An influx of accelerated online Master’s in Law Enforcement degrees has recently become available to law enforcement professionals. These degrees are in high demand from not just individuals who need access to flexible programs but also their employers and the American government. With the demand for qualified candidates growing, the list of programs that are available online grows longer, providing in-service professionals with options about when and how to earn their graduate degree.
Working professionals would most like to attend a program that has little to no residency requirements. Removing the requirement for on-campus visits makes it possible for prospective students to choose high-quality degrees that may not be available in their area. It also ensures that programs are flexible and accelerated, providing students with a track that will see them complete their degree in two years or less.
Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Accelerated Law Enforcement Master’s Degree Online Programs
The editors of Fast Online Master’s are looking for speed, but quality is equally important. That’s why we feature only accredited, trusted colleges and universities. The schools in the Most Affordable ranking are presented according to their tuition rate, using current IPEDS data.
1. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers a law enforcement master’s degree online. It’s an MS in Justice Administration and Crime Management. This program helps prospective students move forward quickly and transition into leadership roles. It covers skills for all levels of criminal justice operations, from the local level to the federal level and everything in between. Students learn about criminology, criminal justice policy, and effective responses to crime. The online program is designed to be manageable for students who have responsibilities outside of school.
Bellevue University is a nonprofit university that emphasizes online learning, although it does have on-campus courses. Bellevue provides ample learning opportunities, especially for busy adults. It helps prospective students fully master their subject material so they can use it beyond the classroom. Bellevue operates from the belief that its students have lots of potential. It helps them tap into that potential and carry it with them wherever they may go. Bellevue University is ranked in the top 150 schools for social mobility in the United States.
Program: MS in Justice Administration and Crime Management (federal financial aid available when needed)
2. Columbia College
Columbia College’s online master’s degree in law enforcement is an MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law Enforcement Administration. The program examines current criminal justice trends and policies. From there, it teaches prospective students how to analyze and research those policies effectively. Students get to view criminal justice from many standpoints to advance their own criminal justice careers.
Columbia College offers quality education for all students, from 18-year-old freshmen to adults with jobs and children. Its online degree programs are flexible and accessible, and they provide a high quality education. Columbia College is nationally recognized for student success. It imparts vital skills for forward career momentum, and it’s been a leader among colleges for over 100 years. Columbia College has been named one of the best online schools in the country.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement Administration
3. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University offers a master’s in Justice, Policy, and Leadership. This program is a top choice for those who want to earn a law enforcement master’s degree online. The program blends criminal justice courses with a focus on social justice. It uses criminal justice to influence public policy for the better. Students learn about human rights and how they can protect those rights. Students may also choose from a few concentrations within this program.
Eastern Kentucky University prepares ambitious prospective students to step into their dream careers. It’s a strong community with excellent academics. EKU’s online programs provide the same excellence as its on-campus programs. However, they also provide the level of flexibility that many adults need from their courses. EKU emphasizes innovation, discovery, and taking student success to new heights. EKU is ranked among the top regional universities in the South, according to US News and World Report.
Program: Justice, Policy & Leadership Master’s (federal financial aid available when needed)
4. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University offers an MS in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management. It’s designed for current criminal justice professionals who want to enhance their leadership skills. It’s a top choice for career advancement in the law enforcement field, especially for those who want an online master’s degree in law enforcement. The program was created with flexibility in mind, so working professionals don’t have to sacrifice their current responsibilities while earning a degree.
Sam Houston State University has provided excellent education since the beginnings of its history. That history is long, but the university is growing, and it provides a contemporary education. SHSU emphasizes achievement and service. It’s dedicated to helping students reach their academic and career goals. SHSU has also been recognized for its impactful research. More than 75% of SHSU students work while pursuing their degrees.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management
5. Arizona State University
Arizona State University has a law enforcement master’s degree online. It’s a Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration with a concentration in Executive Police Administration. The program imparts the problem-solving skills students need to face today’s criminal justice issues, and it shows students how to take a close look at policy. It prepares prospective students for administration and leadership positions by teaching skills that can make them competitive in the workforce.
Arizona State University is a highly innovative university for contemporary students. This school’s research makes an impact in the classroom and the community. Students at ASU value innovation and entrepreneurship. ASU fosters their independence by providing an impactful education. Many employers across several industries seek ASU students specifically. Times Higher Education has ranked ASU #1 in the US for global impact in research, outreach, and stewardship.
