A masters degree in a criminal justice is a prestigious, high-level post-graduate degree. The only more advanced degree a student can earn is a PhD (doctorate) degree. Masters degrees in criminal justice are 2-year programs that supplement and build upon the education gained through a 4-year bachelor degree program. In order to apply to a criminal justice masters program, a student must already possess a bachelor degree in criminal justice or a related field.
Graduates who hold a masters in criminal justice are eligible for higher-paying, higher-ranking leadership positions in law enforcement, corrections, investigations and the justice system. For example, the FBI considers a master’s degree and two years of work experience sufficiant to apply for agent status. Other positions can include:
- District Attorney
- Criminal Investigator
- Police Detective
- Court Administrator
Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Curriculum
Subjects covered by master’s degree programs in criminal justice tend to be in-depth, and aligned to the career specialty chosen by the student. Such specialties may include law enforcement administration, technology and cybercrime, criminology theory, forensic science and others. Some of the more common courses covered in a master’s program include:
- Organizational Administration
- Institutional Risk Management
- Criminological Theory
- Cybercrime and Computer Security
- Forensic Science
- Phychological Profiling
A masters degree in criminal justice can be earned at a campus-based school for criminal justice, or through an online criminal justice program. Campus-based programs provide face-to-face contact, while online programs are taken at home, making them a good choice for students with families, full-time jobs or military engagements. Masters programs typically take 2 years to complete, but can be done more quickly through accelerated programs.