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Opening new opportunities: How BU’s certificate programs can advance your career

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Relevant education is key to career advancement and salary success.

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Promotions within law enforcement don’t depend solely on the length of time an officer has been on the force. Officers who gain new skills that their departments are looking for position themselves to rise through the ranks faster – to the benefit of their communities, their employers, and their personal career and salary goals.

Police officers looking to advance their careers can now expand their opportunities by enrolling in the Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate program at Boston University Metropolitan College (BU MET).

Available for online or on-campus learning on either a part-time or full-time basis, the Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate program is designed to provide officers with the skills needed to face contemporary criminal justice challenges and lead reforms.

“When our students go back to their organizations, they make their organizations more effective,” said Dr. Shea Cronin, assistant professor of criminal justice and chair of applied social sciences at BU MET. “They’ll bring skills that will advance their agencies and organizations in their community. For instance, if you’re learning about cutting-edge accountability processes that are data-informed, you can bring that knowledge back to your job and create that kind of product for your organization and your community.”


BU MET’s Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate program is built upon a 16-credit curriculum that can be applied to a range of real-life police management situations. The program’s online description encapsulates its approach:

“To be an effective manager in a criminal justice organization, you have to be more than ‘tough on crime’: you have to comprehend the culture within your department, communicate with first-line supervisors and other personnel, collaborate with external agencies, maintain rapport with the press and other observers, and ensure that you are able to understand and confront deeply entrenched ideas, cultures, and expectations. More importantly, you have to answer to the public – most likely in the aftermath of a crisis.”

The portfolio of four-credit courses that make up the Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate program – which must be completed in eight to 12 months, depending on the student’s work schedule and other commitments – includes topics such as public emergency management, planning and implementation, and cybercrime. All are taught by a team of four full-time BU MET faculty members.

“In the crime and intelligence analysis course, we do problem-solving analysis where you learn how to understand complex crime problems and develop strategies that are data-informed using multiple sources of information,” said Cronin. “The key outcome of that course is students work in teams to analyze multiple sources of data to understand the problem of gun violence using real-world data. They apply techniques including social network analysis, time series analysis and other kinds of techniques to understand the complex phenomena of violence and make recommendations for action.

“In the cybercrime course, the students get a foundation in the phenomenon of cybercrime and hands-on experience in digital investigations,” he added. “Our focus in this course is on investigations; not just a general understanding of cybercrime and policy, but really learning the skills you need to conduct investigations in this area.”

Other courses that can be pursued in BU MET’s Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate program include:

● Criminal justice administration and ethics
● Sexual violence
● Violence and trauma
● Youth crime problems
● Cyberterrorism and cyberdefense
● Victimology
● Terrorism
● Gender and justice
● Trauma and crisis intervention
● Forensic behavior analysis
● Policing in a democratic society


BU MET’s Strategic Management in Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate program is just the first step in a possible journey to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in this area, again offering advantages for career advancement, enhanced usefulness to law enforcement agencies and improved salary prospects.

For instance, completing four M.S. in Criminal Justice electives will allow officers to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice, resulting in a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSJC) degree. A similar approach can be pursued to achieve an MSCJ with a concentration in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity, Crime Analysis or Strategic Management.


There are many reasons for police officers to choose BU MET to upgrade their skills and advance their careers, including:

● An active learning environment that uses case studies, simulations using real data and hands-on problem-solving.
● An engaged 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.
● A 15:1 class ratio ensuring close interaction with faculty and access to support.
● Flexible schedules so you can study at the pace that works for you – either evenings on campus or fully online. Courses begin every fall, spring and summer; online courses have two starts per term.
● Metropolitan College online master’s degree programs have been deemed among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Relevant education is key to career advancement and salary success. BU MET can provide the knowledge and tools law enforcement professionals need to achieve their goals.

Visit Boston University Metropolitan College for more information.

James Careless is an award-winning freelance writer who covers the public safety sector. His articles have been published in fire, EMS and law enforcement publications across North America.