Criminal justice work covers a range of careers, including forensic analysis, policing, investigation, probation, corrections, government agent, protective services, private security, computer security, mental health/ psychological profiling, teaching, training and more. Depending on the career desired, students can start with a suitable diploma or associate’s degree, or find their way to an advanced degree such as master’s or doctorate. Some CJ careers may require professional certification and licensing.
This college rankings article focuses on online degrees at the master’s level, for Criminal Justice. Relevant graduate/ post-master’s certificates offered by the 25 colleges listed here are mentioned when available.
Careers in Criminal Justice
The list below is a sample of CJ career roles or organizations/ industries that hire for such skills. Paralegal work also falls into the area of Criminal Justice, though we have published paralegal degree rankings lists separately. See our Rankings page, which also includes other CJ rankings, including 20 Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice Studies and 15 of the Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degrees in Law Enforcement / Criminal Justice.
- ATF agent
- attorney general investigator
- behavioral disorder counselor
- case manager
- chief of police
- college instructor/ professor
- compliance officer
- computer forensic scientist
- computer forensic technician
- corporate security officer
- correctional officer
- correctional officer supervisor
- corrections manager
- corrections officer
- corrections supervisor
- crime scene investigator
- criminal investigator
- criminal profiler
- criminal sociologist/ criminologist
- customs agent
- deputy sheriff
- detective sergeant
- detective supervisor
- district attorney investigator
- emergency management director
- federal agency director
- federal agent (CIA, DEA, FBI, INS, Secret Service, TSA)
- financial investigator
- forensic examiner
- forensic investigator
- forensic psychologist
- forensic science technician
- forensic scientist
- game warden
- juvenile detention counselor
- juvenile probation officer
- law enforcement officer
- law enforcement trainer
- legal investigator
- loss prevention agent
- master police detective
- military police officer
- narcotics detective
- parole officer
- patrol sergeant
- police administrator
- police captain
- police chief
- police detective
- police lieutenant
- police officer
- police sergeant
- police supervisor
- private detective
- private investigator
- private security manager
- probation officer
- public policy adviser
- Secret Service agent
- security officer
- shift commander
- social policy specialist
- social services director
- special agent
- substance abuse counselor
- U.S. marshal
- victim advocate
- vocational instructor
- wildlife officer
- youth counselor
- We use the average out-of-state tuition listed in NCES for affordability rankings of master’s programs. However, a given program’s actual costs may differ from what we list and is subject to change by the colleges in question. Check Web sites for up-to-date graduate tuition rates.
- These master’s degree rankings do not factor in fees, which can vary for online programs.
- As college accreditation status can change, please verify accreditation of any college to which you are planning to apply. Check both institutional and per-program accreditations.
- This college rankings list uses the most recently reported data at time of writing; however, NCES data is subject to change as colleges report new information.
- The Areavibes cost of living score is from Areavibes.com and represents the city/ town of the college in question. It is completely independent of each college’s on-campus housing costs.
Rankings: Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice
Bellevue University (source)
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university that was established in 1966 as Bellevue College. Its main campus is in Bellevue, Nebraska, some 10 miles southeast of Omaha, NE, and about 140 miles southwest of Des Moines, Iowa.
Bellevue offers 27 online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Justice Administration and Crime Management (MJCM).
The MJCM is an accelerated cohort program that requires 36 credits to complete the degree. Courses are taken one at a time in an interactive and collaborative learning environment with the same group of students throughout the program. The degree is suitable for a variety of criminal justice professionals, but especially law enforcement personnel. It helps ensure students will have the administrative, budgeting, case management, collaboration, communication, leadership, planning, and problem-solving skills needed to manage a criminal justice organization and work with other agencies.
Sample courses: Crime Analysis and Case Management; Criminal Behavior Analysis; Communication, Leadership, and Management; Organizational Analysis and Evaluation; Planning, Budgeting, and Resource Management; Technology and Future Trends; Writing for the Criminal Justice Professional
Missouri Baptist University (source)
Missouri Baptist University (MBU) is a private, nonprofit, Christian university established in 1957. Its main campus is located in St. Louis, Missouri. Original name: St. Louis Baptist College.
