Why a Masters in Law Enforcement Degree + Online Option

How to Choose a Masters in Law Enforcement + Online Option

This article provides an overview of the masters in law enforcement degree program, some of the subjects and courses that the degree covers, and why earning this degree could significantly advance your career. It also highlights a high-quality online masters in law enforcement program that you may want to consider.

What Is a Masters in Law Enforcement?

If you wish to pursue graduate studies in law enforcement, you may want to consider criminal justice programs, with an emphasis on law enforcement. During this program, you will study the practical, theoretical, sociological, and conceptual elements of law enforcement and crime. Usually, you will cover courses in areas of criminal justice behavior, juvenile justice, corrections, social control, criminology, and more. Certain schools will also require you to complete a thesis.

Generally, a masters in law enforcement takes around two years to finish, and numerous schools offer them fully online. Different schools have different admission criteria, but they usually include a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to criminal justice. Some also require a certain amount of professional experience before accepting an applicant.

The most common core courses of this type of degree are:

  • Current Legal Issues in Law Enforcement
  • Administration of Criminal Justice
  • Management Principles in Criminal Justice
  • Advanced Criminology Theory
  • History and Philosophy of Justice

Why Earn a Masters in Law Enforcement?

One of the reasons why you may want to earn a masters in law enforcement is because you could continue your education at the doctorate degree level. Furthermore, you can complete advanced training and professional development in specific law enforcement areas through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Upon graduation, you will be recognized as an expert in the field of law enforcement, which opens a wealth of career options for you.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that can expect to earn $61,600 per year as of May 2016. However, those with a graduate degree or above are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $102,750 per year or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be a 4% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than the national average and will translate into some 33,100 new jobs.

Online Option for Masters in Law Enforcement

Colorado State University

If you are interested in getting a masters in law enforcement, you may want to consider the Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration program offered by Colorado State University (CSU). This degree is designed for those who already have foundational knowledge in the criminal justice system, equipping them with the tools and knowledge required to advance the field as a whole.

The program asks students to evaluate the role of an effective and efficient criminal justice manager, examine issues of diversity, untangle the ethical problems that law enforcement organizations and agencies face, and create solutions that are appropriate to address the common criminal justice and law-related problems.

During the program, students are provided with an advanced understanding of best practices and theory of individuals who take on criminal justice, law enforcement, or fraud management positions. Important issues, such as the impact of crime in society, decision making, and ethics are also addressed. Graduates can enter the workforce as leaders in their field, or they can advance towards doctoral studies. The school does note that the program does not meet the licensure requirements for police officers or law enforcement officers in Minnesota.

Graduates are respected for their ability to:

  • View crime and its control measures from a global spectrum and a variety of theoretical perspectives.
  • Read and identify new research studies in scientific and academic sources, understanding their analytical, data collection, and design methods.
  • Synthesize and assess policy analysis and policy recommendations through scientific research and evaluation.
  • Discuss the impact, strategies, and roles of effective management and leadership.
  • Understand how the community plays a role in preventing crime, and also the impact of the “revolving door” effect, aiming to work with the community to help prevent this.
  • Understand the ethics involved in criminal justice and how to make ethical judgments in this field.
  • Understand modern developments in occupational and high-tech crime, specifically in terms of prevention, prosecution, investigation, detection, and cause.

CSU is highly respected for its faculty. All instructors are fully qualified and have relevant experience within the industry itself. They are advanced degree holders, as well as being trained to be online educators. This means that students are encouraged to think critically on real-world situations and how the subject matter applies to those.

The degree program has been developed to provide both practical and theoretical knowledge that is applicable to the field. It takes 36 credits to complete the degree, although some may need to take an additional three credits if they have a GPA of 3.0 or lower. The core courses are:

  • Fundamentals of Research and Writing
  • Criminological Theory
  • Ethics, Justice, and Social Control
  • Criminal Justice Policy Development and Analysis
  • Restorative Justice: A Social Movement
  • Administration and Management of Criminal Justice Organizations
  • Applied Research for Criminal Justice Professionals
  • Analytical Methods
  • A Capstone Experience in Criminal Justice
  • An Internship in Criminal Justice

If you want to be successful in the field of law enforcement and criminal justice administration, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the functioning of the criminal justice organizations, which issues these organizations face, and how its people should be managed. Furthermore, you must understand how to develop policies and programs that strongly involve the community and encourage participation and collaboration. This is precisely what a master’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement degree can deliver. Some of the common career options taken on by degree holders include:

  • Private detective
  • Forensic investigator
  • Financial investigator
  • Loss prevention agent
  • Detective sergeant
  • Legal investigator
  • Magistrate or judge
  • Detective
  • Special agent
  • Master police detective
  • Investigator
  • Narcotics detective


As you can see, by earning a masters in law enforcement, you will be able to significantly advance your career within the field of criminal justice. You will be in a position to make a meaningful difference to the country as a whole, rendering communities safer and a better place to live in. You will have the management and leadership skills to drive community participation forward, something to take a great deal of professional and personal pride in.


Police and Detectives. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm

Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://csuglobal.edu/graduate/masters-degrees/criminal-justice-and-law-enforcement-administration

United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/index.shtml

The United States Secret Service. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.secretservice.gov

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov