15 Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice No GRE Required

An online master’s in criminal justice is a very popular graduate degree that educates students on crimes and the criminal justice system. It can also open doors for various rewarding career opportunities.

police officers on duty during an event

If you are interested in earning a degree in criminal justice but do not have the time to attend on-campus classes, this degree will help you accomplish your goal from the comfort of your home or anywhere in the world.

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

security personnel monitoring CCTV cameras in surveillance room

The majority of students have the option to concentrate or specialize in a certain area within their field of study; deciding which area to choose depends on your interests and career goals.

There are plenty of different specializations for students pursuing an online master’s in criminal justice. Here are the most common.

  • Behavioral Science: focuses on mental disorders and illnesses, addictive behavior, and behavior issues.
  • Business Administration: an important concentration for individuals who plan to be leaders and managers in the criminal justice field. This is a favored concentration that teaches students how to make effective decisions, become organized, and how to manage and lead operations.
  • Cybersecurity: centers around issues involving digital information. This concentration will teach students how to analyze, research, and assess the risks pertaining to cybersecurity.
  • Forensic Technology: for those who are interested in the technical aspects of the criminal justice field, such as the software tools to analyze evidence found during research and investigations of illegal crimes. Students that choose this specialization will focus on forensic software, investigating crime scenes, drug evidence, and fingerprinting.
  • Homeland Security: concentrates on emergency situations and how to fully prepare for them. If a person is interested in a career dealing with crises, disasters, risks, and issues arising, this is the perfect specialization for them.

You could also choose not to specialize and earn a general Criminal Justice degree.

Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Curriculum

quote by Blake Farenthold

The online master’s degree in criminal justice consists of a variety of different courses, depending on the college or university you choose to earn your degree from. Most of the online degrees require 30-36 course credits before graduating from the program.

Here are some of the frequently found courses in the curricula of online master’s in criminal justice programs.

  • Analysis of Justice Administration: teaches students how to analyze the criminal justice system in America. It also teaches the history and issues that have occurred in the justice system.
  • Correctional Systems: provides insight on the responsibilities and obligations of correctional professionals. Students learn about correctional laws, probation and parole, juvenile and adult detention processes, and different correctional facilities.
  • Criminal Justice Leadership: ultimately provides knowledge on leadership and reflects on ethics and issues that come up while being a leader in the criminal justice sector.
  • Cybercrime: teaches students how to notice and deter crimes on the internet. In this course, each student will learn about crimes committed behind a computer screen, a growing threat the more technology advances.
  • Ethical Issues: will most likely go over standards expected regarding ethics, problems that may occur, and how to apply ethics while making essential decisions. The main focus of the course will be on employees in the criminal justice field and the ethical issues that arise every day.
  • Policing in Society: explains the duties and expectations of police officers. This course is mainly directed towards those that plan to pursue a career as a police officer or other law enforcement professionals.
  • Research Methods: provides students with the knowledge of researching and performing statistic procedures. Each student is taught various methods on how to research, collect data, analyze the findings, and write a report.

Each college or university may have different course requirements and offerings for their program, but every student will be provided the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in the criminal justice field.

Those that decide to receive an online master’s in criminal justice will be taught all the basic fundamentals along with in-depth comprehension of the criminal justice system.

Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Careers

varieties of field in criminal justice

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that jobs in the criminal justice field, such as correctional officers and specialists, police and probation officers, and other common careers will either decline or remain slower than average.

There will be jobs but not many, which means competition may be high. A master’s degree in criminal justice will help you stand out among the competition while seeking employment in whichever career path you choose.

Here is a list of frequently chosen jobs for graduates.

  • Correctional Officer Supervisor: supervises and makes sure that the correctional officers are performing their obligations and responsibilities. Most Correctional Officer Supervisors work at prisons or jail facilities.
  • Criminal Justice Teacher: a favored position for those who have earned a master’s degree in criminal justice. A lot of people decide to teach criminal justice at community colleges as well as universities. You have the option to teach undergraduate or graduate students.
  • Criminal Profiler: determines the reasons an individual has carried out a crime. A Criminal Profiler works to find the person who committed specific crimes by analyzing the motives and figuring out what kind of person would likely be involved in the crime. This job is very helpful to police officers because it helps them find the suspect they are looking for.
  • Criminologist: researches and analyzes the causes of crime. These individuals also come up with laws and policies to help deter criminal activity and make certain communities and areas better.
  • Emergency Management Director: includes being in charge of emergency responses. This means that you will make sure a company is ready for any crisis circumstances that could occur. If you choose this position to pursue, you could find yourself employed at a hospital, private organization, a non-profit, or even by the government.
  • Forensic Examiner: examines evidence from a crime scene to determine what happened and how the crime was carried out.
  • Information Security Analyst: responsible for looking over networks, installing different software, and writing reports on the data collected. This job also includes preparing a recovery system in case there is a security leak or disaster.
  • Police Officer or Detective: a very popular choice for those that study criminal justice. This career path will involve enforcing laws, ensuring the safety of communities, and helping every person who is in a crisis or emergency situation.
  • Police and Detective Supervisor: manages and supervises the police officers and detectives in your department. This position includes making sure that the police officers and detectives are doing their job correctly and efficiently. Safety is also an important element of this position; it would be your duty to ensure the safety of those working under you.
  • Private Detective or Investigator: conducts investigations on legal, financial, or personal issues. A Private Detective or Investigator will sometimes even use the information they found in court hearings.
  • Probation Officer: provides rehabilitation to criminal offenders who have been released from prison or jail and are on probation or parole. This is a crucial process to ensure the individual will not become a repeat offender. As a Probation Officer, you will help people find specific services they need, such as jobs, training, or counseling.

As you can see, the field is quite varied, and we didn’t even mention those professions that work for the court system.

Master’s in Criminal Justice Salary

Master's in Criminal Justice Salary chart

Determining your annual salary after graduation will depend on where you live, how much experience you have, and which career path you choose. Below are examples from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of a few career paths in the criminal justice sector and their average earnings annually.

  • Information Security Analyst: $95,510
  • Police Detective: $85,020
  • Postsecondary Criminal Justice Teacher: $76,000
  • Police Officer: $62,960
  • Forensic Science Technician: $57,850
  • Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist: $51,410

While these may not be the highest paying jobs in the American economy, they are extremely rewarding for their role in public service.

Certifications and Licenses for Master’s in Criminal Justice Graduates

A master’s in criminal justice can lead to licenses or certifications. For example, graduates often decide to become police officers, parole officers, probation officers, or corrections officers.

Most of these career paths require job applicants to take state-approved job training courses and earn certifications.

Sometimes, it is also a good idea to get certified in specific areas of the criminal justice field if you want to get a very popular job with high competition.

A few of the certificates a master’s in criminal justice can prepare you for are listed here:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Certified Crime Scene Technician
  • Certified Criminal Justice Professional
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • Certified Peace Officer
  • Certified Private Investigator
  • Police Officer Certification

By becoming certified or licensed, you are showing you have the skills, proficiency, and dedication to perform the duties.

Organizations for Criminal Justice Professionals

logos of Organizations for Criminal Justice Professionals

It is important for students who are planning to join or are currently in a criminal justice program to be informed of the professional organizations they can connect with.

These organizations provide networking with employers, educational opportunities, meetings with other people who are employed in the criminal justice sector, and a chance to gain special training.

Here are some of the professional organizations to consider joining:

Each of these organizations will introduce you to other officers and persons working in the criminal justice field, provide you with job insights, and ensure you receive the knowledge that is essential in completing the responsibilities needed in this career.

Admissions Master’s in Criminal Justice Online

The majority of applicants interested in the online master’s in criminal justice either have worked in the criminal justice system or have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice.

Most schools require applicants to have completed courses in at least English, communications, law, policy, history, government, or law enforcement courses. It also will be beneficial to the program if you can perform statistical techniques, are analytical, and possess basic mathematical skills.

Some colleges and universities do not require GRE scores. Instead, these schools will base their decision to admit you to the program or not by assessing your transcripts, resume, experience, references, and virtual interview.

Accreditation for Online Master’s Degree Programs in Criminal Justice

campus police on patrol

Accreditation is an extremely important aspect to look for when applying to a criminal justice program. By finding an accredited program, this means that it meets the educational standards required.

If you do not choose an accredited program, you may not receive financial assistance, other colleges and universities may not recognize the degree, and employers may not feel that you have the necessary education to be hired.

Most schools are regionally or nationally accredited, and online colleges can receive accreditation from either. If a school is accredited by the Department of Education, it is nationally accredited. Regionally accredited schools are accredited by authorities in their specific region.

Financing Your Online Master’s Program in Criminal Justice

If you are worried about being able to afford an online master’s degree in criminal justice, there are plenty of ways to receive assistance financially. Different types of financial assistance available to graduate students are scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study opportunities.

