Earning an accelerated online Master’s in Criminal Justice in America has become easier than ever. This comes from rising demand for more qualified candidates to take on supervisory roles in the field. It also stems from the evolution of the system to require an advanced education from its employees. And since criminal justice is an integral part of the government, it makes sense that schools would want to make an alternative option to traditional programs available for working adults.

Professionals working in the field have different needs than pre-service individuals; they need a flexible degree that can be earned wholly or mostly online to ensure that they can complete their educational goals without having to sacrifice their personal and professional lives. They also need affordable alternatives to traditional programs, which regularly can cost up to $20,000 more than online options. Finally, they need accelerated degrees that give them the option to waive courses on subjects they are well-versed in so they can graduate within two years.

Methodology

There are a lot of schools that offer online degrees in criminal justice that meet the needs of professionals. With so many available, however, it was important to build a ranking that focused on accelerated online master of criminal justice programs. To begin with, our editors started with an initial pool of 53 programs. We then applied completion time and tuition filters to narrow the pool to only those schools offering affordable programs that can be completed within less than two years. Finally, we applied the rating and ranking methodology below. In the case of a tie, the more economical program was awarded the higher ranking.

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice

Methodology

Time to Completion

  • Less Than 2 Years: 1 point
  • 20 Months or Less: 2 points
  • 18 Months or Less: 3 points
  • 16 Months or Less: 4 points
  • 14 Months or Less: 5 points
  • 12 Months or Less: 6 points

Graduate Tuition

  • Less Than $20,000: 1 point
  • Less Than $15,000: 2 points
  • Less Than $10,000: 3 points
  • Less Than $5,000: 4 points

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

Presence of an Online Student Support Network– 1 point

#40—Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Online Criminal Justice MS

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 6

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Media Communications Online for 2019

The accelerated online master’s in criminal justice degree program from Michigan State University can be completed within eighteen months of full-time study. The curriculum for the program is customizable and includes an optional specialization in Security Management. Alternatively, enrolled students can design a customized concentration through the strategic selection of electives. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program features core courses, including:

  • Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research
  • Crime Causation, Prevention, and Control
  • Policy Analysis Under Condition of Change

Elective course options include:

  • Advanced Crime Analysis
  • Global Risks, Conservation, and Criminology
  • Advanced Topics in Policing

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Michigan State to award this graduate degree in criminal justice online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 10 online master’s in criminal justice nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $18,858

#39—Saint Joseph’s University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Master’s in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 6

The affordable accelerated master of criminal justice online program from Saint Joseph’s University is a versatile option, featuring five distinct specializations:

  • Behavior Management
  • Behavior Analysis
  • Intelligence and Crime Analysis
  • Federal Law Enforcement
  • Homeland Security

Required courses comprising the core curriculum for the program are:

  • Criminological Theory
  • Professional Writing for Law Enforcement
  • Research Methods and Analysis
  • Ethics and Criminal Justice

The remaining curriculum requirements will vary depending on which (if any) concentration was chosen. These may include course titles such as:

  • Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis
  • White Collar Crime
  • Multiculturalism and Diversity in Criminal Justice
  • Youth Cultures and Deviance
  • Mental Health and the Law

The accelerated track for this online criminal justice graduate degree enables students to earn their credentials within a year and a half of full-time study. St. Joseph’s University is fully accredited to award the degree by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top 35 of its kind nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $17,334

#38—Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, Ohio

Master of Science Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: Less Than 2 Years

Points: 6

Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

The convenient accelerated master’s in criminal justice online option from Bowling Green State University is one of the more convenient options in our ranking, featuring seven-week courses and multiple start dates. Enrolled students are required to complete 33 credit hours of coursework, including classes such as:

  • Criminal Justice Policy Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Processes and Institutions
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation in Criminal Justice
  • The Nature of Crime

The program is offered fully online with no required campus visits. Bowling Green State holds full institutional accreditation to confer the degree by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top 15 online criminal justice master’s degrees in the country.

Graduate Tuition: $8,017

#37—Saint Leo University

St. Leo, Florida

Online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: Less Than 2 Years

Points: 6

The online accelerated master of criminal justice program from Saint Leo University can be completed in less than two years. Once enrolled, students will take core courses such as:

  • Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Public Policy Making in Criminal Justice Administration

The remainder of the 36 required credit hours of coursework will be fulfilled through elective classes. Offerings include:

  • Insights Into Criminal Behavior
  • Corrections Issues and Trends
  • Investigative Methodologies of Violence

An applied project in criminal justice administration is also required. Saint Leo University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the master’s in criminal justice online credential.

Graduate Tuition: $7,296

#36—Hilbert College

Hamburg, New York

Online MS in Criminal Justice Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 7

The accelerated online MS in Criminal Justice Administration degree program from Hilbert College is a 36-credit hour offering designed to be completed in just 16 months. The curriculum for the program is prescribed and requires core courses such as:

  • Policing in Contemporary Society
  • Nature and Causes of Crime
  • Organizational Theory and Management

Students not already employed full-time in the field of criminal justice can opt to complete an internship experience. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited Hilbert College to award the graduate credential in criminal justice.