Program: Master of Public Safety Leadership and Administration – Executive Police Administration (federal financial aid available when needed)
6. University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver’s MS in Criminal Justice has the option of a Crime Analysis concentration. This online master’s degree in law enforcement takes a multifaceted look at criminal justice, letting prospective students see criminology from different perspectives. As a result, students prepare for all kinds of careers within the criminal justice system, including leadership positions. All the while, they increase their skills in critical thinking, communication, and analysis.
CU Online provides all the rigor of a University of Colorado education, but it adds the flexibility of distance learning. This platform provides higher education that meets the needs of contemporary students. The school has more than 70 fully online programs, so its faculty members are highly experienced in online education. Through CU Online, students can earn a degree that takes careers to new heights. US News and World Report ranked CU Denver among the best online programs for graduate education in 2021.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – Crime Analysis (federal financial aid available when needed)
7. Wilmington University
Wilmington University offers an MS in Administration of Justice with an emphasis in Leadership and Administration. It’s a good choice for those who want to earn a law enforcement master’s degree online. The program takes a deep look at criminal justice topics, including ethics, policy, and decision-making. Various concentration options help students customize their degree to fit their goals. The program is also available in a hybrid format for those who want to combine online courses with on-campus courses. Students can take advantage of accelerated study options, which would let them finish their degrees in as little as one year.
Wilmington University is a private, open-access university created specifically for adult students. Courses are taught by experts with field experience. The curriculum emphasizes experience and hands-on learning. Wilmington University supports student success in many ways. It keeps education accessible through flexible learning and affordable tuition. Wilmington University is the #1 most affordable nonprofit private institution in its region.
Program: MS in Administration of Justice – Leadership and Administration
8. Michigan State University
Michigan State University offers an online master’s degree in law enforcement. It’s an MS in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis. This 18-month program is one of the oldest criminal justice graduate programs in the nation. Students learn about criminology and how they can use their knowledge to support a healthy society. They study the root causes of crime and how to respond to crime from a human rights perspective.
Michigan State University prides itself on “advancing the common good with uncommon will.” It makes worldwide improvements through top-tier scholarship and research. This distinctive university helps students stretch their limits. MSU is recognized and respected around the world. It’s an inclusive community with a diverse student population. Michigan State’s online graduate programs are ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report.
Program: MS in Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis
9. University of Toledo
The University of Toledo offers a law enforcement master’s degree online. This MA in Criminal Justice lets students choose from a list of concentrations. The program is designed for people who already work in the criminal justice field. Students study on a deeper level and build on previous knowledge. They can also customize their degree by taking up to nine credit hours in another area of study. The program ends with one of three possible capstone projects: a thesis, a compressive exam, or an internship.
The University of Toledo is a highly comprehensive university that teaches multifaceted skills, including the practical skills students need for career advancement. Students learn how to recognize challenges and find effective solutions. The University of Toledo helps students reach beyond their perceived limitations. It also performs impactful research in science, medicine, sociology, and more. US News and World Report has added 20 of Toledo’s programs to its national rankings.
Program: MA in Criminal Justice – Choose Concentration
10. CSU Global
CSU Global offers an MS in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration. This online master’s degree in law enforcement takes an up-close look at the systems and organizations of the criminal justice field. It teaches students how to build successful programs and provide impactful leadership within those programs. CSU’s criminal justice program helps learners understand criminal justice from a theoretical, big picture perspective.
CSU Global is Colorado State University’s online learning platform. It’s designed to bring the respected CSU educational experience to people who need flexibility in their courses. CSU Global has earned several rankings for its bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. It was the first 100% online university in the state of Colorado. Courses are taught by professionals who are experts in their fields. US News and World Report ranks CSU the #18 Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Program.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
11. University of Arizona Global Campus
The University of Arizona Global Campus offers a law enforcement master’s degree online. This MS in Criminal Justice comes with an option to concentrate in Law Enforcement and Corrections Administration. The degree helps students prepare for a broad range of career options. Students look at advanced law enforcement concepts from a theoretical lens. They learn about the causes of crime, different approaches to crime, and organizations in the criminal justice system. Students also study how to implement effective change and leadership.
The University of Arizona Global Campus provides an education with flexibility and personalization. It helps students stand apart from the crowd as they forge pathways to career success. The school is career-focused and provides highly relevant degree programs. Its innovative education aims to meet a wide variety of student needs, providing several resources to help make education affordable. ASU Online has no standardized testing requirements and no application fees.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement & Corrections Administration
12. Saint Joseph’s University
Saint Joseph University’s criminal justice program teaches a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical decision-making skills. As an MS in Criminal Justice, it comes with the option to focus on Federal Law Enforcement. With this online master’s degree in law enforcement, students can choose from various concentrations and earn credit for internships. Faculty members in this program have researched and practiced criminal justice.
