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
- 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.