Why This Matters

  • PURSUE OVER A HALF-DOZEN DIFFERENT CAREERS

    Studying the fundamental questions of crime can lead to a diverse array of careers. Work as a probation officer, corrections officer, lecturer, consultant, investigator, or intelligence analyst.

  • DEMAND FOR SOCIOLOGISTS IS GROWING 4%

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for sociologists will grow 4% from 2019 to 2029. This growth includes criminal justice sociologists, which a Master’s in Criminology can help prepare you for.

  • EARN NEARLY $7,000 MORE EACH YEAR

    The average yearly salary for criminologists who have a master’s degree is $67,159, according to Payscale. In comparison, those who have only a bachelor’s in the field earn $60,332 on average.

Our Research

We reviewed many Master’s in Criminology degree programs, including both Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) programs. MA programs tend to be more rooted in humanities, while MS programs are usually research-based. Consider your personal preferences and career aspirations as you choose between these two options.

Our list also includes online, traditional, and hybrid options. Online programs sometimes have a brief in-person component. All of the programs listed are from regionally accredited schools. Many have national accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission as well.

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.

  • 52 hours to write this article
  • 66 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 142 education programs we compared

The Top 23 Master’s in Criminology Degree Programs

Best Master's in Criminology Degree Programs
01
University of Missouri-St Louis

intelligent score 97.05

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Criminology & Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

Department Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $500.30 per credit; Out-of-State: $1,228.20 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 314-516-5151

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Criminology & Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

01
University of North Carolina Wilmington

intelligent score 96.26

Award Best In-State Tuition Rate

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best In-State Tuition Rate

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Arts in Sociology and Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 34 credits

Department College of Arts & Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $162.03 per credit; Out-of-State: $636.80 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 910-962-3420

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Arts in Sociology and Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 34 credits

01
Florida State University

intelligent score 96.13

Award Best Thesis Option

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Thesis Option

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

Department College of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $479.32 per credit; Out-of-State: $1,110.72 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 850-644-4050

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

01
Regis University

intelligent score 95.75

Award Best Catholic Institution

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Catholic Institution

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department Regis College

Estimated Cost per Credit $625 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 303-458-4900

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
The University of Texas at Dallas

intelligent score 94.64

Award Best M.S. Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best M.S. Program

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Science in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit $1,643 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 972-883-2270

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Science in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Indiana State University

intelligent score 93.18

Award Best Online Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Online Program

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department School of Criminology and Security Studies

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $426 per credit; Out-of-State: $837 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 812-237-3773

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Washington State University

intelligent score 93.06

Award Best Focus on Global Justice

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Focus on Global Justice

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 32 credits

Department College of Arts and Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $350.33 per credit; Out-of-State: $836.26 per credit

accreditation Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 509-335-6424

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 32 credits

01
Arizona State University

intelligent score 91.7

Award Best Research Focus

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Research Focus

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

Department School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Estimated Cost per Credit $837 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 602-496-2356

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

01
George Mason University

intelligent score 91.13

Award Best Ph.D. Preparation

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Ph.D. Preparation

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Arts in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

Department College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $706 per credit; Out-of-State: $1,594 per credit

accreditation Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 703-993-8315

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Arts in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

01
Indiana University Of Pennsylvania

intelligent score 89.97

Award Best in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master's in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

Department College of Health and Human Services

Estimated Cost per Credit $516 per credit

accreditation Middle States Commission on Higher Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 724-357-2222

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master's in Criminology

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

01
Best Private Institution
Northeastern University
01
Best Interdisciplinary Program
Pennsylvania State University
01
Best Scholarships
Sam Houston State University
01
Best On-Campus Program
San Jose State University
01
Best M.A.-to-Ph.D. Program
University Of Florida
01
Best Concentrations
University of Illinois Chicago - Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice
01
Best Faculty
University Of Pennsylvania
01
Best Two-Year Program
University of South Florida
01
Best Job Placement Rate
American University
01
Best Leadership Training
Chaminade University of Honolulu
01
Best Libraries
Eastern Kentucky University
01
Best on the West Coast
California State University, Fresno - College of Social Sciences
01
Best Focus on Cybercrime
Georgia Southern University

 

What You Should Know About This Degree

The fields of criminology and criminal justice are distinct fields, and there are differences between them. Criminology researches social behaviors as they relate to crime, and it’s a subset of sociology. Criminal justice looks at the actual systems of courts, law enforcement, and corrections more directly. Criminal justice is the more traditional path for individuals who want to become police officers, although some criminology students ultimately do pursue that career path.

While a Master’s in Criminology is an advanced degree, many people who complete this type of program continue academic studies and earn a PhD. A PhD further develops the research skills learned in a master’s program, and the doctoral degree is required for many research and college-level teaching positions.

After completing a Master’s in Criminology, a law degree is another viable option. A criminology degree and a law degree paired together is solid preparation for work in criminal law.

A significant number of criminology positions, including both officer positions and research positions, require passing a background check. Minor infractions can often be overlooked, but a significant felony conviction from the past could preclude you from securing certain jobs.

What’s Next?

Consider these two questions as you evaluate Master’s in Criminology degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Master’s degrees commonly require an undergraduate degree. Some of these master’s programs will accept any bachelor’s degree, while others want applicants to have a bachelor’s in criminology or a related field. Find out what a program’s academic requirements are for admittance, and make sure you meet them prior to applying.
  • What licensing or certifications are required? Working as a criminologist doesn’t require any specific license or certification. Instead, an individuals’s research in the field is usually used to established credentials.

When you identify programs of interest, find out what the admissions process entails. You can learn about admissions materials and deadlines on a program’s website or by contacting the school directly.

Also consider the cost of attending a program. Talk with programs about financial aid, stipends, and scholarships that they offer. You might also be able to get tuition reimbursement from an employer.