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Online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree

online criminal justice mastersIf you’re looking to further your education and prepare yourself to pursue a career that involves community service, leadership and decision making, you may want to look

into earning an online criminal justice masters degree.i  Criminal justice is a broad field, and earning a degree at this level might help you pursue one of a number of different careers. Keep reading for more information on how to do just this from online masters in criminal justice. 

Essentials of a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

Considered a second-cycle degree, or a graduate degree,ii a master’s degree may generally be earned by a student after he or she has completed a bachelor’s degree program.iii Typically demanding about one to two years of full-time coursework to complete, master’s degree programs may typically be available in two main categories: the research master’s degree and the professional master’s degree.ii Depending on which type of online criminal justice masters degrees you earn, you may be setting yourself up for any one of a number of outcomes, from pursuing a career to continuing your studies at the doctorate level.ii

Research master’s degrees may generally be offered in academic subjects.ii Typically, they might be fairly research- and writing-heavy, and could center on a large-scale project known as a master’s thesis.ii To graduate from a research master’s degree program, students may need to successfully defend their thesis in front of a special committee of faculty members.ii These degrees may help prepare students to continue their studies at a higher level.ii Research master’s degrees tend to have the common designations Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS).ii

Professional master’s degrees might instead be aimed toward preparing students to pursue specific careers after they graduate.ii As such, the coursework might be more narrowly targeted, focused on the roles and responsibilities of that career.ii  Professional master’s degrees might have field-specific titles, for example, the Master of Business Administration (MBA).ii

Concentrations in a Masters in Criminal Justice

Depending on the school and the program, it may be possible to choose a concentration, or a special area of focus within criminal justice, while earning your master’s degree. Though this option is not guaranteed, and different schools may have different options for concentrations, some potential examples of concentrations can be seen in the list below, encompassing many of the different aspects of criminal justice.

  • Cybercrime
  • Forensic science
  • Homeland security
  • Law enforcement administration
  • Legal Studies
  • Leadership

Keep in mind that these might vary by program. To best know what your options for concentrations are, you should feel free to reach directly out to each school you’re considering.

Coursework for an Online Masters Degree in Criminal Justice

There’s no such thing as a typical criminal justice master’s curriculum, and the topics covered during the course of study might vary depending on the school, program, concentration, or even by the individual student and their goals and interests. That being said, if you’re interested in what courses could potentially be available in a master’s of criminal justice degree program, check out the following list for some commonly covered class subjects:

Keep in mind that not every program may offer all, or even any, of these specific course subjects. Be sure to check out the curriculum for each school of your interest to know what their course offerings and requirements might be.

  • Research methods
  • Mental health and psychopathology
  • Ethics in criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Public policy
  • Organizational behavior
  • Constitutional law
  • Terrorism
  • Risk assessment
  • Interrogations

Potential Career Pursuits

One career you might be able to pursue after earning an online criminal justice masters might be in education, as a criminal justice college professor. While the most common entry-level education for professors might be a doctoral degree, 40% of those polled O*Net reported that an online masters degree in criminal justice was the level of education they needed to reach to qualify for their position. Criminal justice professors earned a median annual salary of $58,770. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate between 2014 and 2024.iv

Other criminal justice careers may not require a master’s degree, but it might help you stand out from the competition. Police detectives, for whom the entry-level education might range from a high school diploma to an associate’s degree, earned median yearly wages of $77,210 in 2015.

Getting Started with an Online Criminal Justice Masters

If you’re done reading and ready to start researching your options, feel free to get going right here on eLearners.com. Browse through our sponsored listings for an online criminal justice masters and make a note of the programs that might interest you. Then, don’t hesitate to reach out to the schools themselves, to request additional information, and see what might be the best online masters in criminal justice. Good luck!


[i]bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm#tab-4 [ii]ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/master.doc [iii]bls.gov/careeroutlook/2008/fall/art01.pdf [iv]onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1111.00#Education [v]onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01#Education [vi]onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01#WagesEmployment

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