Believe it or not, cities, counties, states, and the country itself aren’t served and protected by superheroes but by ordinary folks like you and me who decide to pursue an extraordinary career in criminal justice. Criminal justice can include any number of occupations, from a parole officer to a member of a SWAT team to working for the Department of Homeland Security.
What kind of online degree in Criminal Justice should you get?
There are several paths to a career in criminal justice, but the best way to get your career started is with a bachelor’s degree in criminology or criminal justice. Traditionally this is done through an on-campus program at a school that features a department that specializes in the field.
But as online programs have grown and flourished in recent years, online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice as well as bachelor’s completion programs have become more common. For a list of the best online colleges and universities in the country, see our ranking, “Best Online Colleges and Universities.”
How much money do people make with an online degree in Criminal Justice?
The criminal justice field is diverse, and compensation will depend not only on the part of the country to happen to live in—police officers in Duluth, Minnesota, will not make the same amount as police officers of equal rank in New York—but also the particular field you happen to choose.
Let’s say you are interested in police and detective work, however, which is a common occupation for criminal justice majors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for police officers and detectives is just over $60,000, or approximately $30 per hour. The growth outlook is slower at 4 percent, but there are still plenty of jobs available.
What can you do with an online degree in Criminal Justice?
In addition to traditional police and detective work, however, the criminal justice field now includes a wide array of career possibilities. One consideration you’ll want to bear in mind is whether you’re interested in the private or public sector. Those interested in the private sector will likely want to consider careers in private security.
Those interested in working in the public sector, however, will have many more options. Some careers in the public sector include: probation officer, forensic scientist, correctional officer, fish and game warden, security guard, state trooper, crime scene investigator, F.B.I. agent, C.I.A. agent, immigration and customs enforcement agent, D.E.A. agent, Secret Service agent, and U.S. Marshal.
What are the requirements for an online degree in Criminal Justice?
Unlike graduate programs in criminal justice, students interested in an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will not need any prerequisites beyond the typical undergraduate admissions criteria. Once in the program, however, requirements will vary from school to school. Some schools will offer criminal justice programs as part of a liberal arts major, while other schools will have a curriculum that is more specific.
Other schools will have opportunities to specialize in a particular area of criminal justice, such as forensics. If you happen to know what area of specialization you are interested in, keep an eye out for these schools so that you can get on the fast track to your career. If you are unsure what area of specialization is best for you, you might do well to consider a program that will expose you to as many of the subdisciplines as possible.
What are the best online degrees in Criminal Justice?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 50 online bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice with your needs in mind. Here’s how we did it. First, it’s important to identify and get into the best school you can. So we started things off by taking an objective look at the best schools in the country as measured by reputation and return on investment. We also factored in the cost of attendance because, let’s be honest, money doesn’t grow on trees!
Our data for this ranking was drawn from a variety of public sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale.com, and the U.S. Census. The end result, we think, is a list of schools that not only represent the best education you can get and a good return on investment but also one that will fit your budget . . .
. . . as a real-life superhero!
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 100.00
Average Net Price: $13,007
Arizona State University, a leader and innovator in online education in a number of areas, offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The program helps develop the research, analytical, and communications skills required for working in complex criminal justice occupations. The program faculty consists of professors who are leaders in their field as well as criminal justice professionals with expertise in policing, gangs, fraud, corrections, and courts.
Graduates of the program will be well poised to enter careers in the criminal justice system and corporate security at a time when the industry is experiencing steady job growth. Many students continue their education and pursue advanced degrees in law, criminology and criminal justice, or other social science disciplines. The program offers training in the policies and practices of criminal justice system components in the following areas:
- Law Enforcement
- Court Systems
The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which offers the degree, has received national recognition from the likes of U.S. News and World Report. The faculty is likewise involved in national-level pursuits in the field, and they are at the forefront of research. ASU also has an online graduate program, which has been named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top five degrees in the nation for three years running.
College Choice Score: 99.99
Average Net Price: $39,021
Drexel University, no stranger to rankings of best online programs, offers an online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice that both covers the field broadly and also prepares students with a solid foundation in other disciplines. While some programs prepare students particularly for careers in law enforcement, Drexel’s program seeks to prepare its students for a range of professional positions. Students will be exposed to coursework in criminology, the study of crime and criminal behavior, as well as an understanding of the history, structure, administration, policies, and procedures of the agencies of crime control and criminal justice, including law enforcement, corrections, and the judiciary.
The program includes coursework in sociology, psychology, legal studies, political science, information science, chemistry, bioscience and biotechnology, and computer science, including the computer-based skills, technological expertise, and biochemical/biotechnological knowledge that are increasingly important to the operation of the agencies of the modern criminal justice system. Graduates of the program pursue careers in some of the following areas:
- Criminal Justice
- Private Security
- Legal Professions
- Forensic Science
This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. Students can also transfer up to 135 quarter credits (equivalent to 90 semester credits) from any accredited institution of higher learning as long as the grade is a C or better. Students can complete the program fully online, on campus, or in a blended format.
Washington State University
College Choice Score: 91.90
Average Net Price: $17,815
Washington State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal justice through its Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. It features a policy-focused curriculum that provides students with the broad exposure in the social sciences preferred by governmental and private agencies. Students in WSU’s program can expect to grow as critical thinkers, creative evaluators, ethical actors, and effective communicators concerning matters of crime and administration of justice at the local, state, national, and international levels
This program’s curriculum is developed according to Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences standards. Many students from WSU’s program proceed to graduate programs in Criminal Justice or related fields. Even more, WSU’s program prepares students for a wide range of positions in the working world:
- Criminal Justice System (law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole)
- Government Agencies (policy and planning, crime research, and investigation)
- Private Sector Organizations (security management)
WSU also offers a minor in Criminal Justice, which is designed to introduce students to the various components and activities of our system of justice, such as the police, courts, corrections, and juvenile justice. A minor in criminal justice will be useful to any student desiring knowledge of how our American system of justice works. The minor in Criminal Justice requires 18 credits of course work in criminal justice. Half of the courses must be taken at the 300-400 level and taken in residence at WSU or through WSU-approved education abroad or educational exchange courses.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 91.52
Average Net Price: $11,398
The University of South Florida offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology through its College of Health and Human Sciences. The program provides students with in-depth exposure to a wide array of issues and professions within the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, detention, the judiciary, corrections, juvenile justice, and probation and parole.
The program concentrates on achieving balance in the above aspects of the system from the perspective of the criminal justice professional, the offender, the victim, and society. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to either enter the profession after graduation or pursue additional graduate work in Criminology, Criminal Justice, or a related field, such as law, political science, or public policy. Coursework in the program includes:
- Survey of Criminal Behavior
- Theories of Criminal Behavior
- Research Methods
- Seminar in Criminology
The degree requires 120 credit hours to complete, and students can complete their degree entirely online. The 30 of the 36 hours required for the major must be completed through USF, but students can transfer up to half of their credits from another institution.
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 90.60
Average Net Price: $15,533
The University of Central Florida’s Department of Criminal Justice offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. The undergraduate curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for positions in the field of criminal justice in local, county, state, and federal justice agencies. Students are also prepared to pursue careers in private security organizations.
At UCF, you’ll encounter excellence in teaching, research, and service. The wide-ranging curriculum options reflect the equally expansive career options that are available. After your coursework is completed, you’ll take a capstone class in Criminal Justice Ethics. Before that, however, some of your coursework will cover:
- Criminal Justice System
- Crime in America
- Data Analysis for Criminal Justice
- Prosecution and Adjudication
The faculty at UCF has an abiding interest in its students, both graduate and undergraduate, and the department seeks to balance learning, service, and critical inquiry. The department also conducts quality research and pursues local, state and federal funding to advance knowledge in the discipline.
University of Cincinnati
College Choice Score: 90.59
Average Net Price: $19,978
The University of Cincinnati offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that provides students with an understanding of criminal offending and the criminal justice process. It offers training not only in responding to criminal behavior but also understanding the roots of criminal behavior. The program is thus interdisciplinary in nature. Cincinatti’s program will be of particular interest to those interested in matters of criminal justice, crime prevention, child behavioral problems, adolescent delinquency, or effective intervention.
Graduates from the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program pursue careers in law enforcement, corrections and supervision, security, and safety in both the public and private sectors. Private companies require the services of graduates to keep property secure and people safe, or to conduct private investigations. Graduates interested in public careers can pursue areas like:
- Police and Sheriff’s Departments
- State Police and Prison Systems
- FBI and Department of Homeland Security
Students from Cincinnati’s program can also pursue graduate work. Additional, nontraditional careers some graduates pursue include work in national forests as park rangers, fish and game wardens, or in airports as air marshals. In whichever setting graduates find themselves, the University of Cincinnati Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice ensures they are well prepared to enforce laws and keep people and property safe.
Bemidji State University
College Choice Score: 90.15
Average Net Price: $14,334
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minnesota, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in addition to an on-campus degree in the same field. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in a wide variety of areas in the criminal justice field, including peace officers, youth counselors, lawyers, probation officers, law enforcement, and more. The degree is offered within a liberal arts framework to develop the knowledge, values, and ethical consciousness that are essential for becoming successful managers and leaders in the field.
Graduates of the program are equipped with knowledge about the nature and causes of crime and delinquency, understanding of the law, law enforcement, corrections, courts, and victims and victim services in American society. Students will be prepared to serve in both the private and public sectors through a combination of course work, internships, and special research projects. You can also focus your study further with an emphasis area:
- Law enforcement
- Tribal Justice
The degree is also appropriate for students who choose to pursue advanced study in criminal justice or law. For students who are interested in the criminal justice field but committed to another major area of study already, the Bemidji State also offers two minor areas of study – Criminal Justice and Fraud Examination.
University of Missouri-St Louis
College Choice Score: 88.97
Average Net Price: $8,774
The University of Missouri St. Louis, part of the University of Missouri system, is nationally recognized for excellence, including being ranked in the top five in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. UMSL offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice, which prepares students for a wide variety of careers.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature and includes coursework in criminology, social science, law, public administration, and corrections. It provides students not only with practical knowledge but also training in the theories, assumptions, values, and processes of the system of justice. Many pre-law students choose criminology and criminal justice as an undergraduate major, and the program offers an internship program for college credit. You might find yourself working in the following areas:
- Corrections Counseling
- Juvenile Justice
- Probations and Parole
- Victim Advocacy
UMSL enjoys a number of strategic partnerships with public agencies that form an integral part of helping students arrive at a career decision. Stated outcomes of the program include the ability to develop critical thinking skills through the application of criminological theory and social science research methods, develop fundamental understanding of interdisciplinary underpinnings of criminology and criminal justice issues and policies, and acquire knowledge about the structure and functioning of the fundamental institutions that are part of criminal justice systems.
Florida International University
College Choice Score: 88.78
Average Net Price: $12,966
Florida International University is a leader in online education, so it is little wonder that they offer an excellent program in criminal justice in addition to their many other online offerings. FIU offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice through its Department of Criminal Justice to meet the growing demand for criminal justice and security professionals, particularly in Homeland Security.
The Department of Criminal Justice is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the field, and graduates enjoy an excellent job placement record in a wide variety of fields, including law enforcement and corrections in local and state agencies. Some graduates also pursue careers in the private sector, for instance, in private security for both individuals and businesses. Others make it to the top of the field, with jobs at the:
- CIA and FBI
- Secret Service
- Homeland Security
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Some of the particular areas of strength of the program include training in criminological theory, the criminal justice system, the constitution, terrorism, and public policy. The Criminal Justice also prepares students well for advanced studies in law and legal studies and those interested in attending law school. The program prides itself on offering training that is both theoretical and practical and on its placement record.
Loyola University Chicago
College Choice Score: 86.60
Average Net Price: $34,934
Loyola University Chicago, a well-respected private institution in the Windy City, has increased its online offerings in recent years and features an online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology. The program introduces students to all aspects of the nation’s complex criminal justice system while also giving them a strong background in the liberal arts.
Students in the major are required to complete 36 credit hours in criminal justice and criminology courses beyond the core Loyola requirements. This includes eight required courses. You’ll also end the degree with an internship in your area of focus. A sampling of your core major classes includes:
- Introduction to Criminal Justice
- Theories of Criminal Behavior
- Criminal Procedure
Other opportunities for students interested in Criminal Justice and Criminology at Loyola include a minor in criminal justice and criminology, which requires six courses totaling 18 credit hours, as well as a combined BS/MA program. The combined program is open for students who have maintained a 3.5 GPA and are in their junior year. Students eligible for this program can complete up to twelve of the 30 hours required for the MA degree during the senior year of the undergraduate degree.
California State University San Bernardino
College Choice Score: 86.43
Average Net Price: $6,444
California State University San Bernardino offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice through its College of Extended Learning in partnership with the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. San Bernardino’s program is a degree completion program rather than a full degree program, which will be exactly what some students are looking for in their search for the online program that is right for their needs.
San Bernardino’s curriculum is developed by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and it introduces students to broad training in the field. San Bernardino’s faculty is well respected and publish actively in their areas of expertise. Courses are taught by tenured faculty. Multiple career opportunities await San Bernardino graduates. Examples include:
- Police or Probation Officer
- Correctional Officer
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent
- U.S. Postal Inspector
San Bernardino’s program requires the completion of two prerequisite courses—Introduction to the Criminal Justice System and Introduction to Criminal Law—six core courses, and nine elective courses for a total of 21 four-unit courses.
Columbia Southern University
College Choice Score: 86.27
Average Net Price: $10,287
Columbia Southern University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration. It provides training in the theoretical foundations, knowledge, skills, and practices of criminal justice administration common to law enforcement, courts, and corrections. It is an appropriate program for both newcomers to the field and experienced professionals who are looking to complete their degree.
Students in Columbia Southern’s program will learn to make rational decisions and informed responses to the daily challenges one faces in law enforcement, courts, and corrections operations. Additionally, the program prepares students for entrance into concentrated areas of criminal justice in master degree programs or related disciplines. Coursework in the program includes:
- Criminal Investigation
- Criminal Evidence and Legal Issues
- Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice
- Management and Supervision in Criminal Justice
Stated goals of the program include students’ ability to evaluate the impact of theories in a diverse society; assess the interrelationship among courts, corrections, and law enforcement; analyze the influences of laws on the criminal justice system; and assess the impact of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights on laws.
Western Carolina University
College Choice Score: 85.84
Average Net Price: $13,646
Western Carolina University features an online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice through its Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Not only is it one of the top programs on our list, but it is also one of the largest degree programs at WCU. WCU’s program is interested not only in the practice of criminal justice but also in understanding the causes of crime (criminology) itself, which is fundamental to assessing systems for responding to crime and delinquency (criminal/juvenile justice systems).
Interdisciplinary sensibilities are central to WCU’s program, and students will be exposed to a thorough foundation in the social sciences. Graduates of the program are involved in careers in law, law enforcement, victim services, probation, parole, institutional corrections, research and higher education. Students will acquire an extensive knowledge in the following:
- Crime Problem
- Legal Issues
- Research Methodologies
- Justice System
Many WCU grads pursue further education at the graduate level. The majority of WCU grads who attend law school majored in criminal justice, and many of graduates attend topic graduate programs in criminology/criminal justice, such as Florida State and the University of Cincinnati. The program also places an emphasis on research and communication skills, which are crucial to a successful career in the field.
Sam Houston State University
College Choice Score: 85.58
Average Net Price: $12,365
Sam Houston State offers an online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in both Criminal Justice and Victim Studies through its Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Sam Houston’s College of Criminal Justice is one of the oldest and most well-respected in the country. The program provides a highly collegial learning environment, expert faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities, including a full service courtroom.
The degree is a full four-year degree that can be completed fully online under flexible terms. The program offers training across many academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology, political science. Students in the Bachelor of Arts program are also required to complete additional hours in a foreign language, which will be beneficial to those serving in large and diverse metropolitan areas or internationally. Coursework in Sam Houston’s program includes:
- Cyber Crime
- Global Terrorism
- Forensic Science
- Child Abuse and Neglect
The College of Criminal Justice also offers an internship program for seniors to earn course credit while gaining hands-on experience and networking opportunities with organizations such as INTERPOL, the FBI, local police departments, and many more.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 85.19
Average Net Price: $11,567
Northwestern State University’s Department of Criminal Justice, History, and Social Sciences offers a wide array of programs in the field, from certificate programs to graduate degrees, including the areas of Criminal Justice, Unified Public Safety Administration, Homeland Security, History, Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies, as well as Global Security and Intelligence. Northwestern offers at least two options for students interested in online education in criminal justice.
The online bachelor’s program in Criminal Justice covers all the necessary topics in the field as well as sociology, psychology, and political science. Additionally, each spring the Criminal Justice program sponsors a Job Fair where representatives from various Criminal Justice agencies and occupations from a number of different states set up booths and interview students for possible employment. Available areas of concentration include:
- Fire and Emergency Medical Service Administration
- Law Enforcement Administration
- Emergency Management Administration
- Public Facilities Management
The B.S. in UPSA prepares students with advanced interpersonal and analytical skills, and contemporary, state-of-the-art perspectives on the scientific, social, and informational concentrations involved in efficient and effective intelligence gathering, policing, fire services and emergency medical services, correctional analysis, hazardous materials handling, emergency management, proactive planning, security services, and other public safety arenas.
College Choice Score: 84.00
Average Net Price: $23,468
Limestone College features an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that seeks to prepare students for immediate starts in entry-level and middle management positions. The field of criminal justice is constantly changing, particularly technologically, and the Limestone program prepares students to meet these challenges.
Limestone’s program is interdisciplinary in nature. Attention is also given to legal, social, managerial, and administrative issues. Students will learn both practical and theoretical applications to components of the criminal justice system, emphasizing the decision-making process and consequences inherent with legal and social influences. You will leave the program knowing how to navigate issues in:
- Law Enforcement
- Judicial Courts
- Correctional Systems
- Political Structures
The majority of Limestone graduates enter the workforce in any number of capacities. Examples include working as a corrections officer, detective, FBI agent, security guard, parole officer, police officer, park ranger, security officer and manager, private investigator, fraud investigator, or insurance investigator. Some Limestone students also attend graduate school criminal justice or related fields.
The University of Louisville
College Choice Score: 83.61
Average Net Price: $16,249
Louisville features an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree that can be completed either as a fully online degree or as a degree completion program. Students in the program will be prepared for either entry into the workforce or for graduate work in the field. The program emphasizes both theoretical training in criminal justice as well as the extensive array of applied skills necessary to succeed in the field.
The entire criminal justice process is covered in the program, including both juvenile and adult justice and the many legal issues and responsibilities unique to each field. Students will be trained not just in theory and practice but also in how to apply one to the other in actual criminal justice situations. Students will be able to understand, identify, and apply legal issues relative to the criminal justice system and justice administration. Graduates of the program hold positions as:
- Criminal Investigators
- Criminal Records Managers
- Court Referral Officers
- Juvenile Service Workers
To graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, students must complete a minimum of 121 credits. Applicants to the program normally have an associate degree or equivalent credits already earned from a regionally accredited institution.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
College Choice Score: 82.05
Average Net Price: $23,129
No list of list of online undergraduate degrees would be complete without an appearance by Penn State’s World Campus, which remains an industry pacesetter in both quality and affordability. Its Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is no exception. The program is open to students who are just starting their criminology degree, those who have already completed criminal justice credits or an associate degree, or have experience in the field they would like to build on.
Students who are currently involved in a career in criminal justice will find much in their coursework that is immediately applicable to their positions. Students who are interested in additional study at the graduate level will be well prepared to do so upon graduation also. Most graduates of Penn State’s program work in a range of fields, including:
- Protective Services
- Law and Corrections
- Crime-related Prevention and Support
- Security Management
Penn State’s program in criminal justice boasts certification by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) for academic certification standards. This certification underscores the high praise that the online program receives for quality criminal justice instruction. Students can thus be confident that this program is respected and renowned throughout the industry and can translate into employment opportunities.
College Choice Score: 81.95
Average Net Price: $24,794
Liberty University, another online degree powerhouse, offers perhaps the widest range of programs for students interested in online education in criminal justice. The program is available fully online and requires 120 total hours. 30 hours must be taken through Liberty, and up to 90 may be transferred from another institution.
Liberty’s program is designed to help students build strong leadership and managerial skills to qualify for future promotional opportunities and certifications through the development of excellent oral and written communication skills necessary to effectively communicate in both professional and personal environments. Students will be equipped to discern the unique characteristics that differentiate substantive and procedural criminal law, as well as the interplay between the two. Students can choose a concentrations in the following areas:
- Business Administration and Management
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Criminal Psychology
- Homeland Security, and more
Liberty’s program equips students to understand and appreciate the internal workings of the criminal justice system and its response to different types of crime. Students will also learn to identify the constitutional, procedural, and organizational differences of the federal criminal justice and representative systems.
Roger Williams University
College Choice Score: 81.95
Average Net Price: $35,275
Roger Williams University offers an online Bachelor of Science program in Criminal Justice that is highly interdisciplinary in nature. The program combines courses in policing, corrections and procedure with studies in the social sciences to introduce students to the theory and practice of criminal law and the moral complexity of the criminal justice system. Students will be introduced to both theoretical and practical issues.
RWU faculty boast extensive experience in the profession and seek to prepare students for successful careers in law enforcement, counseling, and probation or to advance into graduate study or law school. Special emphasis is placed on the United States criminal justice system in particular. Students will take the following format of classes:
- 11 required criminal justice courses
- 3 additional criminal justice electives
- 8 required courses from other departments
- A sufficient number of electives to total at least 120 credit hours
The goals of the program include providing a professional education combined with an integrated liberal arts curriculum that teaches critical thought, analytical reasoning, and scholarly writing; preparing students who wish to pursue careers which include federal, state, and municipal law enforcement, professional human services, including counseling, probation and parole, corrections, and the legal profession; and providing students the opportunity to develop intellectual skills that will enable them to pursue lifelong learning.
Indiana State University
College Choice Score: 81.65
Average Net Price: $10,681
Indiana State University offers an online bachelor’s program in Criminology and Criminal Justice Program designed to prepare students for careers in the fields of corrections, law enforcement, juvenile justice, and private security, as well as other related areas, such as private security management and private investigation. The program aims to provide students with a valuable experience both inside and outside the classroom.
In the program, students will cover a wide range of topics through their coursework, such as the criminal justice system, criminal behavior, criminal law, criminal justice administration, and the relationship of these topics to the larger society. Specialized courses (or symposia) are offered to address specific needs and interests in areas such as:
- Homicide Investigation
- Women and Minorities
All students in the program participate in internships with criminal justice agencies. These internships provide real-work experiences that can lead to jobs in the field following graduation. Professors in the program hold doctorates in areas such as criminal justice, jurisprudence, sociology, and psychology. Many have experience in the field as police and correctional administrators, prosecutors, probation officers, criminal investigators, correctional counselors and therapists, and criminal justice planners.
Old Dominion University
College Choice Score: 81.56
Average Net Price: $15,218
Old Dominion University, a frequent entry in rankings of online programs, features an online Bachelor of Arts and an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Students from ODU’s program have successfully entered careers in law enforcement, social services, counseling, probation officer, parole officer, security officer, social science research, and more.
One of the highlights of ODU’s program is its internship program, which is designed to provide students with an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge and experience in professional settings. All students majoring in criminal justice and sociology are guaranteed an internship through the University’s Career Advantage Program. This program requires students to complete certain specific tasks, such as:
- Keeping a time sheet
- Completing a research paper
While earning their Bachelors, students majoring in criminal justice have the opportunity to participate in the departmental honors program, which is designed to provide undergraduate students who are excelling in their studies an opportunity for more advanced studies in their major field including the opportunity to work independently with department faculty.
University of North Carolina
College Choice Score: 81.34
Average Net Price: $10,566
Students interested in criminal justice at University of North Carolina, one of the country’s storied east-coast institutions, will be interested in UNC’s online Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Criminal Justice. This program prepares graduates for a variety of criminal justice careers, including traditional police, courts, and corrections jobs in the public sector and ever-expanding opportunities in the private sector.
This major gives students an overall understanding of the organization and administration of the American criminal justice system. In addition to a wide variety of career options, the program is also suitable preparation for students wishing to pursue further graduate study. You’ll have the chance to choose an academic concentration to enhance specific knowledge and skills in one of four areas:
- Applied Information Technology
- Substance Abuse
UNC’s program features an extensive catalog of coursework that will expose students to a liberal arts background in addition to program-specific courses. Courses for the major include Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Criminal Law, and Criminal Investigation. The program also features a Forensics track, which requires courses such as Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and DNA Analysis Laboratory.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
College Choice Score: 79.95
Average Net Price: $18,348
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, another regular on rankings of online degrees, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology through its School of Criminology and Justice Studies. The program aims to remain on the cutting edge of this constantly evolving field and focuses on emerging issues confronting the criminal justice system. Students will develop critical thinking and communication skills in addition to the ability to conceptualize ideas.
