Top Masters Programs in Criminal Justice

A vital first step in guaranteeing a high-quality education and a competitive edge in the field when contemplating a Master's in Criminal Justice is choosing a highly regarded university. These universities are well known for their demanding curricula, knowledgeable teachers, and solid ties to the criminal justice system. In order to assist you in making an informed choice regarding your academic path, we'll examine some of the top-ranked colleges and universities in the US that provide outstanding Master's in Criminal Justice programs in this guide. These universities have developed a prestigious reputation by continuously offering top-notch instruction, carrying out cutting-edge research, and keeping solid ties to the criminal justice community. 

These colleges guide through the complexities of the criminal justice system, law enforcement, criminological theory, and policy analysis by knowledgeable faculty members who are frequently seasoned practitioners themselves. Their knowledge and views enhance your education and offer useful viewpoints that are priceless in this area. Not to be overlooked, highly esteemed academic institutions uphold robust ties with the criminal justice sector, providing you with access to networking events, research opportunities, and internships that can propel your professional trajectory. Graduates from these institutions frequently gain from a network of alumni in key positions.

Harvard University logo
Ranked as:  #3 in Best National University
Tuition:  $50,654 per year
Total Cost:  $101,308 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Massachusetts
Acceptance:  5.01%

The Criminal Justice Institute is the curriculum-based criminal law clinical program of Harvard Law School. The mission of the Criminal Justice Institute is to educate Harvard Law School students in becoming effective, ethical and zealous criminal defense lawyer-advocates through practice in representing indigent individuals involved in the Massachusetts court system as well as to research and present issues and debates about the criminal and juvenile justice systems in order to affect local and national reform.

Harvard Law School is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in the life of the University. Students requesting accessibility resources or accommodations in any of HLS’s Clinical and Pro Bono Programs may work with Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office

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Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute

  • GRE Required:  Yes
  • Research Assistantships:  864
  • Teaching Assistantships:  1388
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Ranked as:  #15 in Best National University
Tuition:  $56,562 per year
Total Cost:  $113,124 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Missouri
Acceptance:  16.02%

The Law School has compiled the following list of upper-level courses currently or recently offered to guide students interested in criminal justice. Related clinics and/or externships are marked with an asterisk and grouped separately at the end of the list. The Law School offers the listed courses regularly, but some are not available every year. The Law School offers the following clinics and externships related to criminal justice: the Criminal Justice Clinic, the Prosecution Clinic, the Post-Conviction Relief Clinical Practicum, and the International Justice and conflict Resolution Externship.


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Criminal Justice - WashULaw

  • GRE Required:  Yes
  • Research Assistantships:  912
  • Teaching Assistantships:  474
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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor logo
Ranked as:  #25 in Best National University
Tuition:  $49,548
Total Cost:  $99,096 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Michigan
Acceptance:  26.11%

The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers a distinguished Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice designed by esteemed faculty members well-versed in the intricacies of the field. Tailored for individuals seeking to advance in research, management, policy positions, or considering further enrollment in a Ph.D. program, this comprehensive program is structured to accommodate diverse schedules and preferences, featuring both thesis and non-thesis options. The program comprises 30-32 credits and includes a blend of traditional, evening, and online courses for added flexibility.

For those opting for the thesis track, the program mandates the completion of CRJ 699 Criminology & Criminal Justice Master’s Thesis, a comprehensive four-hour undertaking where students work closely with their graduate faculty advisor to determine a research topic. The culmination of the thesis requires approval from the CRJ Program Director and grants four hours of thesis credit. A prerequisite for this course is the successful completion of CRJ 518 Criminal Justice Research Methods.

Alternatively, the non-thesis track necessitates the completion of CRJ 599 Criminology & Criminal Justice Master’s Essay, comprising a three-hour commitment. Non-thesis students are tasked with producing a substantive essay that addresses the practical application of theoretical concepts or substantive issues in criminology and criminal justice within the context of contemporary field practices. The topic for the essay must be pre-approved and subsequently endorsed upon completion by the respective graduate faculty advisor.

Prospective students targeted by this program include seasoned professionals in the criminal justice domain aspiring to ascend to pivotal policymaking or administrative roles. Additionally, it caters to individuals aspiring to pursue an academic trajectory in criminology and criminal justice, with ambitions to subsequently pursue a doctoral program in the field.

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Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

  • GRE Required:  No
  • Research Assistantships:  1965
  • Teaching Assistantships:  2146
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University of Florida logo
Ranked as:  #29 in Best National University
Tuition:  $30,130 per year
Total Cost:  $60,260 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Florida
Acceptance:  31.13%

The University of Florida's Department of Criminology, Law, and Society offers a conducive environment for advanced training in the fields of criminology and law and society. This department stands out due to its substantial academic community, diverse intellectual resources, and well-established specialty areas, making it an attractive choice for individuals seeking graduate-level education.

