The Top 12 Online Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

For criminal justice professionals, a master’s degree may be useful to land a higher paying job and improve skills. The degree can also help if you want to specialize or work in a different field within the industry. For people without previous experience in criminal justice, the degree can help you enter the field.

If you have a busy life, it can be difficult to adhere to the schedule of a traditional college education without disrupting your work schedule. But with online education, you don’t have to interrupt your career or family life. Online degrees give you the flexibility of taking classes at your own time and schedule. Also, you can earn the degree from the comfort of your own home and you save time by avoiding the commute to the campus.

To help you choose the right online school, we examined many schools and chose the best online criminal justice master’s degrees. We looked at tuition price, special features, reputation, and accreditation to determine our choices. Accreditation was an especially important factor because it can affect your job search.

There are two basic types of accreditation, regional and national. Regional accreditation is preferred because it is recognized by more employers than national accreditation. All of our selected degrees are offered by regionally accredited schools.

Here are our top online master’s degrees in criminal justice:

 

Master of Criminal Justice (Boston University)

Regional Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges

The online Master of Criminal Justice from Boston University is designed for working professionals in the law enforcement field. The program combines practical experience with scholarly studies. It is taught by leading faculty who have experience as attorneys, investigators, corrections experts, and law enforcement officers.

You will learn many useful skills in a variety of disciplines. For example, you will learn how to lead within the criminal justice community. You will learn research methods for analyzing relevant issues. You will gain skills for assessing policies and understand how to implement change within the system. You will even be equipped to teach within the field of criminal justice.

You can complete the degree in less than two years. Boston University is a tier one institution according to US News & World Report.

[Request information about Boston University’s criminal justice program]

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Saint Leo University Online)

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University is a two year program for students seeking higher positions in law enforcement. The program is fully online except for the capstone course. This course is offered via conference call with the professor.

Classes are taken one at a time in eight week modules. There is an accelerated option if you want to complete the degree in less than two years. This option requires approval from the Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice.

Two specializations are available: Critical Incident Management and Forensic Science. The first specialization prepares you to provide assistance during disasters or critical incidents. You will learn emergency management skills. In the second specialization, you will take classes about medicolegal death investigation and crime scene management and investigation.

Saint Leo is a tier one university according to US News & World Report.

[Request information about Saint Leo University’s criminal justice program]

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Bowling Green State University)

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) makes our list of top programs because BGSU is a leader in criminal justice research. BGSU has a strong commitment to research that is aimed at helping criminal justice agencies. The master’s program is a solid choice for professionals who want to understand the link between research and policy in the criminal justice sphere.

Students in the program include peace officers, probation officers, police chiefs, correction officers, and nuclear protection officers.

BGSU’s criminal justice faculty have a good reputation because of their research and publication credits. They also bring job experience to their teaching. The online classes are small to foster a dynamic relationship with the professors. Also, the majority of students build relationships with peers to develop valuable long-term contacts.

BGSU is a tier one university in US News & World Report’s 2011 school rankings.

[Request information about BGSU’s criminal justice program]

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement (Grand Canyon University)

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Grand Canyon University’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Law Enforcement is a great degree from a top online school. The Online Education Database ranked Grand Canyon in 7th place in its overall rankings of online colleges and universities. Also, the school has small classes with an student-faculty ratio of 13 to 1.

The master’s program is suited for a variety of people including law enforcement workers who want to advance their career; corrections, parole, and probation officers; and professionals in the fields of social research and public policy.

Course highlights include Forensic Psychology, Exploration of Law and Public Policy, Terrorism and Homeland Security, and Ethics and Liability for Policing and Corrections.

[Request information about Grand Canyon University’s law enforcement program]

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Crime Analysis (Tiffin University)

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tiffin University’s online Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice is a dynamic program that combines real world experience and classroom instruction. Tiffin’s professors have practical experience in the workforce. Also, the students are working professionals, which means the communication with your peers will be filled with relevant and useful dialogue.

The Crime Analysis concentration provides you with an overview of crime analysis, technology in crime investigation and analysis, statistics, the intelligence process, geographic information systems, and research design.

There are no thesis or comprehensive exam requirements with the degree.

Tiffin graduates have moved on to different career paths in criminal justice. Some have landed administrative positions in local, state, and federal agencies while others began careers in clinical and research settings.

Tiffin is a tier two school according to US News & World Report.

[Request information about Tiffin University’s crime analysis program]

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration – Forensic Science Administration (Loyola University New Orleans Online)

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

If you are interested in developing management skills to lead crime scene investigation departments and forensic laboratories, we recommend enrolling at Loyola University New Orleans Online.

