Online Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

An online master’s degree in criminal justice may provide students with a deeper understanding of the legal system and its policies. In this one to two-year program, students may learn how to analyze criminal behavior, apply leadership principles in organizations, and utilize current technology to advance criminal justice programs. Program coursework may include some specialized electives alongside major-specific courses including criminology, forensic behavior analysis, and criminal justice systems.

Upon completion of the criminal justice program, students may seek employment or enroll in a doctoral degree program. Master’s level graduates may seek employment in federal law enforcement, private investigation, local law enforcement, security, and corrections.

Program Overview

  • Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Program Length: One to two years to complete
  • Post-Grad Options: Employment or Doctoral Program
  • Projected Employment Growth: 21% (2010-2020)*

Program Coursework

The curriculum for master’s-level criminal justice programs may include core courses as well as electives in the student’s chosen specialty. These classes may teach students how to evaluate different explanations for criminal behavior, analyze the response to white collar crime, and make critical decisions regarding criminal punishment. Core criminal justice courses may include the following:

  • Criminology
  • Vicitimology
  • Youth Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Forensic Behavior Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Systems

Career Options

Master’s-level graduates may seek career opportunities in local law enforcement, corrections, investigation, private security and federal agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private detective and investigation employment opportunities are projected to increase by 21% from 2010-2020.*

Possible careers include:

  • Bail Enforcement Agent
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Federal Probation Officer
  • Immigration Officer
  • Criminal Investigator

Continuing Education

Students who successfully complete a master’s program may wish to further their studies by enrolling in a doctoral degree program. A doctoral degree in criminal justice may provide students with enhanced knowledge behind theories of crime prevention and how to create and implement public policy.

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

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