California Online Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice Programs

If you are trying to reach to next level of your career, there are a variety of Online Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice that you might consider. Distance-learning often means you have more scheduling flexibility, perfect if you need to balance your job with a graduate education.  Whether you have a keen interest in investigation or in analyzing criminal behavior, there are both management and science-oriented Masters in Criminal Justice Online Degree Programs. Earning a degree that aligns with your specific interests is a great way to shape your future, and there are a variety of potential directions that might take, from corrections and criminal psychology, to public administration, criminalistics and criminology.

Criminal Justice & Criminalistics Online Masters Program Information

Online Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice - Essentials

Many of the online masters degrees in criminal justice are designed to help current law enforcement or professionals associated with public and private security organizations. Each program may have slightly different prerequisites and admissions requirements, so the rule of thumb is to inquire! You can request information from the Criminal Justice School right from the GradSchools.com site. It is common to expect you need to have a Bachelor’s degree for a master’s program, GRE Scores, letters of recommendation, and possibly a background check.

The other variable is whether your program requires an internship, fieldwork, or writing a thesis or capstone project. Sometimes, if you plan to go onto a Doctorate program, it is smart to complete a thesis. Look ahead. Another good rule of thumb.

FUN FACT: Some forensic science technicians, called forensic computer examiners or digital forensics analysts, specialize in computer-based crimes.[i]

CJ Online: What is an Online Criminal Justice Masters Program?

Distance-learning programs come in different formats. If the program is 100% online, your coursework, assignments, correspondence and research is completed via computer. If the program is partially online, there may be some scheduled courses on the campus that you are required to attend, or it might mean there is some type of fieldwork involved that will pull you away from the reliable Internet connection you have set up.

Since there are different types of online masters degrees in criminal justice being offered, you might find that some programs lend themselves very well to the online format, while others may not. Programs that require reading, writing, and research are a great fit for learning remotely, while anything that involves team-building or hands-on group work may not. Use your discretion.

Also, Online doesn’t mean “easy” it just means that you view prerecorded classes, as opposed to getting to class every day. In the case of synchronous seminars, you do have to log in at particular times, but generally you have the convenience, with online degrees of studying at your own pace.

Online learners may need a specific type of Web browser, a sound card, speakers and a CD-ROM drive. You also might need to have a high-speed Internet connection to access animations, quizzes and other presentations.

Forensic Science Certification

If you are choosing a forensic science oriented program, certification is common place, and ay be required of you in a professional career.

The American Board of Criminalistics (ABC), formed to represent the forensic scientist, offers certification and proficiency testing. It stays up to date with current issues and topics. The ABC was the first certification body accredited by the Forensic Specialty Accreditation Board.

Individuals may achieve professional certification in comprehensive criminalistics, as well as in concentration areas and disciplines, including:

  • Molecular Biology
  • Drug Chemistry
  • Fire Debris Analysis
  • Trace Evidence

DID YOU KNOW? Technological advances have led to an increase in cybercrimes, such as identity theft, credit card fraud, and spamming. Internet scams, as well as other types of financial and insurance fraud, create demand for investigative services, particularly by the legal services industry[ii].

Online Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice: Shape your Career

Online Masters in Criminology, Criminalistics, Corrections or Criminal Justice, what do these all mean? You may notice that our directory has different subjects, and as you investigate, you start to see online Masters of Business Administration in Criminal Justice, Online Masters of Public Administration in Criminal Justice as well as the Master of Arts and Master of Science in Criminal Justice online. Let’s explore some of these different tracks.

Online Masters in Criminal Justice/Criminology

Criminology is basically the study of the effect of crime. You may think that there is just one victim, but in fact, crime has an effect on society as a whole. Criminology addresses issues such as crime prevention, and the success rates of certain law enforcement methods. Possible concentrations might include:

  • Corrections
  • Law enforcement
  • Human relations
  • Law and Society

Some of the potential related career paths might include: forensic psychologist, lawyer, criminal investigator, and parole officer.

Online Masters in Criminal Justice/Criminalistics

Criminalistics is the branch of criminal justice that involves forensic science and analysis. This field applies scientific methods to crime prevention and investigation. Many television crime shows show criminalistics in action. When you see people working in the lab and analyzing fingerprints or DNA samples, taking a computer away from a crime scene for investigation or profiling criminals, these tv characters are criminalists, fictional, but you get the picture. Some of the topics that might be explored could include:

  • Crime scene investigation
  • Forensic science
  • Evidence preservation and analysis
  • Crime theory
  • Technical science writing
  • Criminal procedure
  • Forensics toxicology

Online Masters in Criminal Justice/Management

Both Online Masters in Public Administration or Masters in Business Administration are oriented for management roles, whether in private industry or for public (government) organizations. Students in this type of program develop an understanding of the criminal justice system, management expertise and leadership qualities since these are needed to excel in the administration of public or private crime prevention. Some of these programs require a knowledge of finance and statistics. If you are interested in dispute resolution, law enforcement management, or administrative law, consider this direction.

Your Search For Online Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice Made Simple

Knowing a bit about the directions available to you, it is really easy to search for online masters programs in criminal justice. Scroll down the page to find listings that might include: Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management, MS in Criminal Justice-Behavior Analysis Specialization, Master of Science in Criminal/Social Justice, or Master of Public Administration –Criminal Justice and Public Safety Concentration – among others!

Take the Next Step

Crime is not only on the streets of rough neighborhoods it has invaded the web, translated into terrorism, and created different agencies that work to prevent it. If you are interested in potentially qualifying for leadership positions in different settings, take the next step! Earning an Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice may offer you the ability to juggle job and academics with ease!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm | www.criminalistics.com/ | bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm | bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm

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