Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Graduate Programs & Graduate Schools
Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Graduate Programs have a lot to offer whether you prefer to research the law or work to enforce it. If you have the desire to serve your community, a Criminal Justice Graduate Program has several paths to choose from, including law enforcement, corrections, public administration, or legal fields. If you have more of an investigative mind, enjoy research, preparing legal documents and are seeking a career in law, Legal and Paralegal Studies includes programs that might suit you.
While Criminal Justice and Legal Studies represent two sides of the legal system, if you aspire to work in social justice, or want to potentially expand an existing career, Criminal Justice degrees are available as Masters, Doctorate and Graduate Certificate tracks. Learn more about this fascinating field!
What is Criminal Justice and Legal Studies?
A fairly broad academic field, criminal justice careers typically fall into three main categories: law enforcement, legal, and corrections. Graduate programs, which tend to be more specialized than bachelor degrees in criminal justice, provide you with the chance to concentrate your studies in the area that you feel connected to, or hope to gain credentials in. In fact, you may have an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and want to pursue the same path but at a more in-depth level. Sometimes a Criminal justice degree takes a student towards law school, but there are other ways to use these grad degrees, such as to enforce national security, prosecute offenders, assist victims of crime, or implement security measures to prevent crime.
Some private detectives and investigators may have worked for insurance or collections companies, as paralegals, in finance, or in accounting.[i]
Types of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Graduate Programs
If this sounds like a lot of different directions, it is, but that doesn’t mean they are all lumped together in one program. If you look at the GradSchools.com directory, some of the individual programs include:
- Criminal justice and criminalistics
- Forensic Science
- Homeland security and national defense
- Law enforcement, policing and investigation
- Legal Studies
What are you searching for: Criminology, Criminal Justice or Criminalistics?
Yes, crime is everywhere unfortunately. It is on the streets, lives as a global concern, and pervades cyberspace. If you are looking for a Criminal Justice & Legal Studies Graduate Program, you obviously want to choose a program that aligns with your goals, but there can be some confusion about the terminology, so here is a low-down:
Criminalistics is a specialized division of Forensic Science. A Criminalist does not chase down criminals so to speak, but they do look at the physical evidence from a crime scene, and may testify in court as an expert witness.
Criminology is defined as the study of crime, meaning it might include aspects of the behavioral sciences like sociology, psychology, law and anthropology.
Criminal Justice is really broad. It includes corrections, police officers, probation officers, paralegal or legal assistants, postsecondary teachers and basically any institution that upholds the law.
Paralegal or Legal Studies?
There is a difference between a law degree and a paralegal studies program.
Paralegal Studies includes legal research, legal writing, the legal applications of computers, and may include some law courses
Legal Studies: Most states require a lawyer to complete a juris doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school that is accredited with the ABA (American Bar Association). A J.D. program usually consists of classes in constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Some lawyers work as Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators– they may have a law degree, and MBA or other advanced degree.
Choosing Your Criminal Justice & Legal Studies Graduate Program
Hopefully the previous tutorial set you up for success. If you choose your subject, it becomes easier to narrow things down. What’s Next?
Program Format: Campus or Online?
Are you looking for Criminal Justice Colleges so you can study on campus or are you thinking of an Online Program? Both formats have potential advantages depending on your needs. Distance-learning is often a good choice for the working professional since it allows for some flexibility in terms of pacing and scheduling your study time. On the other hand, attending graduate school gives you that hands-on and social learning environment. If you want to start searching, use the location settings to pull up campus programs in your subject and in the area (city, state or country) that you prefer. What’s next?
Types of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies Graduate Degrees
Within your area, you might find Masters in Criminal Justice, doctorate and graduate certificates. Selecting a program level, in addition to your subject refines your search.
Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
If you have your undergraduate degree, Masters programs typically take an additional two-year commitment and they delve into more complex criminal justice topics. Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) programs offer concentrations in various areas like homeland security, forensic psychology, criminology, social work, justice administration, criminal justice, public policy, crime analysis, and paralegal studies.
If you are aiming for a law career, you might pursue Master of Law (LL.M.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), or Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) programs with various joint degree options in Criminal Justice at accredited law schools.
