Best 10 Masters in Criminology Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Those working in law enforcement looking to elevate their position and elevate their skills need to consider pursuing a Masters in Criminology. Those professionals looking to further their studies and open the door to new opportunities have many options. Leaders in the law enforcement industry typically have advanced degrees. Those in leadership positions look to individuals with MBA degrees when bigger opportunities arise. They have more knowledge because of their experience due to their post-graduate degrees.

Law enforcement personnel may learn that a portion of their education is paid for by their employer. The assumption being that graduate-level education, brings higher-level thinking.

A master’s degree in criminal justice opens the door to many new opportunities including:

  • Intelligence analysts
  • Forensic psychologists
  • Forensic examiners
  • Emergency management directors and facilitators
  • Special agent at a federal agency: FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE, Secret Service
  • Criminal profilers
  • Federal Marshalls
  • Criminologists
  • Fraud investigators
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Victim advocates
  • Court officer in an elevated position
  • Social workers in a wide range of different scenarios
  • Correctional caseworkers
  • Cybersecurity investigators
  • Sheriff of towns or cities

In addition to jobs on the local and state level, many students pursue positions with the federal government. This requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. To land the big jobs, a master’s degree is required.

Having a master’s degree in criminal justice is a great career move. Those making a career change or looking to gain niche knowledge in their chosen field excel with an MBA. A criminal justice master’s degree can help those wanting to make a career shift or gain niche expertise.

Some of the Best Schools to Consider for a master’s degree in criminal justice

Criminology is a very specific degree. Those pursuing an MBA in business have no problem finding a business school. Those looking for a degree in criminal justice have a more difficult time since it is so specific.

There are a far more limited number of schools that offer MBA’s in criminology. To help you find the right school, we have created a list of universities offering MBA programs in criminology and criminal justice. You can determine which best suits your particular needs at a cost point that fits with your budget.

Best 10 Masters in Criminology Programs in 2021

1. Cardinal Stritch University

Cardinal Stritch University is a Roman Catholic University based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was started in 1937 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. At that time it was St. Clare College and was created to help train the order’s sisters as teachers.

The first graduate program began in 1956 featuring programs in special education and reading. Until 1956, the university was open only for women. In 1962, the campus moved to Northern Milwaukee. They expanded and began a nursing program and a College of Business Management in 1982. At this time, they also began admitting male students.

Today, this thriving university offers criminal justice programs offering degrees that prepare students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, probation, parole, court agencies, Homeland Security, offender re-integration, and other careers in the criminal justice and law enforcement realm.

  • Cost: One academic year is $33,770
  • Graduation rate: 52%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1

2. The State University of New York at Albany

The State University of Albany New York, (SUNY) School of Criminal Justice (SCJ) offers both undergraduate and graduate study programs in criminal justice. It was founded in 1968 when New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller felt the need to develop a research and education program focused on criminal justice. It was the first criminal justice doctoral program in the U.S. 

By the year 2006, it was considered the 2nd best doctorate criminology program in the U.S.

At SUNY, students receive teaching on the social, political, economic, and cultural influences that affect our country and crimes being committed. It is considered one of “America’s Top Colleges” in the field of criminology.

  • Cost: For one academic year, the cost is $10,176 for in-state students; out of state students can expect to pay around $27,766 per school year.
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1

3. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota offers an impressive program focusing on Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance. The MBA program examines the relationship between deviance, control, and the justice system. The program relies on statistical analysis, research dissemination, and research, conversational and content analysis

The University has two campuses, one in Minneapolis and the other in Duluth. It was founded in 1851 and today has grown to home numerous colleges offering a wide range of criminal justice-themed majors like:

  • Victims’ rights
  • Criminal justice leadership
  • Public safety and many others

The college ranks among the top when it comes to criminology and continues to garner accolades for their programs.

  • Cost: $23,912
  • Graduation rate: 78%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1

4. The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (BAMA) boasts a wide variety of degrees in the criminal justice arena both undergraduate and graduate. Their graduate programs include:

BAMA is a public research college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and first opened its doors in 1820. The university offers programs in a wide range of academic divisions including criminal justice programs, which are highly regarded.