Graduate Tuition: $19,920

#35—Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Online MS in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 7

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Public Safety Administration Online for 2019

Southern New Hampshire University’s accelerated online master’s criminal justice program is a self-paced option that can be completed in as few as 15 months. The program is customizable, featuring concentrations in Public Safety Administration and Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security. Major courses required for this MS offering include:

  • Criminology and Public Policy
  • Assessing Organizational Performance
  • Courts and Judicial Process
  • Data-Driven Decision-Making in Criminal Justice

Depending on the concentration they choose, students will take additional classes like:

  • Intelligence Collection and Analysis
  • Global Terrorism
  • Strategic Management in Public Service
  • Public Safety Administration

Southern New Hampshire University holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the graduate degree in criminal justice online.

Graduate Tuition: $18,810

#34—Norwich University

Northfield, Vermont

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 7

The accelerated online master of science in criminal justice offering from Norwich University can be completed entirely online, aside from a one-week on-campus residency. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program consists of 5 eleven-week courses, including just two core courses:

  • Contemporary Issues in the Criminal Justice System
  • Law Enforcement Administration

The three remaining courses are electives chosen from the following titles:

  • Cyber Crime
  • International Response to Transnational Terrorism
  • Cyber Law
  • International Terrorism by Non-State Actors

The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited Norwich University to award the master of criminal justice online degree.

Graduate Tuition: $17,904

#33—Northcentral University

Prescott Valley, Arizona

Online MBA: Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 7

The online accelerated criminal justice master’s degree program from Northcentral University is a unique MBA option with a Criminal Justice specialization. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program consists of core business courses such as:

  • Managing People and Teams
  • Managerial Decision Making
  • Operations Management

Students will also take classes in the criminal justice specialization, including:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Current Issues in Law Enforcement
  • Organized Crime

Northcentral University is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission to offer the online MBA in Criminal Justice.

Graduate Tuition: $16,983

#32—Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

Online MS in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Leadership

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 16 Months

Points: 7

Mercer University’s accelerated online master’s in criminal justice offering is an MS in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Leadership offered through the school’s College of Professional Advancement. The program is designed for working professionals and includes course titles like:

  • Leadership and Ethics in Public Safety
  • Multidisciplinary View of Theories and Models of Leadership
  • Organizational Communication, Conflict Resolution, and Negotiations

Enrolled students will also take elective classes such as:

  • Nature of Crime and Justice in the 21st Century
  • Comparative Studies in Public Safety
  • History of Corrections and Jails

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Mercer University to confer the master’s degree in criminal justice online.

Graduate Tuition: $15,422

#31—University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

Online MA in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

University of Massachusetts Lowell.jpg

The online accelerated master of criminal justice offering from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is a fully online MA in Criminal Justice. Designed to be completed within 18 months of study, the program features eleven courses, including foundation classes like:

  • Managing Justice Organizations
  • Administration of Justice
  • Law and Public Policy

Students will also choose from elective offerings in criminal justice such as:

  • Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Substance Abuse and Crime
  • Criminal Mind and Behavior

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award the master of criminal justice degree online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top 5 offerings of its kind nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $14,590

#30—Bethune-Cookman University

Daytona Beach, Florida

Online MS in Criminal Justice Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

Designed to be completed within just a year and a half of full-time study, the accelerated online master’s in criminal justice administration program from Bethune Cookman University culminated in either a thesis or capstone project. The curriculum for the program is mostly prescribed and features course titles such as:

  • Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Personnel Management
  • Professional Ethical Standards

Some content customization is possible through the selection of elective classes. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Bethune-Cookman University among some of the country’s best national liberal arts universities.

Graduate Tuition: $13,500

#29—University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Online MS in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

University of Louisville

The online accelerated criminal justice master’s degree program from the University of Louisville is a fully online option offered through the school’s College of Arts & Sciences. The curriculum for the program requires 15 credit hours of core courses, including:

  • Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Management
  • Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice
  • Theories of Crime and Delinquency
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice

Remaining coursework will include elective classes such as:

  • Covert Operations in Policing
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice History
  • Managing Organization Performance

A professional research paper is also required for successful program completion. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the University of Louisville to confer the master of criminal justice online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top 15 of its kind nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $13,000

#28—Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 7

The accelerated online master’s in criminal justice option from Arizona State University is an MA program offered through ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. The program’s curriculum features required courses such as:

  • Criminal Justice Planning and Program Evaluation
  • Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice
  • Seminar in Criminology

Students may also choose from elective offerings, including:

  • Seminar on Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice
  • Seminar on Sex Crimes
  • Seminar on Homeland Security

A culminating experience in theory and practice in criminal justice is also required. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Arizona State to offer the MA in Criminal Justice online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 10 online criminal justice graduate degree programs in the country.

