Types of Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice
Types of Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice
The Masters in Criminal Justice degree is sometimes confused with the Masters in Criminology, which is the more academic oriented of the two. A Masters in Criminal Justice is usually the choice for people who want to work in a supervisorial role or counseling role in the criminal justice system. It is often the degree of choice for law enforcement professionals who need academic credentials to move up through the uniformed ranks. Today in many jurisdictions a police captain or chief not only needs to pass a civil service exam, a graduate level college degree is also important. The collection of criminal justice degrees we have assembled here are offered under various titles but all pertain to the criminal justice profession. Some are Master of Criminal Justice specializations at one school and may be offered as another academic discipline at a different university. The Master of Criminal Justice in Forensic Psychology at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice a Master of Psychology degree at University of the Rockies. Both degrees are excellent entrees into the field.
Criminal Justice Degrees:
- Masters in Criminal Justice Administration is the usual track for law enforcement personnel moving past the rank of lieutenant who would like to obtain a senior position. This is also an excellent generalist degree for employment in one of the branches of the Department of Homeland Security.
- Masters in Criminal Justice/Corrections is often a degree sought by professionals who have moved up in the prison administration ranks or who want to manage the bailiff operation in a court district. Corrections means managing courtroom activities for incarcerated individuals as well as the facilities that house them.
- Masters in Criminal Justice/Juvenile Justice prepares professionals for a management role in a local or regional juvenile justice system. Everything about juvenile justice is different that standard criminal justice: court procedures, probation, incarceration, and prosecutorial procedures.
- Masters in Criminal Justice/Legal Studies provides training in a number of legal areas that are important in criminal justice including polygraph use, sexual assault investigation, the law and forensic studies, Constitutional issues, and the legal strictures surrounding police work in general.
- Masters in Criminology is the study of the theory and research associated with criminal justice and criminal behavior. Criminology graduates manage many of the local criminal justice programs that are federally funded and require administrative oversight in the public sector.
- Masters in Critical Incident Management sounds like a degree involving the scene of an accident or house fire, but it's actually focused on major events such as earthquakes, floods, major fires or terrorist acts. Managing crisis scenes is a challenging field that requires substantial training in public safety, forensics and communications.
- Masters in Forensic Computing is a degree that IT professionals may be drawn to. The FBI is constantly hiring software experts to assist in crime investigation that involves the use of fraudulent bank accounts or some sort of computer hacking. Other agencies at the state and local level engage in the same sorts of investigations.
- Masters in Forensic Mental Health Counseling is the area of focus for students interested in working as parole or probation officers or who would like to assume a counseling role in a correctional institution. Some jurisdictions require their probation or parole officers to hold masters degrees, but most entry level positions require only a bachelor's degree. A graduate degree should provide management opportunities.
- Masters in Forensic Psychology offers career opportunities in probation or parole, but there are other career tracks within the system. A degree in forensic psychology may lead to consultation in a courtroom environment on criminal behavior and motives. It is also a degree that some professionals apply in the field of human resources investigations and victim assistance programs.
- Masters in Forensic Science is for professionals who want to lead crime scene investigations or provide oversight in a crime lab. This area of study focuses on the science of reconstructing criminal activity based on all types of evidence.
- Masters in Homeland Security is a degree for criminal justice professionals interested in a career with the Department of Homeland Security or in a state or regional position within a criminal justice agency that is dedicated to crisis management and anti-terrorist activity. There are scores of regulations implemented at the state and local level that have been established since 9/11.
- Masters in International Crime and Justice is another degree that focuses on forensics in some careers, as international movement of funds and contraband is a common issue in criminal activity. It can also lead to a career in working with law enforcement teams from other nations and cultures.
- Masters in International Criminology is a degree more often found in European universities but it is taking hold in the United States as the internet seems to be making crime an international pursuit just as much as a local activity. Criminology studies in this area look at patterns of behavior that can be associated with international activities often difficult to trace and more difficult to prove.
- Masters in Police Science has been the traditional graduate degree for individuals who would like to serve as a Chief of Police or high in a sheriff's department. Many people who run for the position of sheriff obtain this degree as a credential prior to seeking the office. Police science is also a degree relevant to management positions in agencies such as the TSA and the Border Patrol.
- Masters in Protection Management is really a public safety field as much as a personal protection role. The agents that provide protection for high profile individuals also routinely secure public areas where there might be a risk of public outbreaks or dangerous activity.