Criminal Justice Degrees

Best Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs of 2015

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Criminal justice professionals fill vital roles in society, from law enforcement and homeland security to forensic science, policy research and law. Students and practitioners in these fields can benefit tremendously from a criminal justice master’s. Graduate study equips students with the problem-solving and analytical skills needed to address the complexities of the modern justice system; the degree is also their best route to leadership positions. Students can choose to concentrate in a number of areas, including investigation, crime prevention, terrorism, counseling, system analysis and law.

Careers in criminal justice are on the upswing. A 2020 outlook predicts police force hiring to increase 5% and forensic science careers to increase 6%. Moreover, studies show those with advanced degrees in law enforcement score highest in job performance measures. Criminal justice master’s graduates are best positioned for the top opportunities in career advancement, leadership and higher income.

Below we have profiled both the best campus-based criminal justice master’s programs and the best online criminal justice master’s programs. Schools were sorted based on their academics, faculty standards and, in the case of the online programs, the quality of their virtual platform learning management system.

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Best Campus-Based Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs

1. University of Missouri-Kansas City – Kansas City, Missouri

University of Missouri-Kansas City

The 30-credit Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology offered by UMKC is open to all students with a bachelor’s degree. Students with an undergraduate in an unrelated subject may need to take a number of prerequisites in statistics, theory and research; these courses do not count towards degree credit requirements for graduation.

The program takes a minimum of one calendar year to complete, though the timeframe is largely student-driven. All program requirements must be completed within seven years of admission, with students continuously enrolled during their entire tenure.

A number of unique electives are available, including Juvenile Justice, Correctional Rehab and Treatment and Policing. Students also have the option to specialize in Treatment and Research or Justice Agency Development and Management. In addition to coursework, students must complete a thesis or a project they must then present on. Internships can be undertaken, but are not required.

Prospective students are able to apply for a number of scholarships, and more funding opportunities become available after completing a portion of the program.

2. Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts

Northeastern University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #12, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

NU’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice requires a minimum of 32 semester hours, typically completed within eighteen months of full-time study. Part-time students normally finish within three to four years.

This innovative program allows students to customize their experience, giving them a choice between an internship, directed study or a thesis. Faculty interests are broad, with professors teaching a range of electives, including Victimology, Juvenile Justice, Security Management and Terrorism. Concentrations are offered in Community and Family Justice, Corrections, Global Criminal Justice, Leadership, Policing and Security.

A number of fellowships and assistantships are also available, serving as both financial assistance and leadership opportunities.

3. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus – University Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University

Students enrolled in Penn State’s criminal justice master’s program have two options when completing the 36 required credits: preparing a thesis or completing a comprehensive set of essays. Admission is not limited to undergraduate criminal justice majors, but those without a related background may be required to complete foundational courses before starting the program.

Full-time students typically complete their degree in 18 months. Part-time students have a maximum of eight years to finish the program. In addition to core coursework, popular electives include Media and Crime, Problem Solving Courts, Gangs and the Criminal Mind and Advanced Criminological Theory.

Students seeking financial aid are able to apply for assistantships and fellowships. If selected, these frequently include tuition remission, a stipend and subsidized medical insurance.

4. Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston University

Students looking to complete one of the best master’s of criminal justice programs can do so at Boston University in less than two years of full-time study. This 40 credit degree is delivered both online and on-campus and open to all students holding a bachelor’s degree. Regardless of attendance location, all students must complete their coursework within seven years of admission.

While there are no additional requirements outside of coursework, students can take a supervised fieldwork elective, spending a minimum of 12 hours working with relevant organizations, agencies and community groups.

Nu Mu is the BU chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma’s National Criminal Justice Honor Society; the organization recently recognized BU’s program for academic excellence. Assistantships are available.

5. Florida State University – Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University

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  • Ranked: Journal of Criminal Justice Education: #1 department faculty for scholarly productivity
  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #7, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

Students interested in FSU may choose between a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice or Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The MS/MA CCJ programs have three degree paths to choose from: course-work only, a research paper or undertaking a full thesis. All three can be completed within two years (students are required to finish all coursework within seven years of enrollment). Unique electives to the MS/MA CCJ programs include: Prevention and Treatment of Crime and Delinquency, Penology and Science, Evidence and Law.

Students have access to real-world networking opportunities, including the nation’s oldest law enforcement fraternity, Lambda Alpha Epsilon. Students are also involved with the American Society of Criminology. A number of graduate assistantships are available; prospective students should note these funding amounts vary each year based on the grants available.

