What Are the Core Courses of a Criminal Justice Master's Degree?

For those looking to study criminal justice at the graduate level, there are many master's degree program options at schools around the country. Keep reading to take a closer look at what the coursework of these programs entail. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Criminal Justice Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in criminal justice are available at many four-year colleges and universities. Typically made up of core courses and electives, the programs cover legal and theoretical perspectives on criminal justice. These programs may be geared specifically to professionals who already work in some area within criminal justice, such as corrections.

In any case, those interested in being admitted to these graduate degree programs will need to possess a bachelor's degree and may be asked to provide evidence of their professional experience. Graduate test scores may also be required. People with master's degrees in criminal justice qualify for advanced positions in law enforcement, public administration and criminal justice.

Important Facts About Criminal Justice Master's Degrees

Concentrations Law & Public Policy, Homeland Security Policy, Emergency Management
Online Availability Yes
Possible Careers Police Officer, Detective, Corrections Officer
Continuing Education Ph.D in Criminal Justice
Median Salary (2018)$63,380 (Police and Detectives)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)7% growth (Police and Detectives)

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

Curriculum Highlights

The curricula of many master's degree programs go beyond teaching the facts of criminal justice to provide instruction in abstract theory and research methods. The following topics are usually covered in core criminal justice master's degree courses:


Typical criminal justice master's programs include a study of correctional rehabilitation. In these courses, you'll learn about current issues shaping correctional theories. You'll also learn how correctional facilities are operated.

Criminal Justice Research

Master's degree programs in criminal justice often require you to take a course on research methods used in the field. This class teaches you methods for conducting and assessing empirical data. You may learn about study design and how to apply research to criminal justice issues.

Criminal Justice Management

This course teaches you about the administrative processes and organizational structures of various criminal justice groups, including police departments, courts and public defenders' offices.

Criminal Justice and Policing Issues

In policing issues classes, you'll learn about factors that affect police officers' abilities to enforce the law. The course also covers assessment methods for determining the effectiveness of policing techniques.

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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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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