Many schools offer online Master of Science degree programs in administration of justice and security. This field of study may also be called criminal justice administration. A master's degree in this field is preparation for many careers related to law enforcement and the legal system. Many schools allow students to choose specializations, such as forensic science.
These degree programs can usually be completed 100% online with no on-campus classes or internships in the field required. A thesis may or may not be needed. Some schools allow for professional training or certifications to be used as course credits. Courses may include a core curriculum that covers topics such as budget analysis, organizational performance and crisis management.
Applicants will generally need a bachelor's degree, though students without one of these undergraduate degrees might qualify for admission if they have previous workforce experience.
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Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Security
Students interested in Master of Science (M.S.) programs in administration of justice and security may find that online administration of justice or criminal justice programs meet their needs. Online programs in these fields are quite common. These programs are designed for individuals pursuing careers in security, forensics administration, court management, criminal investigations, victim advocacy and related fields. Electives can help students tailor the curriculum to meet specific career goals; some schools even offer specializations within the program.
Information and Requirements
Programs are available in 100% online formats with flexible schedules. This allows students to earn their degrees in as few as two years if convenience allows, or they can spread their studies out over a longer period of time to accommodate personal and professional commitments. In some programs, students from around the world can collaborate on course projects. Admissions requirements may include having a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA, but some schools make allowances for workforce experience on an individual basis.
Courses for these programs may be delivered via the Blackboard course management system. High-speed Internet connections and recent versions of media players may be needed to view all lessons. Most software requirements stick to the basics, such as Word and PowerPoint. Some schools offer tech support on a 24-hour basis.
At this level of graduate study, general education courses aren't required. Core courses and electives that are typically offered include:
Organization and Theory of Crime
This course covers criminal behavior and the theories that shape justice administration responses. Using sociological and psychological principles, the student also explores crime prevention methods and treatment of offenders.
Research and Data Analysis in Criminal Justice Administration
This course gives students research tools for academic and professional use. Students learn how interviewing, participant observation, library research and survey research can be used for criminal justice issues ranging from trends in criminal behavior to efficacy of departmental methods.
The history of the corrections system along with rehabilitation methods are discussed. The student will learn about the efficacy of current rehabilitation methods and discover how to assess the prospective usefulness of methods under review for future use.
Career Information for Graduates
Career options open to graduates include executive-level protective service occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many police departments now require some college education to be initially accepted onto the force. Officers are generally promoted from within the force rather than farmed, and an individual's time-in-force is assessed along with continuing education or advanced degrees. Another report from the BLS showed that the national annual median wage for first-line supervisors of police and detectives was $82,090 as of May 2015. The BLS predicted that job opportunities for police and detectives would increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
Students who would like to continue their education after receiving their master's degrees may consider enrolling in a Ph.D. program in criminal justice. These programs can be completed at least partially online.
In administration of justice and security master's degree programs, students learn about the theories underpinning the criminal justice system and how they are implemented in the real world. Because these programs are offered in a distance learning format, they are ideal for law enforcement officers and other professionals who want to continue to work while still gaining the education needed for career advancement in the field.