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Information on Master of Justice Administration Degree Program

Majors Overview September 27, 2015

This article talks about Master of Justice Administration degree programs and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Justice Administration Programs

The primary focus of a master’s program in justice administration is in preparing law enforcement professionals to become effective leaders and managers in the criminal justice system. Students enrolled in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Administration of Justice or Master of Justice Administration, among other similar degree programs, gain a grasp of applications and theories pertaining to public administration. They also learn about their modes of application in a criminal justice setting such as law enforcement, corrections, or the court system. Hands-on experience is gained by students via internships and capstone projects.

Schools may offer specialization tracks such as homeland security, correctional administration, court administration or law enforcement administration. Distance learning programs are available through some schools, and students may have to meet short-term residency requirements.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, though not necessarily in a criminal justice major. Students enrolled in some academic institutions are required to complete courses in criminal theory or criminology, research methods, and statistics. They may also have to complete prerequisite undergraduate courses in administration of justice, social sciences, and public affairs.


Program coursework frequently covers concepts related to pubic administration, including understanding organizational behavior, demonstrating leadership, budgeting, evaluating programs, and media relations. They may also learn criminal justice concepts such as geographic information systems and homeland security. Students enrolled in some schools are required to complete a capstone project or thesis; an internship is available at other schools. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Budgeting and finances
•Planning and justice policy
•Justice administration ethics
•Issues in criminal behavior
•Human resources in justice administration
•Overview of organizational behavior

Career Choices

Program graduates are trained to seek advanced managerial and leadership roles in corrections, law enforcement, or the court system. They may seek jobs with:

•Homeland security agencies
•Law enforcement agencies
•Security administration agencies
•Institutional services companies
•Department of Corrections

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of 8% has been predicted for professionals in protective services. Police and detectives, as well as correctional officers, are expected to see a 5% growth over that same period (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

In 2012, police and sheriff’s patrol officers brought in an average annual wage of $55,270. Correctional officers, first-line supervisors of police and detectives, and first-line supervisors of correctional officers, earned respective annual median wages of $39,040, $78,270, and $57,840.

There are various factors that affect the wages for federal employees. These include education, assigned location, experience, education, and additional availability at work.

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates seeking continuing education may enroll into a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Justice Administration program that could lead to careers in teaching or research. Students are allowed to select courses related to their area of interest. Passage of qualifying exams and completion of a dissertation may also be requirements.

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