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Online Masters in Criminology : Admissions and Tuition





A master’s degree is a postgraduate certification offered by a university to a student who already has a bachelor’s degree. The courses typically focus on one field of study and allow the student to specialize in that area.

What is a Master in Criminology?  A master’s degree in criminology often focuses on the advanced sciences of criminal behavior, crime analysis, and forensics. Courses may include criminological study and research techniques. For those wishing to specialize, classes can be found in forensic psychology, environmental forensics, and crime scene investigation. Students may also choose courses on anti-corruption compliance and collective action (IMACC), and intelligence and crime analysis.

Graduates with a master’s degree in criminology typically have a deep understanding of human behavior and needs. They may also be more organized, analytical, and socially and politically aware than other types of graduates, helping them stand out from competitors in the job market.

Different universities offer various types of programs in criminology that can last for varying lengths of time. For this reason, prospective students may wish to contact the school of their choice and request information on current prices and policies.

After graduating with a master’s degree in criminology, there are many possible careers for the individual to choose from in the field of law enforcement such as a forensic specialist, criminal profiler, or upper-management police officer. Additionally, depending on the area of specialization, the graduate may wish to become a professor, continue research, or take additional studies to further specialize in fields of psychology or sociology. Graduates may also elect to join government organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Interpol because those agencies often hire individuals with master’s degrees. State programs may seek candidates for positions such as legislative staffer and undercover investigator.

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How long does it take to earn a criminology master’s degree online?

Most online criminology master’s programs require the completion of 30 to 36 credits, and full-time students usually earn their degree in one to two years. 


How much does an online master’s in criminology cost?

The cost of an online master’s in criminology degree depends on several factors. State residency is an important consideration, since many colleges and universities charge higher tuition for out-of-state students. However, some schools charge flat tuition for online students regardless of state residency. Technology fees are another key factor; these fees often apply to online students but not their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Per-credit costs for an online criminology degree typically range from $300 to $700. Students should expect to pay between $9,000 and $25,000 in total tuition.


Online master’s in criminology admissions requirements

Students who pursue an online master’s in criminology usually need to possess a bachelor’s degree. Although some colleges and universities accept degrees in any subject, others require undergraduate coursework in a related field.

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Some programs require applicants to submit GRE scores, and most require a minimum GPA of 3.0. Although related work experience can be valuable, most online criminology master’s programs do not require it for admission. 

Professional Associations in Criminology

Professional criminology associations provide support to students, professionals and academics in the field. Through membership in these organizations, students pursuing a master’s degree in criminology online can benefit from networking opportunities, professional conferences and research, and supplementary training and education.

Criminology students, scholars and professionals may choose to join the following associations. 

American Society of Criminology: 

The ASC fosters the exchange and dissemination of criminological scholarship. Its members attend conferences dedicated to criminological research topics and receive access to journals, newsletters and networking opportunities. The ASC provides specialized research opportunities to members through its many divisions dedicated to such areas as international criminology, women and crime, and people of color and crime. It also awards outstanding students and professionals within the field. 

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences: 

ACJS promotes education, research and policy analysis among students, scholars and professionals within the criminal justice field. Members receive access to two journals, a newsletter and an online employment bulletin. They participate in ACJS sections devoted to research, education and professional development in such fields as critical criminal justice, restorative and community justice, and victimology. 

National Criminal Justice Association

The NCJA advocates for justice reform and funding. Issues it addresses include crime reduction, victim services and drug treatment. Members include elected officials, legal professionals, researchers, and law enforcement and corrections officers. The NCJA offers professional training, recognizes outstanding justice and addiction programs, and connects advocates with law enforcement officials and policymakers.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Criminology Program?

Many criminologists exhibit written and verbal communication abilities that enable them to present reports to law enforcement, public officials, the press, and the public. Working in this field also requires data analysis competencies, leadership skills, and the ability to work under pressure.

Most online master’s in criminology programs require 33-36 credits, which takes most students about one or two years to complete. However, professionals who work full time while they study might need more time to graduate. The timeline might also depend on whether the program delivers coursework synchronously or asynchronously. A thesis, practicum, or internship requirement can also affect the time students need to complete the program.

Many criminology master’s programs offer specializations. Common options include conflict management, criminal behavior, global criminology, law and society, and victimology.

