Page Content

best online criminal justice master’s degree
Introduction
Best States for employment
Best Programs
Potential Increased Earnings
Affordable Programs
Accreditation
Program Details
Top Online
Careers & Salaries
online no gre
No GRE Programs
Online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree
FAQs
Best Programs and Schools
Additional Resources
Sources
Sources

Online Criminal Justice Masters

Top Online Master’s Programs in Healthcare

Today’s threats to public safety and security are growing. Current criminal justice professionals in the U.S are needed to assume leadership positions that help law enforcement organizations rise to the challenge. Individuals working in the criminal justice field should consider enrolling for an online master’s in criminal justice program, which prepares them to better understand criminal behavior, the justice system, juvenile justice, forensic psychology, criminal justice policy, and much more. In completing this online master’s program, criminal justice students can extend their careers to take on advanced positions with state and federal authorities, justice organizations, criminal justice agencies, homeland security, and also work in the corrections, victim and offender services, law enforcement, and rehabilitation fields.

The criminal justice industry is on a constant lookout for law enforcement professionals and others who can serve the criminal justice profession, which is why online master’s degree programs in criminal justice have become increasingly popular.

This article covers all there is to know and understand about criminal justice graduate programs, what online students can expect from this online master, and how to land up lucrative criminal justice careers.

Find Your School
Sponsored

Featured Online Programs

Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Degrees

Criminal justice master’s programs can be pursued through online learning. But when it comes to selecting good online schools in which one can pursue a master’s in criminal justice, it is important to consider several key factors. Some of these factors include – tuition fees, teacher-to-student ratio, accreditation, graduation rate, program evaluation (quality and reputation of the program), etc. The expert team at OMC has considered all these factors and created a list of the best criminal justice programs that can be pursued online. Here is a list of the best online criminal justice programs.

Link to this Page
College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
Florida State University
222 S. Copeland Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32306
$968483%
#2
California State University, Long Beach
250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, California 90840
$7,17674%
#3
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
$6,91672%
#4
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
$18,85881%
#5
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110
$27,28881%
#6
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
$24,79389%
#7
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
$54,720 88%
#8
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
$10,52070%
#9
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33199
$8,912 63%
#10
Arizona State University
University Drive and Mill Avenue, Tempe, Arizona 85287
$11,72063%
#11
Lewis University
One University Parkway, Romeoville, Illinois 60446
$14,40067%
#12
Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809
$15,76867%
#13
University of New Haven
300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, Connecticut 06516
$16,92062%
#14
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, California 92407
$7,17655%
#15
Sam Houston State University
1806 Ave J, Huntsville, Texas 77340
$5,76554%
#16
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Rd, Utica, New York 13502
$21,48054%
#17
Chaminade University of Honolulu
3140 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
$24,00059%
#18
University of Colorado, Denver
1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, Colorado 80217

$6,78652%
#19
College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey 07960
$18,01853%
#20
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574
$7,29649%
#21
University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee
8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34243
$8,35047%
#22
Trine University
1 University Ave, Angola, Indiana 46703
$39,45063%
#23
La Salle University
1900 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19141
$25,06066%
#24
Tiffin University
155 Miami Street, Tiffin, Ohio 44883
$12,60039%
#25
National University
11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
$15,48029%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Degrees

Affordability is a key factor when choosing an online master. It is even more important when choosing an online master’s in criminal justice, as some of these programs can get expensive. A graduate online program in criminal justice can take a huge bite out of a master’s student savings account. According to education consultant Peterson, the cost of tuition for a graduate degree program averages about $30,000. At the top-end, prestigious or private universities can charge as much as $120,000. OMC went through several online master’s in criminal justice programs, ran a complete program evaluation, and compiled a list of the most affordable ones. Here are the most affordable schools for criminal justice studies:

Link to this Page
College Name & Address Tuition Graduation Rate
#1
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
$5,67044%
#2
Sam Houston State University
1806 Ave J, Huntsville, Texas 77340
$5,76554%
#3
University of North Texas
1501 W.Chestnut Ave., Denton, Texas 76203
$5,90056%
#4
Lamar University
4400 MLK Blvd, Beaumont, Texas 77705
$6,32434%
#5
University of North Alabama
One Harrison Plaza, Florence, Alabama 35632
$6,66049%
#6
University of Colorado, Denver
1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, Colorado 80217
$6,78652%
#7
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
$6,916 72%
#8
California State University, Long Beach
250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, California 90840
$7,17674%
#9
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, California 92407
$7,176 55%
#10
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574
$7,29649%
#11
St. Cloud State University
720 Fourth Ave. South, Saint Cloud, Minnesota 56301
$7,46048%
#13
Concordia University, St. Paul
1282 Concordia Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
$8,55051%
#14
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33199
$8,91263%
#15
Florida State University
222 S. Copeland Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32306
$9,68483%
#16
Colorado State University
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
$10,52070%
#17
Arizona State University
University Drive and Mill Avenue, Tempe, Arizona 85287
$11,72063%
#18
Tiffin University
155 Miami Street, Tiffin, Ohio 44883

