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  • Masters in Criminal Intelligence?

    Good Morning,

    I am hoping to get a few opinions regarding my future academic programs. I will be transitioning out of the Marine Corps next year, and am looking to become a law enforcement officer in a large city, or possibly a federal agency. I originally was leaning more towards a federal agency, but from reading the information on these forums, I am definitely leaning more towards a large city at this point.

    My background includes 10 years of experience in the Marine Corps, in various Scout Sniper and Reconnaissance units, with multiple combat deployments. I am currently on my 4th deployment as I type this.

    In addition to my military background, I've been working on my BA in Political Science from AMU, and will be graduating within a few months with a GPA that will be over 3.75. In order to make myself more competitive as a police candidate, and more of an asset to a Law Enforcement Agency, I am planning on starting to work on a Master's Degree as well.

    AMU has a MA in Intelligence Studies with a Concentration in Criminal Intelligence. Although I initially wanted to get a Masters in Criminal Justice, but again, from reading these forums it seemed as though I would be better served with a different degree. I have not been able to find too much information about a Masters Degree in Intelligence Studies and Criminal Intelligence, and I was hoping to gain some opinions on this possible degree program. The classes in the program seem very interesting, and it does appear to be a degree that not many have. Any information is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Get a degree in something that interests YOU.

    A 4 yr degree in Underwater Basket Weaving is a 4 yr degree and would count the same in the hiring process as a 4 yr Criminal Justice degree---------------------

    A Masters Degree won't help you MUCH in getting hired------it might help with educational incentive pay or later in the promotion process but it won't do anything at hire time.



    Originally posted by jr03 View Post

    AMU has a MA in Intelligence Studies with a Concentration in Criminal Intelligence. Although I initially wanted to get a Masters in Criminal Justice, but again, from reading these forums it seemed as though I would be better served with a different degree. I have not been able to find too much information about a Masters Degree in Intelligence Studies and Criminal Intelligence, and I was hoping to gain some opinions on this possible degree program. The classes in the program seem very interesting, and it does appear to be a degree that not many have. Any information is greatly appreciated!
    Both sound like "fluff" degrees designed to enhance the resume for some rank climber.


    In other words ---------totally worthless in the real world but an excellent thing to put on paper to make you look smart.
    Last edited by Iowa #1603; 05-11-2013, 08:27 AM.
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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    • #3
      Thank you for the reply. To follow up, I believe that my military experience and a BA degree will be what makes me competitive as an applicant. However, I feel as though I should keep seeking self-improvement, and a Master degree would be my next step. I still have my GI Bill benefits (and tuition assistance) so for me, it seems like it would be a waste not to use them.

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      • #4
        There are those who would tell you that Criminal and Intelligence are contradictions in terms. Guess you've never followed 'Dumb Crook News".

        OK, here's what you do. You pursue the degree which interests you. Just about ANY four year degree will enhance your potential as an applicant. Certainly, you'd want to avoid trivial crap such as Aids Awareness, and similar garbage. Basically though, go for the degree which interests you.

        My personal sense is that you hold off on any post grad work until after you're hired. There will no doubt be scheduling conflicts etc, but I've personally seen more than Officer do post grad work while working full time. That includes two licensed attorneys.

        Yeah, and as my colleague noted, try to avoid "fluff". Ambition is a great thing, properly channeled,
        but you don't want to get billed as some "promotable pretty boy" by the guys/gals you work with. I've seen far too many clowns with advanced degrees who couldn't pour water out of a boot with instructions written on the heel.

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        • #5
          Learn a 2nd or 3rd language.
          Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jr03 View Post
            Thank you for the reply. To follow up, I believe that my military experience and a BA degree will be what makes me competitive as an applicant.
            In most city/county/state civil service agencies, you military service will gain you a few extra points on your combined civil service score as veterans credit. It doesn't matter if you were a cook or a ranger, you get the same points. That's it.

            Similarly, most agencies have minimum educational requirements for admission to the testing process, which most often are high school diploma or GED. There is no extra credit for for higher degrees or GPA.

            I believe you will find that most non-federal agencies rate you on the number of correct answers you give to written and oral exams that ask job related questions which measure your ability to perform the duties of the position you are seeking. Applicants are then hired in the order of their score.

