In some cases, Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) programs can offer global or international concentration options, or the program itself may be offered in international crime and justice. MSCJ programs without such concentration options could allow for some specialization in this area through elective coursework, internship opportunities or study abroad experiences. In a program where global or international tracks are available, a foreign language component may be required, and a study abroad experience may be strongly recommended. An undergraduate degree and some coursework in criminal justice are typical admission requirements.
Emphasis in a program with an international focus is commonly placed on how students perceive of the philosophies, legal theories and enforcement practices of different countries, particularly in comparison with those of the United States. To complete the program, a student must typically complete either a thesis or a comprehensive examination.
Masters Degree in Criminal Justice
Applicants to this degree program are required to have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Although students from all academic backgrounds are welcome, applicants lacking undergraduate degrees related to criminal justice or criminology may need to take prerequisite coursework in these disciplines before beginning official graduate-level studies.
Students in an MSCJ degree program can be given both theoretical and practical instruction in areas such as policymaking, legal ethics and criminology. Students may also receive fundamental analytical, research, problem-solving, technological and critical thinking skills to apply to social issues such as policing methods and criminal rehabilitation measures. Some specific course topics available to students interested in global issues may include:
- International law
- Criminal justice management
- International security
- Criminal justice history
- Crime statistics analysis
Graduates of the master's degree program in criminal justice may go on to work in a variety of professional roles and are typically employed by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Some particular occupations include:
- Probation officer
- Patrol officer
- Special agents
Employment Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), probation officers earned a mean salary of $58,790 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that patrol officers earned a mean of $65,400 at that same time, and detectives made a mean of $85,020.
Continuing Education Information
Beyond the master's degree level, students may choose to enroll in Ph.D. in Criminal Justice programs, which are typically based largely on research components and culminate in a dissertation. A master's degree may be required to enter a doctoral program in this field. A Ph.D. program can prepare a student for a career in research or academia.
A master's in criminal justice is often sufficient for a variety of different criminal justice and law enforcement careers. Students interested in further research and teaching at the postsecondary level can also use this degree to transition into a criminal justice Ph.D. program.