For prospective students, key program information is as follows: The program's duration varies depending on the specific degree program but typically spans 24 months, requiring a total of 36 credit hours. The estimated total cost for the program is approximately $14,000, considering the credit hours required. The program accepts up to 2 credits for transfer to acknowledge relevant previous coursework. Additionally, students must complete a thesis as part of their program to demonstrate their in-depth research and analytical skills, with scholarships available for qualified students to provide financial support for their academic pursuits.

The department is backed by a distinguished faculty consisting of 12 criminologists who are dedicated to advancing knowledge and expertise in these fields. With a strong academic foundation and a variety of academic opportunities, the department is known for providing students with the necessary tools to pursue advanced studies.

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Masters of Science in Criminal Justice at University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

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Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus logo
Ranked as:  #44 in Best National University
Tuition:  $31,334 per year
Total Cost:  $62,668 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Georgia
Acceptance:  21.34%

Georgia State's Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology is a leading institution in the field of crime and criminal justice. They offer a range of academic programs to meet the increasing demand for professional preparation in criminal justice careers, including a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in criminal justice and criminology. The department is ranked No. 18 in Criminology by U.S. News & World Report in 2022.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.) is a 36-credit-hour program that can be completed in 2 years with full-time enrollment. Graduates of this program will possess a strong theoretical foundation in criminal justice and criminology, advanced analytical and communication skills, and the ability to apply their knowledge effectively to real-world issues. Career opportunities for M.S. graduates are diverse and include positions with the FBI, ATF, GBI, EPA, Secret Service, various local and state law enforcement and correctional agencies, probation and parole agencies, juvenile justice agencies, and research branches of government agencies.

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Masters of Science in Criminal Justice

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Florida State University logo
Ranked as:  #55 in Best National University
Tuition:  $26,707 per year
Total Cost:  $53,414 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Florida
Acceptance:  32.45%

The Florida State University (FSU) College of Criminology boasts a top-ranking doctoral program, consistently recognized as the nation's premier choice in the field, as evidenced by multiple publications in The Journal of Criminal Justice Education. Here, students become integral members of a prestigious academic community, benefiting from the expertise of some of the nation's most prolific scholars.

This comprehensive doctoral program offers:

  • The flexibility of a program duration ranges from 12 to 72 months.
  • A credit hour requirement of 24 credits to fulfill academic prerequisites.
  • Mandatory completion of a thesis for program fulfillment.

Within this program, students gain a wide experience of research and publication opportunities along with close collaboration with faculty members, providing valuable research and publication experience by participating in groundbreaking research projects. The program offers the chance to work in partnership with renowned scholars on significant research initiatives. These collaborations result in conference presentations, published research, and the formulation of recommendations for policy enhancements. These achievements greatly enhance the attractiveness of students as candidates for prospective employers.

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PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice

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University of Miami logo
Ranked as:  #55 in Best National University
Tuition:  $40,220 per year
Total Cost:  $80,440 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Florida
Acceptance:  33.09%

The Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Miami offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree and Graduate Certificate programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice. These programs provide interdisciplinary knowledge encompassing criminology and criminal justice, equipping students to analyze policy and practice within the U.S. criminal justice system. Training includes criminological and criminal justice theory, as well as quantitative research methods, fostering a comprehensive understanding of crime etiology, control, and prevention.

In terms of program specifics, the Master of Science (M.S.) degree requires 30 credits for graduation and offers options for a final project, such as an internship project and paper, a Master's thesis, or a comprehensive exam. The program allows students to enroll in the fall or spring and complete their degrees in four semesters. The Graduate Certificate entails 15 credit hours that can be completed in two semesters with full enrollment.

The programs, primarily located in the Department of Sociology and Criminology, allow M.S. students to choose specialization tracks to align with their professional goals. These tracks span areas like leadership and management, criminal law, research methods, and statistics. Additionally, students can access courses from esteemed faculty across various University of Miami departments and colleges, including Sociology and Criminology, Political Science, Geography, and Psychology, as well as the Schools of Education and Human Development, Business Administration, Communication, and Law.

Moreover, a Graduate Certificate option allows students to acquire additional knowledge in criminology and criminal justice without completing the full M.S. program. For those who do not meet all admission requirements for the M.S. program, initial admission to the Certificate program is possible.

The programs are led by a faculty comprising seven core members from the Department of Sociology and Criminology, with additional opportunities to learn from scholars across the University of Miami. Specialization and completion tracks are customizable to align with students' professional objectives. Given its smaller size, the program offers small class sizes and personal attention to help students achieve their educational and career goals.