Students in UMass Lowell’s program can expect to explore issues including violence and victims, justice-involved mental health populations, police innovations, data-driven practice and national security. The school is a leader in the use of innovative technologies, and offers cutting edge programs both on campus and online. The program offers four areas of concentration:
- Violence, Crime, & Mental Health
- Homeland Security
UMass Lowell is also committed to a broad liberal arts education. The program not only prepares students in the workings of the criminal justice system but also how to apply this knowledge to related social problems and changing situations. Students can also benefit from an accelerated BS to MA in Criminal Justice and Criminology or a minor in the field.
Texas Woman’s University in Denton
College Choice Score: 79.61
Average Net Price: $8,881
Texas Woman’s University, located in Denton, Texas, offers an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice through its Department of Sociology and Social Work in partnership with the Department of History and Government. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and provides students with an in-depth understanding of not only the relevant legal systems and procedures but also the intellectual traditions behind them.
Students in TWU’s program will benefit from training in modern legal systems, correctional practices, national and local governments, current sociological issues, crime in contemporary and historical contexts, social research and statistics, and ethical considerations. Upon graduation, students will be prepared for a variety of careers in areas such as:
- Government agencies
- Private organizations
- Police departments
- Correctional facilities
Students at TWU’s program are encouraged to earn practical work experience through hands-on internship opportunities, which provides training in how criminal justice operates in the real world. The program is suitable preparation for those wishing to enroll in graduate studies in criminal justice or related fields, such as law school.
College Choice Score: 79.00
Average Net Price: $12,766
Grantham University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, and it is available entirely online. Grantham’s program is designed to prepare students to excel in the criminal justice workforce. Students have the option of pursuing a general criminal justice program or specializing in one of two areas: Homeland Security or Computer Science.
Graduates of the program will be prepared for a number of careers in the field, depending on their particular focus. Some of these include law enforcement, corrections, investigations, homeland defense, or juvenile justice. Other career options outside of the box could include:
- Corporate loss prevention
- National security
- Computer security
The Homeland Security Concentration prepares students for border security and intelligence, terrorism prevention and analysis, and emergency and disaster planning. Students will be prepared to protect the nation from all kinds of natural and man-made threats. The Computer Science Concentration prepares students for a cybersecurity career by studying computer crime, computer forensics, ethical hacking, computer crime scene investigation and criminal intelligence analysis.
College Choice Score: 78.97
Average Net Price: $15,418
Park University’s online Bachelor in Criminal Justice Administration combines the Park University tradition of liberal arts education with a modern professional curriculum preparing graduates to work in the criminal justice system and related professions or move on to graduate school. In addition to the bachelor’s program, Park also offers Associate, minor, and certificate level degrees.
The major in Criminal Justice Administration is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complete criminal justice system within society in the United States. Providing a comprehensive understanding from a theoretical, philosophical, and practical perspective, the program provides a broad background for over 40 basic career opportunities in the criminal justice system. Park University offers three areas of concentration:
- Law Enforcement
Graduates of the Park program will be prepared for careers in both in the public and private sectors at the local, state, national, and international levels. In addition to its online programs, Park University also operates forty different campus centers throughout the country. This allows even online students more options in their degree program.
College Choice Score: 77.87
Average Net Price: $36,530
Lynn University offers an online bachelor’s program in criminal justice that can help students either advance existing careers or even begin new ones. It will appeal particularly to students who have family and work obligations, and it is designed for both new students and those already working in the field. Lynn exposes students to law and the courts, criminology, victimology, psychology and political studies from nationally recognized experts.
Full-time students enrolled in Lynn’s bachelor’s in criminal justice program also have the opportunity to complete a semester-long internship in Washington, DC. Lynn University students pursue a variety of career options, such as:
- Victim advocate/services
- Juvenile justice/delinquency prevention
- Corrections officer
Lynn University’s program encourages a holistic approach to crime and criminal behavior and offers cross-disciplinary courses and how they influence the field of criminal justice. Students will also be exposed to field-based exercises blending theoretical knowledge with practical experience. An internship is a great way to prepare for a careers as a defense attorney, prosecutor, court reporter, judge, or paralegal.
University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 77.19
Average Net Price: $11,567
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online major in criminal justice seeks to provide humane, just, and effective crime and justice policies, programs, and practices by providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become informed citizens and effective agents of justice. ULL offers its program through its Department of Criminal Justice.
The Department is home to faculty, staff, and students who are working to advance the understanding of crime and criminality, design better approaches to effectively address crime and the problems related to it, and to those interested in engaging in social justice. ULL’s program emphasizes hands-on learning, which lays the groundwork for successful careers in:
- Criminal Justice
- Forensic Science
- Loss Prevention
- Private Security
In addition to the undergraduate major, ULL also offers a master’s in criminal justice as well as minors in criminal justice and forensics. Majors in criminal justice will be prepared to act as informed and skilled agents of justice who combine critical thinking and analytical skills with empirical evidence to accurately assess crime problems and evaluate justice problems, policies, programs and solutions. A semester-long internship with a local agency is required of senior students.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 75.73
Average Net Price: $14,761
The “Sunshine State” is home to many universities that offer high-quality online degree programs, and the University of Florida is among them. UF has expanded its online offerings considerably in recent years, and its online bachelor in Criminology is part of that effort. The criminology major enables students to understand crime, how society reacts to it (especially through the criminal justice system and law), and the interrelationships between features of law and society.
Florida’s program includes learning about the theories of crime and methods for studying crime, law, and society. The degree is offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, so it gives students a broad perspective on the complex relationships among the legal, social, and political influences impacting crime, justice and legal processes. Students in the program will examine criminal behavior, criminal justice systems and law from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students take four core courses and six criminology and law elective courses. Some of these classes include:
- Advanced Principles of Criminal Justice
- Criminological Theory
- Law and Society
Students of UF’s program will be prepared for a number of careers in criminal or juvenile justice systems (i.e., courts, law enforcement, corrections) and also graduate school or law school. Graduates have pursued careers such as the following: CIA analyst, court clerk, criminal investigator, DEA, FBI, or U.S Border Patrol Agent, probation officer, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor, youth correctional officer, research scientist, and law enforcement officer.
College Choice Score: 75.13
Average Net Price: $8,548
Indiana University East, part of the Indiana University system, features an online bachelor’s program in criminal justice that is designed for students who have specific interests in the study of crime and criminology, law enforcement, crime scene investigation, the courts, correctional administration, probation, parole, or juvenile justice programs. It is a degree completion program, which means students will take their core educational requirements at another institution.