Some schools offer a master of business administration (MBA) in criminology, which prepares graduates for managerial roles. These programs typically provide courses in marketing, accounting, and supply chain management. A master of science (MS) tends to focus on quantitative research and laboratory work, while a master of arts (MA) often centers on a more sociological approach.

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Some criminology professionals require some form of authorization to gain employment. For instance, private investigators often need a license to work in their state. Other criminology professionals should see if their state requires particular qualifications or experience before applying for a license.

Universities offering online masters in criminology 

Missouri Southern State University 

Missouri Southern State University offers an affordable online master’s in criminal justice degree program with three available completion options–thesis, internship, or capstone. All classes are delivered online and include 18 hours of core courses like civil law and liability, criminal justice theory, ethics in criminal justice, overview of the criminal justice system, research methodology in criminal justice, and statistical analysis in criminal justice. Twelve credits of electives must also be taken and include courses like crime and criminal justice policy, death penalty in America, and law enforcement. Missouri Southern is a regionally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

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Network Engineer SalaryWichita State University

Wichita State University offers one of the most affordable online criminology degrees on our list is offered by Wichita State University. This fully online program has part-time and full-time options and allows students to enter the program in the fall, spring, or summer. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same university professors who teach on campus. Courses include criminal behavior, research methods in criminal justice, and statistical analysis in criminal justice. Wichita State University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a best national university and top-recommended institution by high school counselors.

East Carolina University

Earning an online master of science in criminal justice from East Carolina University indicates an education that prepares students fully for careers in criminal justice, advancement to doctoral work, or becoming credentialed in teaching criminal justice. Three graduate certificates in criminal justice education, security studies, and public management and leadership are available for independent completion or can be satisfied as part of the elective requirements for ECU’s online criminology master’s degree. ECU requires GRE scores for admission, three letters of reference, and a statement of purpose.

Indiana State University

The motto Blue believes in you at Indiana State University extends to their online criminology master’s degree. A master of science in criminology and criminal justice at ISU includes a concentration in either law enforcement or corrections in its 36 credit curriculum. Curriculum includes seminars in police problems and practices, law and criminal justice administration, and corrections. As the master of science is considered a terminal degree, for students pursuing doctoral work, Indiana State also offers an online master of arts in criminology and criminal justice.

Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University’s terminal master of science in criminal justice online fits the lifestyle of many working professionals eager to advance their career in criminal justice. The 36 credit curriculum includes critical analysis of justice administration, communication theory and administration of justice, and emergent issues in criminal justice leadership. GRE scores are not required for admission, but may be requested for students with an undergraduate GPA under 3.0. Students concerned about the cost of pursuing graduate education benefit from over 20 scholarships offered specifically to SHSU criminal justice students. also offers a master of science in criminal justice leadership and management

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Southeast Missouri State University

One of the most affordable master’s in criminology schools online is Southeast Missouri State University. The university offers an accredited online master’s in criminal justice degree program that is designed to accommodate working individuals who desire to advance their career trajectories in the criminal justice field. All classes are taught online and include civil law and liability, criminal justice theory, ethics in criminal justice, overview of the criminal justice system, research methodology in criminal justice, and statistical analysis in criminal justice. Southeast Missouri State is a top public school and regionally ranked university.

Liberty University

Accredited master’s in criminology online degree programs are designed to equip individuals for careers in corrections, local and state law enforcement, and other criminal justice fields. Liberty University offers an online master’s in criminal justice that is accredited and affordable. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach at the Lynchburg campus. These courses include administration of justice organizations, criminal justice integration, criminal justice program evaluation, leadership and ethics, and topics and trends in criminal justice. A thesis proposal, research, and defense are also required

Youngstown State University

This university ffers a type of master’s in criminology online degree program designed for those individuals seeking an evidence-based approach to criminal justice management and for those interested in pursuing doctoral level study. The program is offered entirely online in a flexible format that requires two courses per semester. Courses are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach on campus. Courses include advanced criminology, applied police and corrections management, law and criminal justice, program planning and evaluation, research methods in health and human services, and statistical techniques in health and human services. Youngstown is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best regional university in the Midwest.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University offers an accredited and affordable online masters in criminal justice program designed for busy professionals. The online degree program explores various topics in corrections, law, leadership, and major criminal justice trends. All classes are delivered online and include forensic science and medicolegal death investigation, hostage negotiations, leadership and supervision in criminal justice, personnel law, and public policy. Electives explore specialty topics like courtroom psychology and the impact of terrorism on homeland security. Saint Leo University is a regionally ranked institution.

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