Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
Studying in the field
Graduate degrees in criminal justice can be pursued at both the masters and doctoral levels. Study can be pursued both pre-career and mid-career or as a gateway to change careers.
Criminal Justice is a field that tends to encompass a variety of issues. As a result there are many facets of the field, and different schools pick different foci. Obviously, criminal justice typically involves some focus on the criminal justice system, but also frequently encompasses issues of crime, psychology, sociology, prevention, and cultural, demographic, and population studies. Some of the wide variety of focuses include: laws related to criminal justice, administration of organizations that deal with these issues, public policy, integration of new methods of prevention, and a variety of other specialized techniques. Please visit our sponsors for more information on the specific programs they offer.
Different programs may also provide opportunities to gain a practical understanding in the field. Many programs require or recommend that you complete an internship to gain experience as part of your studies. Other programs may focus on providing a broad theoretical base to firmly ground students and adding to that various specializations that allow students to focus on specific facets of the criminal justice field. Once again, you will need to visit our sponsors to find details and decide where your particular interests would best be met.
Job opportunities in the field
A graduate degree in criminal justice can open the door to a variety of career opportunities. Those already involved in the criminal justice system can pursue executive positions in police administration. A graduate degree can also be helpful to advance in fields such as drug rehabilitation, probation, parole, or juvenile crime.
Positions may be available in government at a federal, state or local level. Local and state governments provide a large source of employment in a variety of fields including law enforcement, courts, service workers, and others such as firefighters. While compensation can vary widely by geographic location, government positions tend to have superior benefits over similar private sector positions.
A degree in criminal justice can also provide a solid foundation for pursuits in related job fields. For example, many pre-law students will get a background in criminal justice as it provides a solid foundation for their studies of criminal law.