Graduate Tuition: $11,720

#27—East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, Tennessee

Online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 20 Months

Points: 7

East Tennessee State University

The accelerated master of criminal justice online program from East Tennessee State University is an MA option offered through the school’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. The curriculum for the program is comprehensive and requires 36 credit hours of coursework. Core requirements include:

  • Research Design in Criminology
  • Criminological Theory
  • American Corrections
  • Quantitative Methods in Criminology

A substantial part of the degree plan is also comprised of elective classes. Students may choose from course titles like:

  • Crime and Public Policy
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Organized and White-Collar Crime
  • Issues in Correctional Treatment

Accreditation to offer this master of criminal justice online credential has been extended to ETSU by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $8,640

#26—Columbia College

Columbia, South Carolina

Criminal Justice Master’s Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 20 Months

Points: 7

columbia-college

Columbia College’s online accelerated criminal justice master’s degree program is a cohort-based offering designed to be completed within 20 months of full-time study. Classes are delivered via 8-week terms, and the prescribed curriculum includes course titles such as:

  • Diversity in Criminal Justice
  • Crime Mapping
  • Leadership Strategies
  • Criminal Law

Two capstone courses are also required:

  • Needs Analysis Research
  • Implementation Plan

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Columbia College to award the online MA in Criminal Justice. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the top 40 schools in the nation for online graduate degrees in the field.

Graduate Tuition: $8,574

#25—Franklin University

Columbus, Ohio

Online MA in Criminal Justice Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 14 Months

Points: 8

The accelerated master’s in criminal justice online program from Franklin University is offered fully online or via a hybrid learning format. This MA option is one of the more accelerated degrees in our ranking with 14-month minimum completion time. The program’s curriculum requires 30 credit hours of coursework, including:

  • Effective Administration of Justice
  • Criminology Theory & Solutions to Crime
  • Adult & Juvenile Systems of Justice
  • Strategic Policing & Contemporary Crime Control Strategies

A capstone in public administration is also required before graduation. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Franklin University to award the criminal justice master’s online.

Graduate Tuition: $16,080

#24—Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Online Master of Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 8

The online accelerated master’s degree in criminal justice from Colorado Christian University is a fully online MS option offered through the school’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program is prescribed and features core courses such as:

  • Leadership Theory and Practice in Criminal Justice
  • Management of Criminal Justice Investigations
  • Public Information and Civic Engagement
  • Criminal Law and Procedure

A capstone course is also required for successful program completion. Designed for working professionals, the program can be completed within just 15 months.  CCU is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award this graduate degree in criminal justice online.

Graduate Tuition: $13,045

#23—Mount Mercy University

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Online Master of Justice Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 15 Months

Points: 8

Mount Mercy University offers an exclusively online accelerated master of criminal justice program that can be completed within just 15 months. Core courses comprising the program’s comprehensive curriculum include:

  • Research and Statistics for Criminal Justice
  • Administration of Justice
  • Theories of Crime and Justice

Enrolled students will also have the opportunity to choose from elective course offerings such as:

  • The Impact of Social Inequities and Human Rights
  • Drugs and Crime
  • International Policing
  • Ethical Issues in Crime and Justice

A graduate capstone course is also required before graduation. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Mount Mercy University to offer this criminal justice master’s degree online.

Graduate Tuition: $10,296

#22—Faulkner University

Montgomery, Alabama

Online Master of Justice Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 14 Months

Points: 8

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Philosophy Online for 2018

Faulkner University offers a nationally recognized accelerated online master’s in criminal justice program that can be completed in just fourteen months. The curriculum for the program approaches topics in criminal justice administration from a Christian perspective. Enrolled students can expect to take prescribed courses such as:

  • Comparative Criminal Justice
  • Corrections in Modern Society
  • Policing in America

A criminal justice research project is also required as a culminating element of the program. Faulkner University is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been called one of the South’s leading regional universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $10,080

#21—McKendree University

Lebanon, Illinois

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

Top 35 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Higher Education Online for 2019

McKendree University offers a 30-credit hour accelerated online master’s of criminal justice program that can be completed within five semesters of study. It’s a convenient option, thanks to its fully online format and routine start dates. Students enrolled in the program can expect to take classes such as:

  • Cybercrime
  • Terrorism, Security, and the Modern World
  • Class, Race, and Gender in Criminal Justice

Graduates of the program are qualified for careers in:

  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Security
  • Law Enforcement
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Victim Advocacy
  • Criminal Justice Education

McKendree University is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award this accelerated master of criminal justice online. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of the 55 best regional universities in the Midwest.

Graduate Tuition: $9,522

#20—Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

liberty-university

Students enrolled in the online accelerated master of criminal justice program from Liberty University can customize their degree plans by selecting one of five optional concentrations:

  • Forensic Psychology
  • Homeland Security
  • Cybercrime Investigation
  • Public Administration
  • Law Enforcement Leadership

Regardless of specialization, all students will take the following core courses:

  • Criminal Justice Program Evaluation
  • Human Resource Management in Criminal Justice Organizations
  • Leadership, Ethics, and Policing
  • Administration of Justice Organizations
  • Criminal Justice Integration

Course delivery is asynchronous, and students can take advantage of multiple annual start dates. Liberty University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the 50 best colleges and universities for a graduate degree in criminal justice online.

Graduate Tuition: $7,980

#19—McNeese State University

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Online Criminal Justice Master of Science Degree

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

The accelerated master of science in criminal justice online program from McNeese State University is offered through its Department of Social Sciences. Designed to be completed in just 18 months of full-time study, the program prepares students for a variety of advanced roles in criminal justice, including:

  • Criminologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Security Analyst
  • Juvenile Justice Specialist
  • Police Department Supervisor

Though there are no formal concentrations, the curriculum is elective-rich, enabling students to customize their studies. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited McNeese State to award the master of criminal justice online degree. The program has been ranked among the top 75 of its kind nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $5,703

#18—University of Nebraska-Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska

Online MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

The University of Nebraska-Omaha’s accelerated online master of criminal justice program is offered through its College of Public Affairs and Community Service. This MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis, and full-time students can complete the program within just 18 months. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program features required courses such as:

  • Statistical Applications in Criminal Justice & Public Administration
  • Criminal Justice Research Theory and Methodology
  • Nature of Crime
  • Seminar in Administration of Justice

A capstone project in criminology and criminal justice is also required. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited the University of Nebraska- Omaha to award this graduate degree online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 5 programs in the nation for online master’s criminal justice students.

Graduate Tuition: $5,558

#17—Wichita State University

Wichita, Kansas

Master’s in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

The online accelerated master of criminal justice program from Wichita State University is an MA offering that can be completed in as few as 18 months. The program features a comprehensive 36-credit hour curriculum comprised of core courses such as:

  • Seminar on the Application of Criminological Theory
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Quantitative Methods for Public Service Professionals

A wide variety of elective classes are also available, including:

  • Homicide Investigation
  • Correctional Counseling
  • Integrity in Public Service
  • Forensic Psychiatry

A research project or applied learning experience is also required for the successful completion of the program. Wichita State is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to confer this degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the 55 best colleges and universities in the country for an online master’s in criminal justice.

Graduate Tuition: $5,435

#16—Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

Online Master’s in Criminology

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 8

The accelerated online criminal justice master’s degree program from Missouri State University can be completed in 18 months of rigorous study. The program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, and both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. Core requirements comprising the program’s curriculum include:

  • Leadership and Management in Criminal Justice
  • Crime Theory and Policy
  • Applied Research in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Policy

Students will also have their choice of elective classes from the following offerings:

  • Juvenile Justice
  • Correctional Theory and Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Policing
  • Legal Issues in Criminal Justice

MSU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award the online criminal justice master’s degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the 75 best programs of its kind nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $5,202

#15—National University

La Jolla, California

Online Master of Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 9

National University offers a highly accelerated online master of criminal justice program that can be completed in just one year of study. Both fully online and hybrid formats are available, and courses span just four weeks. Core requirements for the degree include:

  • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
  • Advanced Criminological Theory
  • Professional Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Theory, Practice, and Policy

Eighteen quarter units of elective coursework are also required. Options include:

  • Drugs, Alcohol, and Public Policy
  • Major Case Investigation
  • Security Management and Planning
  • Law and Criminal Procedure

National University holds its institutional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission. It’s been ranked among the 60 best colleges and universities in the country for online master’s in criminal justice degrees by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $15,480

#14—Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

MS in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 9

The online accelerated master’s in criminal justice program from Angelo State University is offered through its Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice. This MS option can be completed entirely online within just 18 months. The curriculum for the program is comprehensive and features courses such as:

  • Legal Aspects of the Criminal Justice System
  • Research Methods and Statistics in Security Studies
  • Critical Analysis of Justice Administration
  • Police in Society

Twelve credit hours of elective coursework are also required, as is a capstone seminar in criminal justice. Angelo State is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award this degree. It’s been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best schools in the country for an online criminal justice master’s degree.

Graduate Tuition: $4,059

#13—Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce, Texas

Online Master’s in Applied Criminology

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 18 Months

Points: 9

The accelerated online master’s in criminal justice from Texas A&M University-Commerce is a fully online Master of Science in Applied Criminology (MSAC) program designed to be completed within 18 months. The curriculum for the program is customizable and features three optional concentrations:

  • Homeland Security
  • General Criminology
  • Criminal Justice Administration and Management

Depending upon which concentration is elected, students may enroll in courses such as:

  • Issues in Criminal Law and the Courts
  • Counter Intelligence
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Seminar in Policing and Law Enforcement

Texas A&M-Commerce holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been named one of the best universities for a master’s degree in criminal justice online by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $3,630

#12—Loyola University New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

Master of Science in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 10

The accelerated online criminal justice master’s option from Loyola University New Orleans is a 30-credit hour program that can be completed within just a year of fully online study. The curriculum for the program requires students to take major courses, including:

  • Theories of Criminal Behavior
  • Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Selected Problems in Criminal Justice

A master’s research project and practicum are also required. Loyola University New Orleans is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been ranked among the 35 best colleges and universities for an online master of criminal justice degree in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $14,724

#11—Xavier University

Cincinnati, Ohio

MS in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 10

Full-time students enrolled in Xavier University’s online accelerated master’s in criminal justice program can earn their credentials in just one year. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program emphasizes criminal justice administration and includes core courses like:

  • Sociology of Crime and Delinquency
  • Forensics & White Collar Crime
  • Perspectives in Law Enforcement Management
  • Research and Planning in Criminal Justice

An online graduate certificate in criminal justice administration is also available, and credits can be counted towards the master’s degree. To earn this certificate, students must take the following classes:

  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Human Resources for Criminal Justice Administrators
  • Government & Non-Profit Accounting

Xavier University is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award this online graduate degree in criminal justice.

