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Information on Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) Degree Program in Law

Majors Overview September 26, 2015

This article talks about Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.) degree programs in Law and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and certification and continuing education choices.

Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.) Programs in Law

Schools may offer a master’s degree program in criminal justice as either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.). A dual-degree program may be available, allowing students to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree while simultaneously studying law. Individuals wishing to take state bar exams and gain licensure, as well as practicing lawyers, would benefit from earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree. When they complete a JD degree alongside a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.C.J.) degree, students can expect to gain expertise in both law enforcement and legal practices. Some schools allow the completion by students of both degree programs at an accelerated pace. Coursework is a combination of didactic courses, internships, hands-on courtroom training, or other practical experiences.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to seek general admission to the college as well as admission to law school. Students usually must meet a GPA standard and hold a bachelor’s degree though not necessarily in a specific major.

Coursework

Program coursework commonly comprises law school courses and criminal justice courses. The focus of coursework is mainly on the legal system, law, legal research and legal processes. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Evidence handling
•Constitutional law
•Criminal procedure
•Civil law
•Criminal law
•Contract law
•Victim advocacy
•Drug Policies
•Juvenile law
•Correction methods

Career Choices

Program graduates may choose from various legal careers either with local law enforcement agencies, government agencies, private legal practices, law firms, community programs or other non-profit and for-profit organizations. Graduates may seek careers as lawyers, or opt for an available job position in:

•Investigation
•Court services
•Corrections
•Victim advocacy
•Policy making

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, lawyers brought in an average annual wage of $113,530 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Highest wages at the time were earned by these workers employed in the petroleum and coal manufacturing, physician offices, alcoholic beverage wholesalers, wholesale electronics agents/brokers, and the cable programming industry. Over 2012 – 2022, lawyers are expected to enjoy an at-par-with-average 10% job growth.

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Before they are allowed to work as lawyers, program graduates must gain state licensure by passing a bar exam. Exams may vary by state; states may employ the Multistate Bar Examination. Those who seek continuing education may earn doctoral programs in criminal justice that could lead to careers in research in areas such as criminal justice policy or criminology; they may also seek careers in academia. Schools typically require incoming students to complete a dissertation based on original research in the field of criminal justice.

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