Online Criminal Justice Masters

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Earning a Online Criminal Justice Masters takes about two years, but it can be two years very well spent. An Online Criminal Justice Masters program will cover advanced topics such as research methodology, analyzing criminal behavior, leadership and the law. If you plan to work in federal law enforcement, having a master’s degree could increase your opportunities for advancement. After completing an online master’s program, criminal justice students can further their careers to take on advanced positions with local, state and federal authorities. If you are already a law enforcement officer, or in a criminal justice-related field, a master’s in criminal justice will help you to sharpen critical work-related skills and move up the career ladder more rapidly. For someone entering the field for a competitive position, such as within a federal agency, you will have a definite advantage. Career examples within Federal agencies include:

  • Forensic psychologist
  • FBI agent
  • Blood Spatter Analyst

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, criminal justice careers are anticipated to grow at a rate of 7% between 2020 and 2030, which is above the national average. Many colleges and universities now offer an online criminal justice degree. In this guide we will be discussing all aspects of criminal justice degree programs – admission requirements, scholarships, curriculum, and much more. We will also review the best online criminal justice degrees in the country.

Best Online Criminal Justice
Masters Programs

Like many other fields of study, an Online Criminal Justice Master’s program can be achieved through online learning. But when it comes to selecting the best online schools, in which one can pursue a master’s in criminal justice, it is important to consider several key factors. Our methodology included elements like tuition, program quality, graduation rates, program reputation and many other parameters The expert team at Find Best Degrees has considered all these factors. (Link to methodology pop up) and created a list of the best criminal justice programs that can be taken online. Here is a list of the best online criminal justice programs: *

The SCCJ prepares students for professional and research careers in criminal justice, criminology, and related fields by applying multidisciplinary and comparative social science to understand, predict, and explain crime. Using an active learning approach, the school seeks to develop students intellectually and ethically. They learn a keen appreciation for the complexities of crime and for public and private efforts to make communities safer and ensure justice. The tuition and graduation rate are as below:
Univ Address Tuition Grad Rate
Northeastern University 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115 $25,264 90%

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

Find Best Online Criminal Justice
Masters Near Me

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Internet has changed our lives forever. This definitely includes how we learn. With so many institutions offering Online Criminal Justice Master Degree programs, you no longer have to worry about finding a college or university near you. Now, the university comes to you by way of the World wide Web.

Criminal justice master’s programs can be attended through online learning. But when it comes to selecting good online schools, in which one can pursue a master’s in criminal justice, it is important to consider several key factors.

Once again, we have done most of the work for you by providing the list below. If you are searching for a local institution, just enter the location and we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our list below to find a criminal justice degree in your preferred geographic area.

What to Expect from the Online Criminal
Justice Master’s Program?

As with most college level programs, online criminal justice degrees have quite a bit of variation in their curriculums. Generally, Criminal Justice is the study of crime from a social and individual perspective. However, each program, at each individual institution, will have their own particular focus.

In addition to a core curriculum, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on one of four concentrations: Human Services, Urban Crime Policy, Homeland Security, or a General track. As you select your area of interest, you’ll learn about:

Areas of Specialization for Online
Criminal Justice Masters

At times, criminologists aid in actual investigations and play a role in the apprehension of criminals, while in other cases they conduct research that leads to better law enforcement techniques. The term “criminologist” itself encompasses a variety of disciplines in the criminal investigation field.

The branches of criminology are usually classified as:

Depending on your area of specialization, the working conditions of criminologists can vary according to your specific job function:

Laboratory WorkCrime Scene WorkOffice WorkCourt Work
A forensic scientist, or a science lab technician, will spend much of the day working in a laboratory setting. There they study evidence obtained at a crime scene. Forensic scientists also spend a considerable amount of time at the computer, analyzing data and using sophisticated software programs to identify possible criminal suspects.Criminal investigators gather evidence at the crime scene to be taken back to the laboratory for analysis. Their work may involve gathering tissue and fluid samples from dead bodies, examining blood stain spatters and weapons found at the scene of the crime and any other potential clues.The criminologist, like other police officers and detectives, spends a lot of time filling out and filing paperwork. Criminologists have to document their findings by filling out police reports and must keep extensive records for future investigative purposes.Some criminologists who are recognized as leading authorities in the law enforcement community can be asked to serve as expert witnesses in court cases. For example, forensic psychologists are sometimes called upon to comment on a suspect’s behavior and mental state.

Depending on your concentration, you’ll also have the opportunity to study specialized issues like security management, emergency management, and more, including:

Why Should I Do an Online Criminal
Justice Masters?