6. American University – Washington, D.C.

American University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #19, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

The School of Public Affairs offers prospective students an MS in Justice, Law and Criminology as an interdisciplinary degree consisting of 33 credit hours. The program can be completed in less than two years of full-time study, though students have a maximum of seven years to complete the requirements.

Students from all undergraduate backgrounds are eligible to apply, though some may need to complete foundational courses first. Four concentrations are offered: Justice and Public Policy, Terrorism and Security Policy, Law and Society and Jurisprudence and Social Thought.

The department offers a number of merit-based scholarships for students displaying academic excellence. Graduate fellowships may also be available.

7. CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice – New York, New York

CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #10, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

Students seeking an immersive experience should consider JJCCJ, the only liberal arts college in America exclusively focused on criminal justice. The MA program consists of 30 to 36 credit hours, depending on the student’s capstone choice of examinations or a thesis. The university recommends the thesis route for those intending to complete a doctorate program. Both options can be completed within two years of full-time study.

Internships are not required, but they are strongly encouraged; the experience provides students with a richer curriculum and more professional exposure.

Ambitious students can join the college’s chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society. Programmatic scholarships are available and include both merit and need-based funding opportunities.

8. Temple University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Temple University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #11, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

The criminal justice master’s degree offered by TU is designed for both students eager to enter the workforce and those pursuing further education. Two tracks support this design; coursework-only or thesis. Both options can be completed in less than two years of full-time study; students must finish their degree within three years. Enrolling students are required to hold an undergraduate degree in Criminology, Geography, History, Law, Political Science, Social Work, Sociology or a related field.

Faculty specialities are broad and include topics like White Collar Crime, Community Corrections, Discretion in Criminal Justice and Restorative Justice. Teaching and research assistantships are available for noteworthy candidates and typically include full tuition remission and a stipend.

9. University of South Carolina-Columbia – Columbia, South Carolina

University of South Carolina-Columbia

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #25, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

USC Columbia offers thesis and non-thesis tracks for its Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice; non-thesis students must choose from three topics and write a policy paper. Requiring 30 credit hours and a comprehensive exam, both options can be completed in less than two years for full-time students.

While a baccalaureate degree in a related social science is preferred for admission, students from majors outside this scope can complete additional foundational courses to satisfy enrollment requirements. In addition to core courses, students choose from a variety of electives, including Organized Crime, Women and Crime, Police Practices and Problems and Ethics in Criminal Justice.

Financial support is available via assistantship and fellowship programs, although both are very competitive.

10. University of South Florida – Tampa, Florida

University of South Florida

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #22, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

Offered through the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, the 33 credit hour master’s in criminal justice administration program is open to all students holding a bachelor’s degree. The degree can be completed in five consecutive semesters and is designed for students seeking to the enter the workforce upon graduation.

All coursework is completed alongside a cohort, meaning students will go through the program with one group of classmates. All students take the same classes required to fulfill the credit hour requirements. There is no thesis requirement to graduate.

A number of fellowships, assistantships and scholarships, with varying requirements and amounts awarded, are available specifically for criminal justice students.

11. Indiana University-Bloomington – Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University-Bloomington

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #22, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at IU-Bloomington lets students decide if they’ll have their degree culminate in a thesis or two substantial research papers. Students holding a bachelor’s in any major are welcome to apply. Coursework involves 36 credit hours, and most full-time students complete the program within two years. All students will need to finish their degree within seven years.

Faculty interests are wide-ranging, allowing student to take electives in Victimization, Social Psychological Influences, Gun Violence and Philosophy of Punishment. Instructorships, fellowships and research assistantships are available on a competitive basis through the department, although preference is given to doctoral students.

12. University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, Ohio

University of Cincinnati

Full-time students routinely complete this 30 credit hour criminal justice master’s degree within one year, making it a great option for people interested in quickly entering the workforce. The program caters to students wanting professional development as opposed to an academic career. The culminating component is either a demonstration project or a comprehensive examination.

Three concentrations are available: Corrections, Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention. A number of unique electives supplement these specializations. Students seeking financial assistance are able to apply for graduate scholarships specific to the department or a small number of assistantship opportunities.

13. Seattle University – Seattle, Washington

Seattle University

Students seeking a more substantial criminal justice master’s degree will find SU’s 55 credit hour program of interest. With a focus on building a solid academic foundation, students typically spend three years of full-time study completing the degree; those looking to continue their studies at the doctorate level will be well prepared. As part of the culminating project, students can choose to complete a thesis or undertake comprehensive examinations.

In addition to core coursework, a wide-range of electives are available, including classes in Restorative Justice, Investigative Criminology and Advanced Crime Assessment. A concentration in Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation is also available.

