Top 10 Masters in Criminal Justice in Canada

Criminal justice is a field of study that prepares students for a variety of careers in the criminal justice system. Graduates often find work as police officers, detectives, probation officers, and correctional counselors. They may also work as lawyers, judges, and crime scene investigators. Students who study criminal justice in Canada will have the opportunity to learn about the legal system, criminology, and forensics. They will also gain practical experience through internships and co-ops with local police forces and other law enforcement agencies. Canada’s criminal justice system is one of the most advanced in the world, and graduates of Canadian programs will be well-prepared to pursue careers in this exciting field.

Here are our top 10 picks for studying criminal justice in Canada:

#1 Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy (University of Guelph)

The Master of Criminal Justice program at Guelph University offers a unique, interdisciplinary approach to criminology. With faculty from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Political Science, this program provides students with a strong foundation in criminal justice and governance. Through a course-based program or by tackling a thesis or major research paper, students in this program will develop critical analysis and research skills which will prepare them for further studies in criminology, sociology, or political science or for the career of their choosing. To be eligible for the Master program, applicants must have completed an Honours bachelor’s degree in a social science or humanities program with a minimum B+ average and at least five (5) criminology and/or public policy undergraduate courses. Applicants with an undergraduate major in sociology, criminology or political science are preferred. If English is not an applicant’s first language, they will be required to submit the results of a standardized language test.

#2 Criminology (Wilfrid Laurier University)

As a Criminology student at Wilfrid Laurier University, you’ll take classes that explore the sociology, psychology and law behind crime. You’ll examine what defines a crime, why people commit them, and how society responds. Criminologists focus on: theories explaining the causes of crime; the social impact and reaction to crime and deviance; the effects of victimization; the criminal justice system and law enforcement responses to crime; and crime prevention. At Laurier, you’ll get a well-rounded education that emphasizes critical thinking, theoretical explanations of behaviour, a foundation in qualitative and quantitative research methods, and communication skills. You’ll be prepared for a career in criminology or further study in law.

#3 Sociology and Criminology (University of Manitoba)

The criminology program at the University of Manitoba offers students a systematic study of the nature and extent of crime and criminalization. It also provides an overview of the agencies and programs designed to prevent, control, and respond to criminal activity over time and place. The program emphasizes specific issues related to gender, race, class and crime, youth and crime, violence and victimization, criminal law and procedure, policing and crime prevention, restorative justice, and global criminology. Courses in the criminology program provide students with a solid foundation in sociological theory and research methods. Students learn to critically examine various explanations for criminal behaviour, as well as different responses to crime by individuals, groups, communities, institutions, and society as a whole. The criminology program at the University of Manitoba is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate program provides students with a broad understanding of criminological theory and research, while the graduate program allows students to specialize in specific areas of interest.

#4 Criminology and Sociolegal Studies (University of Toronto)

The University of Toronto’s Criminology and Sociolegal Studies MA program provides students with a broad foundation of academic training and insight into criminological issues. Students can complete the MA program on a part-time or full-time basis. Full- and part-time MA students’ programs begin in September. In all cases, students are required to complete the program within the time limits set for the MA degree under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the program ensures that students gain exposure to a variety of perspectives on crime and justice, while still allowing them to tailor their studies to their own interests and needs. There are two options to fulfill the course requirements: Students can either write a research paper or take part in additional coursework.

#5 Criminology – Feminist and Gender Studies (University of Ottawa)

The Master of Arts in Criminology with a specialization in Feminist and Gender Studies will prepare students to critically examine crime and justice from a feminist perspective. Students will learn about the ways in which gender shapes our understanding of crime and justice, as well as the experience of victimization and offending. The program will also explore how gender intersects with other social factors, such as race, class and sexuality, to produce unique patterns of victimization and criminal behaviour. Through coursework, research projects and practicum placements, students will develop the skills necessary to conduct critical analyses of gender in the criminal justice system. Graduates of this program will be prepared for careers in a variety of fields, including criminal justice, social work, counselling, victim services, and policy analysis. They will also be well-positioned to pursue further academic study in criminology or a related discipline.

#6 Criminology (University of Windsor)

The criminology program at the University of Windsor is designed to provide students with an opportunity to acquire academic and professional knowledge in the multi-faceted areas of crime, security, social justice and related subjects. The program develops applied research skills that will enable students to become independent research investigators capable of disseminating knowledge and research results through their engagement in criminal justice and related fields. The MA thesis project emphasizes student training and the development of research competencies and skills demanded by today’s workplace. Students are required to complete a supervised thesis research project under the guidance of a faculty supervisor. Thesis projects may be undertaken in a variety of settings including government agencies, private sector organizations, or community groups.

#7 Criminology (University of the Fraser Valley)

If you want to take your career in the criminal justice field to the next level, consider pursuing a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley. This 32-credit program is designed for employed professionals who want to acquire knowledge and skills that will help them advance their career, as well as recent graduates with volunteer experience who want to augment their skills. In this program, you’ll examine ethical dilemmas and problems that you are likely to encounter within your chosen profession and learn how to accomplish crime analysis to develop practical responses to crime. You’ll also explore how to address current issues within criminal justice systems and gain the analytical skills needed to effectively manage these systems. By the end of the program, you’ll be prepared to assume a leadership role in the criminal justice field.

#8 Criminology (University of Ontario)

The MA in Criminology at the University of Ontario provides students with a comprehensive understanding of criminological theory, research methods, and substantive issues in criminology. The program equips students with the critical thinking and practical skills necessary to conduct research and work in the public and private sectors. Students in the program benefit from small class sizes, individualized attention from faculty, and opportunities to engage in independent research projects. The MA in Criminology is an excellent choice for those interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, corrections, victim services, or any other field related to crime and justice.

#9 Justice Studies (Royal Roads University)

The Master of Arts in Justice Studies at Royal Roads University is a unique blended program that looks at ideas of justice from interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and multifaceted perspectives. Topics covered in the program may include Indigenous rights, mental health and disability services and support, housing, poverty reduction, racism, gender inequality and environmental issues. Students in the program will learn about concepts around fairness, identity and communication, and how to apply them in real-world contexts. The Justice Studies program is an excellent choice for those who are passionate about bringing justice to the world. If you want to learn more about what justice means in many different contexts, this is the program for you.

#10 Police Studies (University of Regina)

The MA in Police Studies is offered by the Department of Justice Studies at the University of Regina. The program is directed to police officers and other professionals associated with Canadian police forces, whether federal or municipal. The program has an interdisciplinary focus and draws upon several departments of the Faculty of Arts, together with other partners, to provide a social science perspective on policing, and the opportunity to pursue research into specific aspects of that activity. Specific areas of study include: criminology, sociology, psychology, political science, public administration, and First Nations studies. Students have the opportunity to tailor their coursework to their specific interests and needs. The MA in Police Studies provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to critically examine policing and police services in Canada. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to contribute to the advancement of policing through research and analysis.

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