Graduate Tuition: $12,060

#10—Lasell University

Newton, Massachusetts

Online Master of Justice Administration

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 10

The curriculum for Lasell University’s online accelerated master of criminal justice administration can be customized through four available concentrations:

  • Emergency and Crisis Management
  • Homeland Security and Global Justice
  • Violence Prevention and Advocacy
  • Self-Designed Option

Regardless of the concentration chosen, all students enrolled in the program will take the following core courses:

  • Advanced Criminological Thought
  • Criminal Justice Leadership & Management
  • Critical Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Ethical Theory and Criminal Justice Policy

A research project or internship is also required for successful program completion. The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited Lasell University to offer this degree. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the 75 best schools for an online master’s in criminal justice.

Graduate Tuition: $10,800

#9—Indiana University of Pennsylvania (TIE)

Indiana, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

The accelerated online master’s in criminal justice program from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania is offered online and on campus. Students can pursue the degree on a part-time or full-time basis, and full-time students will earn their credentials in just one year. The curriculum for the program is mostly prescribed and features core course titles such as:

  • Legal Issues in Criminology
  • Organizational Dynamics Within the Criminal Justice System
  • Criminological Theory
  • Ethical and Philosophical Issues in Criminology

Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. However, those students who elect not to complete a thesis must submit a synthesis project instead. IUP is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has called it one of the 40 best schools for a master’s in criminal justice online.

Graduate Tuition: $9,288

#9—Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (TIE)

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Online MA in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

The accelerated online MA in criminal justice is a flexible option that can be completed in just 12 to 18 months. Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available, and an internship is optional. Required courses comprising the 30-credit hour curriculum for the program include:

  • Contemporary Issues in Policing
  • Advanced Criminological Theory
  • Administration of Justice
  • Statistical Methods in Criminal Justice

Students also have a wide variety of elective classes to choose from, including:

  • Transnational Crime and Justice
  • Forensic Behavior: Crime and the Individual
  • Criminal Justice and the Multicultural Community
  • Community Corrections

The Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 75 colleges and universities for an online criminal justice master’s degree.

Graduate Tuition: $9,288

#8—Wilmington University

New Castle, Delaware

Online MS in Administration of Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

wilmington-university

The accelerated online master of criminal justice option from Wilmington University is offered through its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The program is versatile and includes both fully online and hybrid learning models. Three concentrations are available to enrolled students:

  • Criminal Behavior
  • Homeland Security
  • Leadership and Administration

Regardless of which concentration , all students will take core courses such as:

  • Technology for Modern Policing
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Ethics
  • Managing Diversity

A post-graduate certificate in homeland security is also available. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited Wilmington University to confer this online criminal justice master’s degree.

Graduate Tuition: $8,784

#7—University of Mississippi

University, Mississippi

Online Master of Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

Students enrolled in the online accelerated master’s in criminal justice program from the University of Mississippi can select a concentration in either Homeland Security and Emergency Management or Criminal Justice Leadership. Courses are offered in an accelerated eight-week format, and the entire program can be completed in just one year. Despite their chosen emphasis area, all students will take the following core courses:

  • Criminal Justice Statistics
  • Theories of Criminal Behavior
  • Criminal Justice Research Methods
  • Criminal Justice Administration

Depending on the concentration they choose, students will take additional courses such as:

  • Cyber Crime and Cybersecurity
  • Communications for Criminal Justice Leaders
  • Seminar in Homeland Security Operations
  • Criminal Justice Evidence-Based Decision Making

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the University of Mississippi to award this criminal justice master’s degree online.

Graduate Tuition: $8,718

#6—Weber State University

Ogden, Utah

Master’s Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

The accelerated master of criminal justice online program from Weber State University can be completed within just 12 to 18 months depending on course load. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required for admission. Once enrolled, students will discover a robust curriculum designed to prepare them for leadership positions in criminal justice as well as related positions such as:

  • Victim Advocate
  • Federal Special Agent
  • Policy Academy Instructor
  • SWAT Operator

Graduates of the program are also well-prepared for doctoral studies in criminal justice. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited Weber State to award this graduate degree. The school has been ranked among the top 75 criminal justice master’s online programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

#5—Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas

MS in Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

The accelerated online master’s in criminal justice offering from Lamar University focuses on both the theory and practice of criminal justice. Designed to be completed in as few as 12 months, the program is ideal for professionals already working in the field. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program features course titles such as:

  • Theoretical Foundations of Crime Control
  • Criminal Justice System and Policy
  • Homeland Security
  • Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice

A capstone course is also required before graduation. Lamar University is fully accredited to offer this degree by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the 35 best online master of criminal justice degree programs.

