Best Master’s in Corrections Administration Programs of 2022

A master's in corrections administration program can help enhance your career and salary options. See which schools stand out.

portrait of James Mielke
by James Mielke

Published on July 7, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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Earning a master's in corrections administration and criminal justice can be a practical way for working professionals to enhance their career options and boost their earning potential.

Whether they work as police officers, as public policy advocates, or simply want to change their career path, individuals can enroll in a flexible and affordable online master's program in corrections administration and criminal justice.

These online master's programs often give degree-seekers the opportunity to complete coursework while keeping up with professional and personal responsibilities.

Additionally, full-time students can complete these master's tracks in just 15 months. Throughout these programs, students tackle coursework that can help enhance their leadership skills and deepen their criminal justice knowledge.

And while the true program cost of a graduate degree can seem expensive, online students cut costs on campus-based fees and travel all while expanding their job options in the future. Those weighing whether they should attend graduate school and go into debt may feel comfortable knowing that the best programs are relatively generous with awarding aid.

Continue reading to see which schools offer the best master's in corrections administration programs and which programs mirror your academic and career goals.

Our Top Pick

The University of Alabama at Birmingham — Birmingham, Alabama

Why It's #1: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) ranks as the No. 1 school on our list for the Best Master's in Corrections Administration Programs in 2022. This flexible and affordable online degree holds a relatively high admission rate of 74%, with a graduation rate of 63%. In addition to in-state graduate tuition of $8,100, online students save on campus-based fees and travel costs. Already a relatively affordable option, 95% of UAB students receive financial aid.

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2022 Best Accredited Master's in Corrections Administration Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

University of Alabama at Birmingham

School Information
Location Birmingham, Alabama
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $555 per credit
Out of State | $555 per credit

Credits to Graduate
30 or 36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public research institution that offers a master's in criminal justice that students can complete entirely online. An ideal option for students needing flexibility, degree-seekers can choose from thesis and non-thesis tracks and complete core classes such as foundations of digital forensics, restorative justice, and investigating online crimes.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit an application with official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose outlining academic and career goals.

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#2

Lewis University

School Information
Location Romeoville, Illinois
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 67%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $600 per credit
Out of State | $600 per credit

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Lewis University is an Illinois-based private institution that offers a 100% online master's in criminal justice. This flexible option can be a good choice for working students. First responders can receive a 20% tuition discount.

Throughout this 36-credit program, students complete coursework pulled from one of two academic concentrations: criminal justice or security studies. Core classes for both include criminal procedure, criminal law, and criminology.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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#3

Sam Houston State University

School Information
Location Huntsville, Texas
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $320 per credit
Out of State | $320 per credit

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Established in 1879, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is a public institution that offers a master's in criminal justice. In this 100% online program, students tackle a 36-credit curriculum that covers courses such as critical analysis of justice administration, research methods and quantitative analysis, and emergent issues in criminal justice leadership.

Prospective students must submit an application with official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal essay discussing their professional history and career goals. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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#4

Suffolk University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $1,340 per credit
Out of State | $1,340 per credit

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Founded in 1906, Suffolk University is a Boston-based private research institution that offers a master's in crime and justice studies that students can complete in just three semesters. Throughout this 30-credit curriculum, students complete core classes such as quantitative analysis, research methods, and crime and communities. Degree-seekers can also choose academic concentrations in victim advocacy and youth crime and justice.

Applicants to this master's track must submit an application with a professional resume, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Prospective learners also include an essay outlining academic and career goals.

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#5

Eastern Kentucky University

School Information
Location Richmond, Kentucky
Admission Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $611 per credit
Out of State | $611 per credit

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) offers a 100% online master's in criminal justice policy and leadership. This program tackles criminal justice topics with a concentration in corrections and offers the theoretical and practical skills necessary for career advancement. Core classes include topics such as criminology theory, intelligent leadership, and advanced justice administration.

Prospective EKU students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. In addition to a completed application, applicants submit two letters of recommendation. Individuals not meeting GPA requirements can submit GRE scores to demonstrate grad school readiness.

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#6

Saint Leo University

School Information
Location Saint Leo, Florida
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 49%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $635 per credit
Out of State | $635 per credit

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Saint Leo University is a Florida-based private institution that offers a master's in criminal justice program ideal for working professionals looking to expand their career options and earning potential. Degree-seekers can complete an academic concentration in corrections while completing core classes such as ethical issues in criminal justice administration, public policymaking in criminal justice, and leadership application in criminal justice.

Prospective online students can apply online and must include official academic transcripts showcasing a minimum 3.0 GPA. Individuals with a sub-3.0 GPA must include a personal essay outlining career goals.

