Masters in Criminal Justice

What Could You Learn in a Masters Program in Criminal Justice?

A Master of Criminal Justice is a graduate degree often providing students with tools and insights into the industry. It often helps students who wish to progress in their field of criminal justice but may also be a step for those who wish to enter criminal justice for the first time who already have a bachelor’s degree. It may help students gain a deeper level of understanding into an industry that’s now incorporating technology and innovation in various ways.

Students may be able to select a concentration for their studies at the master’s degree level. Some of the options may include strategic management, crime analysis, cybercrime investigation, and cybersecurity. Those coming into this program typically have a bachelor’s degree, though it may not be in criminal justice specifically.

Criminal Justice Masters

Featured Online Programs in Criminal Justice

25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters in Criminal Justice

NCES provides the 25 schools that graduated students with a Master in Criminal Justice in the 2019/2020 school year as follows:

College / University GraduatesAcceptance Rate 
Liberty University36651%
Saint Leo University19072%
Ashford University153N/A
Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs133N/A
Boston University12119%
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus12177%
Grambling State University9997%
American Public University System93N/A
Grand Canyon University9377%
Florida State University8936%
University of Central Florida8844%
Lamar University8684%
Capella University58N/A
Columbus State University5879%
University of New Haven5383%
Nova Southeastern University4480%
Sam Houston State University4383%
Southern University at New Orleans4160%
SUNY at Albany4154%
University of Wisconsin-Platteville3985%
Webster University3757%
Northeastern University3618%
Southern University and A & M College3235%
Tarleton State University3256%
The University of Texas at Arlington2983%

Criminal Justice Courses May Include

The courses range widely based on the type of concentration and electives the students take. Many programs may have some level of research though the focus is typically on analyzing criminal behavior, leadership, and theories related to the judicial system.

A master’s in criminal justice may help students to better evaluate and resolve ethical issues in both practice and theory. It may help them manage and lead change in organizations at all levels as well. Students may also gather information on improving communications across the industry. Here are some of the courses that may be a part of a master’s degree in this field.

1st course Corrections Law and Liability

Corrections Law and Liability

In this course, students typically analyze and examine legal mandates in the corrections field. Jail and prison standards are often topics in this course. Case law, accreditation, and liability of the corrections system may be discussed as well.

2nd course Advanced Legal Research

Techniques in conducting legal research with a variety of tools is usually the main topic of this course. This may include how to analyze these findings, relate them to criminal justice, and memo writing. Using various tools such as automated services and the internet to aid in research.

3rd Course Criminal Procedures and Constitutional Issues

Criminal Procedures and Constitutional Issues

This course often focuses on the constitutional foundations of the criminal justice system. Recent Supreme Court decisions may be analyzed and discussed. How to apply laws of arrest and criminal procedure is also often a part of this class.

4th Course Violence in America

Violence in America

This course typically looks at the history of violence in America. Analysis of statistics, both official and unofficial, are sometimes used to aid in study. Domestic violence, juvenile violence, and gang violence and studies of them may be a part of this program as well.

5th Course Critical Incidents and Homeland Security

Critical Incidents and Homeland Security

This course is usually designed to teach students emergency planning in various situations. This may include development to evaluation of the process. Students often prepare an emergency preparedness plan as a part of the course.

6th Course Terrorism and Counter Surveillance

Terrorism and Counter Surveillance

This course often covers terrorism and counter-terrorism techniques. Terrorism and anti-government groups may be discussed. The course may look at homeland security and law enforcement agencies.

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a Masters in Criminal Justice

Making the decision to get a master’s degree in criminal justice may be worth it to those who want to gain access to new skills and resources. A master’s degree may be a necessary investment for those who wish to hold some type of leadership positions in their current role. It may also be a helpful option for those who wish to work in federal government agencies or other organizations who require this type of educational background.

The Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) degree is a post graduate degree that is often designed for those who are already in the criminal justice field or in criminology of another form, and which to continue their education. Some students may go on to earn a doctoral degree after completing a masters.

A criminal justice master’s degree may offer help in qualifying for positions such as cybersecurity investigator, policy analyst, emergency management director, intelligence analyst, or others.

A typical master’s degree program in criminal justice typically lasts for 2 years. Accelerated programs may help some students to complete their education sooner. Often, a criminal justice masters degree requires 30 to 40 credits, though this may differ from one school to the next.

Topics taught in a criminal justice masters degree range widely based on the school and the concentration the student selects. This may include a study of criminology, cybersecurity education, or investigative skill education. Students may wish to choose one or more concentrations based on what they wish to do with their career.

Find Funding

Earning a master’s degree may be the desired goal but finding a way to pay for it may seem like a daunting task. There are various ways to secure necessary funding for this graduate program. According to NCES, the average master’s degree program in 2018 to 2019 cost students $19,314. Funding options for this type of education are typically different than what may be expected at the undergraduate level.

Take a look at some of the funding options that may be available to students hoping to complete their master’s degree.


One of the ways to pay for graduate school may be through scholarships. They are not always available, and some students may not qualify for them. However, those who apply and receive approval typically do not have to repay these funds. Find scholarships for criminal justice master’s degrees to see if you may qualify.

Tom Steel Post-Graduate Fellowship

Who Can Apply: This fellowship is provided annually to fund a new lawyer to work in the United States on an innovative, public interest law project that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

Amount: $30,000

Deadline: January 31

Arthur Lockwood Beneventi Law Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available for U.S. law school students. Students must have a grade point average of 3.25 or higher.

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: February 15

Islamic Scholarship Fund National Scholarship

Who Can Apply: U.S. Muslim students who are college juniors or graduate students majoring in humanities, social sciences, liberal arts, or law are eligible for this award. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and be active community participants.

Amount: $6,000

Deadline: April 9

ISF-MCA Scholarship

Who Can Apply: U.S. Muslim students who are college juniors or graduate students majoring in humanities, social scien0es, liberal arts, or law are eligible for this award. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and be affiliated with the Muslim Community Association of the Bay Area (MCA).

Amount: $6,000

Deadline: April 9

Federal Loans

Borrowing to cover the cost of a master’s degree may be another option for students. Federal loans are backed by the U.S. federal government, but they often do require repayment. Some may have delays for when payments need to begin. They are often significantly different than undergraduate federal loans, in many cases. There may also be fewer options to consider for graduate school. Still, for many people, this may be a loan worth taking a closer look at to determine how well it applies to your situation.

Some of the options that may be available in federal loans for graduate students including those studying criminal justice include the following:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are typically available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans usually do not have a need-based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These are loans typically made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need, though. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans may enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans may be another option for some students. As private loans, they are usually not backed by the federal government. Instead, they are offered by private lenders and financial institutions. As a result, each lender typically sets the terms and conditions for these loans with more flexibility. This may mean that borrowers need to pay close attention to the details of these loans and determine if they meet their needs.

Private loans are all different. When comparing them to federal student loans or other private loans, be sure to look at common factors that may differ, including:

  • Credit score requirements
  • Income requirements
  • GPA or other academic requirements
  • Course hour requirements
  • Repayment terms, including when repayment begins
  • Consolidation and forbearance rules

Is law enforcement post secondary teacher a great career?

Working as a law enforcement post-secondary teacher may be one of the options for those with a master’s degree in criminal justice. This job often entails teaching others topics related to criminal justice. This may also include teaching law enforcement administration and corrections skills. Those who work as a teacher like this typically need to prepare and deliver lectures to either undergraduate or graduate students. This may be on topics such as investigation methods, defensive policing, and criminal law. It may also include supporting classroom discussions, evaluating and grading student work, and keeping up to date on changes in the industry so they may educate students.

This type of job may include using software such as database user interfaces, work processing, and information retrieval tools. Teachers may also need to have great active listing, critical thinking, and speaking skills.

Criminal Justice Masters Programs , Important skills for Law Enforcement Post Secondary Teachers

Daily tasks may include teaching at the college level often in the social science area, evaluating student work, and guided class discussions on topics. Individuals may also administer tests to assess educational progress. Often, they attend learning sessions or professional development programs to maintain their knowledge.

Many colleges and universities who hire law enforcement post secondary instructors and teachers require a graduate degree of at least a master’s degree. Teachers may also need to pass state licensing requirements to teach, depending on the rules of the state. Skill and knowledge in the area is often necessary with some employers requiring 5 years of experience before holding this job. Many of these programs do not provide much on the job training, though some occupations may allow for some support.

2022 Median Salary for Law Enforcement Post Secondary Teacher

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for a person working as a law enforcement post secondary teacher is as follows in each state for 2022:

New Jersey$79,320Missouri$79,830
New York$96,970Nebraska$69,350
North Dakota$69,090New Hampshire$74,190
Oklahoma$59,680New Mexico$59,270
Pennsylvania$77,190North Carolina$60,700
South Carolina$62,940Ohio$66,920
Utah$86,000Rhode IslandN/A
Virginia$73,130South DakotaN/A
West Virginia$57,850Wyoming$67,170

Is financial examiner a great career?

A financial examiner is a person who works to enforce and ensure compliance with regulations and laws related to financial and securities organizations. This may also include oversight for real estate transactions and other financial transactions. They may work to examine and verify records for accuracy as well. Often, they participate in meetings with trustees, bank directors, counsels, accountants, and others to gather information for the organization they represent and to discuss findings. They may create reports about the institution’s safety and financial soundness. They may also discuss compliance of that agency in areas of laws and regulations.

To do this type of work, many need tech skills, including experience with compliance software, project management software, database user interface and query software, and financial analysis software. They also typically need to have critical thinking, active listening, good writing, and speaking skills to do their work.

Their day to day tasks may include working with others about a range of financial matters, including problem solving, information gathering, and analyzing data. They may also coordinate with external organizations to exchange data and information. They may prepare operational reports, implement financial decisions, and advise others on compliance matters. The work they do may be partially dependent on the type of organization they work in, such as private sector, nonprofit, or government operations.

To do this type of work, many individuals typically need to have a bachelor’s degree. However, many employers require a master’s degree or request that employees work to earn a master’s degree. Some do not have educational requirements but instead seek out individuals who have experience. There is a good amount of work-related skill and knowledge needed for this type of job. There may be some on-the-job experience and support provided in some types of environments.

Criminal Justice Masters , Important skills for Financial Examiners

2022 Median Salary for Financial Examiner

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found the median salary for a financial examiner in 2022 to be this, in each state:

New Jersey$108,830Missouri$92,920
New York$124,410Nebraska$73,660
North Dakota$81,250New Hampshire$96,780
Oklahoma$87,230New Mexico$76,960
Pennsylvania$86,750North Carolina$93,030
South Carolina$78,840Ohio$74,380
Utah$80,070Rhode Island$92,770
Virginia$83,530South Dakota$92,150
West Virginia$62,320WyomingN/A

Sandy Baker


Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

Sandy’s experience also includes writing about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship searches, and managing college loans and grants. This includes aiding both students and parents in managing the application and financial aid process from start to finish. Her writing in this area has been featured in The New York Times, Cleveland Magazine, and several blogs.

Sponsored Result

Study anywhere. Study any time.

Join the millions earning their degrees online!

32.6% of graduate students were enrolled exclusively in online courses in 2019*.