Saint Joseph’s University is a Jesuit Catholic university with a history that spans more than 160 years. It provides a wholehearted education with a focus on academic rigor. Students at Saint Joseph’s University overcome limitations as they pursue excellence. All programs at this school are rooted in social justice and responsibility. Learners here can grow academically, personally, and spiritually, as the Jesuit tradition focuses on whole-person education.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – Federal Law Enforcement
13. University of the Cumberlands
The University of the Cumberlands offers a Master’s in Justice Administration with a Law Enforcement concentration. It’s a top law enforcement master’s degree online. Students learn how to serve others while working toward their own personal success. The program is designed to work both for those who have started their law enforcement careers and for those who have not. Either way, students can fit their degree into their own schedules as they study how criminal justice agencies and systems work.
The University of the Cumberlands is a Christian university dedicated to quality education. It teaches all of its courses through a Christian lens. Students pursue excellence in learning, and they learn how to lead by serving others. This school combines a liberal arts education with career-focused education. This way, students get a well-rounded school experience to prepare themselves for the future. The University of the Cumberlands was ranked #1 in the South for social mobility.
Program: Master’s in Justice Administration – Law Enforcement
14. University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma has an online master’s degree in law enforcement. The program can take as few as three semesters and as many as five years, depending on student scheduling needs. Learners get a focused look at the criminal justice system. They study how criminal justice works, how they can make a difference within the system, and how they can become good leaders in the field.
The OU Extended Campus provides an excellent education with a flexible online schedule. It’s a high-ranking choice among independent, goal-focused students. This school helps students channel their raw talent into effective, usable skills. It also focuses on leadership abilities, critical thinking, and other skills that can help students get ahead in their careers. Students are supported at every step of the way. US News and World Report ranks OU in the top 100 Best Colleges for Veterans.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – 4 Certificates
15. University of Massachusetts Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers an MA in Criminal Justice. The school offers this law enforcement master’s degree online. This program promotes safety and security in the public realm, and it helps students move their way up the career ladder into leadership positions. Because the criminal justice system is always evolving, this program keeps up with current events to meet current needs. The program is fully online to meet the needs of busy students.
UMass Lowell is part of the University of Massachusetts system. This particular branch is focused on online and professional studies. As an early leader in online education, UMass Lowell now has years of online education experience. Many courses are designed specifically for online learners, but they don’t sacrifice the quality of on-campus classes. Here, students hone the skills they’ll need most for successful careers. The school also forges partnerships with businesses and organizations that can help students get a head start. UMass Lowell has the #4 best online master’s in Criminal Justice, according to US News and World Report.
Program: MA in Criminal Justice
16. Chaminade University
Chaminade University of Honolulu offers an online MS in Criminal Justice Studies – Law Enforcement focus that students can complete in as little as 12 months. Students are prepared to take on roles in federal, local, and even non-governmental law enforcement agencies and organizations. With four 10-week terms per year, students in Hawaii’s best law enforcement masters degree online program get the credentials they need to get ahead.
Chaminade University is a Native Hawaiian Serving Institution, with a student body made up of more than two-thirds Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian. Many of its programs take a Hawaii-focused approach, including the law enforcement online program. Chaminade was founded by the Catholic Society of Mary, and maintains Marianist values.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice Studies – Law Enforcement
17. Missouri Baptist University
At Missouri Baptist University, the MS in Criminal Justice Studies comes with the option of a Law Enforcement concentration. It’s a law enforcement master’s degree online. This program works both for people who want to start a criminal justice career and for those who want to advance the career that they already have. Students prepare for jobs as probation officers, police officers, and private detectives. The program fits within the schedules of current law enforcement employees. Learners gain the confidence they’ll need for higher-level roles within the criminal justice system.
Missouri Baptist University is a Christian school with the perspective that each student has a God-given purpose. Its online platform keeps the faith-based learning while using a format that works well for adults. That format includes flexibility, affordability, and even accelerated degree options. This school is ranked highly for its affordability compared to other Christian schools, which are ordinarily less affordable than public schools. It has also won several other awards and rankings. Best Colleges Online has ranked Missouri Baptist University among the Top 20 Best Online Colleges in Missouri.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice Studies – Law Enforcement-federal law enforcement officers
18. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati’s online master’s degree in law enforcement can be finished in as few as twelve months. This MS in Criminal Justice looks at the system from multiple perspectives. Students don’t just study crime and law. They also learn about the psychological and sociological aspects of crime. Studies go beyond the daily life in criminal justice, focusing on theory, analysis, and research. This degree makes a good choice for those who want to study the big picture.
