Illinois Masters in Criminal Justice & Legal Studies Degrees
Masters in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies programs represent two sides of the legal system, and depending on your interests, either might provide the foundation for beginning, or expanding, your career.
Crime takes place in our neighborhoods, in the international sphere, in business and in cyberspace. All these sectors need a host of well-trained professionals including those who investigate crime, understand the criminal mind, create and uphold public policy and safety, and work in the legal and paralegal systems. Pursuing a Masters degree in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies may be a great fit if you are interested in advanced and relevant knowledge in any of these fascinating areas.
Masters in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies: Overview
Masters in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies programs comprise a host of possibilities. You might choose to study about law enforcement, corrections, first responders, politics, paralegal or legal fields. Each program may have its own prerequisites and admissions requirements, and may build on your prior undergraduate education. Graduate programs may be designed for current criminal justice administrators or those who seek a comprehensive understanding of legal procedures and how the judicial system operates. Some masters degrees are used as stepping-stones to PhD in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies fields, it all just depends on what you are studying.
Did You Know?
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators are usually lawyers, retired judges, or business professionals with expertise in a particular field, such as insurance[i]
Choosing a Masters in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Program in Illinois
By the time you get to graduate school, you may already have a strong sense of what direction you want to take for your masters’ degree. It is important to differentiate between a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies versus other Masters degrees in the category of ‘Criminal Justice and Legal Studies’.
What is a Master of Science in Criminal Justice program with an Emphasis in Legal Studies? This type of degree is designed for law enforcement, corrections, probation, and parole officers aspiring to other potential career opportunities, as well as individuals who want to learn about the law, social order, and justice in a more in-depth manner. Your program likely involves a capstone project and/or final written proposal, coursework in Legal studies such as international law and methods of legal research.
Popular Criminal Justice Masters Programs in Illinois
Some of the other subjects that students in this type of Criminal Justice Masters program might study could include:
- Law enforcement management
- Criminal justice theories and their applications
- Principles of police administration
- Leadership in the criminal justice system,
- Restorative justice versus
- Traditional punishment,
- Procedures for criminal investigations
- Psychology in the legal system, including
- Understanding the roles of expert witnesses, jury consultants, and criminal profilers
- Crisis management
- Criminal law and the criminal justice process
What Other Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Masters Programs are there?
As you might see from the subject selection, if you are interested in furthering your learning with an additional two-year commitment, you might choose accredited master’s programs that delve into any number of complex criminal justice topics.
Criminal Justice Masters programs might involve pursuing either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) with concentrations in various areas such as:
- Masters of Criminal Justice & Criminalistics Programs
- Masters of Forensic Science Programs
- Masters of Homeland Security & National Defense Programs
- Masters of Law Enforcement, Policing & Investigation Programs
- Masters of Legal Studies Programs
- Masters of Paralegal Programs
Masters in Legal Studies and Law Degrees
If you aspire to a career in the courtroom, you might pursue a Master of Law (LL.M.), Juris Doctor, Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) or look into a joint MS/JD program from an accredited school. These degrees fall within the category of 'Masters in Criminal Justice and Legal" but they are profession-specific academic paths.
“Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school”[ii]
Campus or Online Masters in Criminal Justice & Legal Studies?
Once you have determined your field of study, consider whether you are looking at a graduate school you can physically attend, or whether distance-learning is more convenient. Many graduate schools offer online degrees that are the same as their campus format with the exception of the delivery method via web, to appeal to current professionals. It is certainly personal, but keep in mind:
If you are studying something like Forensic Science or Cybersecurity where there is likely some laboratory work, you may not get a fully online program.
Campus programs build interpersonal skills, team building and other necessary skills, so in some cases you might benefit more from being onsite.
Some of the listings you might explore could include:
MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies, Master of Science in Public Safety Administration, Master of Science in Cybersecurity-Intelligence, Master of Science in Criminology, or Law MSW/JD Dual Degree.
