a criminal justice textbook

Is a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Worth It?

Dave Maloney, Assistant Professor, Colorado Christian University

The criminal justice system is a complex system, consisting of many inter-related, sub-disciplines that work in unison to keep our societies safe. Law enforcement, which includes over 670,000 police officers across the US, is a major part of that system. Sometimes it appears the public has a love-hate relationship with law enforcement; however, like the military, it is an institution that will never go away. Thus, leadership within the criminal justice system has never been more important than it is today.

When a crisis arises, the first place our country turns to is law enforcement.

We look to them for guidance, direction, and physical security. Whether it's taking the lead or supporting other agencies, law enforcement will always be involved in crisis management to some degree. Simply put, it is a vital and necessary function in any society. According to the famous American Psychologist Abraham Maslow, "Safety and Security are two of our most basic needs." Law enforcement assists in satisfying those needs. Therefore, by default, the leadership of the agencies that comprise the criminal justice system is paramount and equally as vital. We've seen it too many times. The criminal justice system has a far too important function for us to let it fail, especially due to poor leadership. Instead, it must be managed and led effectively, professionally, and with competence.

A fully functioning and efficient criminal justice system begins with education.

Undergraduate degree programs in criminal justice offer a broad-based learning objective, in a wide range of disciplines within the criminal justice system. They create a sound knowledge base and serve as a foundation for many careers in criminal justice. A master's degree in criminal justice, however, hones its focus on management, leadership, and strategic planning inside criminal justice organizations, specifically within law enforcement agencies.

Criminal justice organizations have a unique set of challenges and limitations.

This is due, in part, to full accountability to the public for which it serves, and its para-military structure. CCU Online has designed its Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program to meet those challenges. The program's primary emphasis is the leadership and management of our modern-day criminal justice system. Students who complete CCU Online's Master of Science in Criminal Justice program will have been immersed in leadership theory, styles, and practical application. A master's degree in criminal justice can benefit any level of management and those who seek to enter leadership roles. Is a master's degree in criminal justice worth it? Absolutely, with a resounding yes.


Colorado Christian University does not guarantee any job placement as a result of earning this or any other degrees offered by the university.

Find out what options you have for continuing your education and learning more about a future career in criminal justice.

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