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Liberty University

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Colorado Christian University

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Colorado State University Global

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Saint Leo University

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Master's Degree Programs in Criminal Justice - Law

A criminal justice master's degree with a specialization in law can prepare you for career advancement in criminal justice or a career move into law enforcement. Alternatively, if you have a law degree and would like to specialize in criminal law, you may consider a Master of Laws.

What Is a Criminal Justice - Law Master's Degree Program?

A criminal justice master's degree program can prepare you for advancement in a variety of careers, or for transition into a related or new career. If you have a bachelor's degree and want to move into law enforcement, there are programs designed for you. Most master's degree programs in criminal justice require you to take courses that give you a working understanding of research, as well as analysis methods and procedures. This coursework helps you to complete your thesis requirement and can give you the skills to understand new information and apply it on the job.

If you have some experience in the criminal justice field, you can take on leadership positions, become a community college teacher or work as a consultant. You can find criminal justice master's degree programs both on-campus and online, giving you the freedom and flexibility to keep your current job.

If you have earned a law degree, you can pursue a criminal justice Master of Laws (LL.M.) program. This program is typically available in law schools and offers you the opportunity to specialize in international criminal law and justice.

Program Options Master's degree, Master of Laws
Common Courses Victimology, penology, crime prevention, war crimes, military law
Online Learning Fully online programs available for both degrees, though online LL.M. programs are rare
Median Salary (2020)*$67,290 (Police and Detectives)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)*5% growth (Police and Detectives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Courses Will I Take?

The courses required in a criminal justice master's degree program cover psychology, sociology, criminology, victimology and penology. These give you a deep understanding of how and why people become criminals, how victims deal with crimes committed against them and what is involved in running a prison. You can also take courses that discuss rehabilitation and crime prevention.

In a Master of Laws program, you can focus your studies on counterterrorism, human rights, war crimes, military law and human trafficking. Opportunities are also available during the program to participate in a clerkship or externship with a government agency, non-profit organization or law firm.

How Can I Learn Online?

In an online criminal justice master's degree program, you can earn all of your credits entirely through the Internet. Though rare, a few accredited institutions also offer a Master of Laws program partially online. In most cases, you access course materials, lecture notes and other documents through an online classroom platform.

While many of your course activities take place online, some courses require phone calls and conferences, offline videos and fieldwork. Typically, you can complete most of your coursework on your own time, but you must still adhere to your class and school schedules, exam dates and deadlines.