Criminal Justice Masters Degree Online

As the Criminal Justice field expands so does the need for related education. If you are looking to start a career in law enforcement, or are ready to move up the ladder, the Criminal Justice Masters Degree online will definitely make that happen.

The colleges and universities below may help you pick the right online Criminal Justice Master Degree program:

Boston University
Michigan State University
Northeastern University
University of Cincinnati – 12 months

More master degree level criminal justice schools:

American Public University System
Arizona State University
Bowling Green State University – BGSU
Colorado Technical University
Eastern Kentucky University
Florida International University
Florida State University (highly recommended)
Hodges University
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Norwich University
Penn State (highly recommended)
Saint Joseph’s University
Saint Leo University
South University
Tiffin University
University of Arkansas at Little Rock – UALR
University of Central Florida
University of Florida (Forensic Sciences – highly recommended)
University of Maryland University College – UMUC
Upper Iowa University
Utica College

The list of Master level criminal justice degree programs will be expanded as more schools emerge.

79 comments… add one
  • Jamie

    I am considering getting my criminal justice masters degree online. I did my bachelors online, but I am curious to what to expect regarding how much work a master’s degree in criminal justice requires. Is there is big difference between a masters degree and other degrees in how much work is required and how much harder and time consuming it could be?

    • Radek M. Gadek


      I really like your questions and will use them in one of my blog posts in the near future. The truth is the questions are a little more complicated and are dependent on factors that you can only know. But I’ll try anyway.

      Regardless of which online school you went to, how many classes you took at one time, and the structure of the program I am confident you will have an upper edge when it comes to online learning at a graduate level.

      From my perspective, I enjoyed my Masters more than I did when I went for my undergrad. One big reason, I was more passionate about what I wanted to do after I obtained my Masters degree in Criminal Justice. When I went to Colorado Technical University for Business I had 2 classes at one time, but when I went to Boston University for my masters I only had 1 class at a time. I liked the class load at CTU, but one class at BU made it more manageable for me to turn in assignments, participate in discussions, and keep up with the assigned reading.

      The reality in all this is everything is dependent on your own belief in yourself, your abilities, and devotion to your subject area. You can expect more work on a graduate level, but it can become whatever you want it to become (easier or harder). One last advice: don’t run away from prestigious schools that are often much cheaper than their commercial counterparts just because you may think they will be harder. The end result can propel you further when you start weighing your career options. I hope this helps you. Good luck!

    • Jamie

      Have you decided if you are going to get your degree yet? I think the masters courses are more concentrated and like Radek said, you have a passion for the topic so it is exciting as well. Also, you are taking less credits at a time compared to the bachelors degree so it is not as difficult.

    • Sharon

      I think you would benefit from the online Master’s program. Obviously, the time involved depends on how many classes you take each semester. The Masters is a lot of work, but well worth it. I am taking the online course currently through Tiffin University and will graduate next month. This college offers an excellent program with Professors who are experienced and educated law enforcement individuals. You can call the Criminal Justice department and speak to any of the Professors personally, as they will be able to give you some insight on the program and time involved. I did this ahead of time and found it to be extremely helpful.

  • Marcy

    First off, thanks for the great blog!
    I have a question- I reside in NYC and have always heard about John Jay College of Criminal Justice. But unfortunately, have not found much info about it online. Do you know anything about how good of a school it is? I already have my BA, have been working as a legal assistant for a few years but want to get my Master’s in Criminal Justice to change into a CJ career- ultimately I’d love to have a government job but I’m also interested in the NYPD. I wanted to go to John Jay so it could help me decide between everything.
    And then again, some have told me I don’t even need a degree in Criminal Justice and that I should just start applying places.
    Can you give me some advice?
    Thanks so much!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      In the criminal justice field, John Jay College of Criminal Justice is considered one of the best schools in the nation. Even government officials from other countries attend John Jay to bring back with the the knowledge that they can apply in their system. “Google” John Jay College and go to their criminal justice section. You’ll find the list of accolades the school has received.

      Yes, with a Bachelor’s degree you can apply into Local, County, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies, even without a degree in Criminal Justice. I personally would get my Master’s out of the way so when it’s time for a promotion there would be less scrutiny in the education qualifications department. However, there are many successful law enforcement employees that do well with just a Bachelor’s degree.

      Have you considered studying online? If not, take a look at schools like University of Cincinnati, Penn State University, Michigan State University, and Northeastern University. These are considered to be some of the best criminal justice schools. Good luck.

  • Jamie

    Arizona State University has an AMAZING online degree! The Bachelors degree allows students to take classes in a 7 week format. Great for me (a working Mom). I am also excited about their online masters degree.

    The best thing about this program is that it has a high ranking, the cost is very affordable and the classes seem to be built especially for students like me. You should definitely check out the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for sharing

  • Josh

    If I can make a recommendations to your list:

    1) University of Massachusetts – Lowell, MA Campus
    – This school has a good Criminal Justice and Criminology program that can be taken traditionally, online or a combination of the two.

    Mr. Gadek, thank for the site, I have often referred to it and greatly appreciate your work here.