The Workplace and Your Graduate Degree
Common question: ”What can I do with a legal studies (or fill in the blank) degree? Well, here’s the thing, a degree isn’t a guarantee of a job, but since crime doesn’t stop…you may be interested in some of these statistics:
- Employment growth for Forensic Science Technicians is projected to grow 27% from 2014-2024[iii].
- Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 8 % from 2014-2024[iv]
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI||$75,210||Not Reported|
The Bureau of Labor Statistics actually has a fantastic PDF of potential careers in homeland security. Words of advice? Research the career then choose the academic path that is considered the best preparation.
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/legal/arbitrators-mediators-and-conciliators.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/forensic-science-technicians.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm | bls.gov/careeroutlook/2006/summer/art01.pdf
View All 88 Criminal Justice Programs in Illinois
Whether you are drawn to corrections, law enforcement, research, the behavior of criminals, the patterns of crime, DNA testing or legal work, there are numerous directions to take for advanced study. Why not investigate your options for a Masters degree in Criminal Justice or a Masters in Legal Studies degree and find one that aligns with your personal or professional goals!
Lewis UniversityMS in Public Safety Administration MS in Computer Science - Digital Forensics MS in Criminal Justice
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyM.A. Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track AND Master of Legal Studies M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Internship Track AND Master of Legal Studies
Loyola University ChicagoMaster of Jurisprudence in Rule of Law for Development (PROLAW) Master of Laws in Rule of Law for Development (PROLAW) Master of Laws in Health Law Master of Laws in Compliance & Enterprise Risk Management Dual Degree MJ/MSW in Law and Social Work Dual Degree JD/MSW in Law and Social Work Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Colorado Technical UniversityMaster of Science in Homeland Security Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Master of Science in Management - Homeland Security Master of Science in Homeland Security - Emergency Management and Public Health Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Northcentral UniversityMPA Criminal Justice Master of Science in Forensic Psychology Master of Legal Studies MPA Homeland Security Master of Business Administration - Criminal Justice Master of Business Administration - Homeland Security Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice
Loyola University ChicagoMaster of Laws in Business Law Master of Laws for International Lawyers Dual Degree JD/MEd in Law & Education Policy Master of Laws in Tax Law Dual Degree MA/JD in Law and Political Science Dual Degree JD/MA in Law & Comparative Education Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy, Appellate Advocacy, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Master of Laws in Child and Family Law Dual Degree JD/MBA in Law and Business Dual Degree JD/MPP in Law and Public Policy
University of ChicagoMaster of Science in Threat and Response Management (MScTRM) Law
John Marshall Law SchoolGeneral Practice Center for Tax and Employee Benefits Information Technology Law Law Programs - Master Intellectual Property Law Fair Housing Global Legal Studies Employee Benefits International Business and Trade Law
University of Illinois - SpringfieldLegal Studies
Lewis UniversityPublic Safety Administration Criminal/Social Justice
Chicago State UniversityCriminal Justice
Southern Illinois University - CarbondaleLegal Studies Law Criminology and Criminal Justice
Western Illinois UniversityLaw Enforcement and Justice Administration
Illinois State UniversityCriminal Justice Sciences
Northern Illinois UniversityLaw
Ellis UniversityMaster of Business Administration (MBA) in Risk Management
University of Illinois at ChicagoCriminal Justice - Master Forensic Science
Northwestern University School of Continuing StudiesLaw
DePaul UniversityLL.M., Intellectual Property Health Law M.A./J.D., International Studies J.D. and M.S., Computer Science Technology Master of Laws Taxation/Tax Law Public Services Law Combined J.D./M.B.A.
Concordia University - ChicagoMA, LEADERSHIP: HEALTH CARE SPECIALIZATION
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignMaster of Laws Law
Illinois Institute of TechnologyLaw
Governors State UniversityCriminal Justice