There are more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States.
And because, as some of our favorite TV heroes like to remind us, “crime never sleeps,” these private and government law enforcements agencies are always looking to hire well-trained professionals to help keep people safe.
What Is Law Enforcement?
Law Enforcement involves professions that carry out laws at a local, state, and federal level. Police officers engage in preventive and responsive activities to crime. Corrections and judicial officers decide and carry out punishments for crimes.
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How Much Money Can I Earn Working in Law Enforcement?
Working in Law Enforcement does a lot for the public good, but it can also pay well. Police officers and detectives earn a median salary of more than $62,000 per year, which is above the national average. More than 800,000 officers are already employed in the United States, and more than 53,000 new officers are expected to become employed in the coming decade.
Why Choose An Online Master’s in Law Enforcement?
Fighting crime involves a number of different complex skills, but one of the most important is leadership. Master’s programs in law enforcement not only teach professionals about crime and crime-prevention, but also gives them the skills they need to be effective leaders of their fellow officers.
Many officers do not wish to quit their jobs while pursuing their graduate degree. An online degree program allows them to continue with their important work, while also taking the next step forward in their career.
If you’re considering other career but know you want an online education, check out College Choice’s list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
What Are the Best Online Master’s in Law Enforcement?
College Choice considers several factors including institutional merit, student fulfillment, and return on investment to develop rankings.
Institutional merit combines metrics such as student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates and endowment to measure each school’s ability to provide excellent and cost-effective education for each student. Student fulfillment measures how fulfilled current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the fiscal benefits students are likely to receive from each school’s education, weighted against the costs of attendance, namely tuition and student loans.
In the end, we believe these schools offer the 5 Best Online Master’s in Law Enforcement.
See our rankings methodology page.
Georgetown University is a private university located in Washington, DC. Georgetown was founded in 1789 as Georgetown College by a group of former Jesuits. Georgetown is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, but it is a non-pontifical university. Their endowment is more than $1.6 billion and they have a student population of 17,000, including more than 10,000 postgraduates.
Georgetown University has a Masters of Professional Studies in Applied Intelligence. It is a 33-credit program, which is composed of core, foundation, and elective courses. These courses include:
- Introduction to Applied Intelligence
- Psychology of Applied Intelligence
- Applied Intelligence Communications
- Understanding Intelligence Collection
This program is available in both on-campus and online formats. Students may enroll full-time or part-time. Based on enrollment status, students complete the program in between two to five years. Entry into the program is available during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
The program offers focus areas of study, which include Homeland Security Intelligence and Cyber Intelligence. There are also available focuses in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Business Intelligence. Students complete the program with a capstone course, which brings together all of the different skills that they have learned throughout the program.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado State University-Fort Collins is a public research university located in Fort Collins, CO. This school is considered to be the flagship university in the state school system of Colorado. There are currently around 33,000 enrolled at Colorado State, including around 8,000 postgraduate students.
Colorado State offers an online Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. Students in the program learn how to assess research, discuss leadership and management techniques, and appreciate professional ethics for criminal justice organizations and professionals. Students choose a specialization to add onto their degree, choosing from options including:
- Information Technology
- Business Intelligence
- Fraud Management
- Project Management
Students will also learn how to engage local communities in law enforcement efforts, to make their approach to law enforcement more holistic. Colorado State has a locked-in tuition guarantee, which helps to emphasize their affordable tuition rates. There are no set class times or locations, as class lectures and work are available 24/7 through the school’s online learning service.
The University of San Diego is a private university located in San Diego, CA. USD has an affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church. It was founded in 1952 as the San Diego College for Women. The school has since expanded to offer more than 60 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Around 6,000 students attend the school and are divided between six schools and colleges.
The University of San Diego offers an online Master of Science degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership. The program takes five semesters to complete, with a specific focus on leadership in law enforcement. Courses in the program include:
- Organizational Leadership
- Community Assessment: Crime and Criminal Justice
- Organizational Theory and Change
- Conflict Resolution and Decision Making
The curriculum was developed in collaboration with a number of law enforcement associations to go far beyond the traditional criminal justice education.
The program has a number of uniquely experienced faculty members from the field of law enforcement. These professionals turned professors have served roles including police chief, district attorney, and Marines Corps Lieutenant Colonel. These experiences help strengthen the leadership focus of San Diego’s program.
The University of Cincinnati is a public university located in Cincinnati, OH. Cincinnati is the second largest university in the state of Ohio. They have more than 44,000 students, including around 33,000 undergraduates. The school has around 6,600 academic staff members and an endowment of over $1.1 billion.
The University of Cincinnati offers an online Master’s in Criminal Justice. The program can be completed in as little as one year. Most students choose to finish the degree in two years, over the course of six 15-week long semesters. Students have the option of choosing from a number of concentrations:
- General Track (No Concentration)
- Analysis of Criminal Behavior
- Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention
- Corrections & Offender Rehabilitation
Each of these programs and concentrations includes a series of five core courses (15 credits) and six elective courses (18 credits).
Elective courses vary by concentration. Criminal Behavior offers courses such as Seminar in Juvenile Justice and Computer Criminology: Cybercrime and Digital Security. Crime Prevention includes the courses: Applied Crime Prevention and Seminar on Police Effectiveness. Offender Rehabilitation offers Seminar in Correctional Rehabilitation and Seminar in Community Corrections.
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Joseph’s University is a private Roman Catholic Jesuit university located in Philadelphia, PA. Saint Joseph’s was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, and is the seventh oldest Jesuit University in the United States. They offer more than 60 undergraduate majors, 53 graduate programs, 12 special-study programs, and a co-op program. In 2001, the school added the Maguire Campus, which added a number of new buildings and large amount of new land to the university.
Saint Joseph’s University offers a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, with a concentration in Federal Law Enforcement. It is a 30-credit program, which requires completion of core and elective courses. Certain elective courses are required for specified concentrations. Classes for the Federal Law Enforcement concentration include:
- Federal Criminal Justice
- Federal Criminal Law and Prosecution
- Terrorism: Threats and Strategy
- White Collar Crime
Students may also choose to pursue a general concentration, which involves taking a wide array of classes in Criminal Justice.
There are four concentrations offered other than Federal Law Enforcement: Behavior Analysis, Behavior Management, Homeland Security, and Intelligence and Crime Analysis. Students in the behavior analysis concentration must meet internship requirements outside of the online program.