IUE’s program prepares students to understand the the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts. The criminal justice program at IU East is distinctive in that it also teaches students management skills which prepares them to be more competitive in the job market and enhances their prospects for advancement.
Entering students will need to have completed 60 semester hours of transferable college credit with a GPA of 2.0 or better or have completed an associate degree at the community college level. The program prepares students for careers in roles such as the following: law enforcement, bailiff, probation officer, correctional officer, loss prevention manager, forensics, lawyer, judges, magistrate.
College Choice Score: 74.57
Average Net Price: $6,349
Bellevue University is another mainstay in rankings on best online degree programs, and it features an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is rooted in the values of honesty, integrity, and justice. The program is designed to help students develop in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, corrections, and the courts. It is an accelerated program, which means students can complete their degree in a shorter time frame.
Bellevue’s program emphasizes contemporary social issues, criminal behavior analysis, legal and ethical principles, strategic management, and policy development. Students will learn to apply their thinking to key issues, to case studies involving ethical dilemmas, and examine criminal data, associated procedural laws, and public policy. The program encourages integrating theory with practice.
Stated outcomes of Bellevue’s program include critical thinking; writing and communication skills essential to the evaluation of contemporary social issues; applying knowledge of legal and social aspects of criminal behavior; evaluating crime trends and their relationship to current criminal policy, practice, and organizational decision-making; and analyzing and applying principles of professional ethics to the administration of criminal justice.
University of Arizona
College Choice Score: 74.33
Average Net Price: $16,466
University of Arizona offers an online major in Criminal Justice Studies that introduces students to the fundamental foundations of criminal justice spanning from crime initiation to systems of punishment. Students will have the opportunity to take an in-depth look at mental health law, juvenile justice systems, police, court and corrections management and operations as well as a host of other options.
Students at Arizona will also gain exposure to traditional public administration courses that impart core skill sets such as leadership, ethics, public and nonprofit management, and formation of public policy. The program prepares students to think critically in an increasingly complex and politicized society, and they will have the opportunity to take an in-depth look at mental health law, juvenile justice systems, police, court and corrections management and operations as well as a host of other options.
Arizona’s program in Criminal Justice Studies is sponsored and financially supported by the Rombach Institute of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections. The Institute has had a presence on campus since its founding in 1997. The mission of the Rombach Institute is to advance the knowledge, pursuit and evaluation of significant public policy issues as they relate to the field of criminal justice. This partnership enables Arizona to provide much more to students than just the traditional undergraduate education.
Indiana Wesleyan University
College Choice Score: 74.24
Average Net Price: $19,519
IWU has increased its online degree program offerings in recent years, and among them is an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. This degree will prepare students for work in law enforcement, probation and other court services, corrections, or other agencies connected with the criminal justice system. It aims to open opportunities and positions of leadership to those desiring to make this world a safer and more secure place for their fellow citizens.
Students in IWU’s program will be well prepared to meet the demands of this growing and ever-changing field. In addition to traditional criminal justice careers, students will also be prepared to work or pursue further study in victim assistance, paralegal/legal aid, court administration, corporate security, private investigations, research, education, law school, and graduate studies in criminal justice, or as a community service officer.
IWU also offers an Associate of Science degree for quick entry into the workforce and a foundation for further education. The program is taught from a specifically Christian perspective, so students who take their faith seriously will find this a welcome addition to their program of study.
Concordia University Saint Paul
College Choice Score: 74.06
Average Net Price: $19,499
Concordia University Saint Paul’s online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program is intended for criminal justice system professionals who wish to improve their knowledge and skill sets and want to maintain the balance of their career and personal life. The program gives students a deeper understanding of constitutional law and the administration and organization of criminal justice.
The B.A. in Criminal Justice program consists of 40 credit hours and is offered fully online. In addition to exciting careers such as an FBI agent or computer forensic specialist, Concordia’s program prepares graduates for careers as a private investigator, crime scene investigator, fraud investigator, CIA agent, homicide detective, blood spatter analyst, DEA agent, secret service agent, and more.
Concordia’s program prepares students not only in the theoretical issues involved in criminal justice but also the practical realities of life on the job. For example, Secret Service agents and DEA special agents are frequently required to travel, and sometimes on short notice. Often, special agents will have to relocate several times during their career. Some special agents, such as those working in Border Protection, find themselves working outdoors in harsh terrain and weather. Concordia prepares students for these realities and more.
Valdosta State University
College Choice Score: 72.87
Average Net Price: $14,573
Valdosta offers an online bachelor’s degree in Criminal justice that exposes students to the structure and function of the criminal justice system as it applies to adults and juveniles, focusing on criminal laws on the federal, state and local level and how they relate to the Constitution of the United States. Criminal justice students at Valdosta State University study various theories of criminology, learn how to apply scientific research techniques and related statistical techniques to the study of crime, and examine the criminal justice systems of countries around the world.
Students in the undergraduate criminal justice program have the opportunity to explore all areas of the criminal justice system through an interesting array of courses such as cybercrime, forensic criminology, comparative justice systems, sex crimes, terrorism, white collar crime and organized crime. Students who graduate from Valdosta State with a degree in criminal justice are prepared for entry-level positions at all levels of the criminal justice system and in the private sector.
Valdosta grads boast one of the most diverse placement records of all the schools on our list. Students have pursued careers in the following occupations and more: arson investigator, ATF special agent, border patrol agent, caseworker, CIA agent, constable, coroner, corporate security specialist, correctional officer, court administrator, detective, detention officer, diplomatic security service special agent, domestic violence counselor, FBI agent, juvenile detention officer, loss prevention specialist, narcotics agent, police inspector, police officer, postal inspector, prison guard, private investigator, U.S. customs agent, U.S. marshal, and warden.
Southeast Missouri State University
College Choice Score: 72.61
Average Net Price: $11,776
Southeast Missouri State offers an online bachelor’s program in criminal justice through its Department of Criminal Justice. The program provides undergraduates with a core of courses central to the discipline of criminal justice. Students are also exposed to specialized courses as preparation for careers in law enforcement, corrections and criminology.
The department serves nearly 500 majors and a large number of students who enroll in criminal justice courses for elective credit. It also has an internship program which provides students with an opportunity to observe professionals in their fields and with practical job experience. Students may continue course work at the graduate level by pursuing the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree. Some key courses include:
- Correctional Institutions
- Advanced Police Administration
- Criminal Investigations
- Community-Based Corrections
The Department is recognized for its participation in national and regional meetings and its scholarly activity, and its students are notable for their academic distinction and dedication. Students can complete their degree completely online, or they can combine their online classes with on-campus classes and take advantage of SMSU’s internship program.
College Choice Score: 71.87
Average Net Price: $20,753
Cumberland University offers an online degree completion program in Forensic and Criminal Justice Sciences (FCJS) that is dedicated to providing a quality online educational experience in the areas of Forensics, Administration of Justice, and Corporate Security. Students are provided a solid base of knowledge within each of these emphasis areas and can pursue their general education requirements at a local college or university.
The FCJS online degree completion program offers a new approach to the traditional educational setting. This three-track concentration offers students the opportunity to learn the basics of Forensics, Administration of Justice, or Corporate Security from individuals who are currently in the field, have retired from the field, or who have advanced education in the field. Cumberland instructors combine theory with practical application to provide students with a “real world” view of how each emphasis area operates.
Applicants who are currently employed or have recently been employed in the field of Criminal Justice may qualify for academic credit based upon previous training and experience. Applicants must have a minimum of 45 hours of academic credit, covering the majority of the General Education Core courses, or a university parallel Associate’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
College Choice Score: 71.40
Average Net Price: $9,097
The online bachelor’s program in criminal justice program at Fairbanks has one goal: to prepare students in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest for careers in the criminal justice field. The program emphasizes the fact that the program is available entirely online, although students who happen to be in Alaska can certainly complete their program on campus. The program believes that location should not be a limiting factor in attending this exceptional program.
Students in Fairbanks’ program gain relevant and applicable education in criminology, procedural law, addictive processes, research, corrections and the sociological forces at work in crime including juvenile delinquency and gender issues. Juniors and seniors in the program have the opportunity to complete internship opportunities in any area in which they may be interested. Fairbanks also offers an M.A. in Administration of Justice.
Fairbanks’ program is intentional about combining theoretical and applied concepts related to the practice of criminal justice. As a result, students explore theoretical models associated with different aspects of the criminal justice system and also study the structure and administration of the criminal justice system. The UAF Justice program is also well-known for its partnerships with various justice agencies which provide opportunities for credit-bearing internships for outstanding Justice juniors and seniors.
College Choice Score: 70.94
Average Net Price: $11,755
Lamar University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice fills a unique niche in our list of online bachelor’s programs in criminal justice. It is designed particularly to help law enforcement professionals complete their degrees quickly by offering accelerated courses and Police Training Academy credit (known as TCOLE Credit) for academic credit. Graduates of the program typically pursue careers in law enforcement administration, national security, forensics and law.
Lamar’s program emphasizes practical experience in order to provide students with training in real-life scenarios. It even offers internship opportunities through its online program, and it offers individualized academic support throughout the entire degree program so that students not only have a positive academic experience but also find their fit in their career paths.
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice online program provides certified peace officers the opportunity to transfer up to nine academic credits gained during their officer training toward their degree. Additionally Texas municipal, county or state peace officers may be eligible for the Peace Officer Tuition Exemption. Lamar’s program requires 120 total credit hours, which is composed of 27 lower level electives and 45 advanced electives beyond the general education requirements.
University of the Cumberlands
College Choice Score: 70.30
Average Net Price: $17,619
University of the Cumberlands features an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice designed to prepare students in the field of corrections and criminal justice. Students will be prepared to communicate and practice effectively on the job with clients and colleagues so they may pursue lives of responsible service and leadership.
Cumberlands’ B.S. degree has several unique objectives, including providing each student with a core knowledge base in criminal justice in order to prepare them for a career within the justice field and/or graduate studies; enhancing understanding of the roles of society and law enforcement in response to deviant behavior; and strengthening critical thinking skills by fostering an understanding of deviance and clarifying personal values related to working with deviant populations. Some courses include:
- Deviance and Society
- White Collar Crime
- Homeland Security
- Police Patrol
One unique feature of Cumberlands’ program is that it prepares students in both qualitative and quantitative methods of research and writing as it relates to the criminal justice field. This provides students with a strong analytic background that will lend itself well to approaching the demands of their careers as objectively as possible.
College Choice Score: 70.00
Average Net Price: $13,983
SUNY Delhi, part of the State University of New York system, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program that caters to the needs of working professionals looking to advance their careers. The program blends theory and practice and covers the areas of policing, investigation, juvenile justice, probation, social services, corrections, and more.
SUNY Delhi’s faculty boasts decades of combined experience as police officers, corrections officers, and lawyers. Students located in New York area have the additional benefit of gaining practical experience through training exercises with local law enforcement and internship opportunities. Its location in the New York provides a ready-made network of law enforcement professionals. Graduates of the program have worked in the following areas:
- Police Departments
- Probation and Parole
- Child Protective Services
SUNY Delhi is a leader in online education, so students can be confident that their program in Criminal Justice will be well administered. SUNY also offers two associates’ programs in Criminal Justice, and students who complete one of these programs can transfer into the B.S. program as juniors.
University of Nebraska
College Choice Score: 68.63
Average Net Price: $15,520
The University of Nebraska’s Department of Criminal Justice offers an online major in Criminal Justice. Students can take online courses in criminal justice through any of Nebraska’s three campuses: Omaha, Kearney, or Lincoln. The criminal justice major was founded in 1975 and is one of the largest within the College of Natural and Social Sciences.
Nebraska’s program prepares students for careers in federal, state, county, and municipal justice systems, and graduates have pursued dozens of occupations in the industry. Criminal justice majors also find their degree to be an excellent stepping stone to graduate school, and many have gone on to law school. Graduates have reported that their Criminal Justice education at Nebraska prepared them well for the experiences and tasks they have encountered in their careers. A few highlight courses include:
- Police and Society
- The Criminal Court System
- Criminal Procedure
The Criminal Justice Department offers over two dozen specialized courses reflecting current trends in justice in the United States and world-wide. Students have access to faculty with both real-life and research experience. Small class sizes and exciting applied-learning experiences ensure students will get the most out of each course. Furthermore, supervised placement in an agency setting is an essential, and required part of the Criminal Justice academic degree program.
