Criminal Justice Masters Degree: Requirements and Benefits

As the criminal justice field expands, so do the options for earning a criminal justice degree. If you are thinking about pursuing a masters degree in criminal justice, you may have questions about how to apply for graduate school and what your next steps should be. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about earning this type of advanced degree.


Earning a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

Earning a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

A Masters Degree in Criminal Justice is a terminal degree, meaning it’s the highest degree attainable in this field. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a law enforcement officer, investigator or crime scene investigator (CSI), or working for the government as an intelligence analyst, then earning your Master’s Degree may be beneficial to you. This can also help you become eligible for higher paying jobs within these fields.

To earn your master’s degree, you must complete between 30-36 credit hours of coursework that focuses on topics such as criminal law, criminology and sociology. You’ll have the opportunity to study other areas related to criminal justice including:

  • Ethics and professional standards
  • Victimology and victim services administration

Benefits of a Masters in Criminal Justice

The Masters in Criminal Justice degree is a good option for students who want to advance their careers in law enforcement, the criminal justice system, or other related fields.

For example:

  • If you’re currently working as a police officer and looking to move up the ranks—whether it be to sergeant or detective—a masters degree will help your resume stand out from the crowd. The more education you have under your belt, the better chance of being promoted into higher-level positions (and higher salary brackets).
  • If you want to become a professor at a college or university but don’t have any advanced degrees yet, then this program can help prepare you for teaching and researching about criminology topics. You’ll learn about different theories of punishment and rehabilitation processes; how laws are created; why certain crimes are punished differently from others; what happens after someone has been convicted of committing an offense (jail time? probation? community service?). This knowledge could also come in handy if/when someone asks about whether something could be considered illegal (“It’s not against the law!”) or unethical (“That’s not very nice!”).

Cons of a Masters in Criminal Justice

There are a few downsides to earning a criminal justice masters degree:

  • Cost of tuition. A master’s degree in criminal justice is typically quite expensive, especially if you’re paying out-of-state tuition (which can be significantly more than state residents). If this is an issue for you, consider whether it would be cheaper to pursue your Ph.D. instead of an M.S.
  • Time commitment. Earning a masters takes two years, which means you’ll have to dedicate almost all of your free time to classwork and studying in order to keep up with the workload and complete all the assignments on time. This isn’t always feasible if you already have full-time work or multiple part-time jobs that take up most of your days anyway!
  • Difficulty of coursework/exams/job market: Most master’s degrees require students take several classes outside their major field as well as choose electives related directly back into their area(s) expertise​—all while still managing some form of employment along side these other commitments! It can get very stressful being so busy all day every day plus trying not let stress from one thing affect another area (like work performance).
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Types of Criminal Justice Graduate Degrees

There are many types of criminal justice graduate degrees. Master’s degrees can be earned in the following specializations:

  • Criminal Justice – A Master’s degree in this specialization teaches students about the theoretical and practical aspects of criminal law, criminal procedure, criminology and juvenile justice.
  • Administration (MA) – An MA in Administration will provide you with the foundational knowledge required to successfully lead a team or organization as well as other skills such as strategic planning, budgeting, policies and procedures development.
  • Homeland Security (MAHS) – If you’re interested in protecting our nation from terrorist threats or natural disasters that could threaten public safety at home or abroad then this could be an ideal choice for you!
  • Law Enforcement (MLE) – An MLE program focuses on preparing graduates to become officers within local police departments across America by providing them with real-world experience during field assignments while earning their master’s degree at the same time!

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Masters in Criminal Justice?

A Masters in Criminal Justice can be completed in as little as one year, but most students take two to three years to graduate. Some programs are even longer—a student could conceivably earn a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice within 4-5 years of beginning their coursework. The length of your program will depend on several factors: the school at which you attend, your chosen field of study, and how many credits per semester (or quarter) you complete.

Applying to a Masters in Criminal Justice Program

The process of applying to a Master’s degree program is similar to that of a Bachelor’s degree. In general, you’ll need to submit:

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  • A completed application form. This may be in the form of an essay or a general outline of your intended coursework.
  • Official transcripts from every college and university at which you’ve studied. These records should include every course taken, grade received, and year of graduation (if applicable). If possible, this should also include any transfer credits accepted by each school where you earned those credits; if there are no transferable courses available for your criminal justice education plan (for example, if all your criminal justice classes were at one high school), then simply list them as such on the transcript itself rather than providing official documentation stating so.
  • Recommendation letters from at least two professors who know you well enough to write meaningful evaluations of your potential as a student in their field(s) of study; these recommendations can come from any level (undergraduate or graduate) but should not be written by someone currently employed by either yourself or the school itself—i.e., do not ask someone like “Professor Smith” who teaches at State University [where I am hoping to attend]! Asking him/her would make it look like he/she already knows me too well—which wouldn’t leave him/her much room for being objective about whether or not I’d be good enough for this program.”
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If you’re looking to advance your career and take on leadership positions, earning a masters degree in criminal justice may be the right choice.