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Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Miami

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University of Maryland-College Park logo
Ranked as:  #55 in Best National University
Tuition:  $30,885 per year
Total Cost:  $61,770 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Maryland
Acceptance:  50.96%

The graduate program leading to Traditional Master of Arts and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice is designed to prepare students for roles in research, teaching, and professional employment within operational agencies in the field of criminal justice. This program integrates a strong foundation in social science disciplines such as criminology, criminal justice, sociology, psychology, and public policy with advanced study in specific facets of crime and criminal justice.

The program encompasses a total of 45 credits and requires the completion of a dissertation as part of the doctoral program. A recent study analyzing the outcomes of Department M.A. and Ph.D. alumni reveals that master's degree graduates have successfully secured employment in both public and private institutions, engaging in various activities related to the criminal justice system, including research, teaching, federal, state, and local law enforcement, court-related roles, corrections, private security, and participation in funded programs.

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Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Maryland-College Park

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Ranked as:  #55 in Best National University
Tuition:  $32,132 per year
Total Cost:  $64,264 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  New Jersey
Acceptance:  66.93%

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at Rutgers-Newark is dedicated to preparing students for roles of leadership and responsibility in government organizations, non-profit sectors, and academic careers. The program focuses on equipping students to effectively drive positive change within their respective communities of practice. This objective is achieved through a comprehensive curriculum and hands-on experiences that encompass contemporary crime, justice, and law enforcement policies and practices. Additionally, students benefit from state-of-the-art training in social science research and methods.

Key program features include a 30-credit MA program with the option of a 3-semester track and a 12-month completion track, which includes fall, spring, and summer sessions. Furthermore, the program offers online class options to accommodate diverse student needs and schedules. Students can also engage in research and internship opportunities to gain practical experience in the field.

The program holds impressive rankings, having been ranked 7th in the U.S. News & World Report's list of Best Criminology Schools and 11th among the Best Criminal Justice Universities by UniversityHQ.

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Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University

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Ranked as:  #89 in Best National University
Tuition:  $32,268 per year
Total Cost:  $64,536 * This tuition data is based on IPEDS. For the latest tuition amount, refer to the respective college websites.
State:  Texas
Acceptance:  48.03%

Texas Christian University offers a Master of Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice that is a nationally recognized distance learning program tailored for working professionals, individuals aiming for doctoral studies, and college graduates who seek an in-depth understanding of criminology and criminal justice. This fully online, two-year program stands out for its flexibility, allowing students to pursue an advanced degree without compromising their professional and family commitments.

Before the commencement of the program, there is a half-day orientation that provides an opportunity for students to connect with their cohort and faculty, fostering a community from the start. The orientation is the only component of the program that is not online.

Designed to cultivate critical analytical skills, the curriculum enables students to tackle contemporary criminal justice issues, engage with current research, and contribute to policy development. The coursework is a blend of scholarly research, empirical data analysis, and the diverse personal experiences of both the faculty and students in the criminal justice sector. This integrative approach ensures that students, regardless of their prior experience in criminology or criminal justice, benefit from a dynamic and interactive learning experience.

The criminology and criminal justice graduate program at TCU is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), ensuring a high standard of academic quality. Furthermore, TCU's participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) allows the program to welcome students from across the nation, making it accessible to a broad audience of learners eager to advance their knowledge and careers in this field.

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Master’s in Criminology & Criminal Justice

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How long does it take to complete a Master's in Criminal Justice?

A number of variables, such as the particular program, your enrollment status, and whether you choose to study full- or part-time, can affect how long it takes to earn a Master's in Criminal Justice. Most Master's in Criminal Justice programs take 1.5 to 2 years to finish on average, with full-time study. Following is a list of the different variables that can impact the timeline:

Part-Time Vs Full Time: Full-time students often finish their Master's in Criminal Justice degrees in around 1.5 to 2 years, which equates to 3 to 4 semesters of coursework. Part-time students typically finish their programs in about 1.5 to 2 years. Because they take fewer courses, part-time students, who are frequently working professionals, may need longer to complete the program—typically 2 to 3 years or more. A full-time Master's in Criminal Justice degree is available at Yale University; the program's normal length is 1.5 to 2 years. While Georgetown University offers a part-time Master of Arts in Applied Intelligence for working professionals, students adhere to a demanding course schedule with options for specialized tracks. This allows students to complete the program at their own pace over an extended period of time, typically ranging from 2 to 4 years.

Credit Requirements: The time it takes you to get your degree can also depend on the availability of courses and scheduling possibilities. While some programs follow a typical academic schedule, others provide courses all year long, allowing for rapid completion. While Northeastern University's Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice offers evening and online courses for part-time students, allowing them to balance work and study commitments, Boston University's full-time Master's in Criminal Justice program offers courses on a traditional academic calendar, allowing students to graduate in about 2 years.

Course Scheduling: The number of courses you can take and the scheduling options you have can both affect how long it takes you to earn your degree. While some programs operate on a typical academic schedule, others provide year-round course offerings that enable rapid completion. In contrast to Northeastern University's Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Boston University's full-time Master's in Criminal Justice program offers evening and online courses for part-time students, allowing them to balance work and study commitments. This allows students to graduate in about two years.

Thesis or Capstone Requirement: Your degree's completion time may be extended if your program calls for the completion of a thesis or capstone project. An extensive study or an original piece of research can take several months to complete. A thesis option is available in the Master's in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. While part-time students may extend their studies to accommodate thesis research, full-time students typically finish the program in two years.

Transfer Credits: Some students might be able to transfer credits from earlier courses or comparable degrees, which could reduce the time needed to finish their Master's program. According to earlier academic success, Rutgers University offers transfer credits for pertinent coursework, enabling both full-time and part-time students to decrease the length of their Master's program.

Prerequisites: The length of your Master's program may be impacted if you need to complete prerequisites, such as particular undergraduate courses or fundamental knowledge.

Understanding the program requirements, credit hours, and scheduling choices of the individual universities and programs you are interested in is crucial. If you want to determine how long it will take you to successfully complete your Master's in Criminal Justice, you should also take into account your own obligations and whether you intend to study full- or part-time.

What are the prerequisites for a Master's in Criminal Justice?

Depending on the school and program, there may be different requirements for a Master's in Criminal Justice. However, when applying for such programs, you can run into a few standard requirements and broad eligibility standards. 

Here are some standard requirements:

A bachelor's degree: A bachelor's degree from an approved university is typically required for admission to master's programs in criminal justice. Having a foundation in criminal justice, criminology, sociology, psychology, or a related topic can be helpful, even though it is not always necessary to have a specific college degree.

Minimum GPA: A minimum undergraduate GPA is frequently needed for entrance to programs. Although this threshold can change, it normally falls between 2.5 and 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. There can be higher GPA requirements for some extremely competitive programs.

Letters of reference: Letters of reference are frequently requested from sources who can attest to an applicant's qualifications and readiness for graduate-level study. Typically, these sources are academic or professional. There may be fewer or more letters required, but two to three letters are usually needed.

Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement: The majority of programs require a statement of purpose or personal statement detailing your academic and professional objectives, your motivation for obtaining a Master's in Criminal Justice, and how the program fits with your ambitions.

Resume/ CV: A recent resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is typically necessary to give a thorough overview of your educational and professional background.

GRE/ GMAT Scores: Both Ohio State University and the University of Michigan require the GRE as a requirement for their respective programs. If prospective students are interested in these programs, they should be prepared to meet the GRE standards as forth by these universities. Candidates must thoroughly examine the admission requirements of the university and program they have chosen in order to ascertain if GRE scores are necessary or optional and to ensure they meet the particular prerequisites for admission. Candidates may want to consider their individual qualifications and preferences when deciding whether to submit GRE results in their application.

GMAT or GRE scores may be required for admission to some schools, but this isn't always the case. However, more and more programs are dropping the test requirement, especially for candidates with a lot of job experience. Many universities, such as Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania, have test-optional policies for their programs that provide applicants the option of adding or deleting their GRE scores from their application. On the other hand, a small number of institutions, such as the University of Florida, the University of Texas at Austin, and the campuses of the University of California in Berkeley and Los Angeles, require the GRE as a condition for applicants. Check out No GRE colleges for a smoother admission process.

Transcripts: Applicants are required to produce authentic transcripts from every institution or university they have attended in the past. Your academic record and bachelor's degree should be supported by these transcripts.

Interview: As part of the admissions process, some schools may demand an interview. The admissions committee can determine your eligibility for the program during this interview, which can be conducted in person, over the phone, or via video conference.

Prerequisite Courses: Some programs could demand that applicants pass a particular set of prerequisite classes, especially if their undergraduate education had little to do with criminal justice or a closely related topic. Introduction to criminal justice or research methodologies may be required courses.

The precise admission requirements of the Master's in Criminal Justice program you are interested in should be checked, as they might differ greatly amongst institutions. Additionally, even if you fall short of all the requirements, you can still be accepted but you might need to take extra classes to make up for any gaps in your past knowledge.

Can I get a Master's in Criminal Justice with a Bachelor's in another field?

Even if your Bachelor's degree is in a field unrelated to criminal justice or a closely related discipline, you can often pursue a Master's in criminal justice. Since admissions committees frequently respect the diversity of perspectives and experiences among their student body, many Master's in Criminal Justice programs are open to applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds. Many Master's in Criminal Justice programs are open to work with applicants without a background in criminal justice, even if some may require prospective students to finish prerequisite coursework in criminology or criminal justice. To assist students in developing the requisite foundational knowledge, these programs could provide bridging courses or extra resources.

