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Master’s Degree in Social Work (Criminal Justice)
(found programs from 17 schools)


Welcome to the most complete directory on the Web of Social Worker programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 17 schools across the country.

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Overview of Master's in Social Work Degree Programs

While many people do not immediately realize the connection between social work and criminal justice, a number of career paths and systemic needs in criminal justice directly tie the two together. People who end up in the criminal justice system, whether as suspects, victims, or prisoners, often have a significant amount of issues to work through. Being the victim of the crime can significantly impact a person's relationships and ability to function in social environments, while certain social issues correlate highly with different criminal acts.

Earning a Master's in social work online or in person may give you the chance to influence positive change in the criminal justice system.

An extensive knowledge of social work theories and research may help you understand, prevent, and assist others to properly react to crime. By identifying socioeconomic and social issues that may pave the way for a criminal mindset later in life, you may be able to create programs that steer people off of this path and direct them to more productive paths.

An interdisciplinary Master degree in social work can help you find new ways to utilize your experience in the criminal justice system. Learn more about the opportunities that come with this degree by contacting online Master's social work programs below.

What Should I Expect From My Social Work Master's Program?

Master's programs in social work are some of the most diverse and popular options for students, so you may have many options to consider. If you are transitioning directly from a Bachelor's degree to a Master's degree, you may prefer a traditional social work program that runs in 15-week semesters.

However, if you have a career to maintain, you may want to consider accelerated options. These programs allow you to take one class for four to eight weeks before moving onto the next class. There are often online social work Master's programs that fit these schedules.

A general MSW degree, combined with an undergraduate criminal justice degree, may be adequate preparation for your career. However, there are also Master's degree social work programs that include a concentration in criminology or criminal justice. With this option, you take graduate-level criminal justice courses in addition to your graduate-level social work classes. This degree may help you build connections with professionals who have experience in the criminal justice area of social work or provide you with more targeted practical experience.

Admissions requirements vary between schools. The following requirements are often the baseline for consideration:

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • High GRE score
  • Bachelor's degree in social work or criminal justice

Once you begin studying at your school of choice, you may be able to graduate in as little as 18 months. Part-time options may extend your schooling to three or four years. If you pursue an online Master's in social work with an emphasis in criminal justice, your curriculum may have core courses like those listed below:

  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Justice
  • Theories of Crime
  • Administration of Justice
  • Special Topics in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Master programs in social work typically require some type of practical experience. Depending on the school you choose, you may complete a semester-long internship, work through practicum courses, conduct an independent research study, or create a capstone project.

Working With A Master's Degree in Social Work

After earning a traditional or online Master's degree in social work, you may have a number of career options to consider. Of course, you may work in conventional criminal justice jobs in policing, corrections, or legal issues. If you go this route, your background in social work may help you respond to criminals' needs in a way that improves their chances of successful rehabilitation and minimizes their risk of recidivism.

However, you may also explore career options in the social services sector. Many social work Master's degree programs allow you to apply for licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or LCSW. With this certification, you can legally provide counseling services.

Since many people who end up in the criminal justice system have underlying behavioral, substance abuse, or behavioral issues, working in a correctional setting as a counselor could really improve outcomes. Through the year 2024, job openings for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are expected to increase much faster than average (O*Net, 2016). The average salary for a counselor in this specialty is $39,270 per year (O*Net, 2016).

Along that same line, you may want to become a social worker and work directly with those who are at risk of turning to crime. The job outlook is in line with what is reported for counselors, and the average annual salary is $41,380 (O*Net, 2016). Your MSW may give you special insight into criminology, technology, and other complex areas of criminal justice, so you may consider a career in teaching. By 2024, job openings for criminal justice professors are expected to increase much faster than average (O*Net, 2016). The median income for a criminal justice professor is $57,200 per year (O*Net, 2016).

If you want to improve the field of criminal justice, there are many routes you can go. Master's social work programs can show you how to implement changes that address the root of the problem.

Learn more about earning a Master's degree in social work online or in person by contacting schools below.

Featured Schools Accepting Students from Across the US:

Online programs may not be available in all areas



Traditional On Campus Programs:

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Arizona

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California

Argosy University (Los Angeles, CA / Ontario (Inland Empire), CA / Orange, CA / San Diego, CA / San Francisco, CA)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Colorado

Argosy University (Denver, CO)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Florida

Argosy University (Sarasota, FL)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
Keiser University (Clearwater, FL)
Programs Offered:

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice - Clearwater
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Illinois

Argosy University (Schaumburg, IL)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Iowa

Kaplan University (Cedar Falls, IA / Cedar Rapids, IA / Davenport, IA / Des Moines, IA / Mason City, IA)
Programs Offered:

BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, BSHUS - Child and Family Welfare, BSHUS - Youth/Family Services and Administration
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Kansas

Rasmussen College (Overland Park, KS / Topeka, KS)
Programs Offered:

Accelerated Human Services Bachelor Degree-Completion Program, Accelerated Human Services Bachelors Degree-Completion Program, Criminal Justice Associate, Human Services Associate
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Maine

Kaplan University (Lewiston, ME / South Portland, ME)
Programs Offered:

BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, BSHUS - Child and Family Welfare, BSHUS - Youth/Family Services and Administration
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Maryland

Kaplan University (Hagerstown, MD / Learning Center - Rockville, MD)
Programs Offered:

BS in Criminal Justice, BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, BSHUS - Youth/Family Services and Administration, Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services, MPA - Criminal Justice, MS in Criminal Justice
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Minnesota

Argosy University (Twin Cities, MN)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
Rasmussen College Online (Mankato, MN)
Programs Offered:

Accelerated Human Services Bachelors Degree-Completion Program (online)
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Nebraska

Kaplan University (Lincoln, NE / Omaha, NE)
Programs Offered:

BSCJ - Juvenile Justice, BSHUS - Youth/Family Services and Administration
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Tennessee

Argosy University (Nashville, TN)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Texas

Argosy University (Dallas, TX)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Utah

Argosy University (Salt Lake City, UT)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Virginia

Argosy University (Washington, DC, VA)
Programs Offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Criminal Justice Concentration
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Wisconsin

Rasmussen College (Appleton, WI)
Programs Offered:

Accelerated Human Services Bachelors Degree-Completion Program, Human Services Associate