The University of Cincinnati is a powerful and innovative university. Students dive deeply into academics but still get plenty of real-world experience. Cincinnati is a big school with big resources, including more than 400 degree programs. Since this school has more than 300,000 alumni, students can make important connections. They also learn from highly experienced, talented faculty members who want to see them succeed. US News and World Report has ranked Cincinnati’s MS in Criminal Justice as the 11th best in the nation.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice and law enforcement leaders-federal law enforcement officers
19. University of the Southwest
The University of the Southwest has an MBA in Law Enforcement and Corrections. Students learn leadership, technology, budgeting, and strategy building. It’s also 100% online and self-paced, so students can earn their degree at their own speed. As a result, it’s a solid choice for busy students who want to earn a law enforcement master’s degree online. This is especially true for those who want to move into higher-level criminal justice positions. Students can earn credits for professional experience and military training.
The University of the Southwest is a private Christian university with a strong academic curriculum. Its online degree programs provide the same education as its on-campus programs provide, but in a convenient format. It uses self-paced degree options, so students can get what they need, whether that means learning part-time or finishing a degree as quickly as possible. This school is highly ranked among regional universities, and it’s a strong choice for people who want to blend faith and education. USW provides free virtual healthcare to its online students, thanks to their partnership with HealthiestYou and Teledoc.
Program: MBA in Law Enforcement and Corrections and law enforcement leaders
20. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University has an online master’s degree in law enforcement. More specifically, it’s an MS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law Enforcement. This degree program recognizes that criminal justice grows and evolves. Students need flexibility to keep up with current criminal justice needs. This program instills that flexibility while teaching important criminal justice skills. Courses cover more than just the daily tasks of law enforcement. They also show students how to analyze and strategize.
Grand Canyon University is a Christian university. It started as a Baptist school but is now interdenominational. GCU emphasizes selfless service, a Christian identity, and excellent academics. GCU integrates faith into all of its courses, including its online courses. Students get a chance to connect with a community and use their talents to serve others, all while preparing for a fulfilling career. Niche.com ranked GCU #3 for diversity in the state of Arizona.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice -law enforcement leaders
21. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers an MS in Corrections, which is a law enforcement master’s degree online. This 36-hour program focuses on large-scale risk management and disaster mitigation. The program director has decades of experience in the field, so courses stay grounded in real-world expertise. The program is built for everyone from correctional offices to administrators. Students can get a leg-up in the field no matter their career aspirations.
Saint Leo University is the oldest Catholic college in Florida and one of the highest-ranked schools in the area. Though it’s a Catholic school, Saint Leo welcomes students of all faiths. Online learning, just like on-campus learning, is taught by faculty members with field experience. Students gain support and a competitive edge in their careers. They also challenge themselves to reach their full potential, both professionally and academically. Saint Leo University is one of the top 100 institutions for minority students, according to US News and World Report.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – law enforcement leaders
22. Liberty University
Liberty University’s online master’s degree in law enforcement is an MS in Law Enforcement Leadership. The program takes an average of one and a half years to complete, but students can accelerate their degree by transferring up to 50% of their credits. Because the program focuses on leadership, it teaches higher-level criminal justice skills. Students can specialize in a specific area, such as cyber crime, if they want to hone their focus. This program draws students who have a passion for justice, safety, and law.
Liberty University is a top Christian university with a commitment to its values. Liberty’s online programs make Christian education accessible to busy adults. The online platform offers degrees from the bachelor level to doctorate. This school has a lot of experience in online education. In fact, it’s a leader in online education among Christian schools. Liberty’s online learning platform has also been noted for its affordability, especially compared to other Christian education options. Niche.com ranked Liberty University among the best online colleges for 2021.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement Leadership
23. Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University’s online master’s degree in law enforcement is a Human Resources Training and Development degree. This school has offered criminal justice raining for more than 25 years. Now, those courses are available online for convenience and accessibility. The program is also available in a blended format, combining online and on-campus courses. It’s a good program for those who want to reach the highest levels of law enforcement. The program combines key law enforcement skills with leadership and analytics.
Seton Hall is a leading Catholic university with a reputation for excellence. The school was named after Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first saint born in the United States. Seton Hall remains rooted in historic traditions while providing a relevant education for today’s students. It combines excellent academics with high expectations. The school has a low student to faculty ratio, so students get a personalized approach to their courses. Students who get accepted into Seton Hall’s HRTD program get a 50% discount on the graduate tuition rate.