  • VON


    I enjoy reading your blog as I just graduated with a Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree and now looking at Graduate programs. First question, what made you choose Boston University over Michigan State and Cincinnati? I’m familiar with the top CJ Graduate programs but I would like your thoughts on less expensive schools. What is your opinion of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and similar schools that offer excellent value while affording employment opportunities in the field. I am only interested in online programs.



    • Radek M. Gadek


      The prominence of the school got me going to BU over the other great schools even though their Criminal Justice degree programs are ranked very high. Not a mistake, but more of a personal preference. Also, at the time, Boston University offered their Master’s program in 1.5 years vs. 2 at Univ of Cincinnati and 3 at MSU.

      Indiana University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited, which is good, it also looks good from the little research I have done. It’s not “up there” with any of the schools mentioned above, but it is a research university with great tuition options and a slew of programs. I can’t give it a definite YES, but I would definitely look into it a little close if I were you. I would like to see any type of ranking reports and accolades on this school as well.

  • victor

    i am a foreign student majoring grad criminal justice and specializing on corrections.i will be graduating with a masters in arts in criminal justice by december 2011.
    i have been thinking of doing a second masters in forensic science after my present program.i want to know if i can use the degree on criminal justice am going to get as part of my requirement for the masters in forensic sciences.
    i will like to know if it is a good step i want to take.also want to know what is preferable as of the salary.
    i am still new in the country,this is my second year and really want to be informed, know how the system works and how i am going to build my career.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think there’s nothing wrong with obtaining a second graduate degree, but in all likelihood, you won’t be able to use more than a few classes at most towards your Forensic Science major. It’s just different from criminal justice master’s degree.

      I am looking to complete my PhD, rather than a second master’s. I have contemplated both and decided the PhD route will be more rewarding for me. Each case is different and you must consider many personal factors before you embark on another academic quest.

  • victor

    thanks allot,i will just wait and see what is in front of me if it will be good for me to embark on a PhD.its because i also consider tuition because as i told you i am a foreign student only the masters is on my neck.

  • Michael

    Hi, this is a very informative blog and I was just wondering how you would rank the University of Alabama with other schools for a criminal justice master’s degree and how much a master’s degree in criminal justice would help me as opposed to just receiving a bachelor’s degree?
    Thank you.

  • Stephanie

    So I just got my a.s in criminal justice I loved the school I was at best teachers ever. I’m currently working as a probation officer but I want to further my education by getting my bachelor’s degree in CJ but I don’t know of any good schools in California that are affordable and good quality teaching. Any suggestions….

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I actually reviewed California for their Criminal Justice schools and found UC Irvine to be top notch. Then UC Davis and San Jose State University.

      • Robby

        I just enrolled in a Master’s in Justice Management program at University of Nevada, Reno. The entire degree can be completed online.

  • Penny

    I’m thinking of doing a career change and possibly move into criminal justice. I’m 37 and hold a masters in fine art. I’ve looked into online programs which seem ideal for me. My question is: at this stage in my life, what kind of career can I find in criminal justice?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Slimmer pickins at your age. You will most likely be unable to qualify for law enforcement positions (ie. police officer, deputy Sheriff, FBI Special Agent, etc.). You’re right on the cusp of qualifying for the age requirement which averages to be 36/37 The criminal justice field is immense, but taking on a career specific degree, like Criminal Justice, can only offer you work in this industry. Perhaps teaching, if you get lucky or have a PhD from a reputable school.

      The career options would either be support personnel to law enforcement, an employee of the court system, or maybe an administrative position in a public/private organization <– best case scenario, of course. Having no prior work experience in the field, I would say it would be a little tough overall.

      If you're interested in working on the front lines of law enforcement, as a law enforcement officer. I would use the education you have (which over-qualifies you when it comes to average academic standards) and get on the force. Then, if you would want to, I would recommend pursuing a Master's or a PhD. You may only have months to act. In some departments or agencies it may be too late. Military Veteran status and/or prior experience may waive this restrictions, but not always.

  • Marcy

    I am still debating whether or not to go for a Master’s at John Jay. Being a police officer no longer interests me but I would still love a government job in the field. I am 27 and have been working as legal assistant since I graduated college. What kind of work can I hope to find with a MA in Criminal Justice and is the salary competitive these days?
    Thank you so much!

    • ken

      I came across your question, and to tell you straight forward and down to the point. Any job you get, regardless you have a bachelor’s, master’s, or juris doctorate (law degree), you WILL have to pay your dues, and work your way up. My personal suggestion, create a profile at, create search agents and get your foot in the door with ANY agency in the federal government and apply apply and apply (remember you working for the same company, the United States), process is lengthy (1 year minimum), so apply A.S.A.P with any agency that is hiring, remember to think outside the box and search nation-wide for more opportunities. Masters in CJ you are eligible for a slightly higher pay than with some1 with a bachelors, but most important, apply A.S.A.P. and start paying your dues and work your way up.

  • Kelsi Walker

    I jotted some colleges down to see which one has a better curriculum and one that In would enjoy going to. I’m thinking about going to University of Flordia or Norwich University. I’m very confused with which one In want to go to. Im a junior in High School but Im already planing my career and looking for colleges online. I’m going for my master’s degree in Criminal Justice. How many years would it take me to complete? Im studying to be a Homicide Detective. I’m highly interested in completing any tasks and solving any kind of problems. I understand that its a very serious job and it takes time but I really appreciate all of the info given. Thanks!

