Online Criminal Justice Master's Degree

In every community, educated criminal justice professionals make an impact as law enforcement experts and drivers of positive change. You can become a leader in your field with the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Anna Maria College.

Earning an advanced degree in criminal justice can qualify you for promotions and new professional opportunities. Because our M.S. in Criminal Justice program is certified by the Massachusetts Department of Education's Quinn Bill, graduates are eligible for the pay incentives outlined in the Police Career Incentive Pay Program (PCIPP).

Prepare for the next phase of your career in law enforcement, government, corrections or the court system through an advanced education that emphasizes current issues, ethics and statistical analysis. The combination of relevant coursework and project-based learning you complete during your program will give you real-world knowledge and skills you can apply in your current role or leverage toward a new position.

As an Anna Maria College student, you will benefit from our strong industry reputation and connections across the country within law enforcement and public service organizations. You will graduate ready for careers such as police chief, prison warden and criminal investigator.

Program Options

Students in the online criminal justice master's program have the option to customize their studies with a specialization or certificate or pursue a general track with varied electives. Choose from:

  • Leadership and Administration Specialization: This option is designed for law enforcement and other criminal justice professionals. It focuses on the unique responsibilities and challenges of leaders in the field. You will develop strong leadership and administrative skills by completing coursework including case studies, discussions and research.
  • Homeland Security Specialization: This option brings you the most relevant knowledge and approaches for leaders tasked with protecting the public. Homeland security professionals must anticipate, prepare, prevent and react to numerous situations using ethics, psychology, public communication and other critical skill sets. Topics include risk analysis, international and domestic threat detection, inter-agency coordination and public policy analysis.
  • Emergency Management Specialization: This option will prepare you for high-level positions within agencies and departments responsible for protecting the public before, during and after a disaster. Emergency management experts plan and direct disaster response or crisis management activities, provide disaster preparedness training and prepare emergency plans and procedures. You will study a curriculum that integrates the most current emergency management techniques with foundational leadership and management training.
  • Advanced Graduate Study in Criminal Justice or Justice Administration Certificate: This option is a self-designed program intended for academics or professionals who want to pursue a course of study beyond the master’s degree in criminal justice. In consultation with the program director, you will create a curriculum aligned with your individual interests and professional needs. Applicants must already hold a master's degree in order to pursue this certificate.

Mid-Career Track

If you are a certified law enforcement professional with three to five years of field experience, you may be eligible to enroll in the Mid-Career Track. Your previous work experience could count for up to six credits toward the master's in criminal justice degree, waiving two courses. With this program option, you can complete a streamlined curriculum and finish your degree in 10 months.

Expand Your Professional Opportunities

Continuing your education with a graduate degree in criminal justice can open doors to leadership and administrative careers in law enforcement, corrections, government agencies and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, detectives and criminal investigators earn a median salary of $86,940.1 Earning this advanced credential signals to employers that you have the theoretical knowledge and practical expertise to lead ethically and effectively in a wide range of roles.

Possible careers with a master's in criminal justice include:

  • Police chief
  • Prison warden
  • Emergency management director
  • Fraud investigator
  • Security manager
  • Special agent

Explore Job Outlook

Learn From Criminal Justice Experts

As a student, you will take courses taught by subject matter experts and real-world practitioners, benefiting from their insight and expertise. Anna Maria's faculty is committed to supporting you throughout your program and can offer personalized guidance on coursework, career options and more.

Study Relevant Topics and Gain Skills to Lead

The online master's degree in criminal justice includes 36 credits and 12 courses. It is delivered in a flexible online format and can be completed in one year or less, depending on your previous academic and professional experience. Throughout your online program, you will expand your knowledge of ethics, research design, statistical analysis and criminology and complete a capstone project or research-based thesis.

Curriculum Details

Admissions Requirements

Anna Maria's program managers are available to assist you with the entire enrollment process, and you will receive continued support from a dedicated student services coordinator throughout your program. You can start your application today using our secure online portal.

To apply for the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program, you'll need:

  • $40 application fee (waiver available when you speak with a program manager)
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • Bachelor's degree in any discipline
  • Résumé
  • Personal statement (recommended but not required for current law enforcement officials)
  • Two professional references
  • Mid-Career Track applicants must be law enforcement certified.

Apply Now

Get Started Today

Take the next step in achieving your personal and professional goals. Click here to learn more or call 877-265-3201 to speak with a program manager.

1 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm