Here are pertinent questions and answers for prospective students seeking a criminal justice master’s degree online:
What should students look for in an online criminal justice master’s program?
After a prospective master’s student examines the university’s accreditations and GRE requirements, compare the graduation requirements of the program (total number of credits), the curriculum, and the cost of tuition.
Do employers accept master’s degrees earned online?
Most universities offer the same criminal justice master’s degree as their brick-and-mortar programs. Your university will not indicate that you earned the degree online. Finally, employers may favor online degrees that are earned at universities known for their on-campus degrees.
Is financial aid available for students to help with tuition and fees?
Federal student loans, grants and work study assistance is open to students enrolled in an accredited online master’s degree program. In addition, there are scholarships available from states, universities, and professional criminal justice associations. Learn more about financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Will my degree qualify me for advanced policing?
Based on education and experience, you’ll be qualified to advance to leadership, program management, evidence analysis, and staff-training positions.
What kind of documentation will I need when applying to a graduate criminal justice program?
Most programs will require proof of completion of an undergraduate program, a professional resume documenting relevant experience, college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of goals. Many departments still require GRE scores. Some will waive the exam if a student has completed a prior master’s program or earned a bachelor’s degree with a strong GPA.
Is it better to choose a thesis or opt for a comprehensive exam?
The thesis option is a good choice for students who plan to conduct research or move into university teaching after completing a doctoral degree. Thesis students may need additional time to complete their online master’s. The comprehensive examination measures students’ wide-range understanding of the criminal justice leadership role for advancement in the field.
Are professional criminal justice organizations and associations a good resource for students?
There are more than a dozen professional criminal justice associations in the nation serving students and the professions. Among them are the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, American Correctional Association, National Criminal Justice Association, and International Association of Women Police.
Should students pursue a specialization area in their online master’s degree in criminal justice?
It all depends on a student’s career goals within their chosen profession. Specializations listed on a student’s diploma demonstrate in-depth training for specific roles, improving their opportunity for advancement in their sector of the justice system. A student may prefer a degree without specializations if their goal is to work in different sectors of their field or plan on entering a doctoral program.
Can earning an online master’s degree in criminal justice qualify a student for doctoral programs?
Yes, and it can reduce the time to graduate. Going on to complete a doctorate program can lead to careers in university teaching or research. Some criminal justice students continue on to law school.
Should master’s students join professional associations and attend conferences?
Networking plays a major role in finding the right employment opening. Associations can help master’s students find options nationally and within their region. Many such organizations sponsor their own job boards for members and niche career-training opportunities. Affiliation with an association can build a student’s credentials and distinguish them from other job candidates. Plus, networking with mentors or hiring authorities can benefit criminal justice professionals throughout their careers.
What is the National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center (NCIRC)?
The NCIRC is a repository of online training programs, including NSI Line Officer training, First-Amendment online training, and the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) programs.