Law Enforcement Master's Degree Programs
A master's degree program in law enforcement can provide students with the training and credentials needed to pursue administrative or other upper-level positions in criminal justice. Learn about the different types of master's degree programs in law enforcement as well as typical courses and information on online programs.
What Law Enforcement Master's Degree Programs Can I Find?
Master's degree programs in law enforcement are available, as are similar programs in criminal justice. The content of both programs is similar, and these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Such programs are typically designed for professionals already working in law enforcement or criminal justice or those wishing to pursue careers in academia. Programs may allow students to specialize in areas such as corrections or security. Specific degree titles include a Master of Arts in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis or Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
|Master's Degree Titles||Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Criminal Justice, and Law Enforcement Intelligence|
|Online Options||Programs available; two years to complete|
|Common Courses||Criminal investigations, criminal nature, terrorism, and forensic science|
|Possible Careers||Parole officer, victim's advocate, law enforcement officer or customs officer|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||7% (for police and detectives)*|
|Median Salary (May 2018)||$89,030 (for first-line supervisors of police and detectives)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Can I Earn These Degrees Online?
In addition to a wide variety of campus-based programs, there are several available online master's degree programs in law enforcement and criminal justice. Like on-campus programs, online programs can typically be completed in two years. In most cases, the curriculum mirrors that of on-campus programs and is taught by the same faculty. Students need a computer and Internet connection to access the school's online course management system, such as Angel or Blackboard.
What Classes Will I Take?
Coursework can vary depending on the program and specialization, but some typical courses in a master's degree program in law enforcement or criminal justice include:
- Legal issues in criminal justice
- Crime nature
- Criminal investigations
- Forensic science
- Statistics and criminology
What Can I Do With This Degree?
With a degree in either law enforcement or criminal justice, you might work as a law enforcement, parole or customs officer. You might also choose to pursue a career as a victim's advocate or, in the corporate world, as a contingency manager. Graduates with a specialization in homeland security or global terrorism might find work with the federal government. Since a bachelor's degree is often a requirement for entry-level jobs, a master's degree could help you move into management positions. It also can qualify you to teach criminal justice classes.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities in law enforcement are expected to grow by seven percent between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov) As of May 2018, police and detective supervisors earned median annual wages of $89,030, also per the BLS. Within local, state and federal government, average wages ranged from $51,390-$144,190 for the same position and year.