Here are key considerations if you hold a Bachelor's degree in a different field and wish to pursue a Master's in Criminal Justice:

1. Prerequisite Courses: Certain programs may necessitate specific prerequisite courses to ensure you have foundational knowledge in criminal justice or related areas. These prerequisites can differ by institution, so it's important to review the admission requirements of your chosen program.

Examples: 

Harvard University: To ensure that applicants have a fundamental understanding of the topic, Harvard's Master's program in Criminal Justice program may require prospective students to have finished prerequisite courses in areas like criminal justice, criminology, or related fields.

Stanford University: As part of its entrance requirements, Stanford's program may demand that students have taken preparatory courses in disciplines like criminal justice, sociology, or research methodologies.

University of Pennsylvania: To establish their preparation for the Master's in Criminal Justice degree, applicants may be required to have passed specified prerequisite courses in criminal justice, legal studies, or a related field.

Columbia University: As part of its entrance requirements, Columbia's curriculum could need applicants to have experience in criminology, criminal justice, or similar subjects.

2. Statement of Purpose: Despite having a different undergraduate background, you have the chance to explain why you want to pursue a Master's in Criminal Justice in your application. Highlight any relevant experiences or abilities that help to establish you as a strong contender.

3. Letters of recommendation: LOR from academic or professional sources that may attest to your suitability for graduate-level studies can strengthen your application.

4. Interviews: Some programs interview candidates to see whether they are a good fit for the program. Make use of the opportunity to talk about your interest in the subject and your capacity for graduate studies.

5. Work Experience: When applying to Master's in Criminal Justice programs, relevant work experience might be helpful, particularly in disciplines related to law enforcement, criminal justice, social work, or public policy. Any relevant experience should be highlighted in your application.

6. GRE Scores: You might need to submit your GRE scores, depending on the program. As was previously indicated, many programs are embracing test-optional rules, particularly for candidates with significant job experience.

7. Research Initiatives: Examine different programs' admissions standards. Some programs may be more accommodating than others when it comes to accepting applicants from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds.

In conclusion, although a Bachelor's degree in a related topic might serve as a starting point for pursuing a Master's in Criminal Justice, it's not unusual for people with a variety of academic backgrounds to successfully seek additional degrees in this profession. Your academic background, relevant experiences, and your capacity to contribute to the program's learning community are frequently taken into account while making admissions decisions. Make sure you carefully research the entry requirements of the particular program you are interested in and get in touch with their admissions offices for any clarifications that may be required.

What courses are included in a Master's in Criminal Justice?

Depending on the university, the focus of the program, and the specialization chosen, if any, the precise courses included in a Master's in Criminal Justice program can change. Here is a broad summary of some of the typical courses that students in a Master's in Criminal Justice program might take. These classes are meant to give students the knowledge and abilities necessary for various positions in criminal justice, law enforcement, and related fields:

Criminological Theory: This course examines a variety of ideas that attempt to explain criminal behavior. Students examine many viewpoints, such as sociological, psychological, and economic theories, on crime and its causes.

Research Methods in Criminal Justice: The procedures for data analysis and research methodologies are covered in this course. Students gain knowledge on how to get information, analyze it, and assess the results. 

Ethics in Criminal Justice: Examines the ethical problems and choices that individuals working in the criminal justice system may face. Students talk about issues like force use, police misbehavior, and moral decision-making.

Criminal Law and Procedure: An in-depth examination of criminal law, court processes, and legal principles. Students study criminal laws, constitutional rights, and case law.

Law Enforcement and Policing: Emphasizes the function of law enforcement organizations, police practices, and community policing. Students study subjects like police management, police-community interactions, and crime prevention.

Policing and Law Enforcement: Focuses on the role of law enforcement agencies, police procedures, and community policing. Students explore topics like crime prevention, police-community relations, and police management.

Victimology: The study of crime victims' experiences and the effects of crime on both individuals and communities. Students investigate victim assistance programs and regulations.

Juvenile Justice: It focuses on the juvenile justice system, preventing delinquency, and the rehabilitation of young offenders. Students gain knowledge of the special facets of working with juvenile offenders.

Criminal Justice Policy: Examines the formulation and assessment of criminal justice policies. Students evaluate present regulations and think about changes that might be made.

Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: Examines digital evidence analysis, computer forensics, and developments in cybercrime. Students learn how to secure digital networks and track down fraudsters.

Please be informed that these courses' availability and exact content can differ between universities and may be influenced by the program's concentration and any specializations you may have chosen. To meet the demands of working professionals, certain programs may also offer online or hybrid courses. To find out the exact course offerings and prerequisites for their selected degree, students should review the curriculum.

Can I work full-time while pursuing a Master's in Criminal Justice? Are there any part-time Master's programs in Criminal Justice?

