Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is the study of the institutions and laws that exist to reduce and deter criminal behavior. Programs are designed to give students an understanding of the way the justice system functions. Earning a masters degree in criminal justice can give law enforcement agents the opportunity to advance into administrative roles.

Earning an online masters degree in criminal justice can take two to three years to complete, depending upon the individual program requirements. Some degrees can take less time, if students attend on a full-time basis. To find out how long a master degree in criminal justice will take you to complete, you can contact universities and compare program requirements and length.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice masters degree students study administration, ethics, and the way the criminal justice system functions. Students also study the social and societal issues that criminal justice officials address. Programs typically include research and instruction in theory as well. Some specific classes that online masters criminal justice degree students take include:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Community Theory and the Administration of Justice
  • Emergent Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods

Some programs offer students the option to complete a thesis at the culmination of their programs, though the exact thesis requirements will vary by school. Some may also include an internship as part of the program. Internships give students the opportunity to experience an administrative environment within the criminal justice field.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

Graduates from the best online masters degree programs in criminal justice typically go on to work in law enforcement. Though police officers, correctional officers, and probation officers typically only need a high school diploma or bachelor’s degree to fill positions, earning a master’s degree in criminal justice will allow these officials to establish careers in administration, or to advance up the career ladder.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers and detectives earn approximately $55,010 annually, while probation and correctional officers earn $47,200 annually. Advancement can lead to pay increases.


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