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Information on Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) Degree Program

Majors Overview September 26, 2015

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

Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.) Degree Program

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.C.J.) or Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.) programs provide a grasp of the advanced criminology and criminal justice theories, and research methods necessary for public service leadership positions. Program graduates can seek various management-level jobs in an array of fields, including probation, parole, and criminal investigation. Prospective employers of these professionals include police departments, federal agencies, and social service organizations.

Special topics in law enforcement or corrections are often available through schools that typically require incoming students to meet a capstone requirement, such as a research project or thesis. Internship opportunities allow students to gain work experience.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related area. They may also have to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, in addition to a resume and letters of recommendation.


Program coursework includes classes in the theory and application of criminal justice. Core coursework incorporates research-related topics, including statistics and research methods. Schools may also train students to target offenders, creating policies and assist criminals with rehabilitation; they may be offered a choice of specialization in a type of offender or crime, such as juveniles or drugs. They may select elective coursework focused on specific forms of crime prevention or crime. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Criminal justice ethics
•History of criminal justice
•Public Policy
•Crime and criminal justice
•Criminal justice administration

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek careers with government organizations or avail private sector opportunities (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). They may choose possible job options such as:

•FBI agent
•Policy Researcher
•Police officer
•Probation officer
•Crime Analyst

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a five percent job growth has been predicted for police and sheriff’s patrol officers (BLS). In May 2012, most workers in this field brought in an annual wage ranging from $32,350 to $89,310, with average wages of $55,270. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, detectives and criminal investigators were expected to witness an eleven percent job growth; in May 2012, they earned average annual wages ranging between $39,900 and $122,990.

Continuing Education Choices

There may be state, or federal regulations for individuals employed in criminal justice jobs, as these are mainly in government organizations. State may mandate completion by applicants of a training program along with the passage of qualifying exams, including a physical fitness test. Additionally, students may choose continuing education in the form of doctoral degrees in criminal justice that could lead to careers in research or academia.

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