Program at a Glance
- Top 4 Online Programs since 2015
- Online and On Campus
- Full-Time or Part-Time Study
- 32 Credits
- 8–16 Months to Completion
- 4 Full-Time Faculty Members
- No GRE/GMAT
Qualify for Crime Analysis Jobs with a Master’s in Criminal Justice
Policework is not just knocking on doors and interviewing witnesses anymore. The proliferation of data generated by surveillance cameras, body cams, GPS, mobile devices, social media, email and text exchanges, wearable tech, sensors, and other sources has enhanced the potential to map hotspots, discern patterns and trends, gather evidence, solve crimes, and demonstrate results. Having the skills to analyze this data is critical for tactical, operational, and strategic efforts in law enforcement, and essential to research and policy development and reform.
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice concentration in Crime Analysis at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) develops your expertise in using and analyzing a variety of data sources to inform the investigations, strategies, and policy decisions of criminal justice organizations. This set of skills is crucial to a growing field within law enforcement and related domains in criminal justice.
“I graduated in September 2017. Shortly after, I earned a position in Florida as a crime analyst for a sheriff’s office. Now, I’m an investigative analyst for the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York, New York.” —Michael-Angelo Zummo (MET’17), Investigative Analyst for the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York, New York
Explore Careers in Crime Analysis
Use the Career Insights tool to explore jobs that are the right fit for you. Filter by career area and job title or by industry sector to explore employment demand and average salaries. Select “Learn More” for a downloadable career report, or “Explore Other Options” to find the BU MET degree or certificate program that will prepare you for the job you want.
Why BU’s Criminal Justice Master’s Has Been Top 4 since 2015
- Active Learning Environment: Benefit from a criminal justice master’s that employs case studies, simulations using real data, and hands-on problem solving to develop practical skills you can immediately apply on the job.
- Engaged Faculty: Collaborate with faculty who have subject-matter expertise, research-based insight, and extensive field experience in law enforcement, corrections, cybercrime investigation and digital forensics, research and policy, forensic mental health, the judicial system, strategic management, and many other areas.
- Extensive Network: Study alongside classmates whose diversity of criminal justice experience inspires discussion and debate, along with the opportunity to form valuable, long-lasting connections in the field.
- 15:1 Class Ratio: Enjoy an exceptional student-to-instructor ratio, ensuring close interaction with faculty and access to support.
- Valuable Resources: Make use of Boston University’s extensive resources, including the Center for Career Development, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, the George Sherman Union, and many others.
- Flexible Options: Study at the pace that works for you, evenings on campus or fully online. Courses begin fall, spring, and summer; online courses have two starts per term.
- Track Record: Learn from the best—BU MET has offered criminal justice education since 1973, introducing the master’s degree in criminal justice in 1980, which became BU’s first fully online program in 2002.
- Merit Scholarships: All applicants are automatically considered, and admitted students are nominated based on eligibility.
- Fee Waiver: Current members of the American Jail Association (AJA) are eligible for a Graduate Application fee waiver ($85 for applications to the master’s program).
Prepare for the Future of Criminal Justice
The Crime Analysis concentration is part of BU MET’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ). Data-driven and intelligence-led approaches to crime are rapidly becoming the standard among contemporary criminal justice organizations, and BU MET’s crime analysis curriculum prepares students to fill in-house crime analyst roles or similar positions, while strengthening the skills of those working in investigations, management, and operations.
The master’s in Criminal Justice at BU MET is designed for professionals who want to enter or advance in the field of criminal justice—or simply gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating discipline and how it intersects with careers in mental health, public health, journalism, and law. Emphasizing practical, insightful, and adaptable knowledge, BU MET’s criminal justice courses develop practical skills that can be immediately applied on the job while informing your career growth for years to come.
Graduate with Expertise in Crime Analysis
Metropolitan College’s Criminal Justice master’s degree concentration in Crime Analysis will equip you to:
- Understand the wide variety of data sources available for crime and intelligence analysis, including the methods of data collection, uses, strengths, and limitations.
- Prepare different sources of data for use in analysis processes (e.g., data reorganization, matching).
- Conduct analysis using a variety of different techniques, including mapping and spatial analysis and other advanced methods.
- Incorporate analyses into effective written and oral reports that are useful to investigation, strategy, and policy decisions within law enforcement organizations.
- Comprehend the ethical and legal rules and values that govern crime analysis within law enforcement organizations operating in a democratic society.
Inform effective data-driven or intelligence-led investigations, strategies, and policies based on awareness of contemporary law enforcement and security approaches.
You can also earn the master’s in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Crime Analysis by completing the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice and the Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis. To be eligible for the degree, you must apply for admission and be accepted into the degree program. Consult with a graduate admissions advisor to learn more about this option.
Master’s in Criminal Justice Requirements
(Four courses/16 credits)
Criminology and Crime Policy
o This course explores potential answers to complex and important questions about criminal behavior by drawing on the social science of criminology. Criminology is the interdisciplinary study of the development of law, criminal phenomena and societal responses to crime. The course has two primary focuses: 1) to explore and evaluate major explanations or theories of crime and 2) understand and evaluate the policy implications of major crime problems. Because criminology is interdisciplinary, students will examine theories that are grounded in a range of academic perspectives, including sociological, biological, political, psychological and economic explanations for crime. These theories will be centered on important public policy debates about a host of contemporary problems, including: firearm violence, high post- incarceration recidivism, opioid use disorder crisis and human trafficking. Course lectures and discussions focus on the historical development of the theories, their major assumptions and propositions, their relevance for public policy and practice. As the course progresses through each explanation for crime, students will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the validity of different explanations for crime as well as criminal justice policies and practices that they support.
