Why This Matters


    There are more than 18,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and all of them need administrators to run departments. Some of these agencies have over 30,000 employees.


    Administrators who have an MPA in Law Enforcement Investigation and Interviewing earn an average annual salary of $81,805, compared with police officers’ and detectives’ average salary of $65,170.


    With a degree and some experience, you could also teach law enforcement administration part- or full-time at the postsecondary level. The average annual salary for teachers in this field is $72.980.

Our Research

We reviewed many master’s degrees in law enforcement administration, including Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Justice Administration (MJA) degrees. We also included online and on-campus programs to ensure a wide variety of options that prospective students could research.

All of the degree programs listed are regionally accredited, and many also have accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Accreditation guarantees the quality of a program’s curriculum and that credits will be recognized by other institutions if you transfer.

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. Our top picks for the best Master’s in Law Enforcement Administration Degree program are affordable, respected, and flexible. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 56 hours to write this article
  • 173 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 240 education programs we compared

The Top 35 Master’s in Law Enforcement Administration Degree Programs

Best Master's in Law Enforcement Administration Degree Programs
loader Image

What You Should Know About This Degree

The main purpose of a master’s in law enforcement degree is to help students move from entry-level positions into managerial roles. Most programs require applicants to have an educational or work background in law enforcement before enrolling, and some programs only take officers who have graduated from a police academy. Make sure you meet all of a program’s requirements before applying.

Additionally, a master’s degree isn’t always required to advance within a law enforcement agency. Sometimes it’s possible to move up if you meet certain internal valuation and experience metrics. Of course, a master’s degree doesn’t hurt, and it also makes you more attractive to other agencies.

Online programs can mostly be completed remotely, but they may have brief in-person requirements. Make sure you account for any such requirements and how they’ll fit around your current obligations.

Before working for a law enforcement agency, you’ll have to pass drug screenings, background checks, and other evaluations. While certain situations may be excusable, serious infractions can prevent you from securing jobs. For example, you might need to reconsider this field if you have a previous felony conviction.

What’s Next?

Consider these questions while evaluating master’s in law enforcement administration programs:

  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most of these degree programs require between 30 to 36 credits, and many are set up on a year-round schedule. If you attend full-time, you can likely complete a degree within two years.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Programs may offer both synchronous and asynchronous classes. The former are given at a set time and attended by all students, while the latter have work that can be done on your own schedule. Consider how each of these formats might fit into your schedule.

Determine which schools meet your criteria; then research the required admissions materials and deadlines. You can get these details by visiting a school’s website or contacting the school directly.

Also give thought to how you’ll pay for a program. You can learn about financial aid and scholarship options from schools, and your employer might offer tuition reimbursement. Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you’re eligible for federal funds.