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Top 10 Graduate Criminal Justice Schools

Students who are interested in studying criminal justice at the graduate level are those who have a passion for justice, law, government, and research. Students in these programs learn about the basics of criminology, the courts, and police procedure. They also use this information and knowledge to develop advanced and unique perspectives and approaches regarding the field of criminal justice. Most of these programs fall under the wider heading of criminology. Most programs offer master's and PhD degree programs. While master's students may be concerned with practical application and professional training, PhD students are more concerned with research and scholarship.

There are considered to be the best criminology schools in the country. This list is based on the research conducted by U.S. News and World Report. While there are a number of other prestigious criminology and criminal justice schools out there, these ten represent some of the most rigorous and innovative in the field.

  1. University of Maryland--College Park The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is a highly research oriented department that prepares students with advanced scholarship and cutting edge methods of research. Students learn the theory and philosophy of criminal justice, while also getting prepared to become influential and valuable members of the criminal justice professions.
  2. University at Albany--SUNY The School of Criminal Justice is considered one of the most rigorous in the country. Master's and doctoral degrees are offered. Students in the graduate programs most often have undergraduate experience as criminal justice students.
  3. University of Cincinnati The School of Criminal Justice in Cincinnati offers master's and PhD degree programs, as well as online options for working professionals. The school also offers students options for professional training in the paralegal field.
  4. University of Missouri--St. Louis The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is a research oriented department that allows PhD students the opportunity to concentrate on research and conducting studies. Many faculty members and graduate students publish in prestigious journals and may hold positions in national and international agencies and organizations.
  5. Pennsylvania State University--University Park The Department of Sociology and Crime, Law and Justice is considered one of the most forward thinking and innovative departments of its kind. The school is dedicated to research and analysis of social phenomena.
  6. University of California--Irvine The Department of Criminology, Law, and Society offers a unique graduate program that encourages students to engage in interdisciplinary study that allows a broader understanding of crime and justice on a societal scale. Students are encouraged to take classes in other departments and apply the knowledge to their own research.
  7. Florida State University The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers graduate students access to some of the most established and respected faculty members in the country.
  8. Michigan State University The School of Criminal Justice is the oldest degree program of its kind in the country. Students have access to the most current research methods and technology and are also provided with valuable field experience.
  9. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey--Newark The Rutgers School of Criminal Justice focuses students on interdisciplinary training that gives more depth to the many facets of the field.
  10. CUNY--John Jay College The College of Criminal Justice offers eight different master's programs, which allow students to fully explore the options and variations in the criminal justice field. Located in New York City, this school offers students a vibrant and diverse environment in which to learn and study.
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