How Can I Get A Masters Degree In Criminology Online: Schools & Costs

Often times, excelling in the industry of criminal justice means having a firm grasp of the criminal mind, and a master’s degree in criminology could help.

It makes more sense when you earn this without visiting the campus as you have the freedom to juggle your career and school work. So, here is how you can get a master’s degree in criminology program online with the schools, their requirements, and cost.

Although many excellent careers can be obtained with bachelor’s degrees, however, earning a master’s in criminology can open even more doors for you. For instance, with a master’s degree, you will earn higher, as well as, land a higher-level position than you would with a bachelor’s.

According to Chron, the average starting salary for a criminologist with a master’s degree as of 2012 was $55,000 a year. That is, $23,000 more than those with a four-year degree. Western Kentucky University also estimates the upper range for a master’s in criminology at $122,000 a year, but this would be later in your career.

Therefore, this article will give you the necessary details you need about the online master’s degree in Criminology program, as well as what you can do with it. Also, you get to know about schools where you can get an online master’s in criminology degree.

Before we go ahead, here is a table of what you should expect.

Table of Contents

What is Criminology?

In simple terms, Criminology is the study of crime and criminals. 

According to DetectiveEdu, Criminology is the study of crime from a social perspective: the causes of crime, the social impact of crime, and the criminals involved in the crime. Criminologists study criminology in an attempt to better understand what motivates the criminal to act in a criminal manner.

Criminology, basically, requires research, analysis, and problem-solving abilities using advanced technologies of surveillance, investigation, and information sharing.

So, to learn about the latest developments in the field, students can earn a criminology master’s degree online.

What Is An Online Masters Degree In Criminology All About?

A typical online master’s degree program in criminology is often designed for working professionals who need scheduling flexibility.

Basically, an online master’s in criminology program is intended to flesh out your undergraduate knowledge with more advanced topics in crime research and theory.

Unlike a bachelor’s degree in criminology program, the master’s program is more focused on helping students understand the functions of the criminal justice system.

Criminology masters courses cover the science of crime and criminality on individual, social and natural levels, as well as, the key themes, issues, and political debates surrounding criminal and social justice.

Learning programs in this area of study often lead to a Master of Science in Criminology or a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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Why Pursue A Masters Degree In Criminology?

Having the interest to know the reasons behind crimes, how to curtail crimes, and insight about what criminal justice system entails is a good reason why you should pursue a degree in Criminology.

Going further to pursue a master’s degree in criminology, be it online or on-campus, will give a better understanding of the field, as well as, help you develop a variety of highly transferrable skills.

So, here is the deal.

According to top universities, masters in Criminology courses generally aim to give students an advanced critical understanding of the following:

  • How and why certain types of behavior are classed as criminal (criminalization).
  • How societies respond and how crime is experienced by victims and society as a whole.
  • The control, prevention, and management of criminal behavior.
  • How crime is represented (or misrepresented) in the media and popular culture.
  • How punishment is carried out in criminal justice systems.

Furthermore, online criminology master’s programs provide students with the interdisciplinary knowledge necessary to launch or advance careers in criminology. However, the specific courses students take vary among schools and the degree program selected. 

Common Coursework

Just like those held on campus, an online master’s degree in criminology programs focuses on various factors that shape the criminal justice system. Some of these factors include historical, philosophical, economic, and political influences.

Online criminology master’s degree students complete core and elective coursework. In core classes, students study criminological theory and research methods. Electives allow them to explore their own interests more closely.

Distance learners could be given the option to complete a thesis or non-thesis degree plan, the latter of which usually requires additional coursework and/or a final project. Most master’s degree programs in criminology have the following basic courses in common.

  • Research Methods
  • Statistics for Criminal Justice Research
  • Criminological Theory
  • Disaster Planning
  • Human Behavior
  • Issues in Law Enforcement & Corrections

How Long Does It Take To Earn A Criminology Master’s Degree Online?

Basically, most online masters degree in criminology programs require the completion of 30 to 36 credits, and full-time students usually earn their degree in one to two years.

How Much Does An Online Master’s Degree In Criminology Cost?

There is no specific cost for an online master’s in criminology degree rather, the cost depends on several factors.

For example, State residency is an important consideration since many colleges and universities charge higher tuition for out-of-state students. Notwithstanding, some schools charge flat tuition for online students regardless of state residency.

Another important factor is Technology fees; these fees often apply to online students but not the traditional ones.

That being said, the per-credit costs for an online criminology degree typically range from $300 to $700.

In line with this, students should expect to pay between $9,000 and $25,000 in total tuition for their online criminology masters program.

What Can I Do With An Online Masters In Criminology Degree?

There are several career opportunities available for those who earn online master’s degrees in criminology.

Graduates of an online criminology master’s program acquire research, analytical and organizational skills that can benefit them in investigatory and leadership positions, such as:

  • Criminologists
  • Sociologists
  • Forensic Science Technicians
  • Statisticians
  • Police and Detectives
  • Postsecondary Teachers

Criminologists

They are analysts and scientists study criminal behavior for the government, in universities, or in other research centers. Criminologists research the societal causes of crime and propose ways to address them.

Sociologists

Basically, sociologists collect data and conduct research to enhance our understanding of human behavior, society, and culture through the observation of people and groups. They do this by using quantitative and qualitative research methods.

In criminology, sociologists can explain why crimes occur and how they can be prevented.

Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic Science Technicians

Basically, Forensic science technicians work at crime scenes collecting evidence or in laboratories to assist in criminal investigations. Those who are Laboratory-based technicians analyze biological and digital evidence to reconstruct crimes.

The information gotten is then synthesized to form a clear picture of how and why crimes occurred.

Statisticians

By designing data collection techniques, like surveys and polls, statisticians obtain information that helps identify and explain trends.

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Basically, statisticians provide compelling evidence that criminologists use to influence law and policy. They must be proficient in the use of statistical software that assists in data collection and analysis.

Police and Detectives

Intelligence analysts, FBI agents, and police administrators can all benefit from a master’s degree in criminology.

Basically, criminology programs help students understand the criminal mind and help inform crime prevention strategies and techniques. So, a master’s degree may also assist in career advancement and finding new opportunities with state and federal agencies.

Postsecondary Instructors/Teachers

Postsecondary Instructors/Teachers

Educators teach criminology classes in community colleges, universities, and technical schools. They may present lectures, evaluate assignments, and perform research. Most post-secondary institutions require faculty to hold a master’s degree, and four-year schools may prefer doctorates.

So, master’s of criminology graduates may opt to pursue careers as criminology professors at institutions of higher education. Then, a master’s degree is typically sufficient for teaching criminology at community colleges.

Basically, a career in postsecondary education provides the opportunity to conduct research and write articles to advance findings in the criminology field.

How Can I Get A Masters Degree In Criminology Online?

To get an online master’s degree in Criminology, you need to select the best online school, as well as, know the necessary admission requirements of your chosen school.

Also, while choosing a school ensure that its criminology program is accredited and affordable.

In addition, choose a criminology specialization to focus on in your online master’s degree program. To do this, you’ll need to determine what your career goals are before applying to a master’s in criminology program.

For instance, if you’re considering future doctoral studies, you’ll need a program that will allow you to hone your skills in research and writing.

What Are The Requirements For A Master’s Degree In Criminology Online?

Basically, to pursue an online master’s program in criminology, students usually need to possess a bachelor’s degree. However, while some colleges and universities accept degrees in any subject, others require undergraduate coursework in a related field.

Also, some programs require applicants to submit GRE scores, and most require a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Furthermore, some schools require applicants to submit resumes documenting their work experience as well as an essay outlining their educational and professional goals.

It is important to note that related work experience can be valuable, but most online criminology master’s programs do not require it for admission.

