Graduate Certificate Programs in Crime Analysis – Campus and Online Programs
Updated: November 18, 2022
The fields of criminal justice and crime management have begun to incorporate the latest data analysis technologies in order to more accurately identify, prevent, and intervene in criminal acts. With the advent of these powerful new technologies, the need for professionals with expertise in using them to analyze and fight crime has risen. Graduate certificate programs in crime analysis prepare students to work with a variety of crime mapping technologies, data analysis software, and statistical tools, empowering them to step into roles in local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as positions in the private sector.
Students of graduate certificate programs in crime analysis can expect to take courses on geographic information systems (GIS) and crime mapping, data management systems for crime analysis, computer science and programming concepts for law enforcement professionals, and the theories of crime analysis and prevention. Through these courses, students learn how to combine traditional principles of law enforcement and criminal justice with modern technologies and using data sets to drive decision-making.
Crime Analysis Explained
Crime analysis is defined as the use of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis to help law enforcement and government agencies prevent, identify, and intervene in crime, as well as maintain the public’s safety. Crime analysis is not a new field, as collecting and processing information on criminal acts is a fundamental job responsibility of policing and criminal justice organizations at the local, state, and national government levels.
However, in recent years big data, mapping software, and the use of computer algorithms to gain insight into criminal activity have begun to play a more prominent role in supporting law enforcement’s aims and operations. Crime analysts are professionals who have received specialized training to work with these new tools. Data is not only important for identifying crime, but also in designing tactics and strategies. Crime analysts gather and evaluate intelligence on different security and safety threats, and work with other law enforcement personnel to develop and implement plans using the insights they gain.
Identifying and Classifying Graduate Certificate Programs in Crime Analysis
Graduate certificate programs in crime analysis are often offered through schools or departments of public service and/or human services, though some are available at colleges of professional studies or continuing education. Schools that offer these types of programs typically also have master’s degree programs in crime analysis, criminal justice, and/or forensics. As the coursework that comprises graduate certificate programs in crime analysis tends to overlap with the courses required for one or more master’s degrees in the aforementioned areas, students may be able to transfer some or all of their completed graduate certificate course credits to a future master’s degree.
Graduate certificate programs in crime analysis are distinct from professional certifications in the field. While graduate certificates are academic programs through which students earn graduate-level course credits and an academic credential, crime analysis certification programs do not confer academic credit, are offered through independent professional organizations, and generally consist of an examination that tests certain knowledge and abilities in the discipline. For example, the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) has certification examinations for Certified Law Enforcement Analysts (CLEA) and Criminal Intelligence Certified Analysts (CICA). Graduate certificate programs are also distinct from the professional trainings and bootcamps that organizations such as the IACA offer their members.
It should also be noted that graduate certificates in crime analysis are distinct from but related to graduate certificate programs in digital forensics, criminal justice, homeland security, and law enforcement management. For example, while digital forensics graduate certificate programs focus primarily on identifying, analyzing, preventing, and intervening in cyber crime, crime analysis graduate certificate programs focus on using computer and geospatial technologies to identify and address a wide variety of crimes committed both in-person and online. Yet both types of graduate certificate programs cover the increasing importance of big data analysis and computer programming principles in tackling criminal activity.
Due to the overlaps in the aforementioned areas within the larger law enforcement and criminal justice disciplines, prospective students of graduate certificate programs should thoroughly research the areas of crime analysis, prevention, and intervention that interest them in order to identify programs that are best suited for their professional goals.
Crime Analysis Graduate Certificate Coursework
Graduate certificate programs in crime analysis generally consist of 12-18 course credits, spread out across four to six courses. Specific course titles and sequencing differ from school to school, though most programs tend to cover similar topics in applied statistics, crime mapping, historical and contemporary methods of law enforcement, and theories of crime analysis and prevention. While some programs allow students to take one or more elective courses, others may feature a set sequence of courses.
Examples of courses titles for a crime analysis graduate certificate program may include but are not limited to:
- Applied Data Analytics in Criminal Justice
- Crime Mapping and Geographical Information Systems
- Statistical Methods for Crime Prevention and Analysis
- Theories and Best Practices in Law Enforcement
- Policing Seminar
- Police Intelligence Gathering and Analysis
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Crime Analysis and Prevention
- Programming for Crime Analysis
While some graduate certificate programs in crime analysis consist solely of coursework, others may allow students to complete an independent project or internship for credit. Others may require students to complete a culminating project and/or portfolio to demonstrate what they have learned in the program. For the most accurate and detailed information about courses offered through crime analysis graduate certificate programs, prospective students should consult with the admissions offices of their programs of interest.
