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Top Schools with Criminal Justice Masters Programs: List of Schools

Keep reading to learn about highly ranked schools offering master's degree programs in criminal justice. See what degrees are offered and what your program options are.

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Criminal justice programs can be found in a variety of universities and colleges across the United States. The schools covered in this article are schools that offer quality graduate criminal justice programs and have been nationally ranked as some of the best programs available.

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School Overviews

Criminal justice and criminology degree programs prepare students for careers in governmental criminal justice agencies, nonprofit and advocacy organizations, court systems, social welfare systems and public policy consulting firms. Three of the top master's programs in criminal justice are offered by the University at Albany, State University of New York, Florida State University (FSU) and Arizona State University (ASU). These schools are public research universities whose honors include recognition for their graduate programs in criminology. They have been ranked as some of the best in the nation by the US News & World Report's list of top schools for 2017.

University at Albany, State University of New York

School Highlight: In addition to the Master's degrees offered in the graduate program, the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany offers outstanding undergraduates the opportunity to enroll in a combined B.A./M.A. program.

The University at Albany's School of Criminal Justice is well recognized, having received the second place ranking in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 list of top graduate schools for criminology. The school offers a 30-credit Master of Arts (M.A.) program with an option to specialize in criminal justice information technology. In partnership with the School of Social Welfare, students may participate in a 70-credit dual degree program leading to a M.A. in Criminal Justice and a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.).

Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL

School Highlight: In addition to the on-campus Master's degree programs, Florida State University's Criminology Department also offers a 36 credit-hour online Master's degree.

FSU, a public research university that is part of the State University System of Florida, was recognized for having the 7th (tied) best graduate criminology program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2017. The magazine also ranked FSU seventh in its 2009 list of the best U.S. graduate criminology programs.

Programs leading to a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Criminology are available from the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Both programs require 30-33 credits and include an option to complete a thesis or an area research paper. Students complete courses in criminological studies, statistics and research methods. The school also offers a Master's in Computer Criminology and two joint degree programs: a joint program in criminology and public administration and a joint program in criminology and social work.

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

School Highlight: According to ASU, its School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty are ranked third in the country for scholarly productivity.

The U.S. News & World Report reports that the graduate criminology program at ASU was tied as the 12th best in the nation for 2017. The U.S. News & World Report also reports ASU as being the most innovative school in nation. Students seeking a MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice here complete a 30 credit hour program. Twenty-four of the 30 hours are dedicated to course work and the remaining six are dedicate to thesis hours.

Top Criminal Justice Master's Degree Programs

The section below lists some more top schools with master's programs in criminal justice, as well as why students may want to look into them.

  • Florida International University in Miami, FL, offers its graduate degree in criminal justice fully online.
  • The graduate criminal justice program at Indiana University - Bloomington is interdisciplinary, drawing on courses from the political science, psychology and anthropology departments, among others.
  • At Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, projects done by the School of Criminal Justice have been funded by organizations such as the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Forensic Science Foundation.
  • The U.S. News & World Report ranked Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, as tied for #5 on its list of schools with graduate criminology programs for 2017.
  • Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA, was ranked by the U.S. News & World Report as tied at #56 on the 2017 list of Top Public Schools.
  • University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH, is ranked #3 on U.S. News & World Report's list of graduate criminology schools.
  • University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, was ranked as tied for #22 in the nation for is criminology program by the U.S. News & World Report.

The schools listed above all have outstanding master's programs in criminal justice or criminology that have either been recognized by the U.S. News & World Report or been awarded with other honors such as research funding.

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