  • Cost: The average cost is around $22,000
  • Graduation rate: 68%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1

5. Mercer University:

Mercer University has an impressive Criminal Justice program which was developed to help those in the field to further their career. They offer a wide range of programs that help study human behavior, some of them include:

  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Africana Studies
  • Philosophy

The Uiversity places a strong emphasis on liberal arts along with their Criminal Justice program, to help with social science, learning tools, and skills that are helpful in a law enforcement setting.

  • Cost: The average cost is around $21,000
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1

6. Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University opened on September 11, 1890, with just 23 students and two faculty members. Northern Arizona University (NAU) is located in Flagstaff, Arizona and today offers over 150 baccalaureate degrees and 100 graduate programs. The University’s Criminal Justice program is just one of the many programs that are held in high regard at NAU.

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University offers a wide range of graduate degrees, they include:

The Criminology degree is part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences which offers numerous graduate degrees.

  • Cost: The average cost is around $11,896
  • Graduation rate: 52.9%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1

7. University of Dayton:

The University of Dayton is located in Dayton, Ohio. It began as a Catholic research university in 1950. It is currently the second-largest private university in Dayton. It has an impressive Criminal Justice program.

The Criminal Justice program focuses on the study of crime, deviance, and knowledge to combat these negative forces. The program offers:

  • A practical understanding of criminal justice and related studies]
  • Information in cybersecurity, law enforcement investigative services, etc.
  • The necessary preparation for those pursuing a degree in criminal justice, the criminology of public policy.

The student seeking an MBA should determine if they have enough undergraduate credits before perusing this degree.

  • Cost: The average cost is around $44,100 before any aid
  • Graduation rate: 52.9%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1

8. University of Toledo:

The University of Toledo Ohio features a widely-recognized criminal justice program. Those looking to elevate their law enforcement career should consider the University of Toledo’s College of Health and Human Services program as it concentrates on how society deals with today’s solutions for crime and punishment.

Its programs feature all aspects of:

  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections
  • Community service
  • Social justice

Many students move from their graduation into jobs with regional and federal agencies including those that deal with probation, parole, corrections, law enforcement, and other social service jobs.

  • Cost: Fall and Spring semester (12-15 hours): $13,258.08
  • Graduation rate: 41%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1

9. Lamar University

Lamar University is located in Beaumont, Texas. Lamar university is a public university and began in 1995. It is named for Mirabeau Lamar the 2nd president of the Republic of Texas. The University offers many courses with a concentration on Criminal Justice Management where students gain insights into how various business insights can translate into the field of criminal justice.

The University offers 96 undergraduate programs, 50 master’s programs, and 8 doctoral degree programs.

  • Cost: $16,000 (in-state tuition)
  • Graduation rate: 41%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1

10. Brenau University:

Located in Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau University is considered one of the leading universities for those that want to move-up in law enforcement. Founded in 1878, the university has a long history of turning out well-qualified law-enforcement personnel. The University offers courses designed specifically that want to pursue a degree in law enforcement. They offer a 4-year college degree program as well as higher learning degrees in the following areas:

  • Criminal Justice degree
  • Criminology
  • Forensic Science
  • Homeland Security
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Law Enforcement Policy
  • Criminal Investigations degree
  • Private Security

The college is small and home to only 1,754 undergraduate students. Those looking to secure high-level jobs in law enforcement and criminal justice often choose the programs offered by Brenau University

  • Cost: $31,084
  • Graduation rate: 34.7%
  • The student to Faculty Ratio: 9to 1

Our Methodology for Rating Schools of Criminology

When looking at the schools that have strong criminology and criminal justice programs, we looked at a lot of different statistics. We review each University’s criminology program and study many factors.m We look at the history of the program, the graduation rates, and the ratio of faculty to the student. We also consider the cost of the program. All these factors are of key importance when rating the University based on their criminal justice programs.

Many of the colleges listed also received positive feedback for their programs and in most cases have received awards and accolades.