Choosing An Accredited Online Criminology Master’s Degree Program

The accreditation status of a school or program is one of the most important considerations for prospective students. In the USA, colleges and universities receive accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Basically, the accreditation process involves an extensive review of a school’s educational programs and student services. 

In this case, the accreditation process is rigorous, and when granted, confirms that the online college has met academic quality standards. Also, earning a degree from an accredited institution ensures your time and money have gone toward a reputable criminology program.

A school’s accreditation impacts course credit transferability, as well as, the student eligibility for federal financial aid. So, students should ensure the school offering the program has earned national or regional accreditation.

Also note that legitimate online degree programs are accredited by agencies recognized by either the Department of Education or the nonprofit Council for Higher Education Accreditation, known as CHEA.

Which Schools Are The Best For A Master’s Degree In Criminology Online?

Here is a list of schools that are best for an online master’s degree program in criminology:

  • University of California, Irvine
  • Florida State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • Boston University
  • Florida International University
  • Saint Joseph’s University
  • Regis University
  • Saint Louis University
  • The University of West Florida
  • Colorado State University-Global Campus

University of California, Irvine – UCI

UCI is a public research university in Irvine, California, and one of the 10 campuses in the University of California system.  It offers more than 100 graduate certificates and degrees, including an online Master of Advanced Study (M.A.S.) in Criminology, Law, and Society.

Here, the curriculum, emphasizes theoretical and practical applications central to crime and its control, social policy, and the law. 

Required courses basically include police, courts, and corrections; legal institutions and society; and white-collar and corporate crime. Also, students are to attend a five-day residency at the beginning of their first fall quarter, as well as, a capstone seminar in social problems, law, and policy at the climax of the program.

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At the end of this 52-quarter-credit program, graduates will be fully prepared to fill leadership positions in fields like social work and criminal justice research.

Furthermore, there is no specific minimum GPA or standardized test score requirements for admission into this program. However, interested applicants must submit a 600-word personal history, an 800-word statement of purpose, and three recommendation letters.

Florida State University – FSU

Established in 1851, FSU is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state of Florida.

Florida State University offers an online master’s degree in criminology that requires learners to take relevant, career-focused courses like civil and individual rights, criminal justice administration, and penology.

The 36-credit curriculum also includes courses like applied statistics and computer applications in criminal justice. At the end of the program, students can pursue an independent study or internship.

There is no minimum GPA requirement for admission into FSU, however, applicants must demonstrate strong academic potential. In addition, applicants with five or more years of relevant work experience do not need to submit GRE scores. Students should also submit a current resume, as well as, a 300-500-word personal statement.

It is important to note that FSU powers distance learning with the Canvas platform.

University of Central Florida – UCF

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a public research university in Orlando, Florida. UCF offers an online master’s in criminal justice that teaches students to apply criminology theories to practical situations.

Students can complete the 36-credit online master’s degree in criminal justice program in under two years. The core courses include descriptive statistics and applied research methodologies while elective courses examine topics related to the emerging challenges criminal justice systems face at home and abroad.

On completion, graduates may find work as FBI agents, correctional office supervisors, and criminal profilers.

To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Also, prospective students must also submit competitive GRE scores.

Boston University – BU

Since 2002, Boston University has provided career-focused online programs. As part of the distance learning program, BU offers an online master’s degree in criminal justice that can be completed in 16-18 months.

Here, the program consists of a 32-credit curriculum splits evenly into required coursework and electives. The core courses include research/evaluation methods and criminal justice administration. Students can also pursue a concentration in crime analysis, strategic management, or cybercrime investigation, and cybersecurity.

Furthermore, prospective students must submit a current resume, a personal essay, and three recommendation letters.

Note that BU maintains six start dates each year and accepts applications on a rolling basis. Also, the program does not require standardized test scores for admission.

Florida International University – FIU

Florida International University is a public research university in University Park, Florida. FIU offers an online master’s in criminal justice that allows students to choose between fully online and hybrid delivery methods.

The program consists of a 36-credit curriculum that includes required courses like criminological theory, advanced data analysis, and transnational crime, and national security. Students also take 12 credits of criminal justice electives and nine credits of general electives. Elective options include internships and teaching practica.

To register, applicants need a minimum 3.2 GPA in upper-division coursework, as well as, a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree, . In addition, prospective students must also, submit a statement of purpose, a research writing sample, and two recommendation letters.

Saint Joseph’s University

Established in 1851, Saint Joseph’s University is a private Jesuit university in Philadelphia and Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. SJU offers over 30 online certificates and degrees through the Canvas platform, including an online master’s degree in criminal justice.

The SJU’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program is a dynamic, top-to-bottom examination of the criminal justice system, preparing students for scholar-practitioners roles in their industries.

In addition to the general track courses, students can select a concentration in behavior analysis, behavior management, federal law enforcement, intelligence, and crime analysis, or homeland security.

Depending on the concentration they choose, students complete 30-36 credits in about two years.

Admission requirements for the SJC’s online master’s degree in criminal justice include a letter of intent, a resume, and two recommendations. Furthermore, applicants with a GPA below 3.0 also need to submit a 300-500-word document to explain their previous grades.

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Regis University

Founded in 1877, Regis University is a private Jesuit university in Denver, Colorado. It offers almost 200 academic programs, many of which students can access online through the Blackboard platform.

Regis University’s online master’s in criminology focuses on examining crime through the lens of cognitive and behavioral psychology. The online M.S. in Criminology program offers six annual start dates and five-week and eight-week courses.

Basically, coursework consists of leadership principles, ethical conduct and positions of power, and criminal psychopathy.

Here, students can pursue a concentration in cybercrime/terrorism or human behavior. Also, students can choose one of three capstone experiences: an internship, a project, or a comprehensive course.

To apply, prospective students must submit a resume and a 500-750-word personal statement responding to two designated prompts. Furthermore, Regis University grants transfer credit for prior college work, career experience, professional certification/licensure, and military service.

Saint Louis University – SJU

Founded in 1818 by Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg, Saint Louis University is a private Jesuit research university with campuses in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, and Madrid, Spain. It is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River and the second-oldest Jesuit university in the United States.

SLU offers an online Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice (MACCJ) degree program.

Here, foundational coursework in the 33-credit curriculum includes issues in jurisprudence and global public health practice.

Also, students personalize their education with guided electives and advanced classes in one of three concentrations: administration of justice, emergency management, or treatment and rehabilitation.

Depending on which courses they select, students may need to take some evening classes on campus. However, it is important to note that emergency justice concentration is only offered online.

Applicants for the MACCJ should have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Intending students who do not meet this threshold may qualify for conditional admission. Other additional requirements include a three-page professional statement, a resume or CV, and three reference letters.

The University of West Florida – UWF

Founded in 1963, the University of West Florida is a public university in Pensacola, Florida. UWF powers distance learning with the Canvas platform.

The university offers over 50 online degrees and certificates, including a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

The 33-credit hour curriculum teaches students the research and data analysis skills needed to enter doctoral programs or pursue careers in education, program administration, and policy advocacy.

Students complete an internship or a research paper as a capstone project. Also, they can supplement major coursework by earning an optional certificate in social work or homeland security.

UWF uses a holistic admissions process that considers the quality of each applicant’s undergraduate education, in addition to their GPA and GRE or MAT scores. Prospective students must also submit three recommendation letters and a personal statement that outlines their future goals.

Colorado State University Global Campus – CSU-Global

Founded in 2007, Colorado State University Global is an online public university that is a member of the Colorado State University System. CSU Global is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado.

CSU-Global offers dozens of degree and certificate options to online learners; among these options is a master’s in criminal justice.

The online master’s in criminal justice program provides an advanced understanding of theory and best practices of individuals in management positions of both public and private sector organizations.

The 36-credit master’s degree (core courses: 24; specialization: 12) addresses topics including ethics, decision-making, and the impact of crime in society to improve the effectiveness of criminal justice systems.