MBU has 10 online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
The MSCJ requires 36 semester hours, including a capstone course. The degree suits two types of students: (a) criminal justice professionals who are already working in corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement, or parole/ probation and want to take on management or teaching roles; or (b) students who are looking for a strong entry into the profession. The MSCJ provides students with administrative principles, disciplinary ethics, and leadership qualities all with a Christian perspective. Students have the flexibility to take courses whenever they’d like, but also retain the collaborative support of a modified cohort system.
Sample courses: Civil Remedies in Criminal Justice; Communities and Crime; Criminal Justice and the Mental Health System; Criminal Justice Ethics and Leadership; Criminal Justice Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluation; Foundations of Criminological Theory; Police Innovations
Grand Canyon University (source)
Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a private, Christian, for-profit research university established in 1949. GCU’s main campus is located in Phoenix, Arizona. The university was originally founded by the Southern Baptist Church as a non-profit institution, but has been for-profit since 2004. Original name: Grand Canyon College.
GCU offers dozens of online Master’s degree programs (incl. areas of emphasis and other options). Two of these programs are based on the university’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
The MS in Criminal Justice with a Law Enforcement Emphasis requires 40 credits (incl. a capstone). This program suits those in corrections, law enforcement, or probation/ parole who want to attain positions with greater responsibility, or those looking for a strong entry into these fields. For those interested in the legal side of criminal justice, especially as it relates to “crime prevention, punishment, and restorative justice,” GCU has its 40-credit MS in Criminal Justice with a Legal Studies Emphasis (which also requires a capstone). This option is well suited to those in government or law enforcement positions who want a greater influence on policies and solutions, or want to continue on to law school.
Sample courses: Capstone; Constitutional Issues in Criminal Justice; Criminal Investigations; Ethics and Liability for Policing and Corrections; Exploration of Law and Public Policy; Organizational Behavior and Leadership; Restorative Justice
Salve Regina University (source)
Salve Regina University (Salve or SRU) is a private, nonprofit, Catholic university established in 1934 that admits students of all faiths. It is located in Newport, Rhode Island, some 35 miles roughly south and somewhat east of Providence, RI, and about 75 miles southwest of Boston, Massachusetts. Original name: Salve Regina College. Affiliation: Roman Catholic (Sisters of Mercy).
SRU has five online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science (MS) in Administration of Justice and Homeland Security (AJHS).
This online Criminal Justice Master’s degree requires 36 credits, with 24 for required courses (incl. a capstone) and 12 for the selection of one of three concentrations: Cybersecurity and Intelligence, Digital Forensics, and Leadership in Justice. (Each concentration is also available as a standalone, 12-credit online Certificate of Graduate Studies.) Alternatively, students (with program director approval) can complete a concentration using courses from any of the other graduate programs SRU offers online. Ambitious students without any college experience may be able to take the 5-year, accelerated Bachelor’s/ Master’s program (BA in Administration of Justice/ MS in AJHS) fully online, as well (check with SRU for confirmation).
Sample courses: Advanced Digital Forensics; Constitutional Issues; Cultural Competency; Cyberthreat Management; Emerging Global and Social Issues in Justice (capstone); Management Issues in the Justice System; Theories of Justice
Western New Mexico University campus (source)
Western New Mexico University (WNMU) is a public university established in 1893. Its main campus is in Silver City, New Mexico, about 235 miles southwest of Albuquerque, NM, and around 155 miles northwest of El Paso, TX. Original name: New Mexico Normal School.
WNMU offers five online Master’s degrees, including the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) with a Concentration in Criminal Justice (CJUS).
The MAIS requires 36 credit hours of courses, with 18 for each of two selected concentrations (incl. a thesis option in at least the CJUS Concentration). Students can choose to combine three concentrations as long as each one has at least 9 hours of courses. A comprehensive exam is required for each concentration. The degree is designed to allow students to customize complementary areas of study to help them further their professional knowledge and skills, achieve promotions and/ or other career advancements, or give them the foundation to pursue additional studies.
Sample courses: Administrative Law; American Crime Policy; Comparative Criminal Justice Systems; Corrections Methods and Procedures; Digital Forensics I and II; Information Security or Law Enforcement; Transnational Criminal Organizations
Saint Leo University (source)
Saint Leo University (SLU) is a private, nonprofit, Roman Catholic university established in 1889. It is located in Saint Leo, Florida, some 35 miles northeast of Tampa, FL, and about 70 miles southwest of Orlando, FL. Affiliation: Catholic Church (Order of Saint Benedict).