Yes, it is feasible to work full-time while completing a master's in criminal justice. To accommodate working professionals, many universities offer part-time master's programs in criminal justice. Numerous Master of Criminal Justice schools are aware that many of their students may be employed professionals with ongoing obligations. They frequently provide online or hybrid programs, flexible class schedules, evening or weekend class options, and so on. With these choices, you can continue working a full-time job while pursuing your degree. 

Flexibility: Seek out programs that permit flexibility in terms of the hours and structures of the classes. It may be simpler to reconcile employment and study with online or evening programs.

Time management: This is extremely important when pursuing a Master's degree while working a full-time job. Make a study timetable that takes into account your work schedule and other obligations.

Program Length: Although part-time enrollment might make your program go longer, it gives you the flexibility to adapt your study around your schedule.

Part-Time Masters in Criminal Justice Programs:

Part-time Criminal justice master's programs are specially made to suit students who have jobs or other obligations during the day. These courses normally take place on weekends or in the evenings, however, they may also be available online.

When looking at part-time programs, take into account the following:

Examine the program's course schedule to see whether it fits with your availability. In order to accommodate people who are working, part-time programs frequently provide classes on the weekends and in the evenings.

Online Resources Some part-time programs offer online courses, giving students who might have erratic work schedules or can't attend in-person classes more flexibility.

Program length: Part-time courses typically require more time to finish than full-time courses. Understand the program's anticipated duration and how it relates to your long-term goals.

Check to see if the program offers support services designed specifically for part-time students, including networking opportunities, career counseling, and academic advice.

Top colleges offer flexible choices for working professionals to further their careers while juggling their employment duties through part-time Master's in Criminal Justice programs. 

Here are some of the part-time criminal justice master's programs:

Harvard University offers a Master in Public Administration in Criminal Justice, with the flexibility of enrolling in their Flexible Executive Education Programs, which can be accommodating for working professionals.

At Stanford University, you can pursue a Master of Science in Legal Studies with a focus on Criminal Justice. This program provides a part-time format option within its Legal Studies program to cater to various scheduling needs.

The University of Pennsylvania provides a Master of Science in Criminology program, and it offers a part-time option for those who require flexibility in their schedules while pursuing their degree.

Columbia University offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice through its School of Professional Studies. This program includes a part-time option, making it suitable for individuals who are working professionals seeking career advancement.

The University of Chicago offers a Master of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Crime and Justice. This program is designed to accommodate working professionals with a flexible pace of study.

Northeastern University provides a Master's in Criminal Justice program, which includes a part-time format to cater to the needs of working professionals who want to balance their careers and education effectively.

Most Online courses offer flexibility and reduce financial burden while making it feasible to work full-time and still complete the course. Students might want to check out that option before committing to a traditional program.

How much does a Master's in Criminal Justice cost?

The cost of a Master's in Criminal Justice can vary widely depending on the specific college or university, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident, whether you attend full-time or part-time, and whether you receive any financial aid or scholarships. Here are some examples of the cost of Master's in Criminal Justice programs at top colleges:

Harvard University: Regardless of whether a student is a resident of the state or not, the tuition for a Master's in Criminal Justice at Harvard University is $75,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Stanford University: Stanford University's Master of Criminal Justice program costs $77,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

University of Pennsylvania: For both in-state and out-of-state students seeking a Master's in Criminal Justice at the University of Pennsylvania, the tuition is set at $70,000.

Columbia University: The cost of the Master's in Criminal Justice program at Columbia University is $73,000 for both in-state and out-of-state applicants.

Northeastern University: Both in-state and out-of-state students must pay the same $55,000 tuition for Northeastern University's Master of Criminal Justice degree.

Michigan State University: The cost of a master's degree in criminal justice at Michigan State University is $27,000 for in-state students. However, out-of-state students pay a greater amount of $47,000.

Sam Houston State University: The Master's in Criminal Justice program at Sam Houston State University has an in-state tuition rate of $24,000 and an out-of-state tuition rate of $46,000.

Florida State University: Florida State University charges a tuition price of $28,000 for in-state students and $50,000 for out-of-state students for their Master's in Criminal Justice program.

Here are some suggestions for paying for a Master's in criminal justice at a prestigious university:

1. Submit an application for scholarships: Students pursuing a Master's in Criminal Justice have access to a variety of scholarships. While some scholarships are provided by the universities themselves, others come from outside agencies like the American Society of Criminology and the National Institute of Justice.

2. Submit a financial assistance application: Students can submit a financial aid application to help defray the cost of tuition and living expenses. Loans and grants are the two most popular forms of financial aid for graduate students.

3. Take into account an assistantship: Many graduate programs provide students with assistantships. Typically, assistantships entail working part-time for the institution while receiving a stipend and a tuition waiver.

Is a Master's in Criminal Justice worth it?

