A Practical Master’s Degree Focused on Current Criminal Justice Issues

Learn organizational leadership, analytical skills, legal issues and more

As a student in the online M.S. in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership program, you will delve into some of America’s most challenging crime problems while learning practical management and leadership skills, 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

Throughout the program, you’ll create and maintain a portfolio that reflects the knowledge you’ve developed and skills you’ve mastered – serving as an asset for career advancement as well as a tangible demonstration of the program and work you’ve completed. Review the full program curriculum.

Program structure

USD’s online M.S. 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.

All courses are presented in a flexible online format that allow you to schedule classes around your schedule. As an online graduate student, you will have access to your classroom at any time and can view your assignments, syllabus and course resources from any computer with internet capability.

Our online courses offer the same high-quality content, expert instruction and rigor as the courses held on-campus at University of San Diego. Instructors facilitate courses through engaging multimedia presentations and provide prompt feedback to questions within a 24-48 hour timeframe. As an online student, you’ll interact with instructors and classmates from around the world through weekly discussion forums, chats and email correspondence.

Learn more about what makes this criminal justice degree different

Becoming a student


Student Testimonials
I knew I needed a program that was based in leadership, but focused on law enforcement. Other universities had ‘Global Leadership’ type programs, but these did not suit what I needed as a LE professional.”
Aaron Stronczek, Corrections Officer, Jay County Sheriff's Office
Student Testimonials
After attending an informational meeting the decision to apply to USD was quite simple. The innovative concepts, the relevant topics discussed, and the network of peers to be able to debate with became the overwhelming reason behind my decision to enroll at USD. I'm glad I selected a school where I will be proud to announce my alma mater.
Geoffrey S. DeCesari, Detective, San Diego Police Department
Student Testimonials
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.
Lisa Hinz, Lieutenant, Sacramento Police Department
Command College Graduate
Student Testimonials
I like that the class is mostly composed of high ranking law enforcement officials. Their feedback in the course is just exceptional.
Ryan Flick, Watch Commander, Department of Defense