Affordable Criminal Justice Degrees

Scroll down to see the most affordable criminal justice degrees in 2016, as well as info on the different types of criminal justice degrees and criminal justice program accreditation.

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The field of criminal justice encompasses law enforcement, the courts and the penal system. Police officers, FBI agents, crime scene investigators, parole officers, lawyers, business intelligence analysts – these are just a few of the jobs that graduates with affordable justice degrees can choose to pursue. You might earn a degree in order to fulfill college credit requirements for law enforcement agencies, advance to higher level positions or expand your career opportunities.

Wondering which program is right for your goals? In our guide to criminal justice degrees, you’ll find fluff-free information on every level of education. For each degree, we outline your options (e.g. BA vs. BS), common coursework and career opportunities. Then we discuss the importance of attending an accredited school and the difference between regional and national accreditation.

Types of Criminal Justice Degrees

Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice

An associate’s degree in criminal justice is a 2-year undergraduate program that provides a thorough overview of the criminal justice system. Although 2 years is the norm, you may find programs that take less time. Many community colleges and junior colleges offer associate’s degrees.

A high school diploma or GED is required before you can apply to an associate’s program. Certificates and/or military experience can often count as credits.

Degree Options

  • Associate of Arts (AA) in Criminal Justice: Incorporates humanities courses. A common choice for students interested in transferring their credits to a BA degree.
  • Associate of Science (AS) in Criminal Justice: Incorporates science and technical courses. A common choice for students interested in transferring their credits to a BS degree.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice: Focuses on practical coursework. A popular choice for students who are interested in beginning work straight after graduation.

Coursework

No matter which degree you choose (AA, AS or AAS), a good program will provide you with broad expertise in every aspect of criminal justice. Core courses often cover the criminal justice system, corrections, law enforcement, ethics, criminal law, crime scene investigation and so on. Many AA and AS degree programs also incorporate electives in science, humanities and sociology/psychology.

Career Opportunities

You could consider an associate’s degree if you wish to:

  • Qualify for an entry-level job with the police, courts, corrections and private security
  • Earn credit hours for a bachelor’s degree further in your career
  • Add an extra qualification to your résumé

Common job titles for graduates with an associate’s degree in criminal justice include:

  • Police Officer
  • Security Guard
  • Corrections Officer
  • Legal Assistant
  • Youth Caseworker
  • Private Investigator
  • Court Reporter/Administrator

To become a police officer, you may only need a high school diploma or GED. On the flip side, some law enforcement agencies specify that you must hold a bachelor’s degree or above for certain jobs. When in doubt, ask your potential employer for precise education requirements.

Note: If you’re interested in a bachelor’s degree further down the track, make sure your credits will be transferable – attend an accredited program.

Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is a 4-year undergraduate program that provides students with a solid grounding in both the theory and practice of criminal justice. Some federal, state and corporate employers will require you to hold a bachelor’s degree before they’ll consider you for the job.

A high school diploma or GED is required before you can apply to a bachelor’s program. Certificates and/or military experience can often count as credits.

Degree Options

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice: Incorporates humanities courses (e.g. foreign language, English, etc.). Graduates with a BA might consider graduate work in law or a career in social services.
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice: Incorporates science and technical courses (e.g. forensic science, IT and math). This is a good choice for students thinking about a science-based career (e.g. CSI).

Coursework

Most bachelor’s programs require you to take general humanities and science courses on top of a criminal justice “core”. General courses are intended to provide you with a wide-ranging perspective on the world; the core is focused on training you in all elements of criminal justice. Some curricula will include psychology or sociology.

Core coursework usually covers a swath of criminal justice topics, including the law, policing, courts, criminology, ethics, corrections and criminal evidence. Once you reach your 3rd and 4th years, universities will give you the option to specialize in a particular area of study (e.g. family law, forensic science, paralegal studies, etc.). You may also be required to complete an internship.

Career Opportunities

You could consider earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in order to:

  • Apply for jobs in sheriff offices, courts, prisons, the FBI, social service agencies and parole offices
  • Find work as a police officer, detective, criminal investigator, forensic science technician, etc.
  • Build on your associate’s degree or certificate credits
  • Prep for a master’s degree or a JD

Look for bachelor’s programs that focus on real-world experience and provide useful internships. Employers will want to see proof of practical skills.

Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

A master’s degree in criminal justice is a 2-year graduate program that gives students the chance to specialize in a particular area of criminal justice.

A bachelor’s degree is usually required before you can attend a master’s program. Many candidates are working professionals who already have on-the-job experience.

Degree Options

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Criminal Justice: Often focuses on humanities areas (e.g. law enforcement administration, legal studies, public policy, etc.).
  • Master of Science (MS) of Criminal Justice: Often focuses on science and technical areas (e.g. cyber crime, forensics, crime science investigation, etc.).
  • Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ): Tries to find a balance between the MS and the MA by mixing humanities and science courses.

Coursework

The curriculum for your master’s program will depend on which degree (MA, MS or MCJ) you pick. On the whole, most schools require students to take core courses and electives.

  • Core courses cover key criminal justice issues (e.g. criminological theory, criminal profiling, policing, correctional leadership, legal issues, IT, policy development, budgeting/planning, etc.).
  • Electives allow you dig deep into an area of special interest (e.g. white collar crime, terrorism, forensic psychology, etc.).