If you’re looking to advance your career and take on leadership positions, earning a masters degree in criminal justice may be the right choice. A master’s degree in criminal justice can help you get that job or promotion.

A master’s degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary for career advancement, including:

  • Opportunities for leadership roles
  • Promotion from within an organization

Careers in Criminal Justice Masters Degree

Criminal Justice may involve working with difficult people.

Career in Criminal Justice may involve working with difficult people. You will be dealing with the following:

  • People who have committed crimes
  • Victims of crime
  • People who have been convicted of crimes and are serving their sentence in prison or on parole, probation or some other form of supervised release from prison
  • Those accused of committing a crime but not yet convicted

You can work in private or public sectors of law.

  • You can work in private or public sectors of law.
  • Private sector jobs often pay more, but are less stable.
  • Public sector jobs often have more stability, but less money.
  • Public sector jobs often come with better benefits, training opportunities and chances for advancement than their private counterparts.

Criminal Justice has a wide variety of career opportunities.

There are many career paths within the field of criminal justice. Some examples include law enforcement, criminal justice consultant, criminal justice administration and a wide variety of other areas. You can work as an investigator, professor or program director. You can also choose to pursue a position in corrections such as correctional officer.

The following list will provide an overview of some of these careers:

  • Law Enforcement Officer – This job involves investigating crimes and apprehending criminals in order to maintain public safety by enforcing laws within the legal system. These officers are often responsible for protecting people against harm while they perform their duties on the streets or in police stations. They may also be called upon to testify in court cases involving their investigations conducted earlier on during investigations conducted earlier on during investigations conducted earlier on during investigations conducted earlier on during investigations conducted earlier on during investigations conducted earlier.* Criminal Justice Consultant – A person who works as a consultant provides information about how best practices should be applied when dealing with problems related to crime prevention strategies/management programs used by public agencies such as schools boards/college campuses etcetera.* Criminal Justice Administration – This type of position includes administrative tasks like budgeting staffing policies planning budgets hiring new employees etcetera . . .
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Explore your options for careers in Criminal Justice

Career opportunities for people who have a criminal justice degree include:

  • Police officer
  • Judge
  • Court clerk
  • Correctional counselor
  • Parole officer

Here are some other careers you might consider with a criminal justice degree:

  • Corrections officer/correctional officer (bachelor’s or master’s degree) You’ll work in jails, prisons, and juvenile detention facilities. This could also be considered an entry-level position into law enforcement. You may also consider studying criminology or law enforcement.
  • Legal assistant/paralegal (associate’s or bachelor’s degree) A legal assistant or paralegal helps lawyers with their cases by taking notes at court hearings and providing other assistance with paperwork. They may also conduct research on issues related to the case being worked on by the lawyer they’re assisting. In order to become a legal assistant or paralegal, you will need either an associate’s degree in legal studies from an accredited college program, or at least 60 semester hours of college credit from any field of study at an accredited institution of higher learning that includes 24 semester hours in business administration; ethics; research methods; psychology; sociology; philosophy–except logic & critical thinking–or political science.* Probation officer (master’s degree) Probation officers supervise criminals who are awaiting sentencing in court.* Social worker (master’s degree) Social workers help people resolve problems related to housing and employment as well as emotional issues such as abuse addictions counseling domestic violence child welfare services mental health care crisis intervention counseling substance abuse treatment social policy analysis advocacy policy development research planning coordination evaluation programming management supervision administration operations management training development consultation leadership management organizational change conflict resolution training teaching counseling instruction education student affairs orientation development placement recruitment registration curriculum design instruction delivery organization staffing personnel management evaluation planning assessment development proposal creation programmatic implementation project management coordination software application creation database construction web design development graphic design mail list maintenance newsletter production publication editing feature writing proofreading broadcast journalism photography video production graphic arts desktop.

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If you’re looking to advance your career and take on leadership positions, earning a masters degree in criminal justice may be the right choice. While this degree requires time and financial commitment, it offers several benefits that can help you achieve your career goals. Also, with so many programs available online, there are plenty of flexible options for working professionals.

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