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Master of Management: Criminal Justice Degree Overview

A common degree title for aspiring criminal justice administrators and managers is the Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Criminal Justice, which helps to develop the leadership abilities students will need to excel in the criminal justice field.

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Essential Information

In Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice programs, students can develop an understanding of the criminal justice system along with the management expertise and leadership qualities needed to be successful in the administration of public or private crime prevention. Students in such a program can establish a firm understanding of the history of the criminal justice system and theories regarding the enforcement of laws, utilization of resources and supervision of personnel. Various independent and collaborative projects, research assignments and other hands-on endeavors may be required for graduation.

Prior to enrolling in a master's program, students must complete a bachelor's degree program. They should also make sure they are up-to-date on their understanding of finance, their knowledge of statistics and their graduate-level writing ability.


Master's of Public Administration in Criminal Justice

Throughout master's degree programs in criminal justice, emphasis may be placed on organizational leadership, personnel management, motivational methods and efficient decision making. Coursework is typically used to highlight advanced topics in areas such as security intelligence and administration, criminal statistical analysis, organizational theory, and crisis management. Students also study theories of justice management, crime, and delinquency. Instruction can be designed to simulate real-world situations and prepare graduates for careers in the field. Common courses include:

  • Administrative law
  • Analysis of the criminal justice system
  • Law enforcement management perspectives
  • Intelligence and information security
  • Dispute resolution
  • Public finance

Popular Career Options

After finishing a program, students can pursue advanced positions in various settings that are related to the field of criminal justice. Graduates could pursue careers such as:

  • Correctional manager
  • Police administrator
  • Intelligence correspondent

Job Prospects and Salary Information

The U.S. Department of Labor's O*NET OnLine reports that first-line supervisors of police officers can expect 2% -4% job growth from 2014-2024 (www.onetonline.org). Jobs for first-line supervisors of corrections officers are expected to increase 2%-4% during that same decade. Employment of first-line supervisors for all other protective service workers is expected to increase 5%-8% from 2014-2024. The number of intelligence analyst jobs is expected to show little or no change from 2014-2024.

According to O*NET OnLine, the median annual salary for first-line supervisors of police officers was $82,090 in 2015. The median salary for first-line supervisors of correctional officers was $59,720 that same year. The median annual salary for first-line supervisors of all other protective service workers was $46,900. And O*NET OnLine reports that intelligence analyst jobs paid a median annual salary of $77,210 in 2015.

Continuing Education

After they've completed the master's program, graduates are able to continue their studies if they so desire by enrolling in a doctorate program in justice administration or criminal justice. Receiving a degree at the doctorate level can provide the in-depth insights and skills for students to pursue careers in academia or professional research.

An MPA in Criminal Justice provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary training in the field so that graduates are ready for careers related to security and law enforcement. Those interested in doing more research can enroll in a doctoral program.

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