  • Justin

    After reading this and some other posts, I hope to finish my Bachelors degree before I turn 38. I’m currently a federal employee with 10 years in with an equivalent grade of GS 11/12, was wondering if my degree and current federal time would help me switch to one of the federal LE agencies or because of my age I would be out of luck.

  • mandey kate

    I am 25 and have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology. I am looking at Boston University and Florida State University for their master of science in criminal justice. Boston University is about double the cost for tuition. Both of these programs are online and I have spoken to admissions for both programs. I am a little iffy about doing an online program but both have ensured me that I will receive the same graduate degree as on campus students, and future employers will not know that I completed this degree online. Also, both stated that I will be able to walk during their graduation (which is important to me). As far as you’re concerned are these statements true? Is one program better than the other? (BU vs. FSU) Thanks so much for your time and all of your great information.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think both programs are good and the academic institutions are pretty stellar. Florida State University has a nationally ranked Criminology program, where Boston University does not. Personally, I chose BU for it’s great program and even greater brand at a reasonable 18 months for a Master’s. FSU isn’t too shabby in the brand department either.

      I would look at schools like FSU, University of Cincinnati, Penn State University, UC – Irvine, and Michigan State University if you’re looking for the programmatic strengths. All have online programs, great ones! I spotlighted UC Irvine’s criminology program just last month.

      Good luck! Let us know how things go.

  • Kevin

    I have applied to BU’s MCJ program, and am waiting for a reply. If accepted, I am considering taking 2 courses during each 7 week period. Do you think this is manageable?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Depends how self-reliant and disciplined you are. But, I think it’s manageable when you can manage other parts of your life. Speak with Boston University’s adviser to see if that will be a right fit for you.

  • Brandon

    Radek, I have been in Law Enforcement as a police officer and special agent for fourteen years. That said, I am very busy and still travel a lot. At 38 yoa I have been looking at BU, Nebraska-Omaha(not on your list but new program) and BGSU. Just your thoughts on the three especially BU and how manageable it is?


    • Radek M. Gadek

      I am well aware of all the schools and their program offerings (these should be added to the list soon – pending major information update here).

      Out of all of them I would still gravitate towards BU, although their program is not top ranked. I chose BU in part because it’s one of the best schools [overall] in the US. Still, University of Nebraska (Omaha Campus) has a nationally ranked program and is one of the top public schools in the country. My choices worked for me, but you’ll have to weigh your options and try to consider other schools like the ones listed in the Top Criminal Justice Schools in US article I wrote a while back. For example, University of Cincinnati is offering a superbly ranked program in 12 months.

      Boston University’s online offerings were quite manageable for me, but not easy by any means. There will be lot of reading and papers (at any school you choose), so be prepared for that and try to manage your time as best as you can, so you can also get in some shut eye or a few glimpses of fun.

  • Neha

    Which is the best university for study in forensic science?

  • Katie

    I was just accepted into BU for the online master’s in criminal justice program. I just wanted some advice/tips for the program ahead. I’m also hoping I made the right choice. Can you give me any information on the notoriety of the school?


    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think a BU is a wonderful school and for me it exceeded my needs. But you may also want to take a look at Michigan State University, Penn State University, University of Cincinnati, and UC Irvine, to name a few; where all those schools are nationally ranked for CJ/Criminology and Boston University isn’t.

  • Frank

    Monroe College, has one of the best Criminal Justice programs in the United States. Masters, Bachelors, Associate degrees are offered online or on campus. The professor have real world experience, and not just a PHD. Monroe College, Graduated with my B.S.C.J, class of 2011.

  • Ashley

    I am about to graduate with my B.S in Criminal Justice minor psychology. My goal is to get into a career of Forensics. I started off majoring in Forensic Chemistry at a different university about a hour away but things happen to where it was best I moved. Even though I transferred my credits I already obtained were good towards this CJust degree so I decided to pursue it in hopes of starting off somewhere and eventually end up where I want to be. I am unsure what options I have now as I have no interest whatsoever to go into policing. I been told by professors and advisors I can either finish and get a Chemistry degree (the current university Chem program intimidates me) or I could also do a Masters in Forensic Science. I didn’t even think of a grad program so I don’t know where to start. I am in Louisiana and I am tired of moving to different cities. I don’t know any other options I have or where to begin looking. I will be interning at the Crime Lab in my area before graduating so I am hoping that open doors for me. In the meantime, what can I do, where can I search, what do I even search for to find out qualifications in a possible Masters degree in this. What type of jobs can you receive if you get an online degree.

    THANKS for all the help!

  • Saba

    Dear Radek,

    I’m from Switzerland and will finish my bachelor degree in law in 2 years. After that I would like to go to the United States to do a master in criminology and not so much in criminal justice. Which university will have a master focusing more on criminology than on criminal justice?

    Thank you so much for your great website and I can’t wait to read your answer!

    Take Care,


    • Radek M. Gadek

      Check out my “Best Criminal Justice Schools in America” article… that should be a great starting point as many of those schools offer Criminology programs.