University of Wisconsin–Platteville
College Choice Score: 68.45
Average Net Price: $14,341
Wisconsin Platteville’s Criminal Justice Department offers an online major and minor in Criminal Justice. Platteville is part of the University of Wisconsin system and has made great strides in recent years in its online degree offerings. Graduates of Platteville’s program will be prepared to pursue criminal justice careers or postgraduate work as liberally educated, intellectually mature, ethically aware, and culturally sensitive people.
Students at Platteville have the choice between two different tracks, which can be pursued as major areas of study or minors: Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation. Criminal Justice majors will become experts in the criminal justice system, and they may select one of two areas of emphasis:
- Law Enforcement
The Law Enforcement emphasis provides students with a concentration of courses focusing on the role of law enforcement in a democratic society. The Corrections Emphasis provides specialized courses for those interested in community based corrections, correctional institutions, or juvenile justice. Additionally, students who major in Criminal Justice may minor in Forensic Investigation.
Fort Hays State University
College Choice Score: 68.41
Average Net Price: $11,993
Fort Hays State University’s Department of Criminal Justice offers both an online Bachelor of Arts and an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Both programs are interdisciplinary programs that focus on the cause of crime and society’s response to crime, and they prepare students to help protect and promote the common good.
Students will be prepared for rewarding careers in law enforcement, corrections, or the legal system. Fort Hays provides training in the theory behind criminal justice practices as well as the practical know-how needed to succeed in this ever-changing field. Students will benefit from the ability to customize their degree programs as well. You’ll choose from classes like:
- Cybercrime & Behavior
- Private Security
- Juvenile Justice Systems
Fort Hays students have secured employment in a wide range of occupations in the field. Some occupations include state and federal special agents; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Marshals; customs agents; court administrators; law enforcement agents; security, correction, parole, probation and community correction officers; juvenile intake personnel; and victim services personnel.
College Choice Score: 68.09
Average Net Price: $19,877
Faulkner University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is another degree-completion program, which will appeal to students who are currently involved in the field and could benefit from completing their degree in order to both advance their career and further develop their expertise. Students will be trained in law enforcement, corrections, and legal and private security.
Students who are interested in continuing education and preparation for graduate school will also find Faulkner’s program suitable. Faulkner places an emphasis on preparing students for the moral and ethical challenges of a criminal justice career and the high standards expected of professionals in the following:
- Law Enforcement
- Private Security
Faulkner’s faculty members are more than experts in the classroom; they are respected experts in the criminal justice field who deliver practical curriculum for real-world challenges. The degree program is divided into six, eight-week modules. Additionally, professionals with law enforcement and corrections minimum standards certification can earn academic credit toward the 66 hours of general education (core) requirements for the degree.
Southern Oregon University
College Choice Score: 68.01
Average Net Price: $8,939
Southern Oregon University offers both an online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The program seeks to introduce students to all conceivable areas of the criminology and criminal justice fields, including but not limited to law, policing, theory, and corrections.
Students leave the program ready for the Criminal Justice field, graduate studies, or law school. The department does not require a minor area of study but does encourage students to consider this option in order to best prepare themselves for their specific goals. The department also features numerous electives as well as non-credit learning opportunities, such as lock-ins and trips to maximum-security penitentiaries. Classes along the way will include:
- Criminology Theory
- Criminal Justice Research
- Juvenile Delinquency
Graduates of Southern Oregon’s program will be well prepared to pursue graduate study or careers in numerous areas. Examples of some career opportunities include air marshall, CIA officer, computer forensics investigator, correctional officer, criminal investigator, customs and border protection officer, DEA agent, FBI agent, fish and game warden, lawyer, police officer, probation officer, and youth correctional counselor.
Eastern Kentucky University
College Choice Score: 67.98
Average Net Price: $12,255
Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies is home to EKU’s online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice as well as graduate programs in the field. The school is known and respected both nationally and internationally and features a well-credentialed faculty. EKU’s program promotes respect, tolerance, sensitivity and an open exchange of ideas regarding a wide range of cultural and intellectual differences.
EKU offers a broad range of courses in justice studies including courses in general criminal justice, policing, corrections, law, juvenile justice, and social justice designed to prepare students for graduate study in criminal justice, law, justice studies, or the social sciences and/or employment in the fields of criminal justice, social services, and social advocacy. Students have interned at the following places:
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
- Office of Public Defender
Graduates of EKU’s program find employment in a vast array of occupations, including public and private policing, community and institutional corrections, the court subsystem, criminal justice research and planning, crime prevention, and victim-based programs. EKU’s broad-based degree program, taught by leading scholars in the country, also prepares those students opting to continue their studies either at law school or in a graduate program.
University of Maryland University College
College Choice Score: 67.29
Average Net Price: $12,483
Few rankings of best online undergraduate programs would be complete without a degree from University of Maryland University College. UMUC offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is designed to prepare students to move into key positions in law enforcement or a federal agency. UMUC also offers the program in criminal justice as a minor.
Students in UMUC’s program will be well prepared in not only the theory but also the practice of the criminal justice system as well as the specifics of criminal behavior, law enforcement, courts, corrections, security, and investigation. UMUC’s courses are developed and taught by local law enforcement officials, which lends invaluable experience to the classroom. Some highlight courses include:
- Law Enforcement Administration
- Correctional Administration
- Drugs and Crime
UMUC is conveniently located near to the headquarters of the FBI, CIA, and NSA as well as the metropolitan areas of Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland. Even online students will benefit from the on-the-ground knowledge UMUC’s location affords the program. Students will gain unique insight into the nature of crime and the personnel, institutions, and processes that prevent and respond to it.
Montana State University-Northern
College Choice Score: 67.19
Average Net Price: $10,523
Montana State University Northern’s online bachelor’s in criminal justice prepares students for a variety of careers in a constantly evolving field. From jobs in police services to adult and juvenile corrections to homeland security, MSU-Northern’s criminal justice program offers exciting professional and educational opportunities for students.
The program is designed to focus not only on practical knowledge but also deeper, more complex issues that relate to law enforcement and the corrections system. Students can choose either a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice or a minor in the field. Topics covered in MSU-Northern’s program include:
- Crime prevention and enforcement
- Conflict management
- Legal studies and psychology
MSU-Northern’s professors boast decades of experience in law enforcement and in the courtroom and prepare graduates for real-life work in the field. They have worked in both rural and metropolitan areas, giving students a broad range of understanding of the criminal justice system. Graduates of the program typically pursue careers in state, county, and city agencies as well as federal and private organizations.