Criminal Justice Administration and Ethics
o This course will introduce students to the concepts of criminal justice administration and ethics. Students will learn about: the management of justice organizations in the United States, and the various debates as to how best to carry out crime control. Topics covered include: organizational theory and structure, professional ethics, leadership and management styles, organizational deviance and socialization, employee motivation, and management responses to stress and burnout. The course is designed to help students understand the characteristics of effective leadership and policy implementation in the field of criminal justice. Students will also have the opportunity to analyze ethical dilemmas commonly confronted in criminal justice work.
Research and Evaluation Methods
o The skills used in research method have become central to many positions within criminal justice administration and related areas. Not only are professionals required to understand and critically evaluate the program and policy science in their field to make decisions, they often employ methodological skills in program and policy development, implementation, management and assessment. This course takes students through the research process from question development to administration and reporting. It emphasizes applied research situations and settings and specifically program evaluation and assessment. After examining various research design models, the course focuses on specific techniques that inform both quantitative and qualitative evaluation studies. These include sampling procedures, survey design, interview techniques, participant observation and case studies and process evaluations.
Applied Analytical Methods
o Evidence-based and data-driven approaches to crime problems are the industry standard among criminal justice agencies and non-governmental organizations. This course will cover a variety of statistical "tools" from three broad areas: (1) descriptive statistics, (2) inferential statistics and hypothesis testing, and (3) measures of association. Students will learn how to develop research questions, describe and draw conclusions from quantitative data, and interpret statistical research findings, and be able to present these findings to a variety of audiences in a clear and accurate way -- to be able to "tell a story" with numbers. In addition, students will develop a proficiency working with large data sets and conducting analysis with a critical lens, using the analytical software -- Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) -- commonly used in criminal justice and related fields.
Crime Analysis Concentration Requirements
(Four courses/16 credits)
Crime and Intelligence Analysis
o Contemporary law enforcement agencies regularly employ crime and intelligence analysis to develop and inform effective responses to crime. This course provides an in-depth examination of crime and intelligence analysis techniques. It also explores the role of the crime and intelligence analyst within law enforcement organizations and processes, the historical evolution of this approach, key legal and policy issues, and challenges to implementation. Students have the opportunity to apply these skills to case study simulations involving an array of common crime problems and cases using real-world examples and sources of information.
GIS and Spatial Analysis
Geographic Information Systems for Planners provides an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specifically with a focus on applications in urban planning. The role of spatial analysis in local, state and regional planning has steadily increased over the last decade with the infusion of windows-based GIS software such as ESRI ArcGIS. The class focus is to prepare students to feel comfortable communicating with other GIS users, research spatial data, and produce high quality digital maps in an applied learning environment.
Plus two additional electives from the following list:
Special Project in Criminal Justice
Individual faculty supervision of an independent student project demonstrating application of previous program coursework to a selected topic, issue, or theme in criminal justice.
Information Structures with Python
This course presents an effective approach to learn Python. With extensive use of graphical illustrations, it will build understanding of Python and its capabilities by learning through examples and analogies. These examples will derive from real word applications to enhance critical thinking skills. The class will involve active student participation, discussions, and programming exercises. This approach will help build a strong foundation in Python programming that can be used effectively in real-job situations and will provide a foundation for future courses. Prerequisite: Programming experience in any language. Or Instructor's consent.
Data Structures and Algorithms
This course covers and relates fundamental components of programs. Students use various data structures to solve computational problems, and implement data structures using a high-level programming language. Algorithms are created, decomposed, and expressed as pseudocode. The running time of various algorithms and their computational complexity are analyzed. Prerequisite: MET CS300 and either MET CS520 or MET CS521, or instructor's consent.
Data Analysis and Visualization with R
This course provides an overview of the statistical tools most commonly used to process, analyze, and visualize data. Topics include simple linear regression, multiple regression, logistic regression, analysis of variance, and survival analysis. These topics are explored using the statistical package R, with a focus on understanding how to use and interpret output from this software as well as how to visualize results. In each topic area, the methodology, including underlying assumptions and the mechanics of how it all works along with appropriate interpretation of the results, are discussed. Concepts are presented in context of real world examples. Recommended Prerequisite: MET CS 544 or equivalent knowledge, or instructor's consent.
Data Science with Python
Students will learn major Python tools and techniques for data analysis. There are weekly assignments and mini projects on topics covered in class. These assignments will help build necessary statistical, visualization and other data science skills for effective use of data science in a variety of applications including finance, text processing, time series analysis and recommendation systems. In addition, students will choose a topic for a final project and present it on the last day of class. Prerequisite: MET CS 521 or equivalent. Or, instructor's consent.
The goal of this course is to study basic concepts and techniques of data mining. The topics include data preparation, classification, performance evaluation, association rule mining, and clustering. We will discuss basic data mining algorithms in the class and students will practice data mining techniques using data mining software. Students will use Weka and SQL Server or Oracle. Prereq: CS 546 and either CS 579 or CS 669. Or instructor's consent.
Any request for addition or substitution of elective courses requires approval from the department.
Criminal Justice Faculty
Tuition & Financial Assistance
Competitive TuitionOur part-time rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education.
Comprehensive Financial AssistanceOur services include scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans.
Current members of the American Jail Association (AJA) are eligible for a Graduate Application fee waiver ($85 for applications to the master’s program), and should email email@example.com with information confirming AJA membership.
What to Read Next: MET Criminal Justice Knowledge Center