What Are the Top Schools for Criminal Justice Master Degrees?

Earning a master's degree in criminal justice can lead to a career working in law enforcement agencies or for the government, and you may be able to attain management positions if you have a background in this field. This article identifies three of the top U.S. graduate schools offering master's degree programs in criminal justice; read on for more details about these schools. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For In A Master's Degree Programs in Criminal Justice?

Individuals who are interested in criminal justice graduate programs should look for schools that offer a rigorous program that includes core courses in criminology, forensic behavior analysis, and crime prevention. To stay abreast of the latest trends in criminology, seek out programs with advanced laboratory technology. Programs with internships are desirable as well.

What Are Three of the Top Schools with a Masters Program in Criminal Justice?

Boston University in Massachusetts

Tied in ranking for 42nd in the National Universities category in 2019, by U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR), Boston University (BU) Metropolitan College offers a Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ). You can complete this program either on-campus or through distance learning. Designed with working professionals in mind, the online criminal justice master's degree can be completed in under two years.

BU's program includes training centered on practical areas of law enforcement. Courses focus on advancing criminal justice research and changing policies to meet modern-day needs. Required core courses include crime research, criminology, victimology and punishments, and you can select from electives like forensic behavior analysis, criminal justice administration, youth crime and terrorism.

  • Master of Criminal Justice

Florida State University in Tallahassee

Florida State University's (FSU) College of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice. M.A. students must demonstrate competency in a foreign language and complete humanities courses. You may choose to complete only coursework, a capstone paper or a thesis to fulfill degree requirements. Core courses include criminal justice and criminology theory as well as criminal justice research methods and statistics. FSU was ranked 70th in USN&WR's National Universities list in 2019.

Faculty and graduate students participate in research projects through the FSU Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research. Also, the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice leads editing of the American Society of Criminology's peer-reviewed journal, Criminology and Public Policy.

  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Michigan State University in Lansing

Tied in rank for 85th in USN&WR's National Universities list for 2019, Michigan State University (MSU) offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice. MSU has the oldest degree-granting program in the nation for this major. Established in 1935, the MSU School of Criminal Justice combines research, problem-solving and action to give students a well-rounded, hands-on learning experience. Internship opportunities are readily available, and classroom speakers focus on current issues in security, including identity theft and DNA technology. Some courses topics you may explore include crime prevention, crime control and policy analysis.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Ten More Schools With Master's Degree Programs In Criminal Justice

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of Maryland-College Park Public, 4-year College Park, MD$14,000
University of Albany-SUNY Public, 4-year Albany, NY$13,000
University of Cincinnati Public, 4-year Cincinnati, OH$14,000
University of Missouri-St. Louis Public, 4-year St. Louis, MO$11,000
Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey Public, 4-year Newark, NJ$19,000
Temple University Public, 4-year Philadelphia, PA$17,000
Indiana University-Bloomington Public, 4-year Bloomington, IN$10,000
Washington State University Public, 4-year Pullman, WA$13,000
University of Nebraska-Omaha Public, 4-year Omaha, NE$6,500
University of South Carolina Public, 4-year Columbia, SC$14,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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