United States Criminal Justice Masters Degree Programs
Criminal Justice Masters Programs focus on the practice of law, criminology, public policy and related issues and can overlap into other subject areas such as criminology, forensic psychology, cybersecurity, forensic technology, fraud, sociology, social work, population studies and political science. Whether you are currently working in the field of criminal justice (CJ) or want to prepare for a career, earning a Criminal Justice Masters Degree may lead to possible positions of leadership and responsibility in government organizations or non-profits, dealing with issues of crime, justice and law-enforcement.
Criminal Justice Masters Programs Overview
Potential applicants to Criminal Justice Masters Programs are required to have a Bachelor’s degree. In addition to instructional coursework, many Criminal Justice Masters degree programs may require students to participate in hands-on courtroom training, internships, or other practical experiences. At the end of the program, students may have to complete a capstone thesis.
Earn an online Criminal Justice Masters Degree or study on-campus?
GradSchools.com makes it easy for prospective students to find the Criminal Justice Masters Degree Program that aligns with their interests as well as their schedules. If you are looking into some of the best criminal justice graduate schools so that you can find a campus-based program, initiate a location search. This will bring up listings in the city, state or country that you have chosen. If distance-learning is a more convenient learning format for you, you can click through to the Criminal Justice Masters Programs Online. In both cases, listings will be generated such as: Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal justice, Master of Public Administration: Criminal Justice Concentration, Criminal Justice MS, Master of Business Administration
– Criminal Justice or Master of Arts: Criminal Justice. Click through to request information from each school.
Fun Fact: many applicants for homeland security jobs must undergo security clearances or background checks[i]
What Types of Criminal Justice Masters Programs are there?
Criminal Justice Masters Degree Programs may be available as Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) formats. Criminal Justice Masters students may also enroll in a dual-degree program that allows them to simultaneously study law and earn a Juris Doctor degree, a law degree that is usually completed by those who wish to take state bar exams and become licensed, practicing lawyers. If you plan to continue onto a doctorate degree in Criminal Justice, make sure that you select a master’s program that supports continued education.
SEARCH TIP: It is highly recommended to research the specific requirements for your desired career in Criminal Justice as agency requirements vary broadly.
What is the difference between Criminology and Criminalistics?
Criminology and criminalistics are both focused in law enforcement. However, criminology explores the nature of crime and its prevention, while criminalistics involves the collection and analysis of evidence, and is often referred to as forensic science. Most Criminal Justice Masters programs include coursework in criminology. The scientific study of the nature and basic elements of crime, criminology is generally the foundation upon which graduate education in the criminal justice field is built. The behavioral, sociological, and legal aspects of crime all intersect in the study of criminology.
MS | MA | MBA in Criminal Justice: Find the Right Masters Degree in Criminal Justice For You
Master of Science in Criminal Justice Programs tend to include more science in the curriculum and fewer liberal arts courses. Specializations such as forensic science, criminology, cyber-crime and behavior analysis and forensic psychology are usually offered as part of a Master of Science degree in CJ.
Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Programs tend to center around the larger context of crime, why it exists and its impact on society, as well as gain a detailed understanding of the concept of justice and how it’s applied. Students are trained in research methods and statistics, program planning and management, policy analysis, and program evaluation. Law enforcement administration, organizational security, legal studies, homeland security, terrorism and mediation and public policy usually are offered as a Master of Arts degree
Master of Business Administration (MBA) Criminal Justice Programs are typically intended to help students develop advanced competencies and analytical capabilities needed for management and leadership positions in correctional institutions, law enforcement and the court system.
Criminal Justice Masters Programs and Curriculum
Masters in Criminal Justice Degree Programs vary with regard to specific course requirements but common courses might include subjects such as:
- Criminal justice foundations
- Criminology Statistics
- Research methods
- Program organization and analysis
- Juvenile justice
- Policies, practices, and politics in criminal justice
- Nature of crime/Theories of social deviancy
- Cyber security
Potential Careers For Masters in Criminal Justice Graduates
There are a variety of potential careers for Criminal Justice Masters Graduates, with different types of jobs gaining in popularity, as homeland security and cyber security become more prominent concerns. Many homeland security jobs are offered in government – state, local and Federal, although other opportunities in private companies and nonprofit organizations exist. Naturally, earning a degree isn’t a guarantee for employment, but sometimes it helps to look at the types of careers ‘out there’ to then determine the educational path that you need to follow to prepare yourself for it. Some of these jobs might include:
- Police Officer
- Immigration Officer
- Information Security Specialist
- Telecommunications Specialist
- Criminal Investigator
- Attorney/Auditor: Office of the Inspector General
- Forensic Chemist
- U.S. Secret Service Agent
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of attorneys is projected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2014. They also report that “the federal government is likely to continue to need lawyers to prosecute or defend civil cases on behalf of the United States, prosecute criminal cases brought by the federal government, and collect money owed to the federal government[ii]."