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#7

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $627 per credit
Out of State | $627 per credit

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is home to a substantial catalog of online programs, including a 100% online master's in criminal justice. This 36-credit program offers an asynchronous delivery, and students can choose from concentration options in advanced counterterrorism and public safety administration. 

Core classes include topics such as critical issues in the criminal justice system, ethical leadership in criminal justice, and assessing organizational performance. Before graduation, students complete a degree-culminating capstone project.

SNHU does not require the submission of GRE/GMAT scores. Those with a GPA less than 2.75 can receive conditional admission.

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#8

Coppin State University

School Information
Location Baltimore, Maryland
Admission Rate 28%
Graduation Rate 25%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $351 per credit
Out of State | $646 per credit

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Established in 1900, Coppin State University is a public, Baltimore-based historically Black university that offers a master's in criminal justice. Students can choose from specializations in areas including administration, correctional counseling, and criminal justice planning and research.

Throughout this 36-credit program, students complete core classes, including a survey in criminal justice administration, advanced criminology, and research methods. Before graduation, degree-seekers submit a thesis project or complete a comprehensive exam.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and submit three letters of recommendation along with their application.

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#9

Adrian College

School Information
Location Adrian, Michigan
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 50%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $600 per credit
Out of State | $600 per credit

Credits to Graduate
33

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Established in 1859, Michigan's Adrian College is home to a master's in criminal justice that prioritizes both classroom-based and experiential learning. This 33-credit program allows for thesis and non-thesis tracks, and students complete core classes such as a civil liberties seminar, advanced community policing, and advanced corrections.

Applicants to Adrian's criminal justice master's program must hold an undergraduate degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Prospective students submit a completed application and official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

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#10

Wilmington University

School Information
Location New Castle, Delaware
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $500 per credit
Out of State | $500 per credit

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Delaware's Wilmington University offers a 100% online master's in administration of justice. Degree-seekers can choose from three specializations — criminal behavior, homeland security, and leadership — and complete a 36-credit curriculum. Core classes include topics such as criminological theory, criminal justice ethics, and technology for modern policing. 

Prospective Wilmington students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and can apply online. Applicants must submit official transcripts from past schools and participate in a program planning conference with admission officials.

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Popular Online Corrections Administration Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Master's in Corrections Administration ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 10 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Corrections Administration Programs

Is a master's in corrections administration worth it? true

Earning a criminal justice master's in corrections administration can enhance career options, boost earning potential, and is definitely worth it. Ideal for working professionals, these programs lean on theoretical and practical skills that often lead to graduates securing leadership roles.

In addition to the flexibility of online programs, full-time students often graduate in as few as 15 months, adding another cost-saving benefit. Further, online learners inevitably save money by avoiding campus-based fees and the cost of traveling to campus.

What can I do with a master's in corrections administration?

Earning a criminal justice master's in corrections administration is often a flexible and affordable option for working professionals and can help graduates secure numerous positions. These programs often lead to senior positions and leadership roles in areas such as law enforcement, public policy, and security and corrections.

Whether individuals seek roles as prison wardens, police chiefs, or public policy advocates, online programs allow them to complete academic requirements while keeping up with personal and professional obligations. Standout online programs utilize an interactive platform that utilizes group work, videos, and self-guided coursework.

What continuing education is available for corrections administration graduates?

Upon completing their resume-boosting master's in criminal justice and corrections administration, graduates still have access to various continuing education that can enhance their careers. Whether they pursue a Ph.D. in criminal justice or a law degree, the growth opportunities are seemingly endless.

Continuing education options include Ph.D. programs, additional master's-level work, and graduate certificates that allow students to hone a particular set of skills. Graduate certificates in this field can cover topics such as criminal justice leadership, security management, homeland security, and corrections management.

How much money can I make with a master's in corrections administration?

Earning potential after completing a master's in criminal justice and corrections administration can vary. Completing a master's is a common pathway for individuals wanting to enhance their earning potential and career options, but elements like geographic location and professional experience play a significant role in determining how much you can earn.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, correctional officers earn a median income of nearly $48,000 per year, as of May 2021. Additionally, correctional treatment specialists earn over $60,000 annually, and police officers earn about $66,000 per year.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in corrections administration?

The highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master's in criminal justice and corrections administration are often leadership, management, and supervisory positions. According to Payscale, the average base salary for prison wardens exceeds $90,000 per year, as of April 2022.

Alongside the benefits of earning a master's degree, top earners typically rely on professional experience to enhance their earning potential. Additionally, earning professional credentials and completing graduate certificate programs can further expand job options and how much individuals can earn.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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