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Master of Justice Administration: Degree Overview

Master's programs in justice administration focus on the education and training that law enforcement professionals need to be effective managers and leaders in the criminal justice system. Explore the courses and degree requirements for these programs below.

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Essential Information

Students enrolled in a Master of Justice Administration, Master of Science in Administration of Justice, or similar degree programs gain an understanding of theories and applications related to the criminal justice environment and can pursue specializations in corrections, homeland security, law enforcement, or court administration. Students gain hands-on experience through capstone projects, short-term residencies and internships. Distance learning is also available. A bachelor's degree is generally required to be admitted to one of these programs.


Master's Degree in Justice Administration

Concepts related to pubic administration, such as demonstrating leadership, understanding organizational behavior, evaluating programs, budgeting, and media relations are also frequently discussed, as are criminal justice concepts like homeland security and geographic information systems. Courses typically cover topics such as:

  • Issues in criminal behavior
  • Justice administration ethics
  • Planning and justice policy
  • Budgeting and finances
  • Overview of organizational behavior
  • Human resources in justice administration

Popular Career Options

Students who complete a master's degree in justice administration are prepared for advanced managerial and leadership roles within law enforcement, corrections, or the court system. Employers may include:

  • Law enforcement agency
  • Department of corrections
  • Homeland security agency
  • Security administration agency
  • Institutional services company

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs in protective services are expected to grow 4% from 2014-2024, as are jobs for police and detectives during that same period (www.bls.gov). Jobs for correctional officers are also predicted to grow 4%.

According to the BLS, the median salary for police and sheriff's patrol officers was $58,320 in 2015; the median salary for correctional officers was $40,530 that same year. The BLS also reported that first-line supervisors of police and detectives earned a median salary of $82,090 in 2015; first-line supervisors of correctional officers earned a median salary of $59,720. There are a variety of factors that affect pay for federal employees, such as experience, education, assigned location, or additional availability at work.

Continuing Education

Students interested in additional preparation for policy and program-related careers in the public sector or college-level teaching jobs that include academic research may want to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Justice Administration program. While the curriculum generally has some required classes, it offers doctoral students a wide latitude to choose classes related to their area of interest. A doctoral program may require that students pass qualifying exams and complete a dissertation.

Justice administration master's programs teach students leadership skills needed for positions in the criminal justice system. Students in these programs can expect hands-on training opportunities and can pursue a variety of specializations in fields like law enforcement or corrections.

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