Are you in the process of searching for Criminal Justice Graduate Schools and the right Masters in Criminal Justice Graduate Degree Program? Crime and crime-fighting has extended from local law enforcement to computer forensics and dispute mediation. Whether you have more of an administrative career in mind, or you prefer the laboratory and investigation, there are a variety of programs to choose from, and many programs do require the hands-on learning that you get on a college or university campus. Criminal Justice Masters Degrees are designed for those who aspire to assume, or already hold, a criminal justice management position, as well as for those individuals who are looking to pursue doctoral work after completing the masters program. So if this sounds like an exciting academic path, read on to take a look at some of your options.
What is Criminal Justice?
Criminal justice is considered a social science that studies crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system through an interdisciplinary approach. Some of the subjects included in Criminal Justice include:
- Legal studies
- Political science
- Forensic science (Criminalistics)
- Public administration
- Urban studies
Criminal Justice attempts to identify, analyze, and explain:
- Patterns of criminal behavior
- Society's ability to control crime and delinquency
- The definitions, causes, and prevention of crime
- Legal processes and the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders.
Two Branches of Criminal Justice: Criminology and Criminalistcs
Criminology essentially explores the nature of crime and prevention, the behavior and traits of offenders, theories to deal with crime prevention. Review Criminal Justice Graduate Schools for Masters in Criminology on-campus programs
Criminalistics, also referred to as forensic science, is concerned with things like evidence collection and analysis, and trying to solve crimes through investigation of evidence.
FUN FACT: Forensic Science Technicians consult with experts in toxicology (the study of poisons and their effect on the body) and odontology (a branch of forensic medicine that concentrates on teeth)
Is a Masters in Criminal Justice Graduate Degree Program Right For Me?
Maybe you have an undergraduate degree and are wondering whether there is any benefit to a Criminal Justice Graduate Degree. There are different types of degrees awarded in Criminal Justice, since there are applications in different fields.
Many criminal justice majors use the Masters degree to prepare for law school since the education in legal procedures and critical thinking is helpful to the student who plans to become a lawyer. If this describes you, you might consider a JD/MSCJ dual degree. This type of program combines criminal justice courses and law school courses.
Others use the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) or Masters of Public Administration (MPA ) with concentration in Criminal Justice, to cultivate leadership skills, analytical decision-making and management capabilities to serve them in either public organizations, corrections, government or business.
If you are passionate about investigation and science, you might benefit from a Masters in Criminal Justice Degree Program that offers behavior analysis, criminal psychology, or computer forensics.
In all these instances, it may be necessary to pursue a Criminal Justice Graduate Degree, so read on to learn more.
Take a Look Inside a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Program
The MSCJ might be right for you if you are interested in a management level role in careers such as parole, probation, or even criminal investigation. Usually you need an undergrad degree either in Criminal Justice or a related field. These programs teach theory, but also application of criminal justice. A core curriculum might include, research methods and statistics. Other topics might include courses in:
- Crime and criminal justice
- Public policy
- Criminal justice ethics
- Criminal justice administration
- History of criminal justice
How to Find Criminal Justice Graduate Schools
Are you typing in a search for “best criminal justice schools”? GradSchools.com makes it simpler. Search for graduate schools by location. Use the city, state or country tabs to browse listings. Narrow your search by area of concentration (read above if you were skimming). Contact the school to find out more about their curriculum. Use your investigative mind to find out what graduates are saying about the school. Make sure the program you are considering is an academic preparation for your desired career.
Why Study Criminal Justice on-campus?
Studying in a campus-based graduate program offers a social learning experience. You get to interact with classmates, maybe brainstorm, network, and participate in real-time group projects. Plus you gain access to the on-site facilities. In the case of many Criminal Justice Masters Degrees, there is laboratory work, especially in the forensic science-oriented programs, so this may be a plus, along with actually having face-to-face meetings with faculty. Many of the Criminal Justice programs also require you to be in good physical fitness so having the access to onsite gymnasium may make working out more available.
Wondering about Potential Careers in Criminal Justice?
With a Masters in Criminal Justice Degree, graduates may be prepared for a variety of potential career paths.
Interested in investigating alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution? Want to learn how to lead in a corrections-oriented career? If so, look for masters degrees in criminal justice that might prepare you to work as a:
- Criminal Investigator
- FBI Agent
- Master Police Detective
- Special Agent
Do your interests lie in analysis, science, criminal psychology, and the way these play a role in investigation of crime and criminal behavior? If so, pursue a Masters in Criminal Justice degree that might prepare you for a career as a:
- Crime Laboratory Analyst
- Forensic Specialist
- Forensic Scientist
- CSI- Crime Scene Investigator
- Forensic Computer examiner
If you prefer a business or management role, consider preparing for roles such as:
- Emergency Management Director
- Top Executive
Take the Next Step
Finding a graduate school with a campus Masters degree program in criminal justice is simple using the tools on our site. But take some time to reflect on your preferences. You might be more interested in corrections than criminology, or a master’s in criminal psychology may be more in line with your goals. There are numerous options, and studying on-campus may enrich your learning experience, so take the next step!
Sources: onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.03 | onetonline.org/link/summary/19-4092.00 | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm | http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm#tab-2