If there is a school omitted from this list or if any information is incorrect, please contact us so omissions and corrections are made.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.<button type="button" class="css-1pz3fcu css-11e3mg8 css-1w9ghd css-1hhul3j css-1jbuhzf css-yrxnuw css-1u78gm9 css-1y4tel7 css-1kru6p0 css-rnous3 css-12fbi72 bg-accent close-button">Got it!</button></div></section></div></form></div></div> <script> (function(){var i=this.element,e=this.props;if(i){i.setAttribute("data-ssr-mounted","");var o=i.querySelector("select[name=degree]"),a=i.querySelector("select[name=category]"),c=i.querySelector("select[name=subject]"),t=c.querySelectorAll("optgroup"),n=i.querySelector("[name=url]"),r=o.children[0].label,l=a.children[0].label,u=c.children[0].label,s=window.self!==window.top;n.value=s?document.referrer:window.location.href;for(var d,g,m,p=[],f=[],h=[],y=1;y<o.length;y++)p.push({name:o[y].label,id:o[y].value,selected:o[y].selected});for(var b=1;b<a.length;b++)f.push({name:a[b].label,id:a[b].value,selected:a[b].selected,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})});for(var v=0;v<t.length;v++){for(var x=void 0,w=0;w<f.length;w++)f[w].name===t[v].label&&(x=f[w].id);for(var O=0;O<t[v].children.length;O++){var E=t[v].children[O];h.push({name:E.label,id:E.value,selected:E.selected,category:x,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})})}}o.addEventListener("change",F),a.addEventListener("change",N),c.addEventListener("change",z);var S="".concat("https://platform.highereducation.com/","api"),j="\n query QuickDegreeFinderFeed(\n $publisher: String!\n ) {\n quickDegreeFinder(\n publisher: $publisher\n ) {\n degrees {\n id\n name\n slug\n categories {\n id\n name\n slug\n subjects {\n id\n name\n slug\n }\n }\n }\n }\n }\n ",k={publisher:e&&e.publisher},C="".concat(S,"?query=").concat(encodeURIComponent(j),"&variables=").concat(encodeURIComponent(JSON.stringify(k)));if(k.publisher&&I(C,function(e){var t,n,i=JSON.parse(e).data,r=i&&i.quickDegreeFinder&&i.quickDegreeFinder.degrees;r||!r.length?(t=r.reduce(function(t,n){return n.categories.forEach(function(e){t[e.id]=t[e.id]||e,t[e.id].degree=t[e.id].degree||[],t[e.id].degree.push(n.id)}),t},{}),t=Object.keys(t).map(function(e){return t[e]}),n=r.reduce(function(n,i){return i.categories.forEach(function(t){t.subjects.forEach(function(e){n[e.id]=n[e.id]||e,n[e.id].category=n[e.id].category||t.id,n[e.id].degree=n[e.id].degree||[],n[e.id].degree.push(i.id)})}),n},{}),n=Object.keys(n).map(function(e){return n[e]}),d=p.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),g=f.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),m=h.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),p=r.map(function(e){return e.selected=d[0]&&d[0].id==e.id||!1,e}),f=t.map(function(e){return e.selected=g[0]&&g[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),h=n.map(function(e){return e.selected=m[0]&&m[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),F()):console.error("Problem loading QDF feed.")}),"undefined"!=typeof window&&!window.toggleTooltip){Element.prototype.matches||(Element.prototype.matches=Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector||Element.prototype.webkitMatchesSelector),Element.prototype.closest||(Element.prototype.closest=function(e){var t=this;do{if(t.matches(e))return t;t=t.parentElement||t.parentNode}while(null!==t&&1===t.nodeType);return null}),window.NodeList&&!NodeList.prototype.forEach&&(NodeList.prototype.forEach=Array.prototype.forEach);var P=function(e){if(!e)return!1;var t=window.innerWidth,n=e.getBoundingClientRect().left,i=t-(n+e.offsetWidth);return 275+10<i?"right":i<n?"left":"right"};window.toggleTooltip=function(e){if(e.target.classList.contains("tooltip-toggle")){var t=i.querySelector(".tooltip-toggle"),n=e.target.closest("section").querySelector(".tooltip-body");"left"===P(t)?(n.classList.remove("right"),n.classList.add("left")):(n.classList.remove("left"),n.classList.add("right")),n.classList.toggle("open"),"undefined"!=typeof window&&void 0!==window.tagular&&window.tagular("beam","ElementClicked",{"@type":"redventures.usertracking.v3.ElementClicked",webElement:{location:"AD_DISCLOSURE",elementType:"TOOLTIP",position:"Search Experience",text:"Click - 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