In addition to federal financial aid, enrolling graduate students have a number of specific scholarships to which they can apply, along with grant and work study options.

14. Rutgers University – Newark, New Jersey

Rutgers University

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  • Ranked: The Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice ranked Rutgers’ Master’s/PhD program as 14th in the nation.

As an internationally-renowned postsecondary institution, students enrolling at Rutgers can be certain they are part of one of the best master’s in criminal justice programs in the nation. 30 credit hours are required to graduate, typically accomplished in less than two years for full-time students. All undergraduate backgrounds are welcome to apply; applications are assessed on an individual basis by the M.A. Academic Oversight Committee.

The program is unique in allowing students to develop their own concentration areas based on individual interests. Some of the more common specializations include Crime Prevention, Social Justice and Criminal Justice Research Methodologies.

The department is well funded and able to offer a substantial array of scholarships, assistantships and research fellowships to admitted students. Competition is still fierce, however, and students will need to show academic excellence to be considered.

15. Arizona State University – Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona State University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #12, Best Grad Schools, Criminology

Offered via the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, ASU’s Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice is a viable option for both professional advancement and continued education. The 30 credit hour program includes a substantive thesis component and can be completed in two years by full-time students.

There are no previous education requirements for prospective students, although, depending on their undergraduate major, some prerequisites may need to be fulfilled before beginning graduate coursework. In addition to five core classes, students can select up to nine hours of elective study, with topics that include Victimization, Policing, Corrections and Violent Crime.

Scholarships specific to criminal justice are sometimes available, and students can apply for a number of competitive assistantship and research fellowship positions. These roles typically cover tuition and include a small stipend.

Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs

1. Tiffin University - Tiffin, Ohio

Tiffin University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #6, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

Tiffin’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice offers four areas of concentration: Crime Analysis, Criminal Behavior, Homeland Security Administration and Justice Administration. Each option requires between 30 and 33 credits and provides a broad understanding of criminal justice, while allowing students to specialize in their area of interest.

Tiffin’s faculty brings both academic and real-world credentials. Most of its students are working professionals looking to increase their knowledge and take their careers to the next level. In lieu of a thesis, students undertake a capstone project, where they apply their learning to a contemporary problem. The degree can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s with a 3.0 GPA or a 2.5 GPA with five or more years of professional experience. A variety of financial aid is available to online students, including scholarships from the Fraternal Order of Police and the US military that may be earmarked for criminal justice students.

Classes, assignments, tests and discussion boards are delivered via the MyDragon portal, which is run on the Moodle LMS. MyDragon is also the access point to email, registration, multimedia and other online content.

2. Florida State University - Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #7, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Florida State takes a scientific approach to criminal behavior and public policy. With an emphasis on research and theory, many students opt to pursue a law or doctoral degree after graduation; others bring a broad understanding of systems and issues back to their work in the field.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university; a GPA demonstrating academic achievement; GRE test scores for those working in the field fewer than five years; a current resume; and a personal statement.

The program is 36 credit hours, composed of core classes and approved electives. There are three options for completion: coursework only, a thesis or an area paper. Taking two classes per semester, the program can be finished in two years. The degree must be completed within seven years.

Students use the university’s Blackboard learning management system for classes, exams, assignments, multimedia content and online communities. They should also have access to a television and VCR/DVD player, as some courses use videos.

3. Concordia University, St. Paul - St. Paul, Minnesota

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #34, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

Concordia’s Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Leadership is a 36-week online program designed to enhance professional development and leadership skills. While the learning is practitioner-oriented, Concordia’s role as a liberal arts institution is reflected in its coursework, which includes classes in reflective adult learning and ethics in criminal justice leadership.

Blackboard hosts the university’s virtual classroom, where students can email, submit assignments, take tests and post on discussion boards. A Blackboard tutorial highlights “collaboration” and “communication” as the key features in creating their online community. In general, the program stresses collaborative learning, with each class requiring a synchronous online discussion one night per week.

Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, minimum 3.0 GPA, a personal statement, and a professional resume. Accelerated courses run for seven weeks, meaning students can graduate in 24 months or less.

4. Washington State University - Pullman, Washington

Washington State University

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at Washington State University is a 30-hour online program consisting of core classes, institutional classes and electives. In lieu of a thesis, students complete a 4-hour writing portfolio and oral defense, designed to develop oral and written communication skills and research capabilities. About 30% of graduates enter law school or PhD programs upon completion of their degree, with the other 70% continuing on to leadership positions in criminal justice organizations.