  • Len

    I have been speaking with a recruiter from the BU online CJ program and looking at the college’s website. As far as I can tell, the program not only has “brand” value it also has an exciting set of courses and provides an opportunity to communicate with some pretty sharp people. At 5’2″, middle-aged and female, I don’t see taking on first hand the Zeta’s settling into our border areas as a reasonable career path for me. What could I do with a Masters in CJ? The recruiter mentioned research and teaching online, which have some appeal. Forensic psychology, some aspects of victimology, system analysis and implementation, work in the court and prison systems are also interesting–it is an exciting field. Is there any sense in spending the time and money in getting a top line degree in CJ at this stage of the game? I get along with cops, robbers and security folks than I do with academics on the whole.

    By the way, in one google search I turned up New Mexico State University continuing education listed as a top school in the field. Looking at NMSU’s website, I couldn’t find any courses or subjects mentioned; a number of the faculty did not give a hint of where they got their education or experience. I fled.


  • Lee

    Hello! Ive been doing a bit of research on colleges with decent criminal justice degrees. I could not make up my mind of which i wanted to go to but ive narrowed it down to 3 colleges; University of South Florida, Polk State College and St Leo University. Which do you think would be best?

  • Tan

    Radek, I have been a Special Agent for 8 years and am planning on getting my masters degree in criminal justice (for promotion potential with my employer), followed by my doctorate, with the intention of teaching in the field of criminal justice one day. I need both programs to be completely online. First I would like to know what degree you would suggest to be the best fit for this path? MA/MS/MCJ? Is it important to receive your masters at the same school you are planning to apply for your doctorate at? I do not mind spending the money and time to go to a reputable school. Any advice you could offer n which school would be a good fit, would be very much appreciated.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Tan, a MCJ or a Master’s in Criminology are great choices here. As for whether MA or MS, that all depends on what you want to do with the degree. In cases where you do have a choice, I probably would go for the MA (being in your shoes and considering PhD studies).

      I don’t thing it’s THAT important to receive your master’s where you plan to do your doctorate studies, as many universities are adamant that strategy is not necessary. But, I know of cases where great grad students had much easier time of getting into a PhD program based on their grades and relationships they amassed while doing their Master’s. So, it can be a determining factor for some, and I wouldn’t count it out.

      Always try to go to a reputable school with regional accreditation as a must. Also, if you read under the Doctorate/PhD page, you’ll see why I’m not too keen on recommending an online PhD at the moment. BTW there are less than a handful of Criminal Justice doctorate programs that are online.

      Tan, there are many who want to follow in your footsteps and need some tried advice. I hope you’ll come back to the blog and share some insight. Good luck to you.

      • Tan

        Radek, thanks so much for your response. I was very interested in BU but saw that it does not have a Nationally ranked criminology program, which concerns me. I am concerned with spending my time/money on a degree that will not be worth it when it comes to applying to doctorate programs later down the road. Looking at this list – [URL to bull$#!@ list removed by Radek] it would appear that BU is the best choice – however, FSU is listed as #7 and they do have a Nationally ranked criminology program. At this point I have become frustrated by all of the different lists and opinions that may or may not be biased towards one school or another. I need to make a decision and apply but am afraid I will make the wrong decision. Could you please give me a suggestion of your top 3 schools with online masters programs that will be well received later on when applying to doctorate programs in the same field?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Tan, I hate it that in the 21st century we, as the well versed Internet searchers, have to sift through literal pile of manure to find the right school. I have a list of great Criminal Justice / Criminology granting schools, too. BUT, it’s not biased to lead-generation revenue. I update it annually: Best Criminal Justice Colleges and Universities in America (read the entire post and skim the comments).

          That list – which I removed the link to as to not reward the BS content with any web traffic – should chuck half of the schools at the minimum, and add schools like Northeastern University, Penn State, and Arizona State University to that list.

          • Tan

            Radek: Thanks for removing that link, and I appreciate your honesty in answering all of my questions, and mostly taking the time to do so. I will definitely read through that list and comments. I was also hoping for some clarification on a comment you made earlier.. “a MCJ or a Master’s in Criminology are great choices here. As for whether MA or MS, that all depends on what you want to do with the degree. In cases where you do have a choice, I probably would go for the MA (being in your shoes and considering PhD studies)” Do you mean to say that your first choice would be a MCJ then MA, then MS? Would you say it is more important to find the right school and go with the program that they offer or search for a school that offers exactly what you want? Thanks again for your assistance!

            • Radek M. Gadek

              Yup, either a MCJ or MA in Criminology then MS. I know schools have MA in Criminal Justice, MS in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Criminal Justice. I would probably take MS if I was looking into research opportunities within the CJ system.

              I would say a combination of both, THEN the right school, and IF ALL ELSE FAILS, exact program you want. I’m confident of this order, because you can have both if you dig a little bit. Now, if you’re going for a PhD, that order may change: getting exactly what you want may sacrifice that “right school”.

              *To me a right school is a school that I can be proud of attending; offers great academics and the program I want (or at least very close to it); provides best opportunities in terms of career potential and further academic study (like a PhD), is priced fairly, carries brand recognition (not based on TV commercials, but rather based on being an academic powerhouse). I probably have a few more criteria, but I think this sums it up well.

