Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice in Virginia

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Published January 19, 2023

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

Earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in Virginia

Comparing top-tier programs is an important next step when considering the best degrees in Virginia for criminal justice. Graduates of a master's program may be able to pursue diverse career paths, and it is imperative that master's degree candidates consider all educational options.

The average income of an individual with a master’s degree is about $1,574 per week. The unemployment rate for high school graduates is 6.2%, while the rate for master's degree-holders is 2.6%.

Criminal Justice Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Virginia in the Criminal Justice Profession

Criminal justice is a popular degree field due to its flexible curriculum. Criminal justice majors study a wide-range of topics that aim to help individuals better understand the law enforcement systems in their community and country. Students who earn a degree in criminal justice can work for police departments or for private agencies, where they will likely work on specialized teams to solve crime.

The average salary in Virginia is $47,200 a year, or $22.69 an hour. This statistic includes all 3,753,230 employees in Virginia. Typically, the lower 10% of earners in the state earn about $23,190 per year, whereas the top 10% earn approximately $125,820 per year. The following page shows the typical earnings for detectives and criminal investigators in Virginia.

Key

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

Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Virginia and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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The state of Virginia is ranked number 32 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.) on the cost of living index, according to MERIC. The cost of living index measures the average cost of living in the U.S. against specific states in the U.S. Based on a U.S. average of 100, all locations within the country are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive). In Virginia, the cost of living index currently stands at 103.2, which is 3.2% higher than the national average. In the following table, you can compare the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, etc., in Virginia with the average cost in the United States.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Detectives and criminal investigators jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 2.5% over the next decade. It is projected that employment for the occupations will change from 112,500 in 2020 to 115,300 in 2030. Entry-level education for these positions generally consists of a high school diploma or equivalent degree. The following are typical job titles:

  • 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 Virginia

#1 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Richmond, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in criminal justice degree at Virginia Commonwealth University, located in Richmond, prioritizes flexibility. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the program. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in criminal justice. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in criminal justice before applying.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered 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. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Virginia Commonwealth University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 91%

Total Online Master's Programs: 18

Program Name: Criminal justice, master of science

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,703

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,041

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,179
Out-of-state
$32,827
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
29,070
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Virginia

George Mason University

  • Fairfax, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in criminal justice at George Mason University, located in Fairfax, offers high academic quality. The program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in criminal justice. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The master's program builds on prior experience gained during a bachelor's program.

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. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

George Mason University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 89%

Total Online Master's Programs: 25

Program Name: Criminal justice, MS

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,594

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $33,906

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,510
Out-of-state
$32,970
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
38,541
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Virginia

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers an online master's in criminal justice. The program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives on criminal justice. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants without a criminal justice background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library and gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 50%

Total Online Master's Programs: 72

Program Name: Master of science in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,935

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,935

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,791
Out-of-state
$14,791
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
93,349
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Virginia

Radford University

  • Radford, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Virginia, Radford University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online criminal justice program. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to criminal justice. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. The master's program builds on prior experience gained during a bachelor's program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Radford University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 79%

Total Online Master's Programs: 5

Program Name: Master of criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,915

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,441

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,922
Out-of-state
$19,557
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
10,695
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice in Virginia

Norfolk State University

  • Norfolk, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Virginia, Norfolk State University enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online criminal justice program. The program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on criminal justice. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in criminal justice before applying to the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Norfolk State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 91%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: MA in criminal justice

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,820

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $20,872

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,752
Out-of-state
$16,920
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
5,457
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Financing a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

In order to afford the cost of attending college, financial aid is available in many forms. Scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs help learners lower the cost of college. Some students also qualify for federal student loans and private student loans. A good idea is to do your research ahead of time to find out what kinds of financial aid may be offered by the colleges you consider.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Virginia

In Virginia, the cost of attending college varies from one institution to another. Some similarities exist among both public and private institutions. The information below will assist you in determining whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you or not.

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

Key

Virginia
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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Would it be possible to attend a private college or university? Tuition at private colleges is generally more expensive. A graph that provides information regarding attending private colleges in Virginia is shown below.

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

Key

Virginia
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

Would you consider borrowing student loans to fund your education? Prior to taking out a loan, you should take certain factors into account.

Please take a moment to review the data below to learn what students typically borrow.

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
The main difference between an online degree and a degree completed on campus is cost and class size. Generally, online degree programs are more convenient, affordable, and flexible. There is usually a higher cost associated with on-campus degrees because of student fees, which are typically optional for distance learners. Attending classes does, however, have its benefits.

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, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Associate, Bachelors, Doctorate
Washington Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

There are a number of differences that exist between public and private colleges. First, the cost will vary depending on whether you select a public or private school. Typically, state grants and scholarships cover the costs of education at public institutions. A private college often offers merit scholarships based on the student's previous academic performance.

There is a tendency for private colleges to feature a lower student-to-teacher ratio. There are some benefits and drawbacks to attending a private institution as opposed to a public 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

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

Detectives and criminal investigators make a mean annual wage of $99,390 in Virginia each year.

Are criminal justice majors in high demand?

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

Can you study for a master's degree in criminal justice online?

A master's degree in criminal justice can be obtained online. As a matter of fact, most schools offer a certain amount of online instruction in today's educational system.

How many years does it take to complete a master's degree?

Full-time students typically take two years to earn a master's degree. Part-time students will take longer to complete their studies, and completion times will vary.

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