How Long Does It Take to Get a Criminal Justice Degree?

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If you feel passionate about promoting justice and protecting your community, then consider majoring in criminal justice or justice studies. There are both undergraduate and graduate degrees available for criminal justice students. These degree programs typically examine interdisciplinary topics in subjects ranging from law and psychology to sociology and more. The amount of time it takes to complete a degree in criminal justice depends on which type of degree program you enroll in and whether you are enrolled as a full-time or part-time student.

Earning Your Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree

If you decide to enroll as a full-time student in an undergraduate criminal justice degree program, it will take an average of four years to complete the degree requirements. Degree requirements include major-specific courses and general university requirements.

For example, first-year students often must complete introductory courses meant to prepare them to succeed in college-level work. In addition, college students generally must complete a certain number of credits in language and communications, mathematics and other subjects. You may also take electives that further your own personal interests and supplement your primary coursework.

Another factor to consider is whether you intend to add a minor to your studies. If you decide to add a minor to your studies, you should meet with your academic advisor to ensure you are on track to graduate within in four years. As a criminal justice student, some relevant minors to consider include the following:

  • Minor in Forensic Psychology
  • Minor in Pre-law
  • Minor in Public Administration
  • Minor in Behavioral Health Services
  • Minor in Communication

Making the Most of Your Time as an Undergraduate Student

As an undergraduate student earning a criminal justice degree, there are a few things you can do now to set yourself up for future success. You should find out whether your school has a career advisor on campus to help you learn about future job opportunities. There are many entry-level positions available in this field that you might qualify for with a bachelor’s degree. However, some might require additional training. For example, you might consider applying to a police academy if you are interested in becoming a police officer.

Your undergraduate years are also a valuable time to strengthen your resume. Look for on-campus associations and clubs to join. Even if you want to join a student organization that is not directly related to your studies, participating will demonstrate to future employers that you take an active part in communities you belong to (including potential work environments).

Earning Your Master of Science in Criminal Justice Degree

A Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program will generally be more flexible than a bachelor’s degree. It has assumed that graduate students are typically working professionals rather than full-time students. While a master’s degree could be completed in one year, it is more likely that it will take two or three years to complete the requirements.

You should meet with your academic advisor to get a better understanding of the time requirements for individual courses. Evaluate your current professional obligations to figure out a reasonable course schedule. Some working professionals will only take one course at a time, while others might take two or three at once.

Using Time Management Strategies as a Graduate Student

It can be tough to juggle your responsibilities in graduate school, especially if you work full time. You may need to sacrifice your free time on the weekends to support a healthy work/life balance. The quality of your study time can be even more important than the length of your study time. You will be able to get more done in a distraction-free environment. Create a schedule for your studies and ask your family members to avoid distracting you during this time.

You can earn your degree in criminal justice at Grand Canyon University and benefit from our affordable education and scholarship opportunities. Undergraduate students may apply for the Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies degree. Those who already hold a baccalaureate degree may wish to sharpen their skills by earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement or a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies degree. Both undergraduate and graduate students will find GCU to be a welcoming learning community that offers extensive student support services. To learn more about these programs, visit the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or click on the Request Info button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.