            As the others have said, pursue a degree which interests you or which will be useful later on if you go up the ladder, get washed out, or wind up with a disability retirement and end up pursuing a different career. Business Administration fits all three categories.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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            • #7
              Thanks again for all of the help. I am going to look into some other Masters programs (including Business Administration) and my long term goal is to learn to speak Spanish.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jr03 View Post
                AMU has a MA in Intelligence Studies with a Concentration in Criminal Intelligence. Although I initially wanted to get a Masters in Criminal Justice, but again, from reading these forums it seemed as though I would be better served with a different degree. I have not been able to find too much information about a Masters Degree in Intelligence Studies and Criminal Intelligence, and I was hoping to gain some opinions on this possible degree program. The classes in the program seem very interesting, and it does appear to be a degree that not many have. Any information is greatly appreciated!
                Everyone's advice is pretty spot on. I would ask yourself a few questions when considering your next step in pursuing a master's degree. Which agencies (that you are considering) accept this degree? Feds usually ask for something specific, large police agencies usually don't. If you are considering private sector one day, which field does this degree apply?

                The thing is this. In the police world, you really don't need a degree. Very very few agencies require a degree. They teach you everything you need to know in the academy and you apply what you learned to the streets in field training. A degree can come into play for pay incentives, pay increases and promotions. A master's degree is very desirable when you get into the captain ranks and above. In my opinion, look for a master's degree that interests you and opens the most opportunities in public and/or private sector.
                Last edited by Prep511; 05-14-2013, 09:10 AM.

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                • #9
                  A lot of military folks go to AMU so they can check the "I've got a degree box" come promotion or evaluation time; from the people I have talked to it is not noted for its academic rigor. If you want a graduate degree, get one from a brick and mortar school that also has an online component so potential employers will take your degree more seriously.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by just joe View Post
                    A lot of military folks go to AMU so they can check the "I've got a degree box" come promotion or evaluation time; from the people I have talked to it is not noted for its academic rigor. If you want a graduate degree, get one from a brick and mortar school that also has an online component so potential employers will take your degree more seriously.





                    I can only add is that this advice^^^^^is nothing less than critical. Many, if not most traditional "brick and mortar" colleges and universities offer on line courses. You might even discover that they cost less than some of these "whizz-bang" do it in a year, on line "schools".

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jr03 View Post
                      AMU has a MA in Intelligence Studies with a Concentration in Criminal Intelligence. Although I initially wanted to get a Masters in Criminal Justice, but again, from reading these forums it seemed as though I would be better served with a different degree. I have not been able to find too much information about a Masters Degree in Intelligence Studies and Criminal Intelligence, and I was hoping to gain some opinions on this possible degree program. The classes in the program seem very interesting, and it does appear to be a degree that not many have. Any information is greatly appreciated!
                      Speaking from experience for both me and my wife. If you are concerned about a Masters looking good on your resume, get it from a different University than your Bachelors. Folks think you've been exposed to more research methods, and philosophies. (Diversified)

                      Just to chime in on everyone else's comments, get it in something that interests you. After all your the one paying for it. But then again maybe it's the military!
                      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God

                      Matthew 5:9

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                      • #12
                        In no particular order:

                        Your military time will count as a fed. It may or may not, likely not, count elsewhere.

                        Take advantage of the GI Bill and get your masters in what ever interests you. It will factor in the federal process, and may elsewhere. And no, getting it later, while not impossible, is not as easy as it sounds.

                        Learn a foreign language. Spanish, while not in demand, will be utilized the most.

                        Best of luck.
                        Last edited by Erik; 05-14-2013, 10:15 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T-A-H-O-E View Post
                          Speaking from experience for both me and my wife. If you are concerned about a Masters looking good on your resume, get it from a different University than your Bachelors. Folks think you've been exposed to more research methods, and philosophies. (Diversified)

                          Just to chime in on everyone else's comments, get it in something that interests you. After all your the one paying for it. But then again maybe it's the military!

                          This is true as well because it avoids what is called academic in-breeding.

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                          • #14
                            Hehehe... "criminal intelligence."

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                            • #15
                              Thanks again for all of the information. Since I am leaning towards a city Department, I've pretty much decided on starting to learn Spanish as soon as my BA is complete. I believe it will be much more useful in the streets and would rather devote my time to that instead of simply fluffing a resume.

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