California 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!
Northcentral University’s Master of Science in Forensic Psychology is a graduate-level examination of the psychological make-up of criminals, victims and other individuals as they interact with the judicial system.
- Los Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
- Los Angeles, CA
California Southern University
CalSouthern's innovative Master of Science in Law Enforcement Executive Leadership (MSLEEL) is a first-of-its kind degree that is designed to provide law enforcement professionals with highly specialized knowledge...
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...
- Sacramento, CASacramento, CA
California State University, Sacramento
- Ontario, CAOntario, CA
University of La Verne
The University of La Verne is rich in tradition and history. Since its founding in 1891, the university has been vital to the...
- San Diego, CASan Diego, CA
California Western School Of Law
The Master of Laws (and Master of Comparative Law) program is designed to introduce foreign law graduates to a basic working knowledge of the U.S.
- San Diego, CA
- Fullerton, CAFullerton, CA
Western State University College Of Law
The mission of Western State University College of Law is to provide the highest quality legal education, based on an innovative program of studies de...
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
New College of California
New College of California School of Law is the oldest public interest law school in the nation.
- Riverside, CARiverside, CA
University of California - Riverside
Paralegals perform a variety of legal tasks under the direction and supervision of an attorney in various settings, including law firms, corporations,...
- Riverside, CA
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
University of San Francisco
The USF Master of Laws program, for graduates of law schools outside of the United States, is currently limited to 25 students allowing for personalized attention throughout your studies.
- Orange, CAOrange, CA
Chapman offers LLM degrees in Taxation, Trial Advocacy, Entertainment Law, Business & Economics, and International.
- Santa Ana, CASanta Ana, CA
Trinity International University (FL)
Trinity Law School is a Christian law school committed to the non-traditional, as well as the traditional student.
- Costa Mesa, CACosta Mesa, CA
- Turlock, CATurlock, CA
California State University, Stanislaus
The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice builds upon the strong preparatory undergraduate Criminal Justice Program with its...
- Santa Clara, CASanta Clara, CA
Santa Clara University
Graduate Law Programs
Santa Clara University School of Law offers day and evening programs leading to the Juris Doctor Degree. Full-time students complete the 86 semester...
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
San Francisco Law School
San Francisco Law School is a non-profit institution, founded in 1909, and dedicated solely to the purpose of providing law students a thorough altern...