SLU has 29 online Master’s degree program options (incl. concentrations and specializations). Six of these options involve the Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
Each of the six MSCJ options requires 36 credits, with 18 for core courses (incl. a capstone). For the remaining 18 credits, the full degree with no specialization allows students to choose from virtually any CJ electives and some CIM and FP offerings. With the Specializations in Corrections, Critical Incident Management (CIM), Forensic Psychology (FP), or Forensic Science, the remaining 18 credits are split between 12 for the specialization and 6 for CJ, CIM, and FP electives. Finally, for the Legal Studies Specialization, the remaining 18 credits are split between 9 for the specialization and 9 for CJ, CIM, and FP electives. SLU also has several online graduate certificates, including the 18-hour Certificate in Criminal Justice Management.
Sample courses: Applied Project in Criminal Justice Administration (capstone); Crime Scene Investigation and Management; Criminal Advocacy and Judicial Procedure; Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice; Management of Critical Incident Operations; Offender Treatment Methodology; Public Policy Making in Criminal Justice
Hyatt Village, Concordia University-Saint Paul (source)
Concordia University-Saint Paul (CSP) is a private, nonprofit university established in 1893 and is part of the Concordia University System. It is located in St. Paul, Minnesota, about 6 miles east and slightly south of Minneapolis, MN. Affiliation: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LMCS).
CSP offers nearly 20 online Master’s degree program options (incl. areas of emphasis and concentrations). One of these its Master of Arts (MA) in Criminal Justice Leadership (CJL).
The MA in CJL requires 36 credits, including a capstone course. The degree draws students from a variety of criminal justice and related fields, such as corrections, the court system, criminal investigation, forensics, law enforcement, military service, or social services. The program helps each student gain additional professional abilities in their area of specialty and/ or prepares them to obtain leadership positions. This MA is a cohort program that draws on the experience and collaboration of all students within that learning group, which stays together throughout the course of study.
Sample courses: Accessing CJ Resources; Admin of Criminal Justice; Applied Ethics in CJ Leadership; Correctional Design; Contemporary Issues in CJ Leadership; Criminal Justice Capstone; Research Methods in CJ
Orchard RTD station, Greenwood Village, CO (source)
Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) is a public, online university established in 2007. CSU-Global is part of the Colorado State University System and is located in Greenwood Village, Colorado, about 10 miles southeast of Denver, CO.
CSU-Global has 14 online Master’s degree program options, including its Master’s of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration.
This online Criminal Justice Master’s degree requires 36 credit-hours, with 24 for core courses (incl. a capstone) and 12 for electives that can be used for Specializations (such as Business Intelligence, Cyber Security, or Fraud Management) to supplement the main CJ area of study. This program teaches students the best practices and theories they will need to become managers in criminal justice organizations. For students who don’t want a full master’s degree, CSU-Global has online, 12-credit-hour graduate certificates of completion, including one in Criminal Justice Leadership.
Sample courses: Administration and Management of Criminal Justice Organizations; Applied Research for Criminal Justice Professionals; Criminal Justice Capstone Experience; Criminal Justice Internship; Criminal Justice Policy Development and Analysis; Ethics, Justice, and Social Control; Restorative Justice: A Social Movement
Steelman Library, Southeastern University, Florida (source)
Southeastern University (SEU) is a private, non-profit, Christian university established in 1935. The university is located in Lakeland, Florida, some 35 miles east and slightly north of Tampa, FL, and about 55 miles southwest of Orlando, FL. Original name: Alabama Shield of Faith Institute. Affiliation: Assemblies of God.
SEU offers about two dozen online Master’s programs (incl. concentrations and specializations). This includes the university’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Criminal Justice (CJ).
The MBA-CJ requires 36 hours, with 21 for foundational courses and 15 for the CJ concentration, including a capstone course. This program is for criminal justice professionals who want to have the communication, decision-making, ethical, and leadership skills — as well as the accounting, finance, information systems, and marketing knowledge — needed to manage and oversee the entirety of an organization. Students without a business-related undergraduate degree may need to take foundational business courses and demonstrate Microsoft Excel capabilities.
Sample courses: Capstone Research Project in Criminal Justice; Criminal Justice Administration and Management; Criminal Justice Policy Analysis; Current Topics in Criminal Justice; Theory and Practice of the Criminal Justice System
Wilmington University (source)
Wilmington University (WilmU) is a private, non-profit research university established in 1968. Its main campus is located in New Castle, Delaware, about six miles southwest of Wilmington, DE, and about 35 miles southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Original name: Wilmington College.
