Online MBA in Criminal Justice: Degree Overview

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree programs in criminal justice don't exist, but there are plenty of other master's degree programs in that field of study, and many are available online. For instance, students can earn a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice. These programs can be completed entirely through distance learning programs, with students accessing lectures and class assignments as their schedules permit. Other programs combine online and on-campus learning, requiring internships or in-person instruction. To enroll in any of these master's degree programs, interested students must hold a bachelor's degree.

The curricula are designed to give graduates a solid understanding of criminal justice theory and practices through courses in victimology, crisis management, white collar crime, terrorism and juvenile crime. Some programs allow students to choose an area of specialization, such as justice administration. Students learn about research methods and techniques, and a thesis or a capstone project is required in most programs.

Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Although online MBA in Criminal Justice degree programs aren't available, students can pursue a Master of Science, Master of Criminal Justice or Master of Arts in Criminal Justice online. Participants explore criminology, crisis management, victimology and criminal justice administration. To be admitted, they must have a bachelor's degree. Those with a background in criminal justice could have an advantage, but it's not a requirement for admission. Students could choose concentrations or elective courses, such as justice administration or forensic science administration, to focus on a particular area of interest.

Program Information and Requirements

It takes about two years to complete an online master's degree program in criminal justice, but it could take part-time students longer. Some schools offer open enrollment, accepting online students at any time, and many allow students to blend online learning with courses taken at the campus. Students log into an online educational server to communicate with their peers and their professors, access learning materials, complete courses, attend lectures and submit assignments. They may have to complete an internship in person.

To complete the online program, learners must have access to high-speed Internet and a word processing program. Some schools require specific Web browsers to correctly view online materials. Since most schools provide asynchronous learning experiences, additional hardware isn't usually required.

List of Common Criminal Justice Courses

In addition to completing core courses in criminal justice, students must usually conduct research and write a thesis.

White Collar Crime

This class explores white collar crimes, such as money laundering, political corruption and fraud. Students examine the methods for preventing, detecting and stopping it as well as its legal implications.


Students discover what happens to victims within the criminal justice system as well as the rights of victims of criminal activity. They also learn how being a victim can impact someone long-term.

Theories of Criminal Behavior

In this class, learners study topics pertaining to crime control and corrections. Topics also explore reasons people commit crimes.

Sex Offenders and Offenses

Participants discover the motives of sex offenders and types of offenses. The class also covers the means for helping victims recover.


This course addresses computer crime and methods for stopping it. It covers legal issues, the cost of computer crimes, solving crimes and helping victims.

Career Information for Graduates

With a master's degree in criminal justice, graduates can qualify for several jobs, such as managers in correctional or law enforcement institutions, probation officers, private detectives, investigators or sheriffs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the employment of correctional officers and jailers would decrease by 7% between 2018 and 2028. During that same decade, employment was expected to increase by 3% for detectives and criminal investigators, and increase 8% for private detectives and investigators.

In 2018, the median annual salary for first-line supervisors of correctional officers was $63,340, while correctional officers and jailers earned $44,330, the BLS reported. At the same time, detectives and criminal investigators made a median salary of $81,920. Private detectives' and investigators' median salary was $50,090. Other career options include jobs in homeland security or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Licensing Information

Certain professionals in criminal justice, such as private detectives, must obtain a state license. The level of education, experience and testing required for licensure varies by state. In most criminal justice professions, physical fitness and emotional control requirements are more common than licensure regulations or optional certification.

Even though it is not possible to earn an MBA in Criminal Justice, online MS and MA programs still provide relevant training in common crimes and acceptable response strategies. Graduates may be ready to get investigator jobs, although they may need to become licensed first.

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