Is a master’s degree in criminal justice worth it? After you’ve earned your Master’s Degree, if you are not already working in the criminal justice field, you can immediately go to work in the Criminal Justice system. Your years of experience plus a Master’s Degree will be a tremendous asset.

And one of the best features of most Online Master’s Degree programs in Criminal Justice, is that you can start classes almost any time you like. Class notes are usually available online and lectures can be downloaded any time of the day or night.

Free Online Criminal Justice
Masters Courses

There are many free online criminal justice courses, but finding a completely free, legitimate degree is harder. However, a free online criminal justice certificate can definitely get you started in the right direction if you want to pursue a degree in that field.

The introduction of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other free online courses has radically changed the way higher education courses are delivered, and criminal justice is no different. There is a myriad of free introductory and advanced courses in criminal justice. Online classes for criminal justice include history, policy, theory, and ethics and by starting to study these topics, the student will get a better understanding of what criminal justice is all about.

Here are three sources for free online courses in Criminal Justice:

Course Description Offered by
TOP 25 FREE ONLINE CRIMINAL JUSTICE MOOC COURSES FOR 2020They list courses by Coursera, EdX, University of Leeds, and University of YorkCriminal Justice Degree Hub
Hot Topics in Criminal JusticeAn American MOOC provider. They offer free online courses, many of them led by top colleges or companies like Google. Learners can access all course materials and there’s a small fee for a certificate of completion.
“As a way of thinking about dealing with these problems”, this course examines two over-arching issues: What should we do with people who have committed crime, and how should we identify who they are?
The Psychology of Criminal JusticeAn American (MOOC) provider created by Harvard and MIT. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body, including some courses at no charge. “Learn how behavioral science can improve our criminal justice system.”edX

How To Get Into the Online Criminal
Justice Master’s Program?

Like most Associate Degree programs, an online associate in criminal justice also has admission requirements. To be admitted to an online criminal justice degree program, here are requirements:

Every college and university will have different admission requirements, which is independent of the program the student is admitted to.

How long does an Online Criminal
Justice Masters take?

Generally, you must earn about 36 credits for a Master’s Degree. Even if you are working during the day, this may take as little as nine months or as much time as you can devote to completing your studies.

Most students complete a master’s degree within two years. However, if you already have a master’s degree in another area, and want to become a criminal justice professional, you may not have to repeat required science or liberal arts classes.

One Year Online Criminal Justice
Masters Programs

What is really nice, about most online programs using MOOCs, is that you can begin work on a criminal justice degree almost any time you like. There are online programs that start almost continuously. Some schools start new classes every week (or even every day).

That is the sort of flexibility that makes online education so appealing. You can start a new class just as you finish another, making your downtime between classes, minimal. You may even be able to begin working in the criminal justice field while you complete your degree.

Some institutions award credit for prior work experience, transferring credits and certifications that you have earned. Check with your college or university on their requirements.

Accreditation for Online Criminal Justice
Master’s Degree

Accreditation is the process where institutions of higher education are certified that they meet satisfactory levels of quality. For a criminal justice degree online, there are two types of accreditations available – National and Regional accreditations. It is important to note the differences as this information will be useful at the time of admission and also if there are any transfers happening.

Nationally accredited schools will generally accept credits from either a regionally or nationally accredited school:

  • Regionally accredited schools may NOT accept transfer credit from a nationally accredited college or university.
  • Graduate schools that offer a Master’s or a PhD, tend to be regionally accredited and will usually take in qualified applicants who possess a degree from an institution with regional accreditation.

There are six regional accreditation agencies. Make sure that the university you select is accredited by one of them:

How to Pay for Online Criminal Justice
Master’s Programs?

The first thing you should do, once you’re accepted as a student or enrolled in a criminal justice program, is to apply for financial aid. For students studying towards a degree, that means filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA at

Every year more than 15 million students are awarded about $150 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest student loans by the U.S. Department of Education. The types of financial aid are:

Federal Student Loans

When you fill out the FAFSA, you are automatically considered for federal student loans.

GI Bill

The GI Bill is a very popular benefit for veterans. In fact, along with serving your country, the GI Bill is one of the main reasons that many people go into the military.

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students, and you’ll automatically be considered for Pell Grants when you fill out the FAFSA. The amount of aid you receive depends on your financial need, the cost of tuition at your school, and other factors. Remember that this is money that you do not need to repay.