Admission requirements include a BA or BS degree with a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours; official GRE scores; a personal letter of intent; and three letters of recommendation.

Online students are part of the school’s Global Connections program, which gives access to events such as online career fairs and educational webinars.

Beginning August 2015, WSU will transition from the Angel learning management system (LMS) to Blackboard Learn to provide students and faculty with improved interface, mobile access and third-party program integration. Students will view classes, submit assignments, take exams and communicate with instructors and classmates via the LMS.

5. University of Louisville - Louisville, Kentucky

University of Louisville

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #13, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of Louisville is a 36-hour program with single classes taken in accelerated six-week terms. Electives allow students to pursue specializations like emergency management, computer applications in criminal justice, capital punishment and homeland security. The degree may be completed in as little as three intensive semesters.

The criminal justice faculty offers students a deep professional network through partnerships with community organizations. The department has received research grants in excess of $4.5 million from local, state and national agencies.

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0, a minimum 282 combined score on the GRE, a personal statement and two letters of recommendation. Financial aid opportunities include the Blue Coats Scholarships, intended for students employed as first responder/public safety practitioners.

Students use U of L’s Blackboard system to access lessons, take tests, submit assignments, view grades, send email and collaborate on discussion boards. New online students can demo an online course to familiarize themselves with the format.

6. California State University, San Bernardino - San Bernardino, California

California State University, San Bernardino

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #20, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

California State University, San Bernardino offers a fully online Professional Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Program, designed for people already employed in criminal justice. It consists of at least 45 units, 13 of which can be transferred in from another institution. Coursework culminates in a comprehensive final examination. Full-time students complete their degrees in approximately two years.

The program was developed to allow for minimal prerequisites, so students with bachelor’s degrees outside criminal justice are eligible for admission. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, submit an entrance writing requirement and three letters of recommendation; submission of GRE or MAT scores is optional.

Online courses use the Blackboard 9.1 platform. CSUSB offers a selection of tutorials to familiarize students with the interface’s features, from creating discussion boards and wiki pages to working in groups and posting a blog. There are also tools for managing coursework, sending emails and organizing events.

7. Sam Houston State University - Huntsville, Texas

Sam Houston State University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #5, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

The coursework in Sam Houston State’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice consists of a 36-hour, semester-based program geared toward the working criminal justice professional wanting to graduate in two years. With a self-directed capstone, 21 required credits and 15 elective, there is plenty of room for students to customize their education to match their interests. The faculty enjoy strong relationships with local, state and national criminal justice agencies, networks many students are able to leverage in post-graduation job searches.

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a satisfactory GRE score, three letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Scholarships are available for all students, while those who are service members, veterans, or military spouses are eligible for benefits that come with SHSU’s designation as a “military-friendly school.”

Online courses are delivered via Blackboard, which gives access to lessons, assignments, grades, discussion boards and multimedia content. SHSU is currently transitioning to a new online tool, Kaltura, allowing users to create and publish high-quality video in their assignments, discussions and other content. Technical help and tutorials are available online.

8. University of Wisconsin-Platteville - Platteville, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #15, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s online criminal justice master’s gives enrolled students three distinct tracks to choose from, along with an array of electives. The tracks are:

  • Criminal justice theory for research or PhD degrees
  • Criminal justice management for agency leadership positions
  • Victim and offender services for serving victims, juveniles and parole clients

Each option requires 15 core credit hours and 15 electives. Students can also earn a nine credit certificate in Child Advocacy Studies, which can be applied toward the 15 elective credits.

Platteville requires criminal justice applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Students must submit a detailed resume and personal statement. Some graduate credits may transfer in, and students who have spent time working in certain criminal justice settings may be awarded graduate credit for life experience.

Recently, the university received a National Science Foundation grant to further develop its online Master of Science programs, adding 10 new scholarships and increasing support in areas like peer and faculty mentoring, advising and research. Online lessons, coursework and tests, as well as multimedia content and collaborative discussions, are delivered via the Desire2Learn (D2L) course management system. Students needing assistance can access the Distance Learning Center Help Desk.

9. University of Central Missouri - Warrensburg, Missouri

University of Central Missouri

The online criminal justice master’s at the University of Central Missouri is part of a 50-year old department with internationally recognized and published faculty. Students either pursue a thesis or non-thesis option within the 36-credit-hour program.

Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field, as well as an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with a GPA below 2.75 may be considered with a combined GRE score of 300 and a 4.0 on the Analytic Writing Test. Those with degrees in unrelated fields may need to take up to 15 hours of prerequisites.

