Earning a master's degree in criminal justice is a good career move for criminal justice professionals who want to advance in the field. Moving beyond a bachelor’s degree to a master's degree will expose students to forensic behavior analysis, criminology and white collar crime. Students may be required to complete a thesis or practicum as a prerequisite for graduation. Students who are interested in conducting research related to criminology, upon completion of a master's in criminal justice, may choose to continue their education through an online PhD in criminal justice. Read More
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There are several types of master’s degrees that students can pursue in the field of criminal justice.
It takes between two to three years to finish a master’s in criminal justice. This is about 48 quarter-credit hours of coursework.
Criminal justice programs teach students enhanced critical thinking, decision-making and leadership ability. Students also gain the investigative and analytical skills necessary for a career in criminal justice.
Some classes that you may take as part of your degree program include:
A majority criminal justice master’s degree programs require applicants to submit the following:
Candidates should generally have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or in a related field, including: Psychology, Social Work, Psychiatry, Public Administration and Law.
Most criminal justice programs that offer master’s (and sometimes even PhD level studies) are heavily research-focused. Two of the most lucrative careers are security director and criminal investigator – both paying about $80,000/year. A criminal investigator must be a skilled researcher and keen to discover details first and foremost. The right graduate program can help professionals move into research within law enforcement or at a university or private institute. Criminal Justice doesn’t only lead to a career as a police officer. With a master’s degree, many doors will open in government, non-profit and research institutes. These jobs typically pay better and are often safer than jobs for people who only have undergraduate degrees.
The job market for a criminal justice graduate is wide and varied. Typical career paths include state and local law enforcement, department of corrections, judicial system, federal law enforcement, probation and parole officers and more. For those who are already professionals in the criminal justice system and are looking to get a promotion, move sectors, or just become more marketable in the field, a master’s in criminal justice is a great way to go. Many mid-level professionals choose to go back to earn their master’s to get a promotion into higher rankings of law enforcement, advance their career in the legal field or get into the exciting and essential world of research.
Graduates can choose from a variety of different job options, including: