Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

A master’s degree in criminal justice is an academic degree that can usually be completed in two years of full time study. A prerequisite to obtaining a master’s degree, however, is the requirement of having first earned a bachelor’s degree. A master’s is typically the equivalent of around 40 college credit hours. A master’s degree in criminal justice can be earned at four-year colleges and universities, including taking courses over the Internet from these same institutions where you have the ability to work at your own pace (including evening hours while still maintaining a day job).

By having a master’s Criminal Justice degree, advancements in professional employment can be sought with state and local police enforcement, private security services, parole and probation, social welfare, homeland security, US Customs for Immigration, the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other federal law enforcement agencies.

Primarily, a master’s degree gives you an opportunity to specialize in one of the related fields of criminal justice. This may include criminal justice research, homeland security, forensic psychology, criminology, and even advanced behavioral studies to name just a few. A master’s degree can also set the necessary educational foundation to professionally teach on the various subjects of criminal justice at the college and university level. Having a master’s degree in criminal justice will earn you a very respectable salary in addition to promotions into administrative and managerial related positions. Depending upon the position and the experience, a master’s degree can draw an annual salary worth $100,000 and above.

A master’s degree is designed for specialization in the field of criminal justice. As a result the program of courses available will vary from one area of specialty to another. For example, an education that focused on homeland security might draw from other areas within the college including the departments of psychology, biology, history, and political science.

A series of specialized dedicated courses would then form the basis for a Master’s in Homeland Security, where requirements could include the following topics:

  • Introduction to Homeland Security: A course that provides the basics of homeland security through an understanding of its mission, its organization and the legal issues with regards to United States law.
  • Homeland Security and Defense in Practice: A course that is designed to examine and analyze existing homeland security policies in place.
  • Homeland Security and the Public’s Role: A course that examines how the public and private sectors coexist with the military’s role in preparing, implementing, and responding to disasters caused by human and non-human intervention.
  • Homeland Security Disaster Communications: A course of study that would examine how communications are implemented during a disaster at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Public Health Readiness for Terrorist Emergencies: A course that would examine the historical narrative of terrorism threats and the readiness of the public population to handle such a threat.
  • Disaster Psychology: A course that would explore the psychological impact of disasters and terrorist threats at the individual victim level, the family level, and the societal level as a whole. The course would also look at ways to mitigate the negative effects of such disasters.

A Criminal Justice degree at the master’s level can be a great learning experience for its own merit, especially since one can tailor their interests toward a specialized course of study. Not only do you have the opportunity to become an expert in the field of criminal justice, but that expertise will more than likely net you a higher annual salary and more choices for employment, and in some cases your employer will provide finaid to help cover the cost of your degree.

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