WilmU has just under two dozen online Master’s degree programs (many with several concentration options), including its Master of Science in Administration of Justice (MSAJ).
This online Criminal Justice Master’s degree requires 36 credit hours, with 15 for core courses and 21 for one of three concentrations: Criminal Behavior, Homeland Security, or Leadership and Administration. The program suits students who are about to enter the criminal justice profession, as well as those who already have established careers. It provides all students with the skills and methodological, practical, and theoretical knowledge required to pursue management and decision-making positions, or continue on to doctoral studies.
Sample courses: Criminological Theory; Managing Diversity; Police Executive Leadership; Research Methods in Criminal Justice; Risk Assessment and Management; Technology for Modern Policing; Therapeutic Strategies for Criminal Justice Offenders
Texas Southern University (source)
Texas Southern University (TSU) is a public comprehensive HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) established in 1927. TSU is located in Houston, Texas, some 200 miles east and slightly north of San Antonio, TX, and around 245 miles southeast of Dallas, TX. Original name: Houston Colored Junior College.
TSU has four online Master’s degrees, including its Executive Master of Administration of Justice (eMAJ).
The eMAJ requires 36 credit hours, with 18 for core courses, 12 for electives, and 6 for one of two completion options (two thesis courses or one independent study and one capstone course). The degree is designed for in-service criminal justice professionals working in corrections, the courts, law enforcement, or social services. It provides students with the advanced education and abilities needed to become criminal justice administrators, educators, policy decision-makers, and/ or researchers. It also has a special focus on attracting African Americans and other minorities, who are largely underrepresented in many of these areas.
Sample courses: Administrative Law for Justice Agencies; Environmental Crime and Administration of Justice; Issues in Corrections Administration; Issues in Judicial Administration; Race, Class, Gender, and Crime in Administration of Justice; Seminar in Administration of Justice/ Criminal Justice/ Criminological Theory; Seminar on Ethics and Administration of Justice
DeMoss Learning Center, Liberty University (source)
Liberty University (LU) is a Christian, private, nonprofit research university established in 1971 by Pastor Jerry Falwell. The university is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, some 115 miles west and slightly south of Richmond, VA, and about 185 miles southwest of Washington, DC. Original name: Lynchburg Baptist College. Affiliation: Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.
LU offers about four dozen online Master’s degrees (plus multiple additional cognates, concentrations, specializations, etc.). Four of these online Master’s degree options are Criminal Justice-related.
The Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice (CJ) requires 36 credit hours, with 18 for core courses, 12 for electives, and 6 for a thesis or additional electives. The 12 hours of electives can also be utilized for a Cognate/ Specialization in Public Administration. (For those who don’t want a full degree, LU has a 9-hour, online CJ Graduate Certificate.) Students interested in counseling within the CJ system can take LU’s 30-credit-hour Master of Arts (MA) in Human Services Counseling with a Criminal Justice Cognate. Finally, students who want to manage CJ organizations or private security firms have LU’s 45-hour Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Specialization in Criminal Justice Administration.
Sample courses: Administration of Justice Organizations; Criminal Justice Integration; Criminal Justice Program Evaluation; Human Resource Management in Criminal Justice Organizations; Leadership, Ethics, and Policing; Thesis Proposal and Research; Topics and Trends in Criminal Justice
University of Wisconsin-Platteville, campus sculptures (source)
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-Platteville) is a public university established in 1866. It is part of the University of Wisconsin System and is located in Platteville, Wisconsin, some 70 miles southwest of Madison, WI, and about 180 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. Original names: Platteville Normal School (est. 1866) and Wisconsin Mining Trade School (1907) — merged in 1959.
UW-Platteville has seven online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
The MSCJ requires 30 credit hours, with 15 for core courses (incl. a capstone or thesis) and 15 that can go toward electives or one of three Areas of Emphasis (Criminal Justice Theory, Criminal Justice Management, or Victim and Offender Services). Nine of those 15 hours of electives can also be used to earn a Certificate in Child Advocacy (which is also available as a standalone, online program). Overall, the MSCJ provides students with a wide range of options to deepen their understanding of a particular area of criminal justice, develop the skills and knowledge needed to advance their careers/ gain leadership positions, or obtain the foundation needed to pursue doctoral studies.
