Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

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Published January 19, 2023

Looking for a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Illinois? You should consider these top-tier graduate programs and jobs in the Criminal Justice field.

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Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

Earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Illinois

The best degree in Illinois for criminal justice can help you advance your career to the next level. Master's degree-holders can pursue diverse careers. Master's graduates possess the skills needed to move forward in their fields.

Master's degree-holders earn approximately $1,574 per week, or about $6,296 per month and $81,848 per year. Those who graduate from a master’s program are more likely to be employed than those who hold a high school diploma.

Criminal Justice Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Illinois in the Criminal Justice Profession

Criminal justice is a multifaceted field that focuses on different facets of criminal activity, including the prevention and detection of crime, the arrest and prosecution of criminals, the supervision of criminal offenders, and the administration of justice. It includes working with police officers, judges, and attorneys to investigate crimes, as well as law enforcement agents who investigate crimes committed on federal land.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all occupations in Illinois is $46,630, or $22.42 per hour. This holds true for the state's 5,618,830 employees. The BLS projects the state's lowest earners make $24,470 a year, and the highest earners bring in about $103,490. The following page shows the typical earnings for detectives and criminal investigators in Illinois.

Key

Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Illinois
Detectives and Criminal Investigators Nationally
All Occupations in Illinois
All Occupations Nationally

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Illinois and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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MERIC's cost of living index ranks Illinois number 13 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). The cost of living index measures the average cost of living in the United States against specific states. As a whole, the U.S. average is set at 100, and every location in the U.S. has either a cost above (more expensive) or below (cheaper) the U.S. average. Illinois' cost of living is 91.4, which is -8.6% lower than the national average. See below for a comparison of grocery prices, housing costs, utilities, and other items in Illinois and those in the United States.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Over the next decade, jobs for detectives and criminal investigators are projected to grow by 2.5%. The BLS projects that the occupation's total employment will change from 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. Master's degrees may be required for some positions. There are some common job titles that include:

  • Detectives and criminal investigators
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Deputy United States Marshal
  • FBI Investigator
  • Homicide Detective
  • Narcotics Detective
  • Narcotics Investigator
  • Police Detective

Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

#1 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

University of Illinois Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online degree can enroll in the master's in criminology, law, and justice program at University of Illinois Chicago. The rigorous curriculum prepares enrollees for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives in criminal justice. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The admission requirements include a background in or a related field.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Campus students can access the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

University of Illinois Chicago at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 73%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: MA in criminology, law, and justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,799

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,714

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,105
Out-of-state
$26,726
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
33,518
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

Illinois State University

  • Normal, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Illinois State University, located in Normal, offers a flexible online master's in criminal justice sciences. The rigorous curriculum prepares enrollees for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can also help graduates pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants without a criminal justice background may need to complete prerequisites.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. The common facilities and services offered at most universities, such as the library or gym, are accessible to students who live on campus. Degree-seekers also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Illinois State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: Data not available

Program Name: Master's in criminal justice sciences

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,892

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,504

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,741
Out-of-state
$19,904
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
20,720
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

Aurora University

  • Aurora, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in criminal justice degree at Aurora University, located in Aurora, offers high academic quality. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training students for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. Earning a master's degree helps graduates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in criminal justice. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in criminal justice.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Those who attend on campus can enjoy the common amenities and facilities available at most institutions, such as the library or gym. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Aurora University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 84%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: Master's in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,200

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,600
Out-of-state
$25,600
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
6,265
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

Governors State University

  • University Park, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online degree can enroll in the master of arts in criminal justice program at Governors State University, located in University Park. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training students for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help graduates pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in criminal justice or a related field.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The common facilities and services offered at most universities, such as the library or gym, are accessible to degree-seekers who live on campus. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Governors State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 48%

Total Online Master's Programs: 1

Program Name: Master of arts in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,354

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,708

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,512
Out-of-state
$15,024
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
4,650
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Illinois

Loyola University Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Chicago, Loyola University Chicago offers an online master's in criminal justice and criminology. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing learners for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, graduates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The curriculum emphasizes current research in criminal justice. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The admission requirements include a background in criminal justice or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Campus students can access the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. Graduate students can expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Loyola University Chicago at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 71%

Total Online Master's Programs: Data not available

Program Name: Master's in criminal justice and criminology

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,594

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,594

Average Tuition
In-state
$45,500
Out-of-state
$45,500
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
16,893
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Financing a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Financial aid like scholarships, grants, fellowships, or work-study programs can help you pay for your degree. Some students may qualify for federal and private student loans. If you are considering attending a college, you may also have access to the school's scholarship. Research your prospective schools' financial aid options.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Illinois

In Illinois, college costs vary by institution. Both private and public institutions share some similarities. The information provided below can help you decide whether attending a public institution is right for you.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Illinois vs. National Average

Key

Illinois
National Average

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The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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How about attending a private college or university instead of a public one? Generally, private schools charge higher tuition rates. The following graph provides information regarding attending private colleges in Illinois.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Illinois vs. National Average

Key

Illinois
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Do you plan to borrow student loans to finance your education? You should keep in mind some important factors before committing to a loan.

You can find out what students typically borrow by reviewing the following data.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
Among the main differences between online and on-campus programs include the cost and size of the class. Among the advantages of an online program, flexibility, affordability, and convenience are all important. The fee structure for on-campus degrees is generally higher than for distance education due to the presence of student fees. Attending classes does, however, have its advantages.

Top Criminal Justice Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Florida Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Illinois Associate, Bachelors, Doctorate
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

Public and private colleges differ in some important ways. For example, private schools tend to charge more than public schools. There are often grants and scholarships that provide students with financial aid to help them pay for their degree. A private college often awards merit scholarships based on the student's previous academic performance.

Private colleges also tend to feature smaller classes, which means more one-on-one time for students to connect with their professors and see what’s possible in their chosen field. The following are some of the pros and cons associated with attending a public institution as opposed to a private one.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

In Illinois, what is the salary for detectives and criminal investigators?

The mean annual salary for detectives and criminal investigators in Illinois is $96,300 per year.

In today's environment, are criminal justice graduates in demand?

The total number of detectives and criminal investigators is projected to change 2.5% from 2020 to 2030.

Can I earn a master's in criminal justice online?

It is possible to earn an online master's degree in criminal justice. Most schools offer at least some courses online in today's climate.

How many years will you spend earning a master's degree?

A full-time student typically takes two years to complete a master's degree. Part-time students take longer.

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