Master's Degrees for Criminology Careers

While a master's degree isn't usually necessary for most entry-level positions in a criminology career, for anyone hoping to move up the career ladder into supervisory or managerial positions, a master's degree is often a requirement.

One of the nice aspects of this is that, quite often, it can be up to the individual as to what kind of master's degree to get. This isn't always the case; in many instances, the degree will have to be in social work, or criminal justice, or forensics, or something else that's closely tied to criminology. Often, though, criminologist professionals are allowed to pursue a master's degree in psychology, management, organizational leadership, or other such majors. In either case, it will be made clear by the agency what the rules and expectations are.

In order to qualify for a master's degree program in criminology (or any discipline), a person first needs to possess a bachelor's degree and formally apply for admission to a master's program. Master's programs are typically much more selective than undergraduate degree programs, so it's best to spend as much time on the application and letters of recommendation as possible in order to maximize the chances of admission.

For many people, it's probably best to work for a few more years before applying, so they'll have more experience. A master's degree usually takes two to three years to complete, but this is a general range. Depending on the person and the program, a master's degree can be completed in a little over a year or take as long as five or six years. The vast majority of people, however, take two to three years. Once in possession of a master's degree, a person is eligible for promotions and big pay raises. If these aren't forthcoming, the degree gives people the leverage they need to pursue higher, better paying positions with other agencies. Having a master's degree is a real asset in criminology careers.

Last Updated: 06/03/2014

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