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Criminal Justice

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College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

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Master of Science in Criminal Justice
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Maybe you’re working in law enforcement—or interested in branching out into a new field—and looking to pursue your master’s degree. Have you wondered what you can do with a criminal justice master’s degree?

A master’s degree in criminal justice can help a law enforcement officer get promoted, sharpen critical skills for someone in a criminal justice-related field, or serve as an entry point for a competitive job, such as a position at a federal agency.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at AUM is designed to provide advanced preparation for those interested in professional careers in the justice and public safety field or those who wish to pursue doctoral study. The degree is designed to be completed in one year, with a total of 30 semester hours.

Our full-time faculty have published scholarly books and numerous peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals, including Criminal Justice Studies, Police Quarterly, International Journal of Police Science & Management, Homicide Studies, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, and Criminology & Penology.

Depending on their career objectives, candidates for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree have three options to demonstrate competence:

  • Comprehensive Examination option: Students complete a comprehensive examination that includes questions from the core area and the required course area.
  • Specialization option: Students complete six semester hours of specialized work in addition to the required 30 semester hours.
  • Thesis option: Students complete a minimum of 24 semester hours of coursework, then prepare a thesis on an appropriate topic for a minimum of six semester hours of thesis credit.

The Criminal Justice Department also offers a master’s degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

  • What kind of academic background do I need? An undergraduate degree in criminal justice isn’t required, but many of our candidates have experience working in the law enforcement/justice fields. Our Criminal Justice candidates have bachelor’s degrees in business, liberal arts, and other fields.
  • Can I afford this program? Tuition at AUM is lower than many other major universities, and scholarships and graduate assistantship opportunities are available.
  • How will this program impact my career? Depending on your interests and work experience, it could open up a whole new set of options! If you are in the law enforcement/justice fields field now, it could lead to pay increases and/or management opportunities.
  • How long will it take me to complete? The degree is designed to be completed in one year, with a total of 30 semester hours.
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Why AUM?

Our differences are our strengths!

Award-Winning

AUM is honored to have received many national and regional awards over the years. U.S. News & World Report named AUM one of its Top Public Schools for 2021, and Yahoo! Finance honored us as one of the Most Affordable Universities for 2021.

Affordable

We think a high-quality, graduate education should be affordable. Tuition rates for many of our programs are lower than at comparable universities. In addition, scholarship or other kinds of tuition assistance may be available.

Close-Knit

AUM offers a close-knit community where students and faculty get to know each other by name and develop valuable professional networks. We are able to keep class sizes small to facilitate group projects and personalized learning.

Career-Focused

We understand that one of the main reasons you are here is to expand your career options. That’s why our programs are practical and often apply to your current work situation. You’ll also have the opportunity to get valuable career assistance.

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Many graduates work in government—at the local, state and federal levels—and others work in the  industry and business sectors.  Check out Rewarding Occupations and Job Growth, below.

While the law prohibits criminal justice career requirements in the form of height, age or gender, employers can legally require that you take a physical fitness test. This test ensures that you are strong enough and fast enough to handle the duties of working as a law enforcement officer.

Three qualities stand out: a sense of duty, leadership skills, and the ability to solve problems in tense situations.

From the FBI website: Our intelligence analysts work closely with special agents and partners throughout the intelligence community to consolidate valuable information into strategic, analytic intelligence. They are our first line of defense in identifying and understanding threats and vulnerabilities.

Degree Options

Rewarding Occupations and Job Growth

With this master’s degree, you have many career possibilities. Here is a sampling of the future job growth and salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (or another source, if noted). 

Career/Job TitleEntry-Level Education RequirementsJob Growth 2020 - 2030Annual Median Salary
FBI special agentsBachelor’s degreeNot available$78,000 to $153,000
Supervisory FBI special agentsBachelor’s degreeNot available$170,000
Homeland Security Special AgentBachelor’s degreeNot available$146,612
FBI Intelligence AnalystBachelor’s degreeNot available$79,225
Immigration officerBachelor’s degreeNot available$83,876
Information security analystBachelor’s degreeNot available$103,590
County emergency managerBachelor’s degree6% (As fast as average)$76,730

Note: Salaries vary depending on several factors including your level of experience, education, training, demographics, and industry. Available data represents job titles across industries and may not be specific to your job category.

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Quick Facts

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

At AUM’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, you will have powerful learning experiences, working side by side with professors who have real-world experience.

Our academic departments include Communication and Theatre, Criminal Justice, Economics, English and Philosophy, Fine Arts,  History and World Cultures, Political Science and Public Administration, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, and Army ROTC. To help you pay for college, you might qualify for one of our scholarships.

Official Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

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Modality

This degree requires students to meet on campus. Students in these courses enroll in a program to connect in a campus setting and to collaborate using a variety of technological and educational tools. Professors play an inspirational role in building relationships among teams and individuals in this setting. The criteria for many programs can only be met with In-Class coursework. Be sure to check with your advisor to understand the best route to take.

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