While employment growth for police officers and detectives is projected to be slow (4% : 2014-2024), it is interesting to note that education requirements differ depending on the type of career in law enforcement one aspires to[iii].
FUN FACT: FBI special agent applicants typically must have at least 3 years of professional work experience in areas ranging from computer science to accounting[iv].
Ready to Pursue a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice?
Whether you are interested in digital forensics, international crime, public policy and administration, law enforcement, violence prevention, or security management, Criminal Justice Masters Programs offer exciting choices to consider. Why not spend some time to figure out which academic direction is right for you using the search tools on our site!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2006/summer/art01.pdf | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm | bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm
- Bristol, RIBristol, RI
Roger Williams University
Available on campus or online, the M.S. Criminal Justice program provides you with both theoretical and practical knowledge to succeed in the legal system.
Define your legacy with an online MS in Criminal Justice. Gain the knowledge and skills needed to critically analyze and ethically address the complex issues in contemporary society.
The criminal justice system is a vast, billion-dollar industry with many growing opportunities for those with higher degrees and leadership skills. In this MBA specialization you will focus on developing the advanced competencies and analytical capab...
The Online MS in Data Science – Financial Crime teaches students how to analyze and leverage big data to deliver innovative ideas and solutions in a variety of fields.
Saint Joseph's University
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
Master of Arts in Criminal Justice with concentrations in National Security, Criminal Justice Management and Victimology...
University of New Haven
UNH offers an exciting, 36-credit master’s degree program in Criminal Justice, where students study alongside leading professionals in law enforcement, investigation, politics, forensic science, and law...
- Teaneck, NJTeaneck, NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Criminal Justice, Political Science, & International Studies offers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.
Prepare to lead change in your organization and influence policymakers in your community.
Purdue University Global
Purdue Global’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program is designed for professionals interested in building their knowledge, leadership skills, and expertise in criminal justice, which could better position them for advancement and lateral...
- Augusta, ME
- Cedar Falls, IA
- Hagerstown, MD
- Davenport, IA
- Des Moines, IA
- Indianapolis, IN
- Lewiston, ME
- Lincoln, NE
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Mason City, IA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Rockville, MD
- Saint Louis, MO
- South Portland, ME
- Omaha, NE
- Pomona, NJPomona, NJ
The MACJ Program is a general program with options for tracks in Homeland Security or Forensic Psychology. There is also an opportunity for a dual degree, BA/MA in Criminal Justice. For career advancement, students may also pursue a non-degree certif...
Colorado Technical University
Pursue a Master of Science in Criminal Justice-general concentration. Colorado Technical University’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice programs were ranked among the Best Online Programs by U.S. News & World Report. Classes st...
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Greenwood Village, CO
- Tampa, FLTampa, FL
University of Tampa
The University of Tampa's Master of Science degree program in criminology and criminal justice prepares students for both practitioner and management careers in criminal justice and public safety...
University of Management and Technology
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) is a 36 credit-hour degree program designed to provide students with advanced knowledge and skills to enable them to succeed in the field of Criminal Justice.
Give back to your community when you earn your Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree online from Ashford University. This graduate degree program develops your skills in forensics and cybercrime. In this program, you will evaluate issues of pe...
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is offered 100% online.
The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program offers you a curriculum designed to meet the growing need for professionals in the high-demand field.
- Columbia, SC
- Royal Palm Beach, FL
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Montgomery, AL
- Glen Allen, VA
- Tampa, FL
- Austin, TX
- Savannah, GA
- Novi, MI
With your online Master's in Criminal Justice from Capella, you'll apply professional and personal ethics to make sound and ethical decisions in the field...
Nova Southeastern University
Criminal Justice, M.S.
The M.S. in Criminal Justice trains individuals through an interdisciplinary focus in an online environment. The program prepares students through the core curriculum and allows for specialty training through various concentrations...
Sam Houston State University
The convenience of an online education with the prestige of SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice...
William James College
William James College offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health. The program is 36 credits and fully online...
- Rochester, NYRochester, NY
Rochester Institute of Technology
The Department of Criminal Justice offers an innovative Master of Science degree that emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to urban studies which emphasizes public safety...