  • Joanna

    Hello Radek, I am graduating from Univ of Phoenix in Nov with a BS in CJ. I am searching for an online university with a non-thesis master’s program in CJ. I also do not want to take an exam but prefer a project instead. Can you recommend a college for me? Also, can you explain the differences between Master of Criminal Justice, MA in CJ, and MS in CJ programs?

    Thank you.

  • Tan

    Radek: I’m back, having done more research and taking a look at the resources you suggested. I reviewed the schools on the list you provided -Best Criminal Justice Colleges and Universities in America.

    I found out the following:

    • Arizona State University – MACJ – GRE Not required
    • Florida State University – MSCJ – GRE required
    • George Mason University – MA Criminology – GRE required
    • Michigan State Univ – MSCJ – GRE not required unless low GPA
    • Northeastern University – MSCJ – GRE required
    • Rutgers, State Univ of NJ (Newark campus) – MACJ – GRE required
    • Sam Houston State Univ – MSCJ – GRE not req unless low GPA
    • Univ. of CA (Irvine campus) – Master of Adv.Studies CJ – GRE req
    • University of Cincinnati – MSCJ – GRE not required
    • University of Florida – MACJ – GRE required
    • University of Illinois (Chicago campus) – MSCJ – GRE required
    • University of Nebraska (Omaha) – MSCJ, GRE not required
    • Univ. of Pennsylvania (Ivy League School) – MSCJ – GRE required
    • American University – No Masters program
    • CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice – Not online
    • Indiana University – Not online
    • Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Not online
    • Temple University – Not online
    • Washington State University – Not online
    • University of Albany – SUNY – Not online
    • University of Delaware – Not online
    • University of Maryland (College Park campus) – Not online
    • University of Missouri (St. Louis campus) – Not online

    I am only interested in online masters programs, so 10/23 were immediately removed from my list of possibilities. Of the remaining 13, only 4 had MA programs, and none of the 13 schools had MCJ programs. I went online again and the only school that I could find that offered the MCJ was Boston University, which I had already taken off of my list of possibilities.. So, what are your thoughts regarding ASU, George Mason, Rutgers, and University of Florida? Thanks again !

    • Radek M. Gadek

      All four schools are great – highly regarded in academia and the workforce. I noticed that you are looking for Master of Arts Criminal Justice programs as opposed to both MA and MS (Master of Science). I would not go JUST on my recommendation here. I hope you have done your own due diligence and finding out the differences between the MA and MS AND all the various programs these schools offer.

      Despite my prior recommendation, the MS is millimeters behind the MA. I chose the MA route because you’re already an established LE Officer, and given your aspirations, it should be easier to look towards the PhD and teaching route.

      The MS still should be on the table as schools like University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern University are true academic power-houses. And, SHSU, MSU, UC Irvine and University of Cincinnati should also be atop the list. BTW, I tried looking for U of Penn’s online offering and I didn’t see a related online offering.

      • Joanna

        To Tan and Radek: With respect to Tan’s list of colleges that do not offer online masters in criminal justice, the link I provided indicates that the following universities do in fact offer online programs:

        University of Maryland – College Park
        University of Albany – SUNY
        University of Missouri at St. Louis
        Penn State University at University Park

        Radek, please advise if the information in the link is accurate.

        Thank you.


        [link deleted by Radek]

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Hey Joanna,

          Thanks for posting. Tan seems to be on target when it comes to the list. Just from a quick review and Google search of the schools I can tell you that University of Maryland (College Park) doesn’t have an online program… it’s University of Maryland (University College). SUNY Albany – a big NO. University of Missouri (St. Louis) a NOPE – they do have a Bachelor’s in Sociology online. Penn State would probably come the closest, but they don’t offer a Criminal Justice or Criminology program at a Master’s level (they do have Public Administration).

          *** I deleted the link because I have myriad websites trying to link to the blog (intentionally, to get traffic). If they provided true and well researched information I would think about a competing website dropping a link on the blog. Saying that, I am not too liberal on linking out to websites that may have one or two good articles, but the whole informational infrastructure sucks and misleads their visitors. I gladly link to local, state, federal and other agencies / organizations and academic institutions… occasionally, a great blog or website.

          • Joanna

            Hi Radek, thank you very much for clarifying that information. I have to wonder why articles are posted with incorrect information! On another note, I am looking for an online college you recommend without having to take the GRE AND a non-thesis program. So much research continues.

            From reading your previous blogs, I get the impression that you are not fond of the University of Phoenix. Ekkks! I am graduating from UOP in November with a BS in CJ. Do you know if any of the recommended colleges will accept me with a degree from UOP? I am afraid of the answer. Lol. I know many people with degrees from UOP who have great well-paying jobs in the public and private sector.

            Thank you for your honesty in advance. ;)


            • Radek M. Gadek

              I am not too fond of most for-profit schools, but I know for a fact that a well-prepared student can get in to some of the best programs granted he or she has killer grades and GPA, writes an awesome letter of intent / personal statement, obtains candid letters of recommendation and goes through the application process. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

              • Joanna

                Thank you for the information. My GPA is 3.7 and I was just accepted into an Alpha Phi Sigma sorority. Hopefully these will help!


