Types of Degrees
An associate’s degree in criminal justice prepares individuals for entry-level careers in a variety of fields, such as law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, and other areas. The programs generally take two years to complete, but some programs offer accelerated formats to enable students to finish quicker and enter their career fields.
Examples of Courses
Criminal justice associate degree programs provide an overview of theories and practical applications in the field. Students commonly complete courses in criminal law, constitutional law, a criminal investigation, forensic science, criminology, and computer security. Many programs include practical learning experiences in actual criminal justice settings to enable students to get a solid understanding of what to expect in future positions. In addition to the core criminal justice courses, students must complete general education requirements in English, mathematics, humanities, and science.
Possible Job Titles
- Police Officer
- Corrections Officer
- Private Security Guard
- TSA Agent
For the most part, a bachelor’s degree can be earned after about four years of study. If a student wants to earn this type of degree in a less amount of time, he or she will need to take part in an accelerated program. There are many types of degrees that can be obtained through a bachelor’s program, with some of the most popular being the following:
- Business Administration
- Registered Nurse
- Social Work
For many students, a bachelor’s degree is the first type of degree they will earn during their academic career. After the degree has been earned, students then have the option to pursue a more advanced degree such as a doctoral or master’s degree. Students who start their educational career by first earning an associate’s degree can many times go ahead to earn a bachelor’s by taking part in two additional years of study.
A master’s degree in criminal justice is an advanced program that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the field. Students learn about advanced theories and applications in criminal justice and related areas and conduct research in the discipline. Many students choose to specialize in a certain area, such as juvenile criminal justice, forensic science, or cybercrime. Master’s degree programs also commonly include internship or externship opportunities.
Since master’s degree programs involve instruction on more in-depth topics than undergraduate degrees, the curricula commonly revolves around research. Students often complete courses in the history of criminal justice, criminology, juvenile crime, crime and punishment, research methods, and analytical methods.
Graduates of master’s degrees in criminal justice are prepared for upper-level, management, and leadership positions in many different fields, including police departments and federal organizations. Examples of job titles include policy researcher, FBI agent, and crime analyst.
- Research / Scholarship:
A research doctorate degree in criminal justice provides individuals with a scholarly degree in the field that focuses on in-depth research. Students are prepared to investigate, evaluate, and develop solutions to crime and issues in today’s legal system. Many programs enable students to receive specialty training in many different subfields. Majority of schools require doctoral students to complete core courses, a specialty track, and a dissertation. The number of required credits varies by program, but is usually around 50-60.
Examples of core courses in research doctorate degrees in criminal justice include theories of crime, criminal law, applied statistics, research methods, qualitative methods, criminological theory, criminal justice policy, research design, and data analysis. There are a variety of specialty tracks, including juvenile justice and organizational leadership
Graduates are prepared for advanced careers in research, management, administration, and academia. Examples of possible career titles include criminologist, criminal investigator, and criminal justice researcher.
- Professional Practice
In the field of criminal justice, there is a need for highly-trained researchers that can solve real-world problems. As crimes become more and more technologically-advanced, a team of dedicated Professional Practice specialists becomes very useful, and that’s part of why such degrees are now being taken seriously in the criminal justice field.
What a Professional Practice Doctorate Is
Professional Practice is a field dedicated to taking advanced researching techniques and applying them in the real world in new and inventive ways. A doctorate is the highest level of education available for most scientific fields, and Professional Practice is no different.
How this is Useful in Criminology
Crimes get more complex every day, and most criminal research centers need a full staff of trained specialists to get work done. Because of this need, professional practice has become a very promising field for anyone looking to get an in-depth, behind-the-scenes job in the criminal justice workplace.