Students who wish to pursue or advance in careers related to criminology can explore two degree options: an online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice or an online Master of Science in Forensic Psychology. Initial courses for either program typically cover crime, courts and sentencing, corrections, research methods and analysis to prepare graduates for positions that require an educational foundation in criminal justice and strong critical thinking skills. However, the skills acquired throughout the separate programs as well as the potential career paths they can prepare students for vary. Understanding these different outcomes can help aspiring professionals choose which one is best suited to their interests and goals.
The criminal justice system provides the framework within which criminals can be identified, detained, tried for their crimes and punished or rehabilitated. A master’s degree in criminal justice provides graduates with the knowledge and skills to advance their career in this field. Students review the larger context of crime, why it exists and its impact on society, as well as acquire a thorough understanding of the concept of justice and its applications.
“Criminal justice emphasizes the criminal legal system, which includes the criminal courts, law enforcement and policing, and corrections,” according to ASU Online faculty. “A Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program is a good option for students interested in criminological theory, crime trends, policing issues, best practices in investigative techniques, court outcomes, supervision of offenders pre- and post-sentencing, correctional philosophies and practices, as well as probation and parole.”
Such programs are designed to give graduates a comprehensive education in criminology and the operation of the criminal justice system. They may also include training in research methods and statistics, program planning and management, policy analysis and program evaluation.