Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

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Published January 19, 2023

Looking for a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania? 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 Pennsylvania

Earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Looking for the best degrees in Pennsylvania for criminal justice? With a master's degree, graduates can pursue diverse career paths, and by earning a master’s degree, students learn the skills necessary for career advancement.

An individual with a master's degree earns approximately $1,574 per week, which translates to approximately $6,296 a month and $81,848 annually.

Criminal Justice Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Pennsylvania in the Criminal Justice Profession

A criminal justice degree can open the door to a variety of different careers, such as becoming a police officer, a detective, or working in other law enforcement capacities. While the specific courses required for a criminal justice degree may vary depending on the school you attend, there are some common courses that are often required. These include constitutional law, criminal procedure, and criminology. Constitutional law courses focus on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, while criminal procedure courses focus on the procedures and rules followed in the criminal justice system. There are a variety of careers available to those with a criminal justice degree. Along with law enforcement positions, graduates may work in the private sector as security guards or in investigation. Still others may choose to pursue a career in teaching or social work. No matter what career you choose, a criminal justice degree can give you the knowledge and skills you need to be successful.

The average annual wage in Pennsylvania is $44,900, or $21.59 per hour. This is the case for the 5,583,410 workers in the state. Generally speaking, lower-paying earners in the state earn $23,120 annually, while highest-paying incomes earn $99,330. The following provides a comparison of the earnings for detectives and criminal investigators in Pennsylvania.

Key

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

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Pennsylvania and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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In terms of cost of living, Pennsylvania is ranked number 27 among 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). There is a cost of living index that measures the average cost of living in specific states of the U.S. In the U.S., the average is calculated as 100, and all locations are either above (expensive) or below (cheaper). The cost of living index for Pennsylvania is 97.9, which is 2.1% lower than the national average. Below, you can compare the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, etc. in Pennsylvania against the U.S. average.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Detectives and criminal investigators are expected to grow by 2.5% over the next decade. BLS projects an increase in total employment of 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. This position requires a master's degree to qualify. There are a number of typical job titles, including:

  • 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 Pennsylvania

#1 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

  • Slippery Rock, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in criminal justice program, offered by Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, ranks as a top program in the field. The program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in criminal justice. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a criminal justice background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. The common facilities and services offered at most universities, such as the library and gym, are accessible to students who live on campus. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 15

Program Name: Criminal justice master of arts

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,288

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,932

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$11,574
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
8,860
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Temple University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple University offers an online master's in criminal justice. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous program. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes current research in criminal justice. 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 work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Students who attend on campus can access the library and gym, as well as other amenities and facilities available at most institutions. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Temple University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 71%

Total Online Master's Programs: 11

Program Name: Criminal justice MA

Graduate Tuition In State: $16,956

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,346

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,080
Out-of-state
$28,992
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
37,236
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

  • West Chester, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers a flexible online master's in criminal justice. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their master's degree from the program. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to criminal justice. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with prior experience in criminal justice or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their area. Those who attend on campus can enjoy the common amenities and facilities available at most institutions, such as the library and gym. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

West Chester University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 86%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of science in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,288

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,932

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$19,290
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
17,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

Marywood University

  • Scranton, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Marywood University, located in Scranton, offers a flexible online master's in criminal justice. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the program. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in criminal justice. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. The master's program recommends a background in criminal justice before applying.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Students who attend on campus can access the library and gym, as well as other amenities and facilities available at most institutions. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Marywood University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Criminal justice master of science

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,888

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,888

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,178
Out-of-state
$35,178
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
2,613
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Pennsylvania

DeSales University

  • Center Valley, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales University offers an online master's in criminal justice. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous program. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to criminal justice. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants without a background in criminal justice may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. The common facilities and services offered at most universities, such as the library and gym, are accessible to students who live on campus. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

DeSales University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 21

Program Name: Master of arts in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $20,520

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $20,520

Average Tuition
In-state
$38,500
Out-of-state
$38,500
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
3,302
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Financing a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Financial aid helps many students lower the cost of a degree. You can find financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs In addition to federal and private student loans, some students may also be eligible for scholarships. There are some colleges that offer scholarships and financial aid to assist students in their research.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Pennsylvania

The cost of education in Pennsylvania will vary based on the college or university you attend. Both private institutions and public institutions share some similarities. Find out whether attending a public institution is right for you by reviewing the information below.

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

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Pennsylvania
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? The costs of private schools tend to be higher in general, which is to be expected. You will find more information about attending private colleges in Pennsylvania below.

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

Key

Pennsylvania
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 intend to borrow student loans in order to pay for your education? Before taking out a loan, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

The following data will assist you in determining what students tend to borrow on their own.

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 an online degree and a degree completed on campus are the cost and class size. An online degree program offers a number of advantages, including flexibility, affordability, and convenience. On average, on-campus degrees are more expensive because of student fees. The benefits of attending classes, however, are numerous.

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, Masters, Doctorate
New York Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Associate, Bachelors, Masters
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

Public colleges and private colleges differ primarily in terms of their academic prestige and value. First,, there will be a difference in cost depending on whether you choose a public or private school. Typically, the government determines the costs for public institutions, which can be covered by grants and scholarships sponsored by the government. Students at private colleges are often awarded merit scholarships based on their prior academic performance.

Moreover, private colleges have smaller classes, which gives students the opportunity to interact with their professors directly and learn about what can be accomplished in their chosen field. What are some benefits and drawbacks of attending a private college?

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

For detectives and criminal investigators in Pennsylvania, what is the wage?

Detectives and criminal investigators make a mean annual salary of $92,760 in Pennsylvania.

In general, are graduates of criminal justice programs in high demand?

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

Can I study for a master's in criminal Justice online?

There are many opportunities to earn an online master's degree in criminal justice. In the modern education system, at least some online courses are included in most schools' programs.

In order to successfully complete a master's degree, how long does it normally take?

Full-time students normally take two years to complete a master's degree. The completion time varies from student to student.

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