Whether you want to become a subject matter expert in criminal justice or enhance your career with higher-level opportunities, a Master’s degree in criminal justice could ideally be perfect for you. 

By getting a master’s you will become eligible for advanced roles and higher-level positions in the criminal justice system. You will leap above the competition if promotions are for consideration within the group. Plus, knowledge and skills wise you will be adept in criminal justice laws and practices. So, either way, it is you that wins. 

In this article, we will explore the Master’s program, its curricula, for whom is it best suited, and the benefits of a Master’s degree in criminal justice.  

Read on:

Criminal Justice Master's Degree

Master’s degree in Criminal Justice 

A masters in Criminal Justice advances your skills, expands your understanding, and offers exposure to tools that makes you more eligible for higher-level positions. A Master’s degree can make you a top pick for any advanced job and yield more job opportunities for you.

It helps you in getting promotions, job hikes, advanced or leadership roles, and much more. So, why not try it? Let’s begin with what’s required to get you an admission.  

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Admission Requirements 

The admission requirements may differ depending on the institution. So, it is better to check the notification of the college or university before applying. 

Here are the standard admission requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or any related discipline
  • Should meet the cut-off GPA for admission  
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) Scores
  • A statement of purpose or a Letter of intent (wherever applicable)  
  • A letter of recommendation (wherever applicable)  
  • A resume or CV (wherever applicable)  

Course Curricula 

A master’s degree will equip you in subjects related to law enforcement, justice, forensics, and corrections, of the criminal justice system. You can also choose subjects like – public safety administration or advanced counterterrorism if you like to try out those niches.

Most criminal justice master’s programs cover below mentioned standard topics: 

  • Applied Data Analysis
  • Criminology
  • Law Enforcement
  • Administration of justice
  • White-collar crimes
  • Cybercrime
  • Digital forensics

Course Duration – 2 years

Course Credit hours – 30 – 36

Other Degree Programs: 

-> Criminal Justice Associate Degree

-> Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree

Who should choose a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice? 

Anyone with a bachelor’s degree. Yes, it’s that much helpful. In this competitive era, you need something to stand above the rest. Here is your opportunity – get a master’s degree in criminal justice – and keep shining.  

  • If you have a deep interest in learning and implementing reforms in this system of criminal justice, a master’s could be the stepping stone. As you delve deeper into the ocean-like subject like the criminal justice system, you develop more understanding of the structural or philosophical flaws in it and fix them.
  • If you are a working professional and are looking for a promotion or aiming for a higher-level position, a master’s degree in criminal justice is what you need.
  • It is a no-brainer that a master’s degree from the very first interview makes a candidate appear more knowledgeable, skilled, and job ready.
  • If you intend to switch your career to something like a teacher, or illustrator, a Master’s degree could work wonders for you. It increases your chances of career enhancement and attracts many opportunities.

Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Benefits

Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Benefits

Whether you want to gain knowledge or career-relevant skills, a master’s degree is the next step for you. You become eligible for advanced roles, higher earning potential, and you walk out with the authority of a subject matter expert. 

There are many benefits of getting a master’s in criminal justice, but here are some worth mentioning:  

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Subject Matter Expert 

A master’s degree in criminal justice will help you gain expertise in a subject of a niche in the criminal justice system. If you wish to become a subject matter expert and share the knowledge and suggest reforms regarding your subject, getting a master’s is the stepping stone. You then go on to achieve a Ph.D., and there you go, a revered SME.

Authority and validation of expertise 

Getting a master’s degree stamps authority and validates expertise in the resume. It throws an impression to the interviewer that the candidate is knowledgeable, perhaps with expertise in the subject. It also provides opportunities to seek out more competitive federal jobs, or others that require a master’s degree.

Eligible for superior positions 

That’s what we all know by now, right, that a master’s would skyrocket your career. It makes you eligible for advanced tasks, superior or higher positions, even leadership positions. Not to forget, it could boost your promotion chances or allow you to make a career shift post acquiring your master’s. All of these indicate more earning potential – $70,000 – $ 110,000 per year. Awesome!  

Advanced methods of investigation and research 

The world is changing, and so are our methods. A master’s degree introduces to you modern, advanced methods of investigation and research. It equips you with the required skills to use the tools to apply your methods of investigation. You will be dealing with the tools for statistics, data analysis, forensics, etc.

Opportunity to work in the federal agencies 

These days most federal agencies prefer a bachelor’s because it makes a candidate appear more knowledgeable, skilled, and job ready. But, a candidate with a master’s degree, can out-compete him in all genres – knowledge, skills, methods, and expertise.

Know More:

-> Criminal Justice Degree

-> What Can You Do with A Masters in Criminal Justice?


What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Literally anything. It opens the portal of opportunities.

Considering Education – you could go ahead and do a Ph.D. and become an SME. You could choose other related fields like law, forensics, etc.

Considering Promotion – you are eligible for promotions to advanced roles or higher positions.

Considering Jobs – you can switch your career if you were a working professional, or can opt for lucrative careers like a Professor, Researcher, policy analyst, etc.

Is a master’s in criminal justice useful?

If your professional goal aligns with it, it can work wonders for ya. It can –

  • boost career opportunities and guarantees higher earning potential
  • stamp authority and validates expertise in your resume
  • make you eligible for advanced or higher positions
  • help you hone skills to use advanced methods of investigation and research
  • offer the opportunity to work in the federal agencies
  • help gain niche expertise in the subjects of criminal justice

Can I get funding for my master’s in criminal justice?

Yes. You can get funding if you are eligible for it through – aid from FASFA, Scholarships, and Employer Assistance.  

Is a Master’s Degree necessary for a criminal justice career?

No. In fact, you don’t need a degree to get an entry-level job. A high school pass out is eligible. But; what career are we talking about?  

If your career demands a degree, you then need to pursue it. However, a bachelor’s degree is highly recommended for most jobs considering the competitiveness of the nature of the job.

A Master’s degree would just keep you on the safe side, considering promotions and salary hikes. You also become eligible for advanced roles and superior positions. 

Let’s check a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Master’s degree employment rates – it is projected to grow by 13.6%, between 2021 and 2031. So, getting a master’s could be a far-sighted career move for you.  

Is a criminal justice degree worth the investment?

Calculate the ROIs. If getting a degree by investing some years can yield you these –

It will boost career opportunities, increase your earning potential, validates expertise and authority, unlock superior positions, open gates to federal agencies, and deliver a niche expertise in criminal justice. How’s the ROI?

How Much Money Can I Make with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Depending on the job role, a master’s makes you eligible to earn upwards from $72,073 – $111,035 or beyond. The earning potential is very high. 


-> Online Criminal Justice Degree 

-> What Jobs Can You Get With a Criminal Justice Degree?

-> What Can You Do With a Criminal Justice Degree Besides Being a Cop?

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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.