University of San Diego Launches Online Master’s in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership

SAN DIEGO, CA. – According to numerous interviews with local law enforcement organizations, a new approach to criminal justice education is needed. In response, the University of San Diego has announced the launch of its online Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership program, which will begin in the Fall of 2015.

The program was created with collaboration from the San Diego Police Officers Association, Deputy Sherriff’s Association of San Diego, and a number of experts from other law enforcement and public safety agencies in San Diego County. The degree is designed to fulfill the critical needs missing in traditional criminal justice programs by providing tangible leadership and management skills that address the needs of contemporary law enforcement.

“Police officers today need skills in leadership, management, and communication for advancement. The University of San Diego collaborated with the San Diego Police Officers Association in the creation of the online Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership, and the degree focuses on these skills,” said Officer Brian Marvel, President of the San Diego Police Officers Association.

“When meeting with local law enforcement and public safety experts, they shared a consistent message with us,” stated Jason Lemon, Dean of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of San Diego. “The growing number of vacancies from retirements in leadership positions compounded with the public scrutiny that agencies are currently experiencing has changed the educational needs of law enforcement. Rather than just focusing on traditional criminal justice curriculum, this degree responds to the expressed need for leadership development and will provide immediately applicable skills that will produce the next generation of leaders in law enforcement.”

The degree is a 31-unit program that can be completed in 20 months and covers a variety of topics, including leadership, conflict resolution, critical decision making, ethics, and budget and finance. The fully online format accommodates busy schedules and is geared toward law enforcement and public safety professionals focused on fast tracking their careers.

The unique courses in this program are taught by USD faculty and experienced instructor practitioners, who hold PhD’s and possess extensive experience in law enforcement. Instructor practitioners include Chief Adolfo Gonzales of the San Diego Bureau of Investigations, Michael Begovich, Deputy Public Defender, and Wendy Patrick, Deputy District Attorney.

"This degree is distinguished from the academic basis of traditional criminal justice programs by its practical application component,” Deputy District Attorney Patrick said. “It is designed to focus on skills and methods of effective communication that modern law enforcement leaders can implement immediately.”

Recruitment for the Fall 2015 semester is underway. To apply or learn more about the program, please visit Email with any questions about the program.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Jeryldine Tully
(619) 260-4786