Online learning at UCM is robust. Coursework is delivered via Blackboard, which has tools for managing assignments, taking exams and communicating among cohorts. Students can access features such as step-by-step tech how tos, a 24/7 helpline and an online learning assessment tool. There are also professional development and personal enrichment courses available to students through ed2go, PBS Teacherline and Dale Carnegie.

10. University of Colorado Denver - Denver, Colorado

University of Colorado Denver

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #9, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

University of Colorado Denver’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice is widely regarded as one of the best criminal justice programs in the country. Its alumni include more than 40 police chiefs and a wide range of leaders in every area of criminal justice.

The program is 36 semester hours. Students can choose between a thesis or a field-based capstone project. Average completion time is two to two and a half years.

Applicants must submit bachelor’s degree records, along with their GPA (preferred minimum of 3.0), three letters of recommendation, GRE or LSAT results, a resume and a statement of intent. Students without criminal justice experience complete an internship, which is key to bridging the gap between theoretical and real-world knowledge.

UCD has recently transitioned to Canvas, a learning management system that emphasizes collaboration via multimedia-heavy chats. Canvas also supports email, texts and mobile apps; integration with other learning tools; and improved grading and feedback. Students participate in their classes via forums and network with professionals by attending virtual panels and guest lectures.

11. Fairmont State University - Fairmont, West Virginia

Fairmont State University

While Fairmont State’s online criminal justice master’s degree is designed to meet the needs of working professionals, the program attracts a diverse group of professionals, recent college graduates and those aspiring to doctoral work. The collaborative learning this affords is a program strength.

Students can choose between two 30-credit-hour tracks: the thesis option or the capstone option. Full-time students earn their degree in two years, but the program’s flexibility allows for a maximum of seven years to complete the program.

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Admission also requires a writing sample, a 5-10-page paper stating personal goals and philosophies and three letters of recommendation. Undergraduate work in research methods and statistics is strongly recommended.

The online environment is powered by Blackboard Learn 9.1. Students log on to attend class, submit assignments, take exams and participate in online discussions. They can also access advising, library support and technical help through online services.

12. Arizona State University - Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona State University

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #2, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

Arizona State’s Master of Arts in Criminal Justice is taught by a diverse faculty composed of leading scholars, as well as industry experts in policing, fraud, corrections and other criminal justice fields. Students typically leave the program with an education balanced between theoretical and applied knowledge.

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The program is 33 credit hours, delivered in accelerated 7.5-week courses. All students must pass a capstone course and comprehensive research paper. The degree can be completed in as little as 18 months or as long as 6 years.

ASU has applied to the Quality Matters (QM) process, an evaluation of a school’s online classes and faculty to determine if the standard for best practices in online education are being met. Distance learners can access many services, including a comprehensive orientation and what’s termed “extensive research assistance.” The online environment, provided by MyASU, is easy to navigate, with features like discussion boards and to-do lists.

13. National University - San Diego, California

National University

National University’s online master’s of criminal justice focuses on giving students the administrative, management and problem-solving skills needed to succeed in criminal justice careers, as well as research or academic settings. With a mix of theoretical and applied models, graduates are well positioned to advance their careers in the field or continue with doctoral-level study.

The program consists of at least 54 quarter units. Core classes emphasize analyzing and evaluating the complex issues and systems that face criminal justice practitioners today, while electives focus more on applied, practical topics.

Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of at least 2.5. Successful students will take advantage of the many online resources available through the eCollege platform, including multimedia-rich presentations, technical support, online advising and the Student Concierge Service. The online environment also has extensive interactive tools that build a sense of community among classmates and instructors.

14. Columbia College - Columbia, Missouri

Columbia College

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  • Ranked: U.S. News & World Report: #8, Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Columbia College is primarily designed for working professionals looking to advance their career; though those looking to continue on to doctoral study or law school will acquire the necessary analytical and theoretical skills to succeed. Classes are 8 weeks long and the degree is 36 credit hours, consisting of 27 core and foundation credits with 9 electives. Students can also choose to put their 9 electives toward a management track in either Law Enforcement Administration or Corrections Administration.

Columbia College Online employs Desire2Learn (D2L), a user-friendly platform for interactive course content, assignment submission and interactive discussion formats. In addition to support services, the online program offers prospective students questionnaires to assess their own technological aptitudes and learning styles.

Applicants should have a bachelor’s in criminal justice with a minimum GPA of 3.0, three recommendation forms and a professional goal statement. Admission is open to students with a bachelor’s in another field, but they must complete prerequisite coursework. A number of scholarships are earmarked specifically for online students, and financial aid and military discounts are also available.