          • Joanna

            Radek, one more thing. I checked the colleges on Tan’s list that indicate a GRE is not required. When I went to those college website, they indicated that GRE’s are required. (Sorry, Tan, I’m not trying to discredit your research.) Do you know of ANY criminal justice masters programs that do not require a GRE? After reviewing GRE sample tests and with my test anxiety, I don’t think I could pass a GRE!


            • Radek M. Gadek

              There’s a difference between on-campus and online program requirements. Watch out for campus programs being listed near online programs. Make sure to click through the online Master’s program itself to get the specifics.

              I remember that Michigan State University and University of Cincinnati had no immediate GRE requirement or waived it entirely if you met certain academic achievements, like: high GPA. Look for the big “OR” when seeing GRE requirements. Those will sometimes get ya.

              Just checked really quickly on 4/11/2012:
              Arizona State University – “GRE not required for admission”
              University of Cincinnati – “The GRE is only required if you do not meet one of the academic performance criteria for admissions”
              Michigan State University – “The GRE exam is waived for candidates with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher”

              So, depending on how well you did in your undergraduate studies, a GRE may OR may not be required.

              University of Nebraska (Omaha) and Sam Houston State University seem to want the GRE scores, but perhaps they might also have some way out. Didn’t dig too deep.

              ** To all that are reading: Always make sure to do your OWN research on the college or university website as information may be occasionally changed by the school.

            • Joanna

              I rechecked the college websites for the non-GRE programs on Tan’s list. I apologize but she is correct. However, I did not find a CJ masters program at the University of Nebraska (Omaha) but I could be wrong again! Lol. So between ASU, MSU, Univ of Cincinnati, and SHSU, which one would you recommend? Thanks again!


              • Radek M. Gadek

                University of Nebraska has the Master of Public Administration with the concentration on Criminal Justice (going from memory here).

                As for the schools, you have to pick one yourself, but hopefully after you apply to ALL of them first. To me it’s like picking the right red apple at the Red Apples Only Market. My recommendation, after you get the letters of “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to…”, is to run a PRO and CON list of sorts that should include financial, geographic, school ranking, program ranking and other personal preferences (amongst other criteria you set). Also, a huge thing… make sure that the program itself is what you want as schools may call it “Master’s in Criminal Justice”, but they may offer differing courses and/or differing individual course objectives.

                Good luck and let us know how things go.

              • Joanna

                Hi Radek, thank you for the added information. I will follow yours suggestions. I also need to find out if any of those colleges I mentioned offer non-thesis degrees. By not wanting to take a GRE and not complete a thesis, it sounds like I am trying to take the easy way to gain a degree. I am trying to find the best fit for me because in all honesty I would most likely not be able to graduate from an Ivy League or high level college. However, I still want to choose a reputable, quality college to earn my degree other than Kaplan or Westwood. I think you get the picture.

                With respect to your comment about for-profit schools, what are the downsides to a for-profit school and why are you not fond of them?


              • Radek M. Gadek

                Joanna, you’ll have to do your own digging in regards to the non-thesis vs thesis criminal justice / criminology programs. I might consider devoting a blog post in the future that will focus on listing thesis vs. non-thesis Master’s in Criminal Justice online programs AND GRE vs non-GRE, etc…

                Given what I know now, this is why I would not go to a for-profit college or university

                This is for everyone…

                Back when I didn’t know how to discern between for-profit and not-for-profit colleges and universities, I went to a for-profit school to finish my bachelor’s. When it was time to move onto grad school, the admissions representatives from ALL the universities I applied to said I may have an uphill battle to get accepted. Fortunately, I got into all three schools I applied to – Michigan State University, University of Cincinnati and Boston University. Even though I was fortunate enough to get accepted at 3 out of 3 schools, I always recommend to apply to at least several more. Remember, back when I went to Boston University, and even before I applied, there were no websites easily found on Google that could sufficiently guide, or at the very least, point a person towards at least a half way decent school. But, I digress.

                One of the reasons I would aim higher is due to finances. The amount you pay at most for-profit colleges and universities is best described as astronomical. For that same loot you would spend on one year of schooling at a for-profit you can do two years at a very reputable State University, and online at that. Or, even if you spend around the same amount on a higher-caliber school, why not. Even if prior grades may be a problem I would aim very high and go DOWN the list vs. SETTLING for the first school that accepts you.

                Another huge reasons I wouldn’t choose a for-profit school to obtain my education is due to public and employer perception. Let’s face it, if you were an employer, willing to hire a person only based on their education, would you take a person from “For-profit School X” or someone who went to University of California, Michigan State U, Penn State, Northeastern U or Boston University (all great academic institutions with name recognition and highly regarded programs). I seem to forget myself that the way we dress, walk, talk and even what we drive matters… so, why wouldn’t the caliber of our education matter? Well, it does. We’re still a superficial society, and even though we tend to try hard to be open-minded and avoid such superficiality, we tend to look at the shiny, new, and most of all, best of the best. Thus, taking this into consideration, you want to strive for the best because the rest is just ordinary. And, in these trying times and ever-assertive society, ordinary doesn’t cut it anymore.

