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Guide to Master’s Degrees in Law & Criminal Justice

Social trends greatly affect the fields of law and criminal justice, for instance: economic downturns, aging population, increasing migration and others. What remains constant however is the undying demand for law and criminal justice professionals who need to spell out and enforce laws, make contributions to the system of justice by carrying out research, and policy making and finally guarantee equal access to law enforcement agencies. Most entry-level career opportunities in criminal justice do not dictate for an advanced degree however for law practice it is more of a requirement. If you wish to get into higher level positions in criminal justice careers – as a manager or administrator – an online or traditional master’s degree would be perfect. An advanced degree in criminal justice is befitting if you:

  • ” Require a criminal justice degree to secure a position in criminal justice professions.
  • ” Desire to enter into an advanced position in a particular criminal justice field.
  • ” Are a criminal justice professional wishing to develop a specialty, teach or just become well versed in the field.

Stereotypically, detectives, policemen, federal agents and many other criminal justice workers employ the “tough guy” image. By undertaking a master’s degree in criminal justice the professionals get to learn critical interpersonal communication skills as well as sensitivity to other people’s cultures which are vital in effectively carrying out their functions.

Master’s Degrees in Law and Criminal Justice are very varied; embarking on a particular one depends greatly on career goals and personal interests. Here is an overview of highly pursued master’s degree in this discipline:

Juris Doctor (JD)

Technically speaking, this is a professional PhD. Juris Doctor is the basic degree which allows scholars to practice in the US. Core classed of the JD include: constitutional law, civil procedure, contracts and sales, legal analysis, torts, property and criminal law. Virtually all lawyers specialize in order to streamline their careers. Specializations may include:

  • Patent law
  • Intellectual property law
  • Health care law
  • First amendment law
  • Environmental law
  • Criminal law
  • Constitutional law
  • Business law
  • Admiralty law

Experts have announced that although the trend is geared towards specialization, mainstream practitioners are highly marketable especially in the rural areas. By offering “one-stop shop” for legal services, these lawyers retain clients for repeat business should other legal services be required. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) approximates that about 26 percent of lawyers are self employed having the remaining percentage holding positions in law firms, the government, non-profit organizations or corporations. Robert Denney, a legal consultant when asked to comment on which specialization is the hottest exposed: estate planning and administration, elder law, divorce and family law, criminal law and immigration law.

Master of Laws (LLM)

This is a postgraduate degree that is internationally recognized and of higher standing than the Juris Doctor. Its programs vary to a great extent; some being research based which require students to submit a thesis on completion while others only require coursework in a specific law field. Since LLM programs build upon what graduates of JD have been taught, they are available on part-time basis to cater for professionals already in the legal sector to advance their JD. People wishing to work in a multi-national legal environment or practice law internationally should consider LLM degrees. Most law firms take on LLM candidates over JD ones as it indicates mastery in a particular field.

Master of Science in Law (MSL) and Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

These two degrees are pursued by individuals that do not intend to practice law. Such students take this path to have a deeper and clearer understanding of the United States legal system. Possessing such expertise equips professionals with skills to avoid litigation, work accordingly with counsel as well as have confidence in the legal framework in which they carry out their work. People with a good working knowledge of the law and its effects on business and the day-to-day activities in the work environment are highly sought after. MLS and MSL degrees are particularly well suited for those wishing to increase their job skills and expertise. Those degree programs are recommended for the following professionals: program directors, human resource workers, managers, advocates, policy-makers and health professionals.

Master of Science (MSc) in Criminal Justice and Master of Arts (MA) in Criminal Justice

In your search for online or traditional master’s degree program search in criminal justice, you will come across both Master of Science and Master of Arts programs. Ideally, there’s very difference between the two but major schools which focus on criminology and forensics curricula have it under Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Specializations in the criminal justice master’s degree program include:

  • Policing
  • Leadership and executive management
  • Law
  • Justice administration
  • Homeland security
  • Global issues
  • Forensics
  • Criminology
  • Criminal justice business administration
  • Crime analysis
  • Corrections

Possessing an MS or MA in Criminal Justice, you are equipped to join the task force as a:

  • Warden
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Private investigator
  • Police
  • Penologist
  • Law librarian
  • FBI agent
  • Facilities manager
  • Detective
  • Criminologist
  • Criminal investigator
  • Corrections administrator
  • Coroner
  • Contracts administrator

Earn a Master’s Degree Online or On Campus

An online master’s degree is a perfect way to advance your current credentials and career if you are already in the profession. It is ideal for people who are only available to work part time since it allows them flexibility to attend classes within their own schedule. Another option may be enrolling in a traditional campus or university if you wish to do a research-oriented doctorate or have aspirations to work in the academic field. Before getting to decide whether an online college is ideal for you or not, use the resources available on this website to get insight about various degree programs, their marketability and requirements for qualification among other.

Master’s Degree in Law and Criminal Justice: Moving to Your Next Career

With an ever aging population, complexities developing in virtually all business endeavors, and a USA struggling to safeguard every citizen’s security; highly skilled professionals with law and criminal justice credentials won’t lack a career to hold on to. Embark on your master’s degree program in criminal justice and law in order to get into your dream career while getting to serve your country and fellow citizens.