The first step in completing a master’s degree in criminal justice is to find a program that best fits your needs. Typically, it takes two to three years to complete a graduate program, although an online degree program may offer more flexibility with your schedule.
The admission requirements vary for each program but the basic criteria include completion of a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA. Some programs may also require you to take the Graduate Record Examination and submit a letter of intent as part of the application process.
We found 494 Masters in Criminal Justice programs in our online school database.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment within the criminal justice system is expected to grow by approximately 11 percent through 2020. The rise of cyber crime, the increased threat of terrorism and crime on a global scale, and an expanding U.S. population has resulted in a greater need for criminal justice professionals.
At the same time, many criminal justice agencies are setting a higher standard in terms of the minimum education required for job applicants. While a bachelor’s degree can qualify you for a number of career options, getting your master’s degree can help you stand out in a competitive job market. If you’re interested in pursuing higher-paying opportunities or specializing in a particular area, obtaining a master’s degree in criminal justice can be vital to your career development.
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Completing a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice
The type of coursework involved typically varies based on the nature of the program. Some schools offer a Master of Arts degree in criminal justice while others offer a Master of Science. Depending on the program, you may have the option of choosing a particular area of emphasis, such as victim studies, criminal justice theory, or corrections. Some programs may require you to complete a thesis while others may give you the option of completing a comprehensive examination instead. The types of classes offered at the master’s level may include crime scene investigation, comparative criminal justice, ethics, gender studies, court administration, juvenile delinquency, and white-collar crime.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Master’s Degree?
Your primary area of interest ultimately determines what you can do with a master’s degree in criminal justice. For example, if you’re interested in the research aspects of criminal justice, a master’s degree can be an important step toward pursuing a doctorate degree. Many colleges and universities also require a master’s degree for those interested in teaching. Earning a master’s degree can also be beneficial if you want to work in a specialized field, such as international criminal justice, cyber crime, or criminal justice administration. Potential employers may include the FBI or CIA, state or federal prisons, private corporations,, or international criminal justice organizations, such as Interpol or the United Nations. If you’re interested in the social services aspect of the criminal justice system, opportunities may be available with human rights groups like Amnesty International.