Some of the listings you might encounter on our site may include: Health Law, LLM, MS in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, Master of Public Administration: Criminal Justice Concentration, Master of Science in Cybersecuruty-Intelligence or Master of Science in Public Safety Administration. These are only a few, so continue looking into our selection of Masters Programs; you can request information from the school to get more info.
Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Doctorate Degree Programs
Doctoral degree programs in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies may appeal to the attorney who seeks expertise in a specific area, or the individual who is preparing for potential leadership roles. There are also programs that expand your understanding of the criminal mind and criminal behavior. Doctoral degrees are offered as PsyD, DBA and PhD tracks, depending on your interests.
Some of the listings to browse through might include: Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration-Homeland Security-Leadership and Policy, Doctor of Management-Homeland Security Executive Format. Health Law LLM, PhD in Social Works-Criminal Justice or Doctor of Psychology –Criminology and Justice Studies. Take a look inside a Doctorate in Criminal Justice & Legal Studies Programs.
Criminal Justice or Legal Studies Graduate Certificates
Graduate certificates are credentials boosters. They tend to teach the skills you might need in a specific area. Some may be post-master’s level, others may be post-bachelor’s. They are used to broaden your knowledge, and may serve as helpful preparation for some careers.
Review Options such as Post-Bachelor’s Certificate in Intelligence, Graduate Certificate: Homeland Security, Pathway to Paralegal Post Baccalaureate Certificate or Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice. These are highlights. Continue to look inside a Graduate Certificate Program in Criminal Justice & Legal Studies.
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm | bls.gov/careeroutlook/2006/summer/art01.pdf | bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm | bls.gov/ooh/legal/arbitrators-mediators-and-conciliators.htm
Take the Next Step
We have tried to give you a glimpse at the array of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Graduate Programs. There are equally many different jobs associated with these fields. Research the academic path that your chosen profession requires to make sure you factor it into your decision. Remember that the more specific you get, the more you are able to find the best criminal justice graduate school for your educational interests. Continued success as you take the next step!
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.
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...
Saint Joseph's University
Purdue University Global
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Lincoln, NE
- Lewiston, ME
- Mason City, IA
- Indianapolis, IN
- Milwaukee, WI
- Omaha, NE
- Saint Louis, MO
- South Portland, ME
- Rockville, MD
- Hagerstown, MD
- Cedar Falls, IA
- Augusta, ME
- Des Moines, IA
- Davenport, IA
Eastern Kentucky University
Master of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management - Concentration in Homeland Security
The Homeland Security Concentration is designed to meet the demands and challenges of the real world and its ever-changing threats to the security of the nation. The curriculum of the Homeland Security concentration focuses on current issues that affect...
Stay at the forefront of this evolving field as you study the latest theories and explore today’s increasingly sophisticated criminal justice issues.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
The Master of Science in Cyber and Homeland Security (MSCHSA) program is administered by the School of Administrative Science (SAS) from the Metropolitan Campus and is conducted off-campus (week nights and Saturdays) and online...
- Teaneck, NJ
Grand Canyon University
The Master of Science in Leadership with an Emphasis in Homeland Security and Emergency Management degree focuses on the role of leadership and the immediate application of ethical and practical leadership skills.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
- Los Angeles, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Washington, DC
Colorado Technical University
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Greenwood Village, CO
Indiana Wesleyan University
With a strong emphasis on social responsibility and civic engagement, the MPA program at IWU equips students to effectively and compassionately address current governmental challenges.
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...
Liberty University Online
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.
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Montgomery, AL
- Austin, TX
- Tampa, FL
- Royal Palm Beach, FL
- Savannah, GA
- Glen Allen, VA
- Columbia, SC
- Novi, MI
Criminal Justice professionals tackle some of society's most difficult challenges. Working with courts, correctional facilities, and policing institutions, they step into different situations, evaluate what’s happening, and find solutions that will serve...
- 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.
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...
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
The School of Law at Loyola offers the Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) degree to professionals working in the field of child welfare who do not want to practice law but who seek a deeper understanding of the laws affecting children and families.
- Chicago, IL
University of Edinburgh
The LLM in Information Technology Law by online distance learning focuses on the regulatory framework that governs information technology within international, European and domestic settings.
- Edinburgh, United Kingdom