Online College Degrees

MA in Criminal Justice
Obtaining an online MA in Criminal Justice is usually done with a specific goal in mind. An MA in Criminal Justice is not the degree you get to become a police officer, it is the degree you get to become a police chief. The master's degree is typically for those who will be high-level administrators in federal, state or local police agencies.

A master's degree in Criminal Justice typically takes one or two years to complete, depending on the University. University of Massachusetts Online has a respected degree that requires thirty-three semester hours and eleven classes, which normally takes one year to complete if you attend full time.

Preparation for Criminal Justice Management
Unlike a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, where you learn the nuts and bolts of police work, the master's involves management and the broader aspects of policing. Criminal Justice Management and Planning and Law and Public Policy are among the course types involved. These courses help you learn how to run a police agency and how to deal with the public at large and their representatives, for whom you typically work.

Typical Classes
Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes, Child Maltreatment and Gender, Race and Crime are classes that teach those broader aspects of police policy. These won't deal with investigating such crimes, but with how such crimes affect your community and your department and how you should use your manpower and policy to deal with them.

Prerequisites to enroll
To enroll in the criminal justice masters program at UMass Online you need an undergraduate degree from an accredited college (BA or BS, not necessarily in Criminal Justice). You will also need to have taken and passed (to the satisfaction of UMass Online) either the GRE, GMAT or MAT test within the last five years. And you will need three letters of recommendation. All this is pretty common for admission to any master's degree program.

Masters in Criminal Justice Expenses
The tuition at UMass Online is $1,455 for a standard three hour course. This means total tuition cost will be $16,005. Added to that will be the cost of books, so expect to pay upwards of $18,000. That is about average for such courses of study, whether online or at a traditional campus.

Different schools use various methods of presenting materials, of course, but you can expect to see such things as streaming video, MP3, forums, chatrooms and email. Most colleges have libraries with at least some books online or that can be checked out online. Some schools have lists of other places such libraries can be found.

If you want to advance to a high administrative level in the law enforcement profession, a master's degree is becoming a necessity. And if you are already a working professional seeking to upgrade your education, an online MA in Criminal Justice, with its flexible scheduling, might be just the ticket. So to speak.

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