                * To ALL readers: before I get lynched for that last paragraph, please take it with a grain of salt. I speak with countless individuals about their experiences – both academically and career-wise – and an overwhelming majority of people that complete their degrees at less than reputable colleges and universities tend to regret it either because they have harder times getting into grad school, or when they look for a NEW career OR for work at a NEW place, they feel that inkling of shame when the person interviewing them glances over and says: “you went to U of For-profit”. And, there are those that are happy with going to a for-profit school. This is usually the case when they stayed with the present employer and they ONLY needed a degree to get promoted… in that case, it’s easy-peasy for most… until, they either quit or have to start looking for a new job (think layoffs or the “I blew up on my boss and was forced to resign” scenario). Then, the tables turn and you were wishing at that moment that you had a reputable college degree to back you.

                But Radek, it’s too late – Even if you went to a for-profit school please strive to better yourself personally and professionally in other ways. Remember that education is only one part of what makes you “YOU.” Having great professional experience or amazing personal experiences can have a very positive effect on your next career interview.

                THE END

              • Joanna

                Radek, that is great feedback. Please do me a huge favor and read the article on the link below and let me know what you think about the comments of UOP. I understand if you have to delete the link but I would like for you to read it. It is a fairly recent article. Thank you!


                [another link removed by Radek]

              • Radek M. Gadek

                I think my prior feedback mirrors the author’s writeup. I just feel my stance is more refined and stems from countless interviews and personal experiences. I feel there’s nothing wrong that one has gone to a for-profit school WHEN their best intention was to better themselves and develop career prospects, AND not having the proper understanding or even the knowledge of the for-profit status of the school. BUT, knowingly doing so and not trying to attain a better source of education doesn’t sit well with me. It’s 2012 and a massive number of quality colleges and universities offer online degrees. Schools ranging from your local community college, to public State University systems, and don’t forget the private academic powerhouses.

                Remember, private doesn’t always equal for-profit. There’s a difference between University of Phoenix and Harvard University, both private schools with two differing missions; both make money, but use it differently. One is for-profit and the other not-for-profit. Both offer online degree programs.

                I think that the lure of a fast-track to a college degree and the opportunity to bypass more stringent application requirements is often the second largest reason why people flock to for-profit schools – right after being misinformed or clueless.

                Joanna, you are presented with facts, hypotheses, and down-right hearsay everyday. Yet, you are able to choose what to do with all that information, and how you choose to compile it in order to make sense of things. Having gone to UOP is something that you should be proud of; you’re more than vested by now. You’ll be graduating soon, so never take that hard-earned education as a mistake in light of my comments or societal perception. But given what you know now, you can make a much more informed decision about your future academic and employment plans. Always aim high and settle for nothing less than you feel you’re worth.

                I leave you with a link to a PBS documentary, which all future and current college students should see, titled: “College, Inc.” –

                This will have to end our telegraphing, as the next thing I’m going to have to do is publish a book I have no intent writing just yet. Let’s just say that the last few days of writing contributed to about half of it ;-)

                I hope my blog has been of some help, but the rest is up to you. You got this whole thing covered anyway, and in light of our conversation, I will be working on a few blog posts to help future and current students with exactly what you — and probably thousands and thousands of people — will go, are going, or have gone through. I am already working on a website just on online colleges and degree programs – a platform that will allow me to reach ALL online students vs. just criminal justice students.

                All the best

                – Radek

              • Joanna

                Radek, I truly appreciate your time and excellent information! If you get a book published, I will buy it – even if I have already earned my degrees! Lol. You have helped me SO MUCH and I now have a much clearer picture. I understand it IS ultimately my decision. I will apply at several grad schools and may even attempt the GRE and thesis options. Another point of view I have about employers hiring people, I leave you with two scenarios. If an employer interviews a person with a degree from Harvard and another person with a degree from U of Phoenix that also has three pages of training and job experience, I would venture to say that most employers would hire the person with the UOP degree, training, and experience of the job they are trying to fill because a company won’t have to spend two years training the UOP person. I know there are companies who recruit graduating college students to train and mold them to their standards but I am not in my 20s and have experience and training to bring to the table.

                I will check on the link you provided. There is no need to reply. Again, thank very much for your time and information! Send me an email when you get your book on the market! ;)



              • Joanna

                One more thing (sorry)….there are many college advertisements even on this blog site such as Capella University, University of Cinncinati, South University, etc. I would never consider choosing Capella yet Univ of Cinn is listing #3 on US News! I don’t get that.


  • Tan

    Radek: Thanks again for your insight, and for correcting me on the U of Penn information. I am going to do some more research in the MA vs MS decision. Maybe I will have something more to post on that as well. I can’t tell you how great it feels to get my list down to 9 (5 MA – 4 MS) possibilities!

  • Tierra

    I just recently separated from the Army in February of this year. I have a Masters in Criminal Justice Administration and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. I just recently took the LSAT to pursue a career as a lawyer. My job in the military was a Health Physics Supervisor. I did that for five years. I just started a family. I love CJ but I’m up in the air about which route to go while I wait to start law school. Any suggestions would help. Thanks

  • Wendell


    Do you have any information regarding the University of South Florida Masters in Criminal Justice Administration program? It is a cohort program geared towards working professionals. It’s not online, but I can attend classes on weekends. However, I am also considering Florida States online Masters program as well. Do you have an opinion as which of these two programs are better?


