Masters degree in Criminal Justice - Cost, Admission process, Top Colleges
Criminal Justice is a professional degree offered at the graduate level to professionals working in the criminal justice domain and for those seeking a postdoctoral program.
This criminology program mostly focuses on justice administration, court services, forensic psychology, homeland security, correctional counseling, criminal justice planning, law and leadership, global issues, public safety, crime analysis and delinquency.
Duration of study
Criminal Justice program is offered either as a MA in Criminal Justice degree or as a dual degree in combination with Social Welfare.
Since most graduates opting for the Master in Criminal Justice program are often working professionals, it takes them an average of two to three years to earn the degree.
What skills will a student gain?
Criminal Justice program imparts knowledge in all facets of crime and its relation to society. Students are trained to examine economic, political and cultural influences on crime, and how to respond to such activities in a lawful manner. Besides, they are specifically trained in personal and social forces that also drive a person to commit crime.
To apply for a Master's degree, an applicant must:
- have a Bachelors Degree from a recognized institution. While the specialization in the undergraduate level often doesn't matter, a course in legal studies is an added advantage;
- have an average grade point of 4 on a scale of 7;
- have a minimum score of 7.0 in the IELTS examination, or 580 in TOEFL, or 92 in the iBT TOEFL, or 4 in each section of the ISPLR, or 68 in the Academic section of the Pearson Test of English with the least score of 60 at least in all communicative skills, or a grade C in the CPE assessment;
- Any of the English test results mentioned above should have been earned in less than two years of applying for the Master in Criminal Justice program;
Students need to check which scores are accepted by the universities of their choice before appearing for any of the above mentioned tests.
How much will it cost?
The tuition fee for the Master of Criminal Justice program on an average costs between $600-$750 per credit course. Besides this cost, students need to bear their living expenses, stationery charges and other allied expenditure.
Who should opt for a master's degree
Many students who have completed a bachelor's degree in law often contemplate on a career vis-a-vis a masters degree. While a masters degree maximizes career opportunities and proportionally increases the pay package, it also opens doors to a post-doctoral program. Here are some pointers that can help students make the decision that suits them best:
What can I do with a criminal justice degree?
- A Master's degree often helps a student earn a 6-figure pay in about five years from obtaining the degree.
- A graduate degree helps increase career opportunities.
- A graduate degree in Criminal Justice is especially useful for those intending on administrative jobs. Some legal careers do not require a master's degree. Hence, students need to make an informed decision as there is money and time involved.
- Beneficial for those who enjoy fieldwork while enforcing law.
Campus vs Online program
Many institutions offer online program in Criminal Justice. This is especially beneficial to those who are seeking to complete this degree while working full-time or for those who are looking for a cost-effective option. Some benefits of an online program include:
- Flexibility of study hours.
- Ability to work and study, which ensures you have a regular income while pursuing the masters program.
- Saving on books as most of the study material is provided online in digital format.
- Helps one specialize in the field of interest rather than study all the subjects listed under this course.
- Transcends geographical limits. Students can pursue a program from a university of their choice.
Top Universities in Criminology
- Pennsylvania State University
- University of Maryland
- University of California Irvine