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Master of Corrections: Online and Campus-Based Degree Programs

In a corrections program at the master's level, you'll study the American legal system and theories behind criminal behaviours with possible means to correct them. Learn about what topics are covered in these degree programs, what the admissions requirements are, what online options are available and what careers you can pursue after graduation.

What Topics Are Covered in a Master's Degree in Corrections?

Programs at the master's level that deal with the subject of corrections are most commonly available as criminal justice degrees, though some corrections programs are offered. Additionally, some programs in sociology offer a specialization in corrections.

Through programs in criminal justice, you'll study the nature of crime and of individuals who commit crimes. You'll learn why correctional programs are used, as well as studying the options available and the desired outcomes. Other courses will train you to understand the legal system, general law enforcement principles and administration techniques in criminal justice. Some topics of study could include:

  • Issues and controversies in corrections
  • Criminal theories
  • Criminal behavior
  • White collar crimes
  • Terrorism
  • Family violence
  • Victim behaviors
  • Appropriate punishments

Common ClassesCriminal theories and behavior, legal systems, administration techniques and criminal justice
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in a relevant field or demonstrated coursework in criminal justice
Online DegreesOnline master's degrees available, may be supplemented with internships
Career Options Correctional officers, crime policy analysts and even criminal investigators
Median Salary (2018)$44,330 (for correctional officers and jailers)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)8% decline (for all correctional officers and jailers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

To be admitted into a relevant master's degree program, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field may be required, or you may need to have completed a minimum amount of related coursework, such as criminology, criminal theory, advanced statistics and research methods. Letters of recommendation into the department are typically required, preferably from professors who know you and can address your analytical and writing skills. An essay describing why you want to pursue a career in corrections and what you intend to do with it is also commonly required.

What are my Online Options?

Online corrections programs are available and may not require campus visits. Many schools use Blackboard, a web-based internet application, to coordinate lessons and assignment. The lessons incorporate video, lectures and classroom discussions that can give you an in-depth look at corrections in America. You'll also be able to complete assignments and submit research projects online. Though an internship may not be required, such an experience can enrich your education.

How Can I Use This Degree?

A master's degree in corrections or criminal justice can lead to careers at local, state and federal levels. You could become a correctional officer or a crime policy analyst. Finding a job working for federal agencies, such as the secret service or U.S. border patrol is another possibility. A position in criminal investigation is another option.