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Top Universities to Get a Masters Degree in Criminology

by Elise Freeman, studioD

The field of criminology is growing, as evidenced by the increase in demand for this occupation. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent increase in the need for private and corporate criminology investigators from 2008 until 2018. Law enforcement staff, officials, and investigators will experience an increase in demand from 5 percent to 17 percent between the same time frame.

University of Maryland, College Park

The University of Maryland, College Park ranks number one in the "U.S. News & World Report's" best graduate schools for criminology. The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a traditional master's degree that emphasizes both research and coursework. Students receive a solid foundation in criminological theory, research methods, and statistical methodologies. Throughout the process, students experience each stage of investigation from problem identification, to designing the research, generating results and drawing conclusions about the data.

University at Albany, SUNY

The graduate criminology program at the University at Albany, SUNY is ranked second by "U.S. News & World Report." The School of Criminal Justice offers a Master of Arts in criminal justice information technology. This degree focuses on criminology and the collection, protection, storage, manipulation, and interpretation of data. This program stands out because of its partnership with the New York Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Japanese National Police.

University of Cincinnati

The criminal justice program at the University of Cincinnati is ranked third by "U.S. News & World Report" for graduate programs in criminology, and ranked first for research productivity. Students attending this graduate program benefit from activities through the Center for Criminal Justice Research, the Corrections Institute, and the Policing Institute. Graduate students have the opportunity to experiment and conduct their own research projects. Coursework includes general criminology along with policing and crime prevention.

University of California, Irvine

This program is ranked an impressive fifth by "U.S. News & World Report," and it is the highest ranked school for criminology on the west coast. It is uniquely housed in the interdisciplinary Department of Criminology, Law and Society, meaning that the two complementary areas of criminology and law and society are integrated into socio-legal studies. This master's degree is offered online, which makes it a viable option for working professionals looking to advance or change their career. Many of the graduates have landed jobs in the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and local police forces.

About the Author

Elise Freeman has been a writer and researcher for eight years. Freeman's research in psychology has been publicized on the Huffington Post, "USA Today," NPR, and "The Washington Post." She has also worked with The New York Times Bestsellers and some of the leading researchers in the nation. Freeman's specialties include science, education, travel and more.

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