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Hot Topics Covered in an MS in Criminal Justice Program

A master’s degree in criminal justice deals with applied criminology. As such, it necessarily engages current events. While history is important, applied criminology must look to the present to fully benefit society.

Race and Crime

Some of the most important issues facing U.S. society today are the varied and complex questions addressed by the topic of race and crime. An example is the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014. The isolated incident was the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. However, the incident reverberated across the nation. Protests ensued, and as The New York Times reported, “the Justice Department called on Ferguson to overhaul its criminal justice system, declaring that the city had engaged in constitutional violations.”

The issue of race and crime is a good example of the topics that students pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice engage from many angles. What policies were in place that led to the shooting? What kind of relationship does the police department have with the community? What measures can prevent such incidents from occurring in the future?

Other Current Events

Beyond race and crime, students in an online master’s degree in criminal justice program also learn about ethics, homeland security, constitutional law, corrections and police law, among others. Each topic brings its own challenges to law, policing and justice. Earning an advanced degree in criminal justice helps students see all the angles in order to unravel the interwoven issues within each topic.

Because crime is constantly changing, any master’s degree in criminal justice program must stay current not only with changing laws but also with changing social issues. As former Baltimore police officer Peter Moskos puts it, “Little about policing is ideal.” Real policing is full of variables. Theory is important for a master’s degree in criminal justice, but staying current with real-life issues is necessary to remain relevant to society.

Learn about the Lamar University online MS in Criminal Justice program.


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