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.
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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.