Criminal Justice degrees are a new way to enter into higher tiered law enforcement careers around the nation, including the exclusive ranks of the FBI and CIA. The higher your education is within these programs, the less competition you will have with other applicants, making a valid point for continuing your education in criminal justice. There are many opportunities for potential students hoping to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice, but the top five programs are as follows:
• The University of Maryland: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
• The University at Albany – SUNY
• The University of Cincinnati
• The University of Missouri at St. Louis
• Penn State University at University Park (tied with) University of California at Irvine
These six schools have proved their worth to students across the nation as the highest level graduate programs for potential students of criminal justice and contain some of the highest-qualified faculty to teach the programs. Additionally, these programs have begun to offer some courses through the internet, effectively expanding their student population by attracting a wider variety of students to their stellar programs.
The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland was established in 1969, recently celebrating its 40th anniversary as a program. The program offers students the opportunity to learn through understanding the underlying studies of crime and delinquency and also boasts a top research facility in criminal justice.
The School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany declares in its mission statement that it examines all aspects of crime, including political, economic, and cultural patterns that help define the crime. This better prepares students for a deeper understanding of the socioeconomic factors that may come into play in determining the nature of certain criminals. Additionally, the program focuses on the interactions between various criminal justice systems around the country and the way each sector works together.
The University of Cincinnati boasts another impressive facility, priding itself on its impressive research productivity, and is further recognized as one of the top doctoral criminal justice programs in the nation. This school focuses much more on the research aspect of criminal justice and provides opportunities for its students through a wide array of training and assistant programs in the research sector.
The University of Missouri Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice focus on the research behind crime and criminal intent, boasting a stellar faculty and taff. This school is one of the top ranked research institutions, and the criminal justice program is no different, offering many potential opportunities for graduate students.
Penn State’s Department of Sociology and Crime, Law, and Justice, is one of the highest ranked graduate programs in the state due to its stellar research institutions as well as its ability to attract a large population in the program. The program focuses on analyzing the crime as well as performing much fieldwork. Additionally, despite the large population, the student-faculty ratio remains low and allows students to frequently interact with their professors and learn their knowledge about the field. Finally, the University of California’s department of Criminology, Law and Society department is tied for fifth place with Penn State, and offers a new integration between criminology and law and society. A new foray into the industry, the school incorporates many top level faculty and is only one of two similar programs within the state.
Graduate programs for criminal justice students are wide-spread across the country, but achieving a world-class education from these top five schools is a different educational experience that will help prove your level of expertise in the criminal justice community. While these schools are relatively traditional classroom schools, they have each begun to offer courses through distance learning, effectively demonstrating that online education has begun to infiltrate every sector of continuing education and can now reach students all over the country.