Law enforcement, the court system, corrections, and numerous allied fields are all included in the dynamic and complicated field of criminal justice. The panorama of crime and justice changes along with societies. Individuals can dig deeper into this complex field by earning a master's degree in criminal justice, which provides them with the advanced knowledge and abilities they need to meet the demands of contemporary law enforcement, criminal investigation, and policy analysis. A Master's degree can open doors to specialization, job growth, and a greater comprehension of societal problems related to crime and punishment in this constantly changing field.  Your career objectives, hobbies, and individual circumstances will all play a role in determining if obtaining a Master's in criminal justice is worthwhile. 

 Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Career Advancement: Your career progression in the criminal justice, correctional, or similar fields would be greatly accelerated by earning a Master's degree in the field. For instance, the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree at Yale University offers courses like "Advanced Policing Strategies" and "Criminal Justice Leadership." By educating graduates for top positions in law enforcement like police supervisors, detectives, or administrators of correctional facilities, these schools help people develop their careers.
  • Specialization: Many notable colleges offer specialized tracks within their Master's in Criminal Justice programs, including the University of Florida and Georgetown University. In the University of Florida's program, for instance, there is a specialization in "Criminal Justice Policy and Administration." If your interest lies in criminal justice policy, this specialization can provide you with the expertise needed to work as a policy analyst for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or research institutions.
  • Research and Analytical Skills: A Master’s program typically includes intensive research and analytical courses, which help you develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These transferable skills can be used in various roles outside of the criminal justice field, for example, as a market research analyst or data analyst in various industries. At Georgetown University, for example, their Master’s degree program includes courses such as Quantitative Research Methods and Qualitative Research Methods, which allow graduates to conduct detailed research in the criminal justice field.
  • Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics:  If you’re passionate about cybersecurity and want to pursue a career in digital forensic analysis, a Master’s can provide you with specialized training, such as courses like “Cybercrime” and “Digital Evidence,” which can help you work with law enforcement or private companies investigating cybercrimes to protect sensitive data.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Applications: The skills acquired in these programs are transferable and can be used in many different jobs. For example, at Yale University, courses such as “Criminology Theory” and “Research Methods In Criminal Justice” prepare graduates for careers in criminal justice as well as other fields such as social work and public policy, as well as business management. These skills can be of great value as crime data analysts, risk analysts, or research consultants. 

Hence, if you’re looking for a way to advance your career, and pursue a Master’s in Criminal Justice from a top-tier university like Yale, Florida, or Georgetown, you’re in the right place. Make sure to research specific programs to match your interests and educational and career aspirations.

What types of research are involved in a Master's in Criminal Justice?

Different forms of research are conducted as part of a Master's in Criminal Justice degree to hone students' analytical and critical thinking abilities and to prepare them for careers in the area. The following research specialties are covered in a master's program in criminal justice:

Quantitative Research: Quantitative research is centered on statistical analysis and numerical data. The skills necessary to gather, examine, and interpret quantitative data are taught to students in order to study crime trends, evaluate program outcomes, or determine the effectiveness of criminal justice interventions.

Qualitative Research: Investigating non-numerical data, such as that from interviews, focus groups, and text content analysis, is the emphasis of qualitative research. Students evaluate policy texts, examine stakeholder viewpoints, and gain insights into people's experiences inside the criminal justice system using qualitative approaches.

Analytical Research: Students may do policy analysis research to assess the effects of criminal justice policies and offer suggestions for policy upgrades. The effectiveness, equity, and unexpected repercussions of policies are frequently evaluated in this research. Students may do program or policy assessment research to evaluate the effects and outcomes of certain criminal justice initiatives, interventions, or reforms. Making decisions based on evidence is aided by this research.

Capstone or Thesis: Many Master's in Criminal Justice programs demand that students complete a thesis or capstone project, which often includes independent study on a chosen area of interest. Students have the option to perform original research, analyze data, and write an extensive report.

These show how students with a Master's in Criminal Justice degree engage in a variety of research tasks, from in-depth qualitative investigations and policy evaluations to quantitative analysis of crime data. These research opportunities give students the abilities and knowledge required to support the development of evidence-based criminal justice policies and decision-making.

Which colleges for Masters in Criminal Justice accept transfer credits?

Transfer credits are accepted by the majority of universities that offer Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice degrees, while the amount of credits that can be transferred varies by institution. It is crucial to inquire about transfer credit policies with the particular program you are interested in. Saving time and money by transferring credits to a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree is a smart option. You might be able to finish your degree more quickly and for less money by transferring credits.

A few universities that accept transfer credits and have MS in Criminal Justice programs are listed below:

Up to 9 transfer credits are accepted by Arizona State University's Master of Criminal Justice program.

The Master's degree in criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University also permits students to transfer up to 9 credits from their prior graduate study.

Up to 6 credits may be transferred to George Mason University's Master of Criminal Justice degree.

If Indiana University Bloomington is on your radar, you should know that they have a liberal transfer credit policy that lets students transfer up to 12 credits into their Master's degree.

Up to 12 credits from prior coursework may be transferred into Northeastern University's Master of Criminal Justice degree.

The Master of Criminal Justice program at Ohio State University permits students to transfer up to 6 credits.

Rutgers University has a policy that permits up to 9 transfer credits to be transferred toward their Master's program for students who are interested in attending.

It should be noted that not all credits will transfer. Your transcripts will be reviewed by the program you are transferring to in order to ascertain which courses meet their requirements. Additionally, they might have standards for grades when transferring credits.

Are there universities offering online Master's in Criminal Justice?

Online Master's degree in Criminal Justice is offered by 104 US universities. The tuition for the Master's degree can range from $5,000 per year at Walden University to $79,800 at George Washington University.

Online Master's in Criminal Justice

Are there any one year masters programs in Criminal Justice?

A full-time Master’s program is usually a 2-year program, but there are accredited and Nationally ranked universities that offer 1-year and 18-month Master’s programs. An 18-month program can be completed in one year because if you are able to complete the credit requirements, you can get the degree in 1 year.

32 Universities offer On-campus Masters's Program within One Year - 18 months. The tuition for a Master's can range from $5,400 to $55,452.

On-campus Masters 1 year - 18 months in Criminal Justice

Which are the accredited universities that offer phd/doctoral programs offered in Criminal Justice?

60 universities offer graduate PHD program in Criminal Justice

Best Criminal Justice graduate PHD programs

Are there colleges for the Criminal Justice Masters program that do not require GRE/GMAT?

Quite a few accredited universities have waived off the GRE score requirements for admissions to Masters programs. 723 offer Graduate programs in Criminal Justice. Below are listed 10 universities that do not require GRE/GMAT for admission to Master's program. For viewing the all the schools that have waived off GRE/GMAT for the admission, use Match Me Masters.

No GRE schools for Masters in Criminal Justice

How much does it cost to get a Master's in Criminal Justice and how to find the most affordable Masters program?

Master's degree in Criminal Justice is offered by 719 US universities. The tuition for the Master's degree can range from $5,400 per year at Guilford College to $57,666 at Boston University.

The tuition at public universities will be lower for in-state students when compared to private universities but you get more financial aid at private universities.

Most affordable Master's program in Criminal Justice

What is the GRE score required for admission to Master's degree in Criminal Justice?

Gre score requirements differ from school to school. Most colleges do not publish the cutoff scores. For example 723 universities offer Master's programs in Criminal Justice.

Roger Williams University: Note: Applicants with an overall GPA below 3.00 (B) are strongly encouraged to take either the GRE or MAT.

Kennesaw State University: GRE Score Report NOT needed if the applicant has one of the following other records of external validation:

Gre score requirements for Master's program in Criminal Justice

Is it worth getting a master's degree in Criminal Justice?

Before you invest 2-3 years of your life and anywhere between $40,000 - $110,00 of your hard earned money, students do ask as to what is the return on investment on the Master's degree. Here are some of the statistics from bls.gov.


Career Outlook

Overall employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. About 139,600 openings for postsecondary teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for postsecondary teachers was $80,560 in May 2020. Number of Jobs in 2020 was 1,276,900.

Career Opportunities with master's degree in Criminal Justice


Job Title 2020 median Pay Number of Jobs Job Outlook What they do
Financial Examiners $81,430 70,800 Employment of financial examiners is projected to grow 18 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 6,900 openings for financial examiners are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Financial examiners ensure compliance with laws that govern institutions handling monetary transactions.
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary $80,560 1,276,900 Overall employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. About 139,600 openings for postsecondary teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.
Emergency Management Directors $76,250 10,500 Employment of emergency management directors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 1,000 openings for emergency management directors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters or other emergencies. They also help lead the response during and after emergencies.
Transit and Railroad Police $67,290 795,000 Overall employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 67,100 openings for police and detectives are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.
Detectives and Criminal Investigators $67,290 795,000 Overall employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 67,100 openings for police and detectives are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.

How can I compare the Criminal Justice Graduate Programs?

Compare the GRE score requirements, admission details, credit requirements and tuition for the Master's Program, from 723 universities offering Graduate School Programs in Criminal Justice. Compare Graduate School Programs in Criminal Justice

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Anonymous
1 month ago
This is a valuable resource for anyone considering a Master's in Criminal Justice. The breakdown of factors affecting program duration is insightful, especially for working professionals. Highlighting strong faculty and practical learning opportunities at Harvard and Michigan was helpful. It clarifies that the best choice depends on your career goals in law or research/policy. Thanks for providing this clear and informative guide!
Anonymous
7 months ago
How competitive are admissions in the best universities for graduate programs in Criminal Justice?