Online master’s program in criminology is No. 1 in the nation

Cohort 17 Group Photo


The Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in criminology, law and society has taken the top spot in U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 ranking of best online master’s in criminal justice programs.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as the No. 1 Online Graduate Criminal Justice program in the country,” said Susan Turner, MAS program director. “This ranking further reinforces the work we do every day to ensure our graduate students are receiving an excellent education.”

MAS, an online degree program in the School of Social Ecology, was created in 2002 as the first online degree offered in the University of California system. It is suited to meet the goals of those seeking leadership positions within their organizations in a range of fields such as corrections, law enforcement, social services, probation/parole, as well as a variety of public administrative roles.

Today, 80 students are enrolled in the program. More than 500 graduates have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees or careers such as police administrators, educators, federal law enforcement agents and forensic psychologists.

“The success of the MAS program is due to the high quality of students, who are leaders in their fields, renowned faculty who teach in their areas of expertise, and the innovative courses designed to engage distance learning students,” said Mona Lynch, chair of the Criminology, Law and Society Department.

U.S. News judged 83 schools with online programs in five categories: engagement, faculty credentials and training, services and technology,expert opinion and student excellence, and UCI’s MAS program moved up to first place this year, from second last year and third the year before.

“Our MAS program is exemplary and this recognition proves it, said Nancy Guerra, dean of the School of Social Ecology. “The program’s exceptional faculty and staff members deliver a top-notch education that our graduate students highly value.”

To read more about the rankings on U.S. News & World Report's website, visit