$12,60039%
#19
Lewis University
One University Parkway, Romeoville, Illinois 60446
$14,40067%
#20
National University
11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
$15,48029%
#21
Roger Williams University
One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809
$15,76867%
#22
University of New Haven
300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, Connecticut 06516
$16,92062%
#23
College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road, Morristown, New Jersey 07960

$18,01853%
#24
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
$18,85881%
#25
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Rd, Utica, New York 13502
$21,48054%

Source Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs

Getting a master’s in criminal justice degree will enhance one’s career considerably. Prospective students gain a whole lot of knowledge through the degree program, which covers a host of topics such as the criminal justice system, justice administration, criminal justice management, criminal justice administration, and much more. Students complete the online program ready to take on a variety of roles in diverse work settings within the criminal justice field. Every online master’s in criminal justice degree program will usually include core courses, elective courses, and sometimes a research project, culminating in a comprehensive exam.  


Accreditation for Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Accreditation is voluntary and can be awarded for the entire university, for the school’s criminal justice department, or an online degree program. Criteria for accreditation can vary, but generally include the selection of course courses and criminal justice electives on offer, program format, and structure, competency of faculty members, etc. An independent evaluator or colleges and schools commission can accredit the top online master’s in criminal justice programs. There are a few national accreditation associations along with six regional associations, which are:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS WASC)
  • The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Accreditations vouch for the university or degree program’s academic or financial quality in meeting training expectations for the industry. Employers expect graduates to complete degrees at accredited institutions. Furthermore, the lack of university accreditation disqualifies students from participating in federal financial aid programs. More information on accreditation is available in the Accreditation Guide.


Curriculum in Criminal Justice Masters Online Programs

A Master’s in criminal justice degree program typically includes core courses and elective courses. While the core courses are standard offerings, students can choose their criminal justice majors and criminal justice electives, to personalize their program. Every criminal justice online program prepares students for careers within the criminal justice system, and will also include training for justice administration, strategic management, and leadership roles. Here are some core courses and sample classes typically offered in master’s in criminal justice online degree programs:

  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Cybercrime
  • Criminal Law
  • Public Policy
  • Human Resource Management
  • Labor Relations in the Public Sector
  • Homeland Security Leadership
  • Research Methodology
  • Judicial Processes
  • Court Services Management
  • Measurement of Organizational Performance
  • Capstone Project
  • Criminal Justice Theory
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Justice System
  • Criminal Justice Management
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Crime Analysis
  • Crime Prevention
  • Criminal Justice Policy
  • Crime Causation

Admission Requirements for Master’s in Criminal Justice Online

Admission into an online criminal justice master’s degree is very similar to other masters programs. Applicants must meet the minimum requirement set by the university, and these admission requirements vary from university to university. However, generally, here are the most commonly asked requirements:

  • Grade Point Average (GPA): Most universities require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum of 3.0 GPA.
  • Resume: Universities want to see the applicant’s background and especially if there is any professional experience related to criminal justice. If so, universities might waive some other requirements.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: An undergraduate degree in a related field may not be required, but most universities require a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. And if the applicant possesses a degree in a similar field, some core courses can be waived. This will save students some tuition fees along with accelerating their studies at a faster pace towards graduation.
  • GRE Score: A lot of universities want to see a GRE score of the applicant before providing admission into a master’s in criminal justice program. However, several universities do not require students to take the GRE. Here are some universities that do not need a GRE score for admission into online criminal justice masters programs.
  • Statement of Purpose: A lot of universities want to see the reason why the applicant is interested in the field of criminal justice. And having a strong statement of purpose will help immensely.

Timeline for an Online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree

Many factors determine how long it takes to finish a master’s degree in criminal justice – factors like part-time vs. full-time, how many enrolled credits per semester, student background and prerequisites needed, etc. But on average, like most masters degrees, an online master’s in criminal justice takes about two years or so. Some universities offer accelerated programs that let students finish the program in about a year.

Careers & Salaries for Criminal Justice Graduates

Criminal justice employment opportunities are based on the applicant’s experience and their level of academic attainment. Job pay and the number of openings vary by state. According to research by the San Francisco Chronicle, the starting wage for criminal justice professionals was an average of $33,000 a year for candidates with a bachelor’s degree.In contrast, the annual average starting salary for those with a master’s degree was $55,000 a year. In another study, Saint Joseph’s University researchers found that police officers earn approximately $48,000 a year.

If an individual pursues their criminal justice education with a master’s degree and advances to the deputy police chief, their annual earnings spike to about $74,800. But earnings alone should not direct decisions on graduate education. Employers recruiting for positions that do not require a master’s degree may prefer that applicants have one, and this can be a huge advantage for criminal justice professionals seeking jobs. The following compares the best locations for a criminal justice career and its mean annual pay:

Criteria Location
Highest employment of First-Line Supervisors of Police and DetectivesNew York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Georgia
Top-paying states (mean annual wage) for police supervisorsCalifornia – $154,430, New Jersey – $130,490, The District of Columbia – $117,770, New York – $115,940, Alaska – $112,910
Top states with the largest employment of Forensic Science TechniciansCalifornia, Florida, Texas, New York, Arizona
States that pay the highest annual wages for Forensic Science TechniciansIllinois – $87,660, California – $85,280, Massachusetts – $79,440, Connecticut – $73,970, New Hampshire – $70,960
Top states with the largest number of jobs for Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement TeachersNorth Carolina, New York, California, Texas, Florida
States pay the largest annual salaries for Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement TeachersThe District of Columbia – $123,320, California – $111,240, Rhode Island – $93,860, Iowa – $88,750, New Jersey – $87,300

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites five-strong criminal justice career paths that require a master’s degree. This list contains current salaries, where criminal justice grads work, and the projected job growth for their roles:

Occupation Wages Job Growth Where They Work
Criminologist$92,04015%University Social Scientist Programs, Public and Private Research Organizations, Juvenile Justice Courts, Corrections, Criminal Investigations Units, Insurance Companies
Forensic Psychologist$77,03014%Police and Sheriff’s Department Investigation Units, the FBI and other Government Agencies, Private Internal Investigation Teams, Criminal Courts, Prosecutors’ Offices Jails and Prisons
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers$61,90012%Post-secondary Community Colleges, Law Enforcement Agencies, State and Federal Governmental Entities, Trade Schools
Computer Forensics Investigator$75,00012%Forensic Analytical Laboratories, Local and State Law Enforcement Agencies, Federal Government (including FBI and CIA), Banks and Financial Institutions, Computer, Internet, and Data Companies
Private Detectives and Investigators$50,09011%Attorney’s Offices, Background-check Agencies, Hotels and Commercial Firms, Patent and Intellectual Property Investigation Companies, Criminal Justice Organizations

Source: BLS

Online Masters in Criminal Justice, No GRE

The online master’s degree in criminal justice upgrades a student’s skills and knowledge, to advance into leadership roles in the criminal justice field. The best online criminal justice programs cited below are not only fully accredited, but they also admit graduate students without requiring their GRE scores:

FAQs about Criminal Justice Online Masters

Here are pertinent questions and answers for prospective students seeking a criminal justice master’s degree online:

Q: What should students look for in an online master’s in a criminal justice degree program?
A: After a prospective master’s student examines the university’s accreditations and GRE requirements, they should compare the graduation requirements of the program (total number of credits, research project, etc.), the curriculum, and the cost of tuition.
Q: Do employers accept a criminal justice online master?
A: First of all, an online master is just as valued as an on-campus program. Most universities offer the same criminal justice online master, as their brick-and-mortar programs. These universities will not indicate that the student earned the degree online. Finally, most criminal justice organizations may favor online degrees that are earned at universities known for their on-campus degrees.
Q: Is financial aid available for students to help with tuition and fees?
A: Federal student loans, grants, and work-study assistance are 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. Read more about financial aid on the Best Financial Guide.
Q: Will my degree qualify me for advanced policing?
A: Based on education and experience, one can be qualified to advance to leadership, program management, evidence analysis, and staff-training positions in the police force.
Q: What kind of documentation will I need when applying to a graduate criminal justice program?
A: Most programs will require proof of completion of an undergraduate program, a professional resume documenting the relevant experience, college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Many departments still require GRE scores. Some will waive the GRE if a student has completed a prior master’s program or earned a bachelor’s degree with a strong GPA.
Q: Is it better to choose a thesis or opt for a comprehensive exam?
A: 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 exam measures students’ wide-range understanding of the criminal justice leadership role for advancement in the field.
Q: Should students complete a specialization area in their online master’s in criminal justice?
A: 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 criminal 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.
Q: Can earning an online master’s degree in criminal justice qualify a student for doctoral programs?
A: Yes, a criminal justice program prepares students for a doctoral program by providing a strong foundation for one. Going on to complete a doctorate program can lead to careers in university teaching or research. Some criminal justice students continue to law school as well.
Q: Should master’s students join professional associations and attend conferences?
A: 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.
Q: What is the National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center (NCIRC)?
A: 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.

Additional Resources for Criminal Justice Graduates

While getting an online criminal masters degree will enhance your careers, it is also important to know about other resources. Below is a list of associations and organizations that students should look into for growth opportunities, networking and to keep in touch with ongoing changes in the criminal justice careers.

  1. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  2. American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  3. American Correctional Association, National Criminal Justice Association
  4. International Association of Women Police.

Sources

  1. Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, PostsecondaryU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Forensic CareersU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Careers in ForensicsU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  4. Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, PostsecondaryU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  5. First-Line Supervisors of Police and DetectivesU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  6. Forensic CareersU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  7. Forensic Science TechniciansU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  8. How Much Do Criminologists Get Paid with a Master’s Degree?San Francisco Chronicle
  9. Is the Cost of a Graduate Degree Worth It?Peterson’s
  10. What’s the Best Master’s Degree for a Career in Criminal Justice?Saint Joseph’s University
  11. Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, PostsecondaryU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Stay up to date

     

    To Link to this page, please copy and paste this code  into your website

    <a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/criminal-justice-programs/">Online Criminal Justice Master's</a>

    To Link to this page, please copy and paste this code  into your website

    <a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/criminal-justice-programs/">Online Criminal Justice Master's</a>