Core courses include applied research for criminal justice professionals, analytical methods, and criminal justice policy development and analysis. Students also specialize in a subject that matches your professional goals or personal interests. For example finance, project management, fraud management, and information technology.

Also, individuals currently employed in a criminal justice setting can complete an internship for credit.

To enroll, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 3.0 GPA. Furthermore, students with a lower GPA may be accepted, but they may need to take an additional fundamental of research and writing class.

FAQs On How Can I Get A Masters Degree In Criminology Online In 2020: Schools, Requirements, Cost

What is Criminology?

Criminology is the study of crime from a social perspective: the causes of crime, the social impact of crime, and the criminals involved in the crime.

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What Is An Online Masters Degree In Criminology?

An online master’s in criminology program is intended to flesh out your undergraduate knowledge with more advanced topics in crime research and theory.

Why Pursue A Masters Degree In Criminology?

Having the interest to know the reasons behind crimes, how to curtail crimes, and insight about what criminal justice system entails is a good reason why you should pursue a degree in Criminology.

Here are reasons to pursue a masters degree in criminology:

1. How and why certain types of behavior are classed as criminal (criminalization).
2. How societies respond and how crime is experienced by victims and society as a whole.
3. The control, prevention, and management of criminal behavior.
4. How crime is represented (or misrepresented) in the media and popular culture.
5. How punishment is carried out in criminal justice systems.

What Are The Common Coursework In A Master’s Degree In Criminology Program?

Most master’s degree programs in criminology have the following basic courses in common.

1. Research Methods
2. Statistics for Criminal Justice Research
3. Criminological Theory
4. Disaster Planning
5. Human Behavior
6. Issues in Law Enforcement & Corrections

How Long Does It Take To Earn A Criminology Master’s Degree Online?

Basically, most online masters degree in criminology programs require the completion of 30 to 36 credits, and full-time students usually earn their degree in one to two years.

How Much Does An Online Master’s Degree In Criminology Cost?

There is no specific cost for an online master’s in criminology degree rather, the cost depends on several factors.

The per-credit costs for an online criminology degree typically range from $300 to $700.

So, students should expect to pay between $9,000 and $25,000 in total tuition for their online criminology masters program.

What Can I Do With An Online Masters In Criminology Degree?

There are several career opportunities available for those who earn online master’s degrees in criminology. They include:

1. Criminologists
2. Sociologists
3. Forensic Science Technicians
4. Statisticians
5. Police and Detectives
6. Postsecondary Teachers

How Can I Get A Masters Degree In Criminology Online?

To get an online master’s degree in Criminology, you need to select the best online school, as well as, know the necessary admission requirements of your chosen school.

Also, while choosing a school to ensure that its criminology program is accredited and affordable.

What Are The Requirements For A Master’s Degree In Criminology Online?

The requirements vary among schools and programs. Here are some common requirements:

1. A bachelor’s degree
2. GRE scores
A minimum GPA of 3.0.
Some schools require applicants to submit resumes documenting their work experience as well as an essay outlining their educational and professional goals.

Which Schools Are The Best For A Master’s Degree In Criminology Online?

Here is a list of schools that are best for an online master’s degree program in criminology:

University of California, Irvine
Florida State University
University of Central Florida
Boston University
Florida International University
Saint Joseph’s University
Regis University
Saint Louis University
The University of West Florida
Colorado State University-Global Campus

Conclusion

Aside from becoming a more informed professional, a master’s degree has a way of improving your earning potential, even at the start of your career.

With an online master’s degree in criminology, you can study and work at your own convenience. To get one, you need to select the best online school, as well as, know the necessary admission requirements of your chosen school.

Also ensure that your chosen school is accredited and affordable.

Good Luck and Success!!!

References

  • GradSchools – Online Graduate Programs in Criminology
  • USNews – Online Criminology Degree: An Overview
  • Study.com – Online Masters Degree in Criminology with Course Information
  • BestCollegesThe Best Online Master’s in Criminology Programs of 2020

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