We can enjoy relative safety because of those who make the choice to both fight crime and work to prevent it. Law enforcement officials, those who work at the state and federal level in criminal justice and criminology–these are just a few of the individuals that protect us on a daily basis. For professionals in the criminal justice field and those who aspire to it, moving up into positions of leadership or seeking out specialized field placements, an online Master’s degree in criminal justice is a strategic choice. Understandably one of the most popular online master’s degrees, the online Master of Criminal Justice is ideal for prospective students who are already working in the field and cannot uproot themselves (or the people who depend on them) to go to the school of their choice. That’s why an online degree is the perfect fit–all of the convenience of participating in classes on your schedule, but all of the benefits of a well-respected degree. It’s important to pick an accredited, reputable school to achieve the degree that will open doors for you in the criminal justice arena–that’s why we’ve put in the time to pick some of the best of the best. Read below to investigate how we picked the schools that landed on our list, and read further to pick the program that is right for you.
Our methodology: To determine the best online Master in Criminal Justice degree programs for our ranking, we looked only at schools with regional accreditation. With that as our starting point, we gathered information to examine from publicly available sources such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. News and World Report, and the school websites. From there, four points served as our guidelines for determining the best programs. In random order, the four guiding points were:
- School reputation
- Availability of focus areas, concentrations or specializations
- Program flexibility and accommodation
Founded by the Indiana General Assembly as the Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1865, a century later the school would become Indiana State University. Twenty-three students and three faculty members began class in 1870, five years after the school’s establishment. The school would grow and change names multiple times to reflect the expansion of both the academic programs and student enrollment–becoming Indiana State Teachers College in 1929, Indiana State College in 1961, and finally becoming Indiana State University (ISU or Indiana State) in 1965. Dedicated “to teaching and the creation of knowledge while maintaining its longstanding commitment to inclusiveness, community and public service, and access to higher education,” Indiana State is committed to an inclusive and diverse campus and multicultural expression and safety. The 435-acre campus houses seven colleges, which provide over 150 academic degree programs for the more than 13,500 enrolled students. ISU has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1915.
Program Details: Offered through the Indiana State College of Graduate and Professional Studies, the 36-credit hour MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice is provided entirely online for “academic criminologists and criminal justice professionals” (and for those desiring to be) and effortlessly lands in our #50 spot. (For students who plan to pursue a doctorate degree in the subject, there is also an entirely online 33-credit hour MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice). All students start with criminology research seminar and go on to choose both a major and a concentration in either Law Enforcement or Corrections. Students must also complete either a comprehensive written exam or a research project in culmination of the program. This MS program is open to residents of the United States and Canada, as well as U.S. Territories and military and state department members and their families if residing at an army base. Online learning tuition for 2017-2018 is listed as $513 per credit hour for eligible out-of-state residents and $404 for Indiana residents.
The Lowry Normal School Bill of 1910 was passed in Ohio to assure two teacher training schools in the state. Guaranteeing a school to train elementary school educators in both the northeastern and northwestern part of the state, the residents of Kent desperately wanted one of the schools to be in their town. Now known as a positive outcome of the celebrated “blue-gill dinner,” through a series of miscommunication and misadventures, the state commission members were not impressed until the Kent Board of Trade reception committee convinced them to have dinner along the way to the next town they were to examine as a possible site. That dinner secured Kent as the location of the new normal school on the 53-acre Kent farm. Because of the vision of founding president John Edward McGilvrey, the school aimed to bypass being a normal school to achieve becoming first a college and ultimately a university. His dream became a reality, and now Kent State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.