Last Updated: April 28, 2021

Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice is a professional degree offered at the graduate level to professionals working in the criminal justice domain and for those seeking a postdoctoral program. The criminology program mostly focuses on justice administration, court services, forensic psychology, homeland security, correctional counseling, criminal justice planning, law and leadership, global issues, public safety, crime analysis, and delinquency.

Completing a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice allows candidates to work in both the public and private sector within the industry but along with dealing with jobs that help solve criminal cases they will be required to study the patterns of crime and the impact it has on the society as a whole.

Application Requirements for MA in Criminal Justice

Applying for a Master’s in Criminal Justice has been growing exponentially challenging over the years due to the growth in popularity for the course. The requirements for applying can vary from college to college but they have a few many common requirements that have to be met in order to gain admission to any college of the student’s choosing.

While considering applying for the course, one has to start their preparation a year in advance ideally so that they can cover all the basics and not rush at the last moment. The program is offered both as an on-campus course and an off-campus course. For most on-campus courses, GRE is a requirement which online courses do not insist on the same.

The other requirements include-

Course Concentrations for MA in Criminal Justice

The concentrations offered in different universities vary from each other and it is important for students to consider their career goals before choosing a college since not all concentrations are provided everywhere. The most common and popular concentrations offered generally are-

Skills Developed through the MA Program

The Criminal Justice program imparts knowledge in all facets of crime and its relation to society. Students are trained to examine economic, political, and cultural influences on crime, and how to respond to such activities in a lawful manner. Besides, they are specially trained in personal and social forces that also drive a person to commit a crime.

One of the driving qualities looked for in a criminal justice official is ethics. Though it is considered a soft skill it is also understood to be one of the essential qualities required for a career in the field. But they will also be required to stick to the existing policies related to crime and justice and adapt to the changing environments they have to deal with which are both political and natural. While working, it is also imperative that they address problems considering the sensitivity of the issue at hand and deal with it accordingly.

The soft skills that they require include good communication skills for both communicating with people and writing reports that are factually and grammatically correct. Physical Fitness, Computer Proficiency, Research Data Interpretation, Multitasking, Stress Management, etc. are the other few skills that have to be worked on by the student during the duration of the course.

Course Duration of MA in Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice program is offered either as an MA in Criminal Justice degree or as a dual degree in combination with Social Welfare. Since most graduates opting for the Master in Criminal Justice program are often working professionals, it takes them an average of two to three years to earn the degree.

An online program in the same course has a minimum duration of only 9 months where the student can choose to complete it sooner since the course gets automatically completed with the completion of 30 to 40 credits depending upon the university.

Cost of Studying MA in Criminal Justice

The tuition fee for the Master of Criminal Justice program on average costs between $600-$750 per credit course. The approximate cost of completing the course if it is on-campus will be $23,900 for private campuses and around $11,500 for public colleges in all. Besides this cost, students need to bear their living expenses, stationery charges, and other allied expenditure.

But while it may seem expensive in most universities there are always affordable places that students can choose to study the course by checking the credibility of the place. Colleges must have a national or regional accreditation where the nationally accredited colleges place less rigorous admission requirements that can aid the candidate in receiving admission and the regionally accredited institutions require higher standards from students in general.

The institution one applies to can also have additional accreditations that state their proficiency in the subjects they teach which will be a bonus to the students applying in similar places.

Opting for a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Many students who have completed a Bachelor's degree in law often contemplate on a career vis- -vis a Master’s degree. While a master's degree maximizes career opportunities and proportionally increases the pay package, it also opens doors to a post-doctoral program. Here are some pointers that can help students make the decision that suits them best:

Campus vs Online program for MA in Criminal Justice

Many institutions offer an online program in Criminal Justice. This is especially beneficial to those who are seeking to complete this degree while working full-time or for those who are looking for a cost-effective option. Some benefits of an online program include:

Top Universities for MA in Criminal Justice

Career after MA in Criminal Justice

People with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice have innumerable career options ahead of them. Candidates can work in both the private and public sectors as long as they have to work in the criminal justice industry. The jobs in the private domain have been growing ever since the expansion of the IT industry and the scope of fraud involved in the same industry. While Criminal Justice used to be a domain strictly for the public sector it has now become imperative that fields like the IT sector keep professionals for their data analysis and other computer-related applications.

The few jobs, as listed by the US news website, that they can apply for falls under the title of


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