the practical application of the program curriculum.

Michael Loarie, Instructor, MS in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership


There is a huge focus on relevant and timely issues that are affecting law enforcement today, and that really differentiates this program from many other criminal justice programs. I also like that the class is mostly composed of high-ranking law enforcement officials. Their feedback in the course is just exceptional. The stuff that you can get from their experience is tremendous – you don’t get that in normal classes.

When I began exploring schools and programs, I had two requirements. I wanted to find a program from a reputable brick-and-mortar institution, and I wanted a program that would actually benefit me personally and professionally. I found that program at USD. The curriculum is real-time and applicable to my everyday work. Additionally, the Professors are knowledgable, have street credibility, and many of them are still working in law enforcement or public safety. I recently promoted to Lieutenant and LEPSL program was a huge reason I felt confident and prepared for the testing process. If you’re looking for a graduate program that greatly benefits you, your career, and your promotability, look no further than the USD LEPSL program!

I absolutely love this program. Having the online platform was the best thing that could have happened to me educationally. It’s very flexible for working professionals. The USD professors are all criminal justice professionals and understand the very sensitive and often turbulent nature of our profession. The structure of the coursework is excellent as well. And the topics are so contemporary that we not only learn the theory but their application in the demanding challenges we face as LE professionals. It is by far the best program I have seen compared to all the others my colleagues attend online.

The LEPSL program offered by USD has provided me with training and education that is rooted in real-life experiences and examples. I have been able to immediately apply the education I have received to my every day work and even in my personal life. I have seen an increase in my ability to properly communicate with my peers and superiors, as well as better understand the complex relationships and discourse of the law enforcement community. My understanding of the law enforcement profession has grown to include aspects of the profession that I had not previously considered. My mindset has grown to see the importance of effective and efficient police work, which is a perspective that is not typically expressed in everyday police work. I would recommend this program to my fellow law enforcement officers, regardless of their rank or experience, because the ideas and values taught throughout the program can immediately be implemented by every student. The increased understanding of policy and procedure making, as well as leadership techniques, will not only prepare you for promotion to higher level, but it will create excitement and drive to seek promotion. Students will be better prepared to suggest and implement change within their departments to better, not only the department, but the profession as a whole. This course has made my outlook on the future of policing more positive and my understanding of the intricacies of the relationship between law enforcement and the community will help me to make better decisions as a law enforcement officer.

The Law Enforcement Public Safety Leadership (LEPSL) Program at USD has been an extraordinary experience in both enhancing my leadership, and sharpening my supervisory skills. It also challenged me to think critically about the law enforcement profession, and the role of policing in society today.

I have used every bit of the skills and academia provided by this LEPSL program, especially in these unprecedented times. I had fear and trepidation going in. Now, I have confidence and a depth of knowledge as a foundational platform to increase the likelihood of success in law enforcement, municipal leadership, and ICS management.

I was a bit apprehensive about being able to balance academics and work, and I am glad I made the decision to attend USD. The LEPSL program has current relevant topics and coursework that carries over into my profession.

The LEPSL program at USD is both challenging and rewarding. I started the program at the end of my law enforcement career and couldn’t be happier about the decision. I love the interaction with fellow students throughout the country and enjoy the feedback provided to me. I find the coursework challenging, contemporary, and interesting. I highly recommend the program.

What I learned during my master’s coursework in LEPSL broadened the way I look at real-world issues. LEPSL emphasizes the importance of community partnership in today’s role of policing. There is no doubt the teachings of my experienced professors helped me achieve success in my career.

I was thrilled to hear that I could use my POST Command College experience as credit towards my Master’s degree at USD. I can confidently say that the LEPSL program is highly relevant to modern policing practices and that I have used weekly LEPSL assignments and research to generate work-related products in my daily job, and vice-versa. This course has been very valuable to me in my ongoing professional development as a law enforcement leader and has me feeling confident and prepared.

Given my busy professional and personal life, I needed a master’s program that allowed for maximum flexibility along with relevant information to enhance my career. The University of San Diego’s Master’s in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership online program was a perfect fit! The professors and all the staff associated with LEPSL are extremely knowledgeable and provide topical instruction for the law enforcement professional. I highly recommend this program for all law enforcement professionals seeking to take their careers to the next level.

Great program, well worth the investment.