The United States Marshals Service (USMS), which serves as the law enforcement arm of the Department of justice, is responsible for protecting and defending the judicial process.
U.S. marshals, as federal law enforcement professionals, are deeply involved in a number of areas, such as:
- Fugitive investigations (which include the apprehension and arrest of federal fugitives and the involvement in interagency fugitive task forces)
- Asset forfeiture
- Judicial security
- Witness security
- Managing and transporting prisoners
The USMS demands only the most highly skilled and qualified individuals, as the work of these law enforcement professionals supports the USMS mission of protecting the judicial process, strengthening domestic and international investigations, and optimizing national detention operations.
Degree Requirements and Relevant Majors for U.S. Marshals
Individuals may qualify for U.S. marshal jobs if they have at least one year of specialized experience at the federal GL-5 level. Specialized experience at this level includes:
- Criminal investigations
- Dealing with prisoners and the public
- Search and seizure matters
- Executing warrants
- Preparing reports for civil and criminal processes
However, individuals may qualify for U.S. marshal jobs without experience, provided they meet the specific educational requirements of the USMS. Specifically, individuals must possess a four-year bachelor’s degree through which they have attained superior academic excellence. This means that they must have earned a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all courses related to their major course of study.
Individuals who did not achieve superior academic excellence through their undergraduate program may also qualify if they have completed at least one year of graduate-level study in a major related to law enforcement.
Although the USMS does not specify degree programs through which individuals may qualify, law enforcement-related programs often include one of the following:
- Criminal justice
- Public safety
- Emergency management
- Police science
U.S. Marshal Sociology Programs and Degrees
Sociology degrees have become a common pursuit among individuals interested in U.S. marshal careers and other criminal justice professions. Sociology, in short, is the study of the behavior of people, groups and societies. It studies how our lives and actions are shaped by social institutions and it analyzes any number of social issues, including poverty, crime and deviance. Students within a sociology bachelor’s degree program can expect to develop valuable skills in data analysis, program evaluation, social trend research, and organizational management, among others.
As such, core courses within a sociology bachelor’s degree program often include:
- General sociology
- Minority cultures and relations
- Classical social theory
- Quantitative research methods
- Cultural anthropology
- American social problems
- Social deviance
- Organizations and institutions
- Social psychology
U.S. Marshal Criminal Justice Programs and Degrees
Criminal justice degree programs remain a very popular choice for individuals interested in federal law enforcement careers, including U.S. marshal careers, as they allow students to explore the impact of crime and the effective approaches for reducing it at the state, local and federal levels. Criminal justice programs, some of which are combined with study in criminology, cover the policies and practices of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, corrections, and the courts, while also helping students develop the communication, research and analytical skills needed for working in any number of complex criminal justice occupations.
Typical courses within a criminal justice bachelor’s degree include:
- Criminal justice control policies
- Introduction to criminology
- Introduction to policing
- Introduction to corrections
- Community relations in the justice system
- Substantive criminal law
- Communication, conflict and negotiation
- Social psychology
- Law and social control
- Procedural criminal law
U.S. Marshal Public Safety Programs and Degrees
Public safety bachelor degree programs, which also often combine strategies in emergency management, provide a theoretical and applied approach to homeland security and public safety, while also emphasizing the fundamentals of emergency planning and management. Students in a public safety programs are typically introduced to the application of research methodology, the utilization of communication skills, and the development of professionals skills and knowledge in public safety.
Typical courses found within a public safety degree program include:
- Organizational behavior and management
- Emergency operations and techniques
- Disaster response and recovery
- Mitigation planning
- Project management
U.S. Marshal Police Science Programs and Degrees
Police science bachelor’s degree programs are an ideal choice for individuals seeking careers as U.S. marshals, as they provide study in the management, leadership, communication skills, and tools necessary to respond to societal needs within a criminal justice context. These programs combine social and physical sciences to address problems presented by criminal behavior, and they generally combine practical exercises with theoretical principles in law enforcement, investigations, security, and intelligence.
Courses within a police science degree program generally include:
- Demographic influences on policing
- Application of rules of evidence
- Police ethics
- Emerging techniques and technologies of policing
- Police management and leadership