Master's degree programs in corrections are available fully online as a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in corrections or as a Master of Science in Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies. Both graduate programs provide theoretical expertise in correctional systems, inmate rights and prisoner rehabilitation. Some programs require prior work experience in criminal justice or law enforcement for admission.
While a master's degree is not required for a career in corrections, an advanced degree and experience can help workers progress into administrative or supervisory positions. Graduate studies in corrections are most commonly available online as a concentration within a criminal justice program - though some stand-alone programs also exist. Depending on the school, the programs may be available in a fully online or hybrid format; some schools also require online students to complete a capstone or research project. Some courses require a microphone for online-discussions.
Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections Concentration
This master's degree program provides corrections and law enforcement personnel with enhanced administrative and operational skills for running U.S. correctional institutions. Students use data analysis, research and criminology theories to confront issues such as overcrowding, juvenile justice and prison reform. Legal and ethical issues are also explored.
Program Information and Requirements
Applicants typically must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Some institutions may require students to have work experience in criminal justice or law enforcement. Many of these programs are offered completely online; however, some may include a mix of online and on-campus classes. Online courses are viewed using computerized learning management systems, such as Blackboard. Students interact with professors and classmates through discussion boards and chat rooms.
Students must have a computer that meets university hardware and software requirements as well as reliable Internet access. Additionally, distance learners may be required to possess a microphone for online discussions and real-time conferences.
List of Common Corrections Courses
Critical Issues in Corrections
Students examine current issues plaguing correctional institutions. They gain advanced knowledge of the philosophies and theories that guide policies and practice in U.S. correctional facilities.
Current Issues in Corrections
This online course provides an overview of the recent legislation and case laws affecting the U.S. correctional system. Students examine topics such as institutional and community-based policies and special populations. They also discuss the legal statutes that influence correctional facility operation.
Community Corrections and Re-Entry Programs
Students examine the basic structure and functions of community-based corrections programs. The course focuses on deinstitutionalization, work-release programs and re-entry of offenders into society.
Comparison of Correctional Systems
In this online course, students compare correctional systems from a global perspective. Major topics of discussion include supervision and treatment of prison populations, human rights and legal standards.
Graduates of a master's degree program in this field are qualified for positions such as senior corrections officer or prison warden. First-line supervisors or managers of correctional officers earned an average of $62,770 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
Students in online master's degree programs in corrections develop research skills as they analyze relevant patterns and theories to address issues in the system. Many graduates take on management positions in the field.