Sample courses: Criminal Justice Internship; Criminological Theory; Evaluation and Program Analysis in Criminal Justice; Law as Social Control; Perspectives on Child Maltreatment and Child Advocacy; Policing in a Democratic Society; Thesis Research
Lightsey Chapel Auditorium, Charleston Southern University (source)
Charleston Southern University (CSU) is a private, nonprofit, Christian university established in 1964. It is located in North Charleston, South Carolina, but normally goes by Charleston, SC, to reflect the larger Charleston metropolitan area (Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area). The university is about 100 miles southeast of Columbia, SC, and around 115 miles northeast of Savannah, Georgia. Original name: Baptist College at Charleston. Affiliation: South Carolina Baptist Convention.
CSU has seven online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
This online Masters in Criminal Justice can be completed in one of two ways: with a Thesis Track or a Non-Thesis Track. The Thesis Track MSCJ requires 33 credit-hours, with 18 for core courses, 9 for electives, and 6 for the Thesis Track (comprising two thesis courses and a comprehensive exam). The Non-Thesis Track version requires 36 hours, with 18 hours of core courses and 18 hours of electives. Either MSCJ option helps students advance into administrative, leadership, or managerial positions, or gain the foundation needed to continue on to doctoral studies.
Sample courses: Criminal Justice and the Media; Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice; Human Trafficking; Organized Crime; Police Community Relationships; Research Methods in Criminal Justice; Theories of Criminal Behavior
Thrift Library, Anderson University, South Carolina (source)
Anderson University (AU) is a private, non-profit, comprehensive, Christian university established in 1911. Its main campus is located in Anderson, South Carolina, some 30 miles southwest of Greenville, SC, and about 120 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Original name: Anderson College. Affiliation: South Carolina Baptist Convention.
AU has more than a dozen online and hybrid Master’s degrees, including its Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ).
The MCJ is a hybrid program that requires 36 credit hours of courses (incl. a capstone). Each course combines online studies with intensive classroom sessions that require students to be on campus for two consecutive, full days each month. Students are expected to take two courses in the fall and spring semesters, and one in the summer, completing the program in about 20 months. The degree is designed for CJ professionals who are at a command/ management level in corrections, the courts, juvenile justice, law enforcement, or private security — and want to become better leaders, create better organizations, and implement research-based policies.
Sample courses: Crime, Law, and the Legal System; Criminal Justice Policy Analysis (capstone); Managing a Multicultural and Ethical Department; Strategic and Tactical Planning; The Dynamics of Administration; The Media and Political Survival; The Role of the Chief Executive
Downtown Joplin, Missouri; aerial view (source)
Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) is a public university established in 1937. MSSU is located in Joplin, Missouri, some 155 miles south of Kansas City, MO, and about 120 miles northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Original name: Joplin Junior College.
MSSU currently offers at least four online or hybrid/ blended Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
This online Master’s in Criminal Justice requires 36 semester hours: 18 for core courses; 12 for electives; and 6 for one of four completion options (a Capstone Seminar and Electives, a Comprehensive Essay and Electives, an Internship with Oral Examination and Paper, or a Thesis with Oral Examination). The MSCJ is offered through a partnership with Southeast Missouri State University, and requires students to take online classes from both institutions in a “fixed rotation” throughout six consecutive semesters (incl. summer sessions).
Sample courses: Adult Correctional Organization and Administration; Civil Law and Liability; Contemporary Juvenile Justice; Crime and Criminal Justice Policy; Independent Study in Criminal Justice; Research Methodology in Criminal Justice; Seminar in Law Enforcement
Downtown Columbia, MO (source)
Columbia College (CC) is a private, nonprofit college established in 1851 as Christian Female College. Its main campus is in Columbia, Missouri, about 125 miles west and somewhat north of St Louis, MO, and around 125 miles east and slightly south of Kansas City, MO. Columbia College has an affiliation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but admits students of all faiths.
CC has four online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ).
CC’s MSCJ requires 36 credit-hours: 12 for foundation courses; 15 for core courses (incl. a capstone); and 9 for one of three areas of Management Emphasis (Corrections Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, or Law Enforcement Administration). In-service criminal justice professionals will benefit most from this degree, whether they intend to continue on to doctoral studies or law school, or plan to pursue leadership positions in their existing CJ careers. To help these professionals deal with the problems facing CJ administrators today, the degree focuses on four key areas of study: ethics, policy development and analysis, research design, and trends.
Sample courses: Corrections Administration; Criminal Justice Policy Development and Evaluation; Current Issues and Future Directions in Criminal Justice; Emergent Issues in Criminal Justice Leadership (capstone); Law Enforcement and the Community; Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Management; Readings in Criminal Justice Administration
Cumnock Hall, University of Massachusetts-Lowell (source)
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a public research university established in 1894 and is part of the University of Massachusetts System. It is located in Lowell, Massachusetts, about 30 miles northwest of Boston, MA. Original name: Lowell Normal School.
UMass Lowell offers nearly two dozen online Masters degree programs (incl. concentrations). One of these is the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ).
The MACJ requires 33 credit hours, with 15 for required core courses and 18 for CJ electives. The program is able to meet the needs of five types of students: (a) those looking to enter the field of criminal justice; (b) those seeking leadership positions in existing CJ career paths; (c) those looking to teach criminal justice; (d) those planning to transition into a different CJ specialty; and (e) those intending to continue on to doctoral studies. UMass Lowell also has several online, CJ-related graduate certificates, including a 12-credit program in Forensic Criminology.
Sample courses: Crime Analysis and Mapping; Directed Study in Criminal Justice; Forensic Psychology; Law and Public Policy; Managing Criminal Justice Organizations; Responding to Child Maltreatment; Threat Assessment and Risk Management
American Public University System (source)
The American Public University System (APUS) is a private, for-profit, online university system established in 1991. It comprises APU (American Public University) and AMU (American Military University), and is headquartered in Charles Town, West Virginia, about 65 miles northwest of Washington, DC.
All of APUS’s 37 Master’s degrees can be taken online and through either APU or AMU, including its Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ).
The MACJ requires 36 semester hours: 18 for core requirements; 3 for a capstone course; and 15 for one of three concentrations (Business Administration, General, or Emergency Management and Disaster Management). All three concentrations prepare students for leadership or management positions in criminal justice, providing them with an understanding of administration, crime and the CJ system, and public policy. APUS also has 18-hour online Graduate Certificates in Criminal Justice and Executive Law Enforcement Leadership for students who don’t want, need, or have time for a full Master’s degree.
Sample courses: Cases in Executive Decision Making; Criminal Profiling; Criminology; Independent Study: Criminal Justice; Police Administration; Policing and Corrections in Homeland Security; Sexual Exploitation/ Children
Delta State University (source)
Delta State University (DSU) is a public university established in 1924. It is located in Cleveland, Mississippi, about 120 miles northwest of Jackson, MS, and around 120 miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee. Original name: Delta State Teachers College.
DSU offers nine online Master’s degrees, including the Master of Science in Social Justice and Criminology (MSJC).
The MSCJ can be taken with a Practicum option, a Practitioner option, or a Thesis option. With each one, the degree requires 36 credits in total, including 21 for core courses. With the Practicum and Thesis options, the other 15 credits are split between 9 for electives and 6 for the practicum or thesis. With the Practitioner option, meanwhile, students can apply all of the final 15 credits toward electives. Overall, the MSCJ is for students seeking professional and/ or academic roles within the criminal justice system. The degree provides a foundation in law and justice, with a wide range of electives to allow students to pursue specific career interests.
Sample courses: Civil Liberties; Correctional Criminology and the Prison Community; Historical Analysis of the American Criminal Justice System; Organization and Philosophy of Criminal Justice; Seminar: Issues In Criminal Justice; Special Populations in Criminal Justice; Theories of Criminal Behavior
Financial district, downtown Denver, CO (source)
Aspen University is a private, for-profit, distance-learning university established in 1987 and located in Denver, Colorado. Original name: International Academy (founded 1960s).
Aspen offers 34 online master’s degree programs (including specializations). Four of those 34 options encompass the university’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) and its three additional specializations.
The MSCJ requires 36 credits overall, with 21 for core courses; 3 for a capstone; and 12 for the chosen specialization (General/ no specialization, Forensic Sciences, Law Enforcement Management, or Terrorism and Homeland Security). The degree is designed not only for students who are new to the profession, but also those in-service professionals looking to advance their careers.
