The admissions process for an online criminal justice master’s degree program begins with successful completion of an accredited undergraduate program. Students must major or minor in criminal justice or complete studies in a closely related field. They must be prepared to submit letters of recommendation from professors that taught criminal justice-related classes and provide examples of success throughout their undergraduate program, whether this is was in the form of successfully completed simulation crime investigation projects or well-written essays and reports.
Graduate from an accredited undergraduate program
Accreditation, the standards set to validate the education of a college, is very important when selecting a college to attend for undergraduate studies. Many criminal justice graduate programs will not accept a degree from a university or college that has not been accredited.
Major or minor in criminal justice during undergrad
Many online schools will only accept students into their master’s programs who have either majored or minored in criminal justice during their undergraduate career. However, a degree in a closely related field may be accepted on a case-by-case basis depending on the university. Additional coursework in criminology or criminal justice may be required for those who graduated with a major outside of the field.
Meet minimum master’s GPA requirements
Online colleges and universities generally set a minimum GPA requirement for admission to a master’s degree program. If a student does not meet the requirement when they send in their undergraduate transcript, this can pose a major challenge to getting accepted. Students can attempt to retake general education or criminal justice major courses for better grades before applying to master’s programs if necessary.
Collect criminal justice professional references
Letters of recommendation are important for student to acquire when applying into a master’s program in criminal justice. Most programs will require at least two letters of recommendation in the application packet. Letters should come from professional and applicable sources, such as professors from criminal justice courses or supervisors from corrections, criminology, law enforcement and similar jobs and internships.
Take master’s-level tests
A GRE score is typically required for admission to a master’s program, including for online schools. This graduate-level standardized test is designed to score students on their general knowledge in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. Some criminal justice master’s programs may set minimum test score requirements for applicants.