Graduate Tuition: $6,324

#4—University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 11

Students enrolled in the accelerated online criminal justice master’s degree program from the University of the Cumberlands must choose two specializations from the following options:

  • Juvenile Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Homeland Security
  • Corrections
  • Addiction Studies
  • Investigations
  • Criminal Justice Education
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital Forensics

In addition to specialization classes, students will also fulfill 18 credit hours of core coursework, including the following course titles:

  • Statistical Applications in Justice Administration
  • Leadership Fundamentals
  • Criminological Theories in Justice Administration
  • Legal Issues in Justice Administration

A capstone project is also required for program completion. The University of the Cumberlands is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been ranked among the top 10 best master’s in criminal justice online programs by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $5,670

#3—California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

Online MA in Criminal Justice Studies: Applied Criminology

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 12

The online accelerated master of criminal justice offering from the California University of Pennsylvania is a unique MA in Criminal Justice Studies with an emphasis in Applied Criminology. Both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available, and the program requires approximately one year of full-time study. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program is mostly prescribed and features course titles such as:

  • Ethical and Legal Aspects of Criminology
  • Criminal Investigative Analysis
  • Violent Crime Analysis
  • Research Methods in Criminology

Internships and study abroad opportunities may be available to interested students. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited the California University of Pennsylvania to award this degree. The program has been recognized as one of the 45 best online criminal justice master’s programs nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $9,288

#2—Tarleton State University

Stephenville, Texas

Master of Criminal Justice Online

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 12

The accelerated online master of criminal justice program from Tarleton State University is a unique offering featuring an optional graduate certificate in Crime Analysis and Grant Writing. Both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available, and the entire program can be completed within just one year of full-time study. Sample courses comprising the curriculum for this program include:

  • Statistical Methods for Criminal Justice
  • The Juvenile Justice System
  • Foundations of Criminological Theory
  • Victimology

Graduates are well-prepared for further study in a criminal justice doctoral program or advanced roles in:

  • Crime Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Policymaking
  • Corporate Security
  • Law Enforcement

Tarleton State is fully accredited to confer this degree by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the 75 best master’s in criminal justice online programs nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $4,137

#1—Texas A&M International University

Laredo, Texas

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Website

Minimum Time to Completion: 12 Months

Points: 12

The affordable, accelerated online master’s criminal justice program from Texas A&M International University requires 36 credit hours of coursework and can be completed within just one year. Half of the program’s curriculum is comprised of core courses, including:

  • Foundations of the Criminal Justice System
  • Advanced Methods of Social Research
  • Seminar in Criminological Theory

The remaining 18 credit hours of coursework requirements will be fulfilled through elective classes such as:

  • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Seminar on Police Practices

A capstone project in criminal justice is also required before graduation. Texas A&M International University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the online criminal justice master’s degree.

Graduate Tuition: $3,350

About the Field of Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is a field that tries, convicts, punishes, and rehabilitates individuals and entities who have broken the law. It is an umbrella term for various disciplines that work in tandem to keep the law enforceable in the country. Professionals in this field will have a general understanding of the disciplines and may work in one discipline over another for their entire career.

The most apparent disciplines in this field are criminology, law enforcement, law, corrections, rehabilitation, and government. Other disciplines include:

  • economics
  • human resources
  • forensics
  • science
  • investigation
  • psychology
  • sociology

Professionals with a graduate degree in the field often focus on management and administration because they often go on to supervise and lead the criminal justice system.

About Criminal Justice Master’s Degrees

Criminal justice is a field that requires the cooperation of several systems. Professionals in the field understand that if one branch of the system does not work, the others will fail. That is why earning a graduate degree in the field is critical; it serves as a way to ensure that all professionals are prepared to take on the complexities of their career position. For students interested in moving into administrative or managerial positions, earning an accelerated online Master’s in Criminal Justice degree is the first step towards meeting that goal.

About Accelerated Online Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

If you already hold a full-time position in criminal justice or related field or preoccupied with other obligations, you may want to consider an accelerated online criminal justice master’s degree program. These offerings give busy and working professionals the opportunity to advance their studies without the burden of a commute or lengthy academic pursuit.

Most accelerated criminal justice master’s online programs are fully online options that require zero campus visits. These offerings are made even more convenient through accelerated course formats; many programs offer courses that last no more than 8-weeks.

The combination of accelerated and online program delivery makes it possible for professionals to advance their education and careers in criminal justice while continuing to work or take care of family responsibilities.

Types of Accelerated Master’s Criminal Justice Online Programs

Accelerated criminal justice master’s online programs share a lot of things in common, but there are some differences you should be prepared for as well.

Hybrid Versus Fully Online Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Options

Not all programs labeled as online master’s degrees in criminal justice are offered entirely online. Some require campus visits for workshops, orientations, culminating projects, and even class meetings. These programs are technically hybrid options. Students with particularly busy schedules or those who want to eliminate a commute should opt for a fully online accelerated master of criminal justice program.

Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Online Master of Criminal Justice Programs

Even fully online accelerated master’s criminal justice programs can differ from one another, though. One possible difference deals with how each school handles content delivery. In general, there are two different methods of delivering content in an online program: asynchronous delivery and synchronous delivery.

In asynchronous online master’s in criminal justice programs, students have the most flexibility. They can log in and out of their virtual classrooms at any time they wish and complete coursework at their own pace, more or less. You can recognize an asynchronous online option by tell-tale features like prerecorded lectures and discussion boards.

On the other hand, synchronous online criminal justice master’s programs follow a more structured class schedule. Like traditional programs, students must show up at certain times (albeit virtually) and participate in real-time class discussions. Instead of viewing pre-recorded lectures, students will watch streaming video of their professors and have opportunities to ask questions and discuss course content.

Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online Programs: Admissions

When considering any degree program, one of the first steps is to evaluate the program’s admissions requirements. An accelerated master’s in criminal justice online program is no exception. While admissions requirements may vary from one program to the next, there are some general criteria you should be aware of before pursuing enrollment.

Perhaps the most important requirement for admissions to an online accelerated master of criminal justice program is a bachelor’s degree. Before schools consider your application, they’ll want to see that you’ve earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. While some schools will insist that this bachelor’s degree be in criminal justice or a closely related field, others will accept other credentials.

Admissions officers will also examine your undergraduate transcript to ensure that you’ve maintained a respectable GPA during your bachelor’s level studies. The minimum GPA that schools will accept is 2.75, and most expect a 3.0 or higher.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree and a satisfactory GPA, accelerated online master’s in criminal justice programs may have additional admissions requirements. These may include:

  • Personal references
  • Writing samples
  • Essays
  • Statements of purpose
  • GRE scores

Online Accelerated Master of Criminal Justice: Curriculum

The curriculum for an accelerated online master’s criminal justice program will be unique to some degree, but you can expect some overlap from one school to another. Typically, these programs consist of anywhere from 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework comprised of both core courses and specialization/elective classes.

Core Courses Required for Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online Degrees

In most cases, core courses required for an accelerated online criminal justice master’s degree will make up most of the program’s curriculum. These classes will cover advanced topics in fundamental aspects of criminal justice, such as criminology, criminal justice research, policy analysis, and more. Some sample core course titles are listed below for the sake of reference:

  • Advanced Crime Analysis
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • The Nature of Crime and Criminology
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy
  • Applied Data Analysis for Criminal Justice
  • Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues
  • Theories of Crime and Delinquency
  • Comparative and International Criminal Justice

Specialization/Elective Classes for Accelerated Online Criminal Justice Master’s Programs

In addition to core courses, most accelerated master’s in criminal justice online programs will allow students to select certain elective classes. These course offerings address special topics in criminal justice and can be chosen as a matter of general interest or to fulfill a specified concentration. Examples of elective and specialization courses taken from actual master’s in criminal justice programs are listed below for illustration:

  • Therapeutic Strategies for Criminal Justice Offenders
  • Law and Social Control
  • Gender and Crime in American Culture
  • Terrorism and Public Security
  • Seminar on Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice
  • Crime and the Media
  • Drugs, Alcohol, and Crime

Capstone for Accelerated Criminal Justice Master’s Online Programs

A capstone element is typically required at the culmination of an online master’s in criminal justice program. These program requirements allow students to demonstrate and synthesize their learning before graduation. For some programs, the thesis serves as the capstone. For non-thesis options, though, students are often asked to write a scholarly research paper. Other types of culminating elements may include:

  • Integrated research projects
  • Practicums
  • Internships

Popular Concentrations for Accelerated Master’s Criminal Justice Degree Programs

The field of criminal justice is a broad one, so there are many opportunities for students to specialize their studies through the selection of a formal concentration. Not all colleges and universities offer these concentrations, but many do. Students enrolled in programs without specified concentration options may still customize their degree plans by strategically selecting their elective classes around a common theme. Below, you will find some of the most common criminal justice concentrations pursued at the master’s level and a few sample course titles associated with each.

Homeland Security

Those interested in using their criminal justice skills to protect our nation from domestic and international terrorism should consider an online master’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. Those who elect this type of degree plan can expect coursework such as the following:

  • Homeland Security Organization and Administration
  • Police and Homeland Security Leadership
  • S. Constitution and Homeland Protection

Public Safety Administration

An online master of criminal justice degree program with a specialization in Public Safety Administration is ideal for professionals interested in coordinating and managing public safety efforts such as disaster and emergency prevention and recovery. Courses comprising the curriculum for such a program may include:

  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Strategic Management in Public Service
  • Data-Driven Decision Making in Criminal Justice

Forensic Psychology

Those students interested in the mindset that drives criminal behavior may consider an online master’s in criminal justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. The curriculum for such a program may include course titles like the ones listed below:

  • Psychology and the Legal System
  • Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Offender
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology

Law Enforcement Leadership/Administration

Law enforcement administrators ensure the proper operation of police departments and other law enforcement agencies. To prepare for this role, some professionals elect a master’s in criminal justice online program with a Law Enforcement Leadership/Administration specialization, including classes such as:

  • Strategic Intelligence for Law Enforcement Leaders
  • Human Resources and Civil Rights for Law Enforcement Leaders
  • Crime Analysis and Case Management

Cybercrime

Cybercrime is a growing concern in today’s technologically advanced society. To fight it, you’ll need special training such as the training provided by an accelerated online criminal justice master’s with a concentration in Cybercrime. Once enrolled, you can expect to take courses like:

  • Cybercrime Law and Public Policy
  • Digital Forensics
  • IT Security Policies and Procedures

Frequently-Searched Online Master of Criminal Justice Programs

Arizona State University—Online MA in Criminal Justice: The 33 credit-hour accelerated online master’s in criminal justice degree program from ASU comprises 7 ½ week courses. Offered through the Watts School of Public Service and Community Solutions, the program can be completed in just a year and a half.

Bowling Green State University—MS in Criminal Justice Online: The accelerated master of criminal justice online program from BGSU is a unique part-time offering that can be completed in less than two years. Each of the eleven courses required for the program can be completed entirely online.

Boston University—Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice: The accelerated MS in Criminal Justice online from Boston University features three distinct concentration options. Students can complete the 32-credit hour program within 16-18 months.

Florida State University—Accelerated Master’s Criminal Justice Online: FSU offers an elective-rich accelerated master’s in criminal justice online program. GRE requirements are waived for applicants with extensive professional experience in the field of criminal justice.

Florida International University—Online MS in Criminal Justice: The accelerated online master of criminal justice program from FIU mirrors the school’s on-campus offering. Internships are available for interested students.

Saint Joseph’s University—Master of Criminal Justice Online: Saint Joseph’s University is home to one of the most versatile online accelerated master’s in criminal justice available today. Students may choose to pursue a general track or one of five concentration options.

Indiana University—Online MS in Criminal Justice and Public Safety: The online master’s in criminal justice option from Indiana University features separate concentrations in Criminal Justice and Public Safety.The program requires 33 credit hours of coursework, all of which can be completed entirely online.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice—MA in Criminal Justice Online: The accelerated online master of arts in criminal justice offering from John Jay College of Criminal Justice is highly customizable. Students can choose one of four available concentrations, and dual specialization options are available.

Frequently-Asked Questions for Accelerated Online Master of Criminal Justice Degree Programs

It’s normal to have questions prior to enrollment in an accelerated online criminal justice master’s program. Use these as a launchpad for discovering as much as you can about these graduate-level offerings and making an informed decision. Keep in mind that the FAQs below are meant to provide general information and guidance and are not representative of any specific school or program.

Q: How quickly can I earn my master’s in criminal justice online?

A: Completion times for the accelerated master’s online degrees in criminal justice featured in this ranking range from 12 months to just under two years.

Q: How much does an accelerated master’s in criminal justice online program cost?

A: Tuition costs will vary by program. The annual expenses associated with the online accelerated master of criminal justice programs in our ranking range from under $5,000 to nearly $20,000.

Q: Can I complete my accelerated master of criminal justice online without ever attending campus?

A: Yes. The majority of programs listed in our ranking require no campus visits.

Q: Are part-time options available?

A: Yes. It’s possible to pursue an online master’s in criminal justice on a part-time basis. While the decreased course load may lengthen your completion time, accelerated part-time tracks are still available.

Q: Are internships required?

A: Not usually. Most of these accelerated master’s in criminal justice programs are designed for professionals already working in the field, so internships are not typically required. Some programs do offer these experiential learning options, though.

Q: Will I have to write a thesis to successfully complete my accelerated online master of criminal justice?

A: A thesis is typically not required for these programs, but thesis options are available for students who intend to pursue doctoral studies after graduation. Students who elect a non-thesis track will usually be required to complete some other capstone project in place of this traditional requirement.

Q: Will an online master of criminal justice program prepare me for doctoral studies in the field?

A: While it will depend on the school and program you choose to attend, most accelerated criminal justice master’s online programs prepare graduates for further study in a PhD program. If you think a doctorate in criminal justice is in your future, it’s wise to choose a master’s-level program with a thesis option.

Career Questions for Accelerated Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Degrees

Q: What can I do with a master’s degree in criminal justice?

A: There are numerous opportunities for graduates of an online criminal justice master’s degree program. Some of these include:

  • Criminal Justice Policy Analyst
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Special Agent
  • Criminologist
  • Victim Advocate
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Criminal Justice Professor

Q: What will I make with a criminal justice master’s degree?

A: Your exact salary with a master’s degree in criminal justice will depend on many factors, including where you live and who you work for. Even so, PayScale reports the average salary for a professional with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice to be over $62,000.

Q: What professional organizations in criminal justice can I join?

A: There are several different professional associations open to students and graduates of criminal justice master’s degree programs. Some of these include:

  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • American Correctional Association
  • Justice Research and Statistics Association
  • American Society of Criminology

This concludes our ranking of the Top 40 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice.

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