Each student should fill out a FAFSA, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You may be required to complete the FAFSA for scholarship opportunities as well.

There are tons of scholarships available to students; you just have to search to find them. Some examples of helpful scholarships that companies provide to students are women scholarships, single parent scholarships, veterans and military scholarships, and more.

There are even scholarships specifically for graduate students studying criminal justice, such as the following:

  • ACJA/LAE scholarship
  • Alpha Phi Sigma scholarship
  • Gene Carte Student Paper Competition
  • Pi Gamma Mu scholarship
  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial scholarship

These scholarships range from $100 to $10,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions masters in criminal justice

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are our answers to some specific questions you might have.

What Is a Master of Science in Criminal Justice?

A Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a degree program that helps prepare students for a career in criminal justice. If you’re already in the criminal justice field, this program can provide in-depth knowledge to help you advance at your job.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree will provide you with the necessary hands-on learning skills and education to become successful leaders in your chosen career path.

Do I Need to Take the GRE to Enroll in an Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Program?

Whether you will have to take the GRE to enroll in an online master’s in criminal justice program depends on which program and school you choose.

There are some criminal justice master’s programs that do not require GRE scores; instead, the school will determine their decision to admit you into the program based on transcripts, experience, and a possible interview.

Some schools will even waive the GRE if you maintained a good GPA during your undergraduate study, have experience in the field, or possesses another graduate degree.

How Much Is a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

The total cost of a master’s degree in criminal justice ranges in price. It depends on which school and program you choose to earn your degree.

The cost of the program can be as low as $9,000 and as high as $20,000. This will be determined by what you are looking for in your graduate education.

How Many Credit Hours Is a Master’s in Criminal Justice?

police chief giving a speech

The majority of online master’s in criminal justice programs consist of between 33 and 36 credit hours, but the full range is 30-40.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Criminal Justice?

It generally takes full-time students around 18 months to complete their online master’s in criminal justice. Some programs can be shorter and only take 9 months to 1 year. However, the best thing about an online program is being able to find programs that go at your own pace.

What Jobs Can I Get with My Master’s in Criminal Justice?

There are countless opportunities available for graduates with a master’s in criminal justice. Graduates usually choose careers as Police Officers, Detectives, Criminologists, Criminal Justice Teachers, Intelligence Analysts, Emergency Management Directors, Paralegals, and more.

How Much Do Criminal Justice Online Master’s Graduates Earn?

The money a person can earn with a master’s in criminal justice varies. It depends on which career path the individual decides to pursue, how much experience they have, and where they live.

If a graduate decides to become a Detective, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average annual salary detectives make is $85,020. Police Chiefs earn an average salary of $107,800.

It all depends on what the individual’s career goals are.

List of Universities Offering Online Masters in Criminal Justice No GRE Required Programs

  1. Albertus Magnus College
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Bethel University
  4. Colorado Technical University
  5. Columbia College
  6. Grand Canyon University
  7. Kent State University
  8. Lasell University
  9. Lewis University
  10. Purdue University
  11. Saint Joseph’s University
  12. Saint Leo University
  13. Sam Houston State University
  14. University of Colorado Denver
  15. University of North Georgia

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We chose these schools based on their accreditation, degree offerings, no GRE requirements, and online learning platforms.

#1  Albertus Magnus College

This institution, founded in 1925, is a private college with a focus on liberal arts. It’s located in New Haven, Connecticut, and it was first founded by the Roman Catholic Dominican Sisters of Peace.

This college offers different undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs. There are approximate 1,5000 students currently enrolled.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Juvenile Justice

Albertus Magnus College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#2  Arizona State University

arizona state university campus

Arizona State University is a research institution, which has a total of nine campuses. Five are located in Phoenix while four are present in different parts of the state. It offers both on-campus and online courses. This has led to a significant increase in the number of students.

It’s estimated that approximately 90,000 students are enrolled in this institution at any given point.

  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Arizona State University has maintained continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Committee (HLC) of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges since 1931.

#3  Bethel University

This is a private university of a Christian evangelical denomination. It’s located in Arden Hills Minnesota, and it has approximately 5,600 students enrolled. Degrees offered go from undergraduate to graduate degrees as well as seminary studies.

The campus has numerous amenities, including a student center as well as a performing arts center. This allows students to get involved in different activities after their classes.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Bethel University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#4  Colorado Technical University

This is a private institution that started as a college for military officers. The university was founded in 1965 and programs are focused on business and technology. One of the main features of this institution is that most of its students take online courses.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – General
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security

Colorado Technical University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#5  Columbia College

Many people refer to this institution as the Columbia College of Missouri. It’s a private school focused on liberal arts. Although it’s technically non-sectarian, it has strong ties with the Christian Church. The main campus is located in Columbia, Missouri. However, this college has over 40 campuses located in 14 different states.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement

Columbia College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1918.

#6  Grand Canyon University

This private institution was established in 1949 in Prescott, Arizona. After decades affiliated with the Baptist Church, this relationship came to an end in 2000.

Grand Canyon offers numerous online courses, and the majority of the students take their classes this way. This has allowed it to expand, with approximately 90,000 students enrolled.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies

Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  Kent State University

This public university is located in Kent, Ohio. However, there are seven more campuses in the state as well as in other states. Also, there’s a campus located in Italy. It was first founded in 1910 as a school destined to educate teachers. Nowadays, it offers undergraduate and graduate programs in different areas.

  • Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice – Corrections
  • Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice – Global Security
  • Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice – Policing
  • Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice – Victimology

Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

#8  Lasell University

This institution started as a female college. It was first established in 1851, and it wasn’t until 1997 that it started to accept men. One of the main goals of this institution is to offer affordable degrees to its students. The university has developed a special building for elderly people to live and take classes.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Emergency and Crisis Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security and Global Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Violence Prevention and Advocacy
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Self-Designed Option

Lasell has been accredited by the Commission on Institution of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) since 1932 and offers bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts and professional disciplines.

#9  Lewis University

This private institution is Roman Catholic. More specifically, it’s a Lasallian university. This order has always been characterized for their focus on education. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Lewis offers over 80 undergraduate programs to prospective students. It also has special programs for working students, which allows them to go on an accelerated track.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Lewis University is accredited by, and a member of, the Higher Learning Commission.

#10  Purdue University

This public research university is located in Indiana, and they have created an entire university system. There are over 200 undergraduate programs available, with degrees ranging from business to veterinary. There’s also a wide number of student organizations and 18 sports teams. One of the things that characterizes Purdue is their strong interest in research.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Purdue University Global is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

#11  Saint Joseph’s University

This is a private university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It started out as a college back in 1851. It’s of Jesuit affiliation, and approximately 9,200 students take courses here every year. The university offers graduate and undergraduate programs as well as numerous opportunities to study abroad thanks to multiple agreements with other institutions.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Behavior Analysis
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Behavior Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Federal Law Enforcement
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Intelligence and Crime Analysis
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security

Saint Joseph’s University accreditation has been awarded by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

#12  Saint Leo University

This institution was founded in 1889 in St. Leo, Florida. It’s of Roman Catholic origin with a focus on liberal arts. Like other universities, St. Leo offers numerous classes online, which has allowed it to expand its student body. They also offer classes on campus. There are approximately 16,000 students enrolled. Less than 3,000 take classes on campus.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Behavioral Studies
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Corrections
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Criminal Investigations
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Critical Incident Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies

Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#13  Sam Houston State University

This is one of the oldest universities in Texas. It was first founded in 1879, and it’s a public institution. There are over 20,000 students enrolled.

The university offers undergraduate programs as well as graduate degrees, including doctoral studies. It also offers online degrees, including approximately 20 online programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management

Sam Houston State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#14  University of Colorado Denver

This research university is a public institution with campuses in Denver and Aurora, in the state of Colorado. The Aurora campus is the medical campus of the institution. This is the biggest university in the state, and its focus on research makes it a highly coveted institution. Approximately 18,000 students attend the physical campuses.

  • Master of Criminal Justice in Crime Analyst
  • Master of Criminal Justice in Disasters, Hazards and Emergency Management
  • Master of Criminal Justice in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • Master of Criminal Justice in Nonprofit Organizations

UC Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#15  University of North Georgia

This public university has different campuses in the state of Georgia. It’s very new, as it was only established in 2013 as the product of a merger. There are approximately 19,000 students enrolled in the five colleges of the institution. There are undergraduate degrees and also graduate programs, including one doctoral program.

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

University of North Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth It?

female police officers on duty

There are plenty of reasons that make earning a criminal justice degree worth it. This degree can help you reach and achieve your career goals.

Also, even though salaries vary in this field, a degree in criminal justice increases your chances of earning a higher salary than those without a degree.

By choosing an online program in criminal justice, you will have more flexibility and be able to take classes at your convenience from anywhere in the world. This is a program that works great for those that are full-time workers or parents and unable to commute to attend on-campus classes.

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