Loyola offers an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration with a specialization in Forensic Science Administration. This program provides you with administrative skills adapted to the forensic science field. You will learn about the challenges and requirements facing forensic labs. You will explore the standards of professionalism in the field. You will examine the case law and legislation that apply to forensic science.

The four courses in the specialization are:

  • Forensic Science: Crime Scene to Courtroom
  • Quality Assurance in the Crime Laboratory
  • Current Topics Affecting Forensic Science
  • Crime Laboratory Management: Utilizing Science for Justice

In the 2011 school rankings of US News & World Report, Loyola earned a tier one ranking and placed 7th in its category, Regional Universities in the South.

[Request information about Loyola University New Orleans Online’s forensic science administration program]

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Saint Joseph’s University)

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

Saint Joseph’s University is a great school to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice. In US News & World Report’s 2011 college rankings, Saint Joseph’s earned tier one status and placed 13th in its category, Regional Universities in the North.

Saint Joseph’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a popular program that focuses on administration, theory, research, and the problems that come from implementing change in the criminal justice system.

The curriculum covers a wide variety of topics to prepare you for positions in different fields. For the law enforcement field, you will learn about corrections, police, courts, and probation. If you aspire to be a leader in an organization, you will gain knowledge about management and administration. Also, there are studies to prepare you for law and paralegal positions and intelligence analysis jobs at the local, state, and federal level.

You can choose from two specializations: Homeland Security and Behavior Analysis.

[Request information about Saint Joseph’s University’s criminal justice program]

 

Master of Criminal Justice (University of Colorado Denver)

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

University of Colorado Denver’s Master of Criminal Justice program is offered by one of the top public affairs schools in the nation. The School of Public Affairs at the university is a top 12% school according to US News & World Report. Also, the publication gave the university tier one status in its 2011 school rankings.

This online program emphasizes different topics including juvenile justice, law enforcement, and correctional systems. You can customize your degree with electives in domestic violence, police administration, homeland security, community corrections, or policy and planning.

The program has graduated city mayors, CIA and FBI agents, research faculty, think tank professionals, and over 40 police chiefs in Colorado.

The tuition is reasonable for a tier one school.

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (University of Cincinnati)

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

If you want to earn your degree from a reputable school, consider enrolling in University of Cincinnati’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

The university has the third best criminal justice school in the nation according to US News & World Report. In the 2007 Journal of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati was ranked number one in the US in publications of criminal justice research. Also, the university was featured in The Best 201 Colleges for the Real World: Get In, Get Out, Get a Job.

Graduates from the program work in many different fields including corrections, investigation, education, social services, federal agencies, law enforcement, and military.

University of Cincinnati is a tier one school according to US News & World Report.

 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Hodges University)

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Hodges University provides a contemporary and comprehensive survey of the criminal justice system. In this program, you will learn basic and advanced concepts in criminal justice. You can apply these concepts in the workforce to become a valuable asset to your company.

Course highlights include Criminal Justice Theory, Research Methods, Ethics in the Criminal Justice Systems, and Capstone Project. You can choose from two tracks of study: Behavioral Sciences and Crisis Management.

The teachers at Hodges have relevant academic qualifications and real-world experience in their field of study. Also, you will gain knowledge from interacting with other students already working in the industry.

You can complete the program at your own pace as long as you finish all requirements within five years of enrollment. If you study full time, you can complete the program in four terms.

 

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (UMassOnline)

Regional Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges

UMassOnline offers one of the best deals for an online master’s degree in criminal justice from a top school.

The online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from UMassOnline is offered through University of Massachusetts Lowell campus, a tier one campus according to US News & World Report. Also, University of Massachusetts was ranked the 45th best university system in the world by London Times.

The program has a wide variety of classes you can take. You can enroll in courses about leadership, public policy, forensic psychology, terrorism, crime analysis, and emergency management. The curriculum consists of five core classes and six elective classes. There are over 15 electives to choose from so you have many options to customize your degree towards topic areas that fit your interests and career goals.

 

Master of Science in Justice Administration and Crime Management (Bellevue University)

Regional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Bellevue University’s online Master of Science in Justice Administration and Crime Management is cheaper than most other similar programs.

Also, Bellevue has demonstrated excellence in distance learning. In 2009, Bellevue received an award for outstanding leadership from the United States Distance Learning Association, the world’s premier distance learning association.

Dr. Christine Beischel was the recipient of the award. She is the dean of the College of Distributed Learning, which provides leadership and support to Bellevue’s online degree programs.

The justice administration program covers topics such as working with forensic data, analyzing criminal case management, planning and budgeting resources, leading teams, and working in collaboration with different agencies.

The program is 36 hours long. It is structured in cohort format and you can complete it in 18 months.

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