  • Terry

    I’m currently 50 years of age with about seventeen years of experience in law enforcement and conducting corporate claims investigations. I was a full-time patrol officer within my department, and after eight years of service I took a very lucrative offer to conduct corporate claims investigations which also gave me the opportunity to travel extensively; however, after five very successful years I was involved in a bad auto accident and suffered serious shoulder and cervical spine injuries which has taken five major and four minor surgeries to get me to a stable condition. I decided early on that I was not going to let this stand in my way of returning to work in the criminal justice field although I understood I could never return to patrol duties due to the constant threat of physical contact with criminals, therefore I chose to take online classes in hopes of returning as a detective. I have since obtained an Associate of Arts in Business Administration with concentration in Criminal Justice, and my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Science, and I’ve recently enrolled in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at Walden University because I can’t just roll over and give up by living the remainder of my life as an unemployable disabled person, although I fear that my age will be a big factor in my obtaining a good position within any local, state, or federal law enforcement agency who are willing to employ a 50 year old man into an investigator/detective position within their agency. Please give me some feedback to let me know whether or not I’m totally out of my mind for trying so hard to get my life back on track, because I feel that I can provide 20-25 more good years to the CJ industry, which is what I enjoy doing.


    • Radek Gadek

      Terry, it probably isn’t my place to give you advice, as you have a very extensive experience. So, I won’t. But, I don’t think you’re out of your mind. You know the facts, and that getting back directly into law enforcement would probably not be possible due to the injuries you sustained. What about staying in the private sector? Or, taking on administrative positions in LE, criminal justice sector? College instructor / professor (start online or at a community college. If all the stars align, a proper college or university)?

  • Crescent

    I have investigated online Master’s in CJ degrees and have narrowed it down to Florida State or Univ of Cincinnati. I would like to know if there is a difference in how these are perceived in the academic CJ world, because I intend to go on to a doctorate in CJ. Would one be more impressive to a doctoral program than the other, and why? I know UC is normally ranked higher than FSU, but UC is also flooding the market with hundreds of new CJ Master’s every year. Are either one perceived as diploma mills; is one considered “easy” compared to the other; and is one a better doctoral prep than the other? Thanks for any opinions out there.

  • Laura

    I am a recent graduate with a degree in sociology and a minor in criminology and criminal justice studies. I work as a child advocate, and want to work in victim services; primarily with child victims. I am really interested in getting my masters in victimology but prefer to get it online so I can continue working. Are there any recommendations as to where the best online programs for this are?

  • Alison

    Thank you for your blog.
    Do you know what the best school in Canada are for Criminal Justice and Victimology for a Graduate Program?


    HI Radek,

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, great posts and the information you provide is very insightful! That being said, what is your opinion on Loyola University New Orleans online Master of Criminal Justice Administration Program. I have had very little luck finding a CJ Administration program online and Loyola has been the best I’ve come across is my research. Any views of the program there? Thanks!

    • Radek Gadek

      I don’t know much about the program, but I do know it’s one of the better academic institutions in the South.

  • Dwight Callaway

    I am scheduled to graduate May, 2013 with a B.S. Justice Studies from Fort Hays State University. I have narrowed my graduate school options to Boston University Metropolitan College, Arizona State University, University of Cincinnati, and University of New Haven. All of these programs are 100% online. I have compared all of the programs and really do not know which is the better choice. Now that I have narrowed my choices to four, how do I make my final selection? Do I select a program based on rank and reputation? Do I mark ASU off my list because it is a Master of Arts program? It is very difficult because all of the schools make a great presentation regarding a graduate degree in criminal justice.

    • Radek Gadek

      Hey Dwigth, I know how you feel. All schools have something great to offer. Whether it’s the institutional or programmatic reputation, or both, it is often a very hard task to pick the right school. Ultimately, there’s no exact science here, but I can tell you that you might want to scrutinize the institutional AND programmatic ranking a little closer — although that’s not always the best practice when you have such great contenders. So, it might hinge on which school is going to get you the best bang for your buck or how well would Arizona State be regarded in the New England area or BU in the West? BTW, in both cases I think the schools are very well regarded on the opposite ends of the country.

      I wouldn’t worry about the MA that much, unless all other programs are MS and that you want to have more hands on experience, etc.

      I would create a pro and con list, a price comparison and go with your gut. My gut was telling me to go with Boston University even though I got into University of Cincinnati and Michigan State University. I live in the Midwest, but I certainly know that BU’s reputation as a school carries at least this far ;-)

      Tell us what you decide and how you did it. Good luck.

      • Dwight

        Hi Radek,

        Thank you for your information. I applied to ASU, Univ. of Cinn., Boston University, and University of New Haven and I have been accepted at all of the schools. I believe I have narrowed my choice to ASU and Univ. of Cinn only because Boston University Metropolitan College does not have an official Criminal Justice Department (I was actually really disappointed by this). Needless to say, I am still confused about where to go. I am leaning more towards ASU simply because I am on the west coast and am not sure if anyone out here really has heard of Univ. of Cinn. I wish there were some easy answers, but I am still pulling out my hair trying to make this decision.

        • Radek Gadek

          You’re right. Both schools are great for criminal justice, but it may come down to personal preference — and yes, the location of your school may play a role when looking for work. Hint… Besides just the programmatic strengths, look into overall institutional prowess. Good luck.

Leave a Comment