Monday 22 November 2021

How to Select the Right MSCJ Program for You

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Unlike before when someone can only bag an original criminal justice master’s degree, now we have several options when it comes to MSCJ programs. Most universities now know that people have different career goals and ambitions.

Hence, they are open to catering to these needs by introducing several options for those who need a master’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement. Therefore, as a student evaluating these alternatives, you need to consider the specialization which interests you the most.

Some specializations which are open to you and which you should consider include: criminal justice, criminology, public administration, and so on.

In this read, we will be discussing 3 important MSCJ programs to help you decide which is best for you.

1. Criminal Justice

This focuses on statistics, criminology, project management, and research methods. The program typically emphasizes theory and criminology research.

Some of the core courses you would do in this program include:

  •         Research methods
  •         Crime causation and prevention

Historically, this path has been known to be taken by those who wish to be in command positions. However, in the last 2 decades, the curricula haven’t changed much. Yet, in the present day’s law enforcement environment, management and leadership skills are highly demanded.

But, a person with a criminal justice master’s degree that commonly teaches theories and research as opposed to practical skills often doesn’t have the skills law enforcement leader needs.

Therefore, this program is best for people who wish to simply make criminal justice research and probably go ahead to get a Ph.D.

2. Law Enforcement Leadership

This is a more recent development that stems from the demand for law enforcement leaders who aren’t just competent but strategic. Holders of this degree are equipped with skills to help them deal with today’s law enforcement issues.

One of these issues is how the technology is now used by both law enforcement and criminals. You can read this to learn more about how technology is used in criminal justice agencies.

This program focuses on practical skills as opposed to theories. Skills which you would learn under this program include conflict resolution, communication, budgeting, staffing, management, and other important skills.

With this program, you can work in federal, state, and local agencies. You can hold command positions in these agencies. It is also an appealing program for those getting close to retirement and need a professional and practical program that would support their goals post-retirement.

3. Public Administration

This degree typically prepares law enforcement experts for managerial positions in sheriff’s or police departments, firehouses, and non-profit or governmental organizations.

This has a broader view of the field since it focuses on general public safety rather than sticking to only the field of law enforcement. Its main focus is developing students with the skills needed to manage any department. The skills they are taught include administration, HR, development, and training.

Some of the core courses you would do in this program include:

·        HR management

·        Multicultural Diversity

·        Public Safety Management and Administration

·        Civil Liability and Public Safety

With this degree, you could work in a university campus, emergency management, federal agencies, and environmental protection. You can visit to find out more career paths open to you as an MSJC holder.

Also, as we have said, the scope of this program is quite broad; therefore, you can use it to apply for several positions within the aspects mentioned. You can hold any position ranging from air marshal to a policy analyst, and so on.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Pick a Program

When you are considering a program for your MSCJ, several questions will come to mind. Below are some of the questions you need to dwell on and get an accurate answer before you make your selection:

·        Which course will position me for a promotion in my field?

·        Will this degree help me to earn more in my agency or department?

·        How long will it take to get the degree I am considering?

·        Will I comfortably fit the degree’s schedule into my already busy schedule?

·        What is the curriculum for the course I am considering?

Other Factors to Consider

Regardless of the course you pick, there are some factors that you need to prioritize as you evaluate your options. Some of these factors include:

·        The Coursework: Ensure it is applied and practical and not theoretical or abstract.

·        Tuition Discounts: These are offered to those who are currently working as law enforcement experts, those on active military duty, and veterans.

·        Class Scheduling: Ensure the class scheduling is as flexible as possible so that you can comfortably complete the coursework without it interfering with family or work obligations.

·        Ensure the faculty is made up of experienced experts in the field instead of academic professors.


We believe this article has been informative and you now know the options available to you in this field.


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