Sample courses: Advanced Corrections; Dynamics of Family Violence; Fingerprinting; Interview and Interrogation; Police Administration; Technology in Law Enforcement; Use of Force in Law Enforcement
University of the Cumberlands (source)
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) is a private, nonprofit, Christian university established in 1888. UC is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, about 105 miles south and somewhat east of Lexington, KY, and around 70 miles north and somewhat west of Knoxville, TN. Original name: Williamsburg Institute. Affiliation: Kentucky Baptist Convention.
UC offers eight online Master’s degrees, including its Master of Science in Justice Administration (MSJA).
The MSJA requires 31 credit hours: 18 for core courses; 1 for a capstone project; and 12 for two selected specializations (Addiction Studies, Corrections, Family Services, Homeland Security, Investigations, Juvenile Justice, Kentucky Law Enforcement Council/ KLEC, Law Enforcement, or Special Topics). The degree suits students looking to begin their careers in criminal justice, as well as those already in the profession looking to progress to administrative or management positions. Classes are available in 8-week terms, twice a semester, three semesters a year — which allows the degree to be completed in 12-24 months.
Sample courses: Administrative Law and Management; Corrections Administration; Criminological Theories in Justice Administration; Critical Issues in Law Enforcement; Juvenile Justice Administration and Management; Sex Crimes: Myths and Motives; Statistical Applications in Justice Administration
Clark Activity Center, Southern University (source)
Southern University and A&M College (SUBR or SU) is a public, comprehensive HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) established in 1880, and is the flagship of the Southern University System. It is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, some 90 miles northwest of New Orleans, LA, and about 155 miles southwest of Jackson, MS.
SU has three online Master’s degrees, including its Executive Master of Science in Criminal Justice (EMSCJ).
The EMSCJ requires 36 credit hours: 18 for core courses; 12 for one of four concentrations (Corrections, Criminal Investigation, Law Enforcement, or Public Policy); and 6 for one of three completion tracks (two capstones plus electives, a comprehensive exam plus electives, or a thesis). This degree is designed for students who are administrators or supervisors within the criminal justice system, including with corrections departments, courts, juvenile justice organizations, law enforcement agencies, or private security firms. It provides these students with advanced and comprehensive insights into the administration, best practices, leadership, policy decisions, and professional ethics of CJ organizations.
Sample courses: Advanced Seminar in Corrections; Crime Scene Analysis and Reconstruction; Community Policing; Criminal Justice Theory, Policy, and Practice; Legal and Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice; Methods of Public Policy Analysis; Research Methods (in Social Science)
Midwestern State University (source)
Midwestern State University (MSU) is a public university established in 1922. MSU is located in Wichita Falls, Texas, about 140 miles northwest of Dallas, TX. Original name: Wichita Falls Junior College.
MSU has over two dozen online or blended Master’s programs, including its Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ).
The MACJ requires 36 semester hours, with 24 for required courses and 12 for electives. This degree provides students with a deeper understanding of four broad areas of criminal justice: correctional administration, crime control, criminological theory, and police administration. It is designed for those students who want to contribute new knowledge to, and/ or create and implement new solutions within, the field of criminal justice (specifically in the area of corrections, law enforcement, or rehabilitation).
Sample courses: Community Based Corrections; Comparative and International Criminal Justice; Critical Analysis of Justice Administration; Global Terrorism; Perspectives in Criminology; Seminar in Organization and Administration; The Ethics of Criminal Justice
Waterfront view of Orange Beach, Alabama (source)
Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private, for-profit, online university established in 1993. CSU has two locations in and around Orange Beach, Alabama, with the main campus being about 45 miles southeast of Mobile, AL, and about 35 miles west and somewhat south of Pensacola, FL.
CSU has 17 online Master’s degree programs (incl. concentrations). Two of these are Criminal Justice-related options.
The Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) requires 36 semester-hours. This three-year program is designed to help CJ professionals from all backgrounds assess and solve complex concerns within the criminal justice system. It can also help them with career advancement. MSU’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a CJA Concentration, meanwhile, helps public managers achieve senior positions within local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. It, too, requires 36 semester-hours, with 12 for concentration courses that are derived from the MS in CJA.
Sample courses: Computer Applications for Criminal Justice Administration; Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice; Critical Analysis of Criminal Justice Administration; Critical Analysis of Criminal Justice Public Policy; Juvenile Justice Administration and Delinquency; Theory of Crime and Criminology; Training and Development in Criminal Justice