Program: MA in Human Resources Training and Development – Police Graduate Studies Program
24. University of New Haven
The University of New Haven offers an online master’s degree in law enforcement. This MS in Criminal Justice prepares students for leadership roles. Participants learn about advocacy, security, and other law enforcement topics. They sharpen their skills to become the best versions of themselves. Courses are taught by professionals in the law enforcement field. The program is both 100% online and self-paced, so learners can choose the speed that works best for them.
At the University of New Haven, students come first whether they learn online or on campus. The school focuses on professional development to help students in their careers. New Haven provides engaging courses and supports a motivated community. It has strong academics across many areas. The online learning platform adds convenience and flexibility to the academic experience. The Princeton Review recognizes New Haven as one of the best universities in the United States.
Program: MS in Criminal Justice
25. Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University has a law enforcement master’s degree online. The program is geared toward leaders who want to focus on long-term solutions. Courses cover a wide range of law enforcement topics, including protection against cyber crime. Faculty members even help students find internship opportunities to further their real-world law enforcement experience.
Salve Regina is a small school where future leaders learn how to make a difference. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, this Catholic university welcomes people of all faiths. It combines liberal arts with professional training. Salve Regina values academic challenge, communication, leadership, and creativity. It also instills a love for justice and mercy that students can take with them long after graduation. 99% of Salve Regina students receive financial aid.
Program: Administration of Justice and Homeland Security – Justice Leadership
Why Should I Get a Law Enforcement Degree?
There are many reasons to consider pursuing a law enforcement degree. While a police studies degree isn’t typically required to apply for law enforcement roles, it would be shortsighted that say that it doesn’t help. Law enforcement degree programs can also provide benefits now and later for those seeking a career in law enforcement.
Most law enforcement education requirements stop at the high school level for basic entry-level positions. It is worth noting, however, that not applicants to police academies and positions are accepted. So how important is a law enforcement degree?
In addition to likely enhancing the chances of getting accepted for the position or into that training program or academy, a law enforcement education can provide other benefits. A law enforcement degree can also have positive impacts on potential earnings and law enforcement careers.
What Will I Learn in a Law Enforcement Degree Program?
Not only is it reasonable and practical to expect police college courses or a law enforcement degree to benefit future law enforcement officials, but it will also teach many important tools, skills, and law enforcement practices. These facts are also why these programs and degrees can improve the odds of being accepted into an academy or training program.
Curriculum options such as criminal justice classes and police college courses can provide practical advantages now and later. It can improve the odds of getting into that academy, and it can also make it easier to succeed in those academies and training programs.
Those in law enforcement degree programs will learn not only about the practices and methods of policing but about the history, purpose, and need for law enforcement today. Criminal justice classes and other law enforcement courses can help future law enforcement officials to perform better on the job too. Yes, criminal justice classes can be helpful in a law enforcement career, but is it necessary?
Do I Need a Law Enforcement Degree to Become a Cop?
There are more than a few law enforcement colleges or academies. In many cases, colleges or universities have class and coursework affiliations with local police authorities. That also results in having many good colleges of police officers and many good degrees for law enforcement careers.
These include degrees for law enforcement careers that are on both the undergraduate and master’s levels. These law enforcement curriculums also cover a range of legal and policing topics.
Although there isn’t anything specifically classified as police studies degree jobs, these law enforcement colleges do offer the best degrees for law enforcement careers. So what does that mean exactly? Do I need a law enforcement degree to become a cop?
The easy answer is no, it isn’t technically a requirement to earn a degree to become a cop. The smart answer is that earning an accelerated online law enforcement degree in a masters or undergraduate degree will benefit law enforcement careers. That also includes improving the chances of being accepted into a police academy or training program.
Will I Make More Money as a Cop with a Law Enforcement Degree?
Law enforcement degree jobs will typically pay more than those that don’t require a degree. That is no surprise, but what might be a surprise is the typically strong salary of those beginning in law enforcement. Where candidates begin their career and at what salary can depend on many factors such as the type of position, location of the job, and education of the candidate.
So what is the salary of a police officer, and what impacts a law enforcement salary? These are a few of the more common questions asked by those looking at law enforcement degree colleges, and law enforcement degree jobs. Although a great many factors can influence how much a police officer makes, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports the median pay for police and detectives to be $67,290 per year.
The law enforcement salary for a law enforcement officer working in a metropolitan area with higher crime rates can typically expect to make more than a cop working in a small town. And a police officer with a degree or a post-graduate degree can also typically expect to earn more than a candidate without these credentials.
The answer to what is the salary of a police officer may not be so clearly defined, but one thing is certain, a degree in law enforcement can help promote your career. It can earn you more money, and it can increase the chances of succeeding in the field of law enforcement too.