Masters Degree in Justice Administration: Program Overview

Master's degree programs in criminal justice administration are highly interdisciplinary, combining legal studies with business and research skills. In this article, you can find out more about program options and future opportunities for graduates.

Essential Information

In a master's degree program in criminal justice administration, students gain an advanced knowledge of criminal justice and build their managerial skills. Most programs begin with foundational studies in the criminal justice system, legal issues in criminal justice, theories of crime, research methods and applied statistics. From there, students to pursue a specialization, such as violent crime, capital punishment, media and criminal justice, terrorism, domestic violence, substance abuse, ethics, or criminal justice policy. Programs usually take one to three years to complete and may be offered online.

A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement to be considered for admission to a master's degree program in justice administration. Applicants must also submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and, in many cases, a resume. Often, the strongest applicants have conducted research or have substantial work experience in a criminal justice-related field.


Masters Degree in Justice Administration

Courses in these programs combine theoretical studies of the criminal justice system and with the practical business training that is necessary for running criminal justice organizations. Programs usually consist of approximately 36 credit hours, which can be completed in 1-3 years, depending on the student's course load. Common course titles include:

  • The criminal justice system
  • Applied statistics
  • Theories of delinquency
  • Contemporary research models
  • Legal aspects of criminal justice
  • Criminal justice management

Popular Career Options

Graduates of these programs are prepared to work in administrative roles in a number of different criminal justice-related industries. Some employers pay for or reimburse students for the cost of tuition, in the interest of promoting from within. Here are a few examples of jobs open to graduates of these programs:

  • Program director of a juvenile center
  • Assistant director of a correctional facility
  • Correctional facility shift manager
  • Police station office manager
  • Administrative consultant

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 4% decline in job growth for administrative judges, adjudicators and hearing officers for the decade 2014-2024. The BLS reported that administrative law judges, adjudicators and hearing officers earned median annual salaries of $90,600 in May 2015.

Through master's degree programs in criminal justice administration, students gain the legal knowledge and managerial skills they need for administrative positions in the field.


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