Graduate Programs in Criminal Justice

Academic programs in Criminal Justice prepare students for a career in law enforcement, the courts or the prison system. Criminal Justice refers to the structure, laws and processes established by the government to control or reduce crime, enforce the laws that order the society, and ensure justice for all citizens. Criminal justice systems exist on the Federal, State, Municipal and County levels throughout the U.S.

County governments typically enforce laws through a department or policing force lead by an elected or appointed Sherriff. Cities commonly have a police department. States generally have a state police force. The Federal government has several law enforcement agencies, each with specific responsibilities. The Federal agencies include: The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. National Central Bureau Interpol, the U.S. Marshals Service, Customs Department, Immigration and Naturalization.

For those in Criminal Justice who wish to pursue additional education (beyond the bachelor’s degree) or who wish to specialize in some aspect of law enforcement. Those who pursue a master’s degree often wish to pursue a position in law enforcement at a higher level or a position in crime management.  They will be able to choose between two degree programs.

The Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice offers the opportunity to specialize with additional knowledge of law enforcement, the history of law enforcement, the sociological basis of criminal justice, the sociological roots of crime, the psychology of crime, etc. This degree is a good match for those seeking a career in criminal investigation or crime prevention.

The Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice follows naturally from the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree. Students in this program have the opportunity to pursue advanced study of legal policy, the workings of the criminal justice system or the courts. This program is well matched to the needs of those who wish to continue to work in law enforcement, corrections, court administration, etc.

Doctoral studies in law or psychology are required for many teaching positions, attorneys, judges, and other high-level and technical positions.


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