Private Student Loans

Once you’ve gotten all the grants and federal student loans you can, there may still be some additional costs associated with going to college. You can make up the difference with private student loans, and pay the money back after you graduate.

Student Loans

The federal government regulates the maximum interest that lenders can charge on federally guaranteed student loans, creating lower interest on college loans. Additionally, loan repayment does not begin until six months after graduation (or when enrollment in school is less than half time).

Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans

Stafford Loans are the most common form of criminal justice financial aid. Stafford Loans include the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Loan proceeds are dispersed directly to students and can be subsidized or unsubsidized, depending on the student’s financial standing.

Private Loans

Another common type of criminal justice financial aid is a private loan. These loans offer higher limits and no payments until graduation, but interest starts to accrue the day the loan is distributed. Private student loans can be made out to either students or parents and are a much better alternative than credit card debt.

 PLUS Loans

PLUS Loans are paid through FFEL and Direct Loan programs, but they are geared toward parents. You must be a dependent student enrolled at least half time in your undergraduate education, in order to qualify for this type of loan, and your parent needs to apply for the loan.

College Scholarships

Scholarships are competitive, but, if you qualify, they do not need to be paid back and are an excellent kind of criminal justice financial aid. For criminal justice students, the professional associations for your specialty may give scholarships to qualified individuals. For example, the Police Corps in your state may offer scholarships in order to increase the number of trained police officers. Paralegals can find scholarships with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Grants for School

Grants are another way to finance your education because it is money that is essentially free — you don’t have to pay back a grant. With over a thousand federal grant programs in the U.S., worth more than $400 billion, securing a grant can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in criminal justice financial aid loans. Schools often, automatically, consider you for grants when you complete a FAFSA and apply to school.

FAQs Related to Online Criminal Justice
Master’s Programs

 How to get a Criminal Justice degree?

An Online Criminal Justice Master’s will really jump start your career. The prerequisite for that is a GPA of at least 3.0 from the institution that awarded your Bachelor’s Degree. Prospective police officers also need police academy training. Lawyers need seven years of education from an undergraduate program and law school, plus a passing score on their state’s bar exam.

What college has the best Criminal Justice program?

How much is Criminal Justice college?

What can a master’s degree in criminal justice do?

Can you get a Criminal Justice degree online?

How long does it take to get a Criminal Justice degree?

Is Criminology and Criminal Justice the same?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after Online
Criminal Justice Master’s

Once you have a master’s degree in criminal justice, the careers you can pursue include Paralegal, Police Officer, Corrections Officer, Probation Officer, Security Officer, Evidence Tech (also called Crime Scene Technicians), Insurance Investigator, Youth Detention Counselor, Victim Advocacy, Cyber Security Investigator.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries do vary greatly depending on location, years of experience, and several other factors. Numerous paths are available in the field of criminal justice. Some common career possibilities include the following:

Job TitleSalary
Forensic Science Technicians$60,590
Forensic Psychologists$105,780
Computer Systems Analysts$93,730
Information Security Analysts$103,590

There are also job opportunities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Secret Service, Federal Air Marshals, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Check with each agency to see whether it’s hiring.

There were 17,200 forensic science technicians in 2019, according to the BLS, and employment is projected to grow 16% through 2030. They work in police departments, crime labs, morgues, and medical examiners’ offices.

In a 2009 blog post, the American Psychological Association calls forensic psychology a “postgrad growth area” and points out that the demand for forensic psychologists is greater than the supply.

Job growth for information security analysts is estimated at 33% by the BLS through 2030, because as computer and cybercrime continues to grow, there should be job opportunities in computer forensics in both the legal system, and in corporations large and small for the foreseeable future.

Certification and Licensing for Online
Criminal Justice Masters

The American Board of Criminalistics currently offers examinations in the following areas of certification:

Biological Evidence Screening (ABC-BIO)Comprehensive Criminalistics (ABC-CC)
Drug Analysis (ABC-DA)Forensic DNA (ABC-DNA)
Molecular Biology (ABC-MB)Fire Debris Analysis (ABC-FD)
Hair and Fiber (ABC-HF)Paint and Polymer (ABC-PP)

The steps that need to be followed, in the certification program, consist of:

Additional Resources for Online
Criminal Justice Masters

Getting into and graduating from online criminal justice degree programs will certainly help students in establishing a career in the criminal justice field. But it is also essential for students to know about and be closely associated with organizations and associations in this industry. By networking with these organizations, students can benefit from up-to-date knowledge on current trends in criminal justice along with opening up career opportunities or career growth. Here are several resources for those interested in Criminal Justice careers:


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.