Online Crime Analysis Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs in crime analysis are designed with working professionals in mind. Therefore, many of these programs have online course delivery options. Online graduate certificate programs in crime analysis are advantageous for students who want to continue working full-time or part-time as they complete their graduate program. In addition, these programs enable students who live far away from a school offering a crime analysis program to enroll without having to relocate or commute a long distance.
Online graduate certificate programs in crime analysis use learning management systems (LMSs) to deliver course content, such as lectures and modules, and to facilitate communications between students and their instructors. LMSs also enable students to complete and submit assignments and projects, sit for virtual examinations, and participate in video lectures, seminars, and discussions. Through learning management systems, online graduate certificate programs employ both asynchronous and synchronous instruction, both of which have particular benefits for students.
Asynchronous course content consists of the lectures, assignments, and discussion platforms that students can access and complete at any time, as long as they meet key deadlines. All online graduate certificate programs utilize asynchronous instruction. Programs that use mainly or solely asynchronous instruction are ideal for students who want maximum scheduling flexibility, and who have the organizational skills to stay on top of course lectures and assignments in the absence of traditional weekly scheduled lectures.
Synchronous instruction, in contrast, is defined as all course components that are delivered in real-time, requiring students to log onto their LMS at a specific time. Examples of synchronous instruction include live video lectures, video breakout discussion sections, group projects that students collaborate on simultaneously, and examinations that all students must sit for at a specific time. Synchronous instruction has more structure than asynchronous instruction, and it can therefore be helpful for students who want an online education experience that resembles the in-person interactions and collaborations inherent to traditional, campus-based programs. However, online programs that incorporate synchronous instruction offer less flexibility as students are often required to attend live online sessions. (Note: Most online programs that use synchronous instruction schedule online course meetings in the evenings or on weekends so that working professionals can attend.)
Examples of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Crime Analysis
The online graduate certificates in crime analysis that are described below are offered at accredited institutions of higher education. These programs are intended to serve as examples of the types of programs available to prospective students interested in careers in crime analysis, but are by no means representative of all of the online graduate certificate program options available to students.
Arizona State University (ASU) offers an online Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis through its Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. This certificate is comprised of 15 credits divided across five courses that give students skills that are applicable in both government and the private sector. Students of this program take a set sequence of classes in criminal justice data analysis, strategic planning for crime detection, criminal justice policies and best practices, geographical and spatial data analysis and its relevance to mapping and assessing crime, and police institutions, organizations, and strategies. For more information about this program, please visit Arizona State University at asuonline.asu.edu.
Boston University (BU) offers an online Crime Analysis Graduate Certificate through its Metropolitan College. This program is comprised of 16 course credits divided across four courses, and takes 8-12 months to complete. Students of this program take three core courses that cover essential topics in applied analytical methods for crime prevention and detection, data-driven approaches to addressing crime, crime and intelligence analysis techniques, the statistical tools of crime analysis, and utilizing Geographic Information Systems, spatial analysis, and urban planning in crime analysis. After completing their core courses, students can choose one elective from a broad list of course options in areas such as data science, data mining, machine learning, and criminal justice management. To learn more about this program, please visit Boston University at www.bu.edu.
University of Central Florida (UCF) offers an online Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis through its College of Community Innovation and Education. This program is comprised of 12 credit hours, divided across four courses in a set curriculum. The courses in this program cover data management systems for crime analysis, utilizing Geographic Information Systems for criminal justice, advanced techniques in crime mapping and analysis, and both foundational and contemporary theories of crime analysis and prevention. For more information about this program, please refer to the University of Central Florida’s website at www.ucf.edu.
More Graduate Certificates in Crime Analysis
|Arizona State University||Online||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|
|Boston University - Metropolitan College||Online; Boston, MA||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|
|Delaware Valley University||Doylestown, PA||Graduate Certificate in Security and Threat Analysis|
|Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)||Indianapolis, IN||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|
|John Jay College of Criminal Justice||New York, NY||Advanced Certificate in Crime Prevention and Analysis|
|Louisiana State University||Baton Rouge, LA||Graduate Certificate in Crime Mapping and Geospatial Intelligence Analytics|
|PennWest California||Online||Graduate Certificate in Behavioral Crime Analysis|
|Radford University||Online||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|
|Seattle University||Online||Crime Analysis Certificate (Post-Bachelor's Graduate Certificate)|
|The University of North Carolina at Charlotte||Charlotte, NC||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|
|University of Central Florida||Online||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|
|University of Cincinnati||Online; Cincinnati, OH||Crime Analysis and Prevention Certificate|
|University of Colorado Denver||Denver, CO||Graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis|