Criminal Justice Master's Degree

Explore common coursework, specialization options and other general information associated with master's degree programs in criminal justice. Learn about online degrees in this field of study. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Criminal Justice Master's Degree Program Like?

Graduate degree programs in criminal justice give you a deeper understanding of the theories and applications of criminology, police methods, constitutional law and other aspects of the justice system. You can find programs that cover criminal justice in a broad sense or with a specific emphasis, such as terrorism, white-collar crime, cybercrime or juvenile delinquency.

Depending on the program, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice (or a related field) may or may not be required. Such programs typically take about two years to complete.

Degree ProgramsMaster of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Criminal Justice
Common SpecializationsJuvenile delinquency, terrorism, white-collar crime, cybercrime
Common CoursesCriminology, corrections, social issues, social research; master's thesis typically required as well
Online ProgramsGeared towards working professionals; have similar curricula as campus-based programs

What Courses Will I Take?

The courses you take will cover the American justice system as a whole, while also providing a closer look at specific topics within the field, such as correctional theory, policy analysis and criminology. Other potential topics include social issues in criminal justice, forensic behavioral analysis and victims' rights. Additionally, many master's degree programs in criminal justice require courses in research, which teach the problem-solving and analytical skills necessary for interpreting data. In some cases, you will need to complete a thesis or capstone project illustrating your mastery of criminal justice.

How Do I Earn the Degree Online?

Online master's degree programs in criminal justice are available for professionals or students who want to work while finishing their graduate studies. Similar to on-campus programs, course dates and deadlines still apply; however, you may work day or night and participate in class discussions via message boards, e-mail and video conferences.

In most cases, your online criminal justice master's degree follows a similar curriculum to an on-campus degree program. Any required internships are often arranged to take place near your home.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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