Why This Matters


    Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show that the United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate. Nearly 2.2 million adults were incarcerated during 2016. That ensures an increased need for corrections professionals.


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects probation officer and correctional treatment specialist jobs to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029. That should create over 3,000 additional jobs in the field.


    The median annual pay for police officers and detectives is $65,170, compared to an average salary of $57,030 for law enforcement workers. A degree in corrections could help you become a police officer.

Our Research

We reviewed many Master’s in Corrections degree programs, including both Master of Science (MS) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees. The list we compiled includes on-campus, online, and hybrid options.

All of the listed programs are offered by regionally accredited schools. Attending an accredited program guarantees the quality and acceptance of your degree.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 77 hours to write this article
  • 77 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 112 education programs we compared

The Top 10 Master’s in Corrections Degree Programs

Best Master's in Corrections Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
Boston University
Best Public University
Eastern Kentucky University
Most Flexible
Northeastern University
Best Faculty
Albertus Magnus College

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Corrections is a demanding field that sometimes involves stressful situations. In order to succeed in the field, you must be able to remain calm and work well under pressure. Consider your personal ability to remain focused as you evaluate a potential career in corrections and criminal justice.

Working in corrections requires a lot of interaction with other people, and knowing how to navigate different situations is essential. To teach these skills, many programs have an in-person component within their curriculum. Even online programs may have such a component. Find out what in-person requirements a program has before applying, and make sure your schedule will let you complete this part of a program.

The minimum educational requirement to enter this field is a high school diploma or the equivalent, and a bachelor’s degree is often sufficient to be promoted to higher positions. A master’s degree may not have a huge impact on your career, unless you hope to attain a high-level administrative position. For those positions, a master’s is frequently required. Keep your career aspirations in view as you determine whether this type of program is right for you.

What’s Next?

Here are a couple of questions to ask as you continue researching different Master’s in Corrections degrees:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most of these master’s programs look for students who have prior knowledge of criminal justice. Programs usually require students to either have professional experience in the field or to have a bachelor’s in a relevant major. Check with programs to find out what their exact eligibility requirements are, and make sure you meet those requirements.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Synchronous courses have work that must be completed at a specific time, while asynchronous courses can be done on your schedule. Programs frequently have a combination of synchronous and asynchronous courses.

When you identify a potential program, contact the program or check its website to get admissions details. You’ll want to know what the application deadline is and what materials to send in.

Also give thought to how you’ll pay tuition. Find out what scholarships and financial aid options are available. If you’re working, see whether your employer has a tuition reimbursement benefit.

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