Why This Matters

  • OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE IN 10+ INDUSTRIES

    Individuals with a master’s in law enforcement administration find themselves employed in many different fields, including homeland security, cyber intelligence, victim and offender advocacy, and more.

  • WORK IN ONE OF OVER 70 GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

    The federal government is the largest employer of law enforcement administrators, with opportunities in departments like the FBI, CIA, Department of Defense, Secret Service, Border Patrol, and more.

  • EARN $25,650 MORE ANNUALLY WITH A MASTER’S

    The median annual salary for police officers and detectives, who typically have bachelor’s degrees, is $63,380. With a master’s, you can advance to an administrative position, and earn an average annual salary of $89,030.

Our Research

We concentrated on finding the best graduate-level programs in law enforcement administration and related fields for this list. These programs grant Master of Science (MS) degrees.

To guarantee accessibility for all types of students, we focused on programs that are delivered completely or primarily online. A number of programs are also offered on-campus. In some instances, students have the option of earning the degree through a combination of online and in-person classes.

We only included programs that are offered by regionally accredited institutions. This confirms that the schools and their programs meet high standards of quality for postsecondary education. Credits and degrees earned from regionally accredited institutions are often the most widely recognized by other schools and employers.

After compiling our list, we reviewed each program based on their flexibility, faculty, cost, outcomes, and reputation. Then we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in law enforcement administration are customizable, cost-effective, and respected. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 56 hours to write this article
  • 147 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 300 education programs we compared

The Top 20 Online Master’s in Law Enforcement Administration

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What You Should Know About This Degree

All law enforcement jobs can be stressful and demanding. Law enforcement administrators must lead by example, and demonstrate ethical behavior, self-control, sound judgement, and decision-making abilities. It’s important to evaluate if you have the right qualities to be a successful law enforcement administrator before pursuing advancement in this field.

The primary function of a master’s in law enforcement administration is to help you move from an entry-level job, such as a police officer, into a management role. As such, most programs seek candidates who have either an educational or professional background in criminal justice or law enforcement. In some cases, students must have graduated from a police academy in order to be eligible for the program. Make sure you review the school’s admissions requirements to make sure you are eligible for the program.

Additionally, depending on the role you are seeking and your particular department, you may be able to advance based on work experience and internal evaluations. Consider your career goals and what the necessary steps are to achieve them before committing to a master’s degree.

Individuals seeking positions in law enforcement must successfully pass background checks, drug screenings, and other evaluations before obtaining employment in the field. While some situations may be permissible, in most instances, a serious infraction like a felony will disqualify you from employment.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s Degree in Law Enforcement Administration programs:

  • How are courses delivered? Online programs usually deliver coursework synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous courses meet remotely at scheduled times, making their flexibility somewhat limited. Asynchronous courses have to set meeting times, and students can access the lessons and assignments at any time. Determine what kind of delivery method best suits your schedule, and select a program with that format
  • Does this program have the specialization that I want? Many students pursuing a master’s in law enforcement administration choose to specialize in a particular area such as criminal justice theory, victim and offender services, homeland security, and more. When researching programs, be sure to select one that aligns with your personal interests and professional goals.

Now is also the time to gather your admissions materials, confirm application deadlines, and research options for funding your graduate education. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers any tuition assistance benefits. You should also look into student loans, scholarships, and assistantships.