To test your research skills, good graduate programs will often incorporate a practicum and/or final thesis into the curriculum.

Career Opportunities

You may wish to earn a master’s because you’re training for a specific career, preparing for law school, working towards a PhD or interested in a career change. A master’s degree is often useful for jobs in management, government policy and specialized units in law enforcement.

Leadership positions for master’s degree holders include:

  • Police Captain
  • Police Sergeant
  • Corporate Security Manager
  • Critical Incident Manager

Specific positions for master’s degree holders include:

  • Criminologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Criminal Profiler

You don’t need a master’s degree to become a police officer, detective or special agent in an organization like the FBI or DEA. But you do need it in order to become a police captain or sergeant.

Doctoral Degree in Criminal Justice

A DCJ or PhD in criminal justice is an intense 3-5 year research-based program. It is the highest educational qualification you can achieve.

Degree Options

  • Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ): Rarer than the more established (and sometimes more respected) PhD. Instead of original research, a DCJ focuses on the application of existing research to real-world problems.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Criminal Justice: The most well-known doctoral qualification in criminal justice. In a PhD, students are required to write a lengthy dissertation based on original research.

Coursework

The PhD curriculum is made up of 3 parts:

  • Core courses
  • Concentration courses
  • Dissertation

In core courses, you will often tackle advanced research and theory (e.g. applied statistics, contemporary policy, quantitative and qualitative research methods, etc.). In concentration courses, you will be allowed to focus on your specific discipline (e.g. juvenile justice, corrections, etc.). Your final hurdle is a dissertation based on original research.

Career Opportunities

With a PhD in hand, graduates can:

  • Teach at university
  • Conduct high-level research
  • Work as a government administrator
  • Advise on policy
  • Ascend to corporate management
  • Serve as a consultant or expert criminologist

Above all, pick a PhD program with an excellent reputation. Tenured faculty with real-world experience, well-respected research centers, strong funding numbers, high program rankings – these are markers of overall quality.

Certificate in Criminal Justice

A certificate in criminal justice is a short, non-degree program that typically lasts anywhere from 6 months to one year. Since certificates don’t often require students to participate in internships or practicums, online offerings are particularly common.

Certificate Options

  • Undergraduate Certificate: Available to high school and GED graduates. An undergraduate certificate in criminal justice covers basic aspects of criminal law, criminal behavior and policing.
  • Graduate Certificate: Designed for baccalaureate graduates who have specific career goals in mind. Graduate certificates are often highly specialized (e.g. homeland security, conservation criminology, security management, etc.).

Career Opportunities

A certificate can be helpful if you would like to:

  • Build up credit hours
  • Pursue a degree later on
  • Earn an extra qualification while you are working on a degree in a related field (e.g. social work)
  • Expand your opportunities in your existing job (e.g. IT, security education, social services, etc.)
  • Start transitioning into the field of criminal justice
Note: If you’re interested in a bachelor’s degree further down the track, make sure your credits will be transferable – attend an accredited program.

Important Accreditations

Regional vs. National Accreditation

Before you choose a program, we recommend you ask if the college or university has regional accreditation. This is a mark of quality granted to institutions by one of six regional accrediting bodies (e.g. New England Association of Schools and Colleges).

Schools with national accreditation are not “bad” – in fact, they’re usually cheaper and easier to get into – but they’re rarely looked upon with the same respect as regional institutions.

You can learn more about the accreditation debate in Accreditation: Understanding the Difference Between Real Schools and Diploma Mills.

Benefits of Regional Accreditation

Attending a regionally accredited school will make it easier for you to:

  • Transfer credits (many regionally accredited schools will not accept credits from nationally accredited schools)
  • Apply for funding, student loans, scholarships and tuition reimbursement
  • Gain acceptance into graduate school
  • Look good in the eyes of recruiters and HR managers

Program Accreditations

There is no specialized accrediting agency for criminal justice programs. When schools and employers talk about accreditation, they are usually discussing institutional accreditation.

However, there are organizations that offer criminal justice program certification. Like accrediting bodies, these organizations assess degree programs using a set of rigorous standards.

One such body is the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). ACJS certifies associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in criminal justice. This is a “boutique” qualification and not many programs have it.

Find an ACJS Certified Program.

Helpful Criminal Justice Organizations

School Rankings

1

Farmingdale State College

Farmingdale State College's Department of Criminal Justice offers an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice. The criminal justice curriculum includes 30 credits of major coursework that helps students cultivate technical competencies related to criminal justice and law enforcement. Students can choose from a full-time day program or a part-time evening program. Additionally, the school's Department of Security Systems/Law Enforcement Technology offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in law enforcement technology. This program includes coursework in computers, forensics, crime prevention and technology and prepares students to study digital evidence and investigate crimes committed on a computer.

CAG Score 97.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,394 Students

2

New Jersey City University

New Jersey City University's Department of Criminal Justice offers Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in criminal justice. The B.S. program requires 24 credits of criminal justice core courses and 15 credits of electives. Core coursework covers subjects such as crime and delinquency, criminal law, criminal justice research, public safety agency management and court system administration. B.S. students can attend class at 9 a.m. or 7 p.m., depending on what works best for their schedule. The M.S. in Criminal Justice requires 15 credits of core courses, 15 credits of elective courses and a three-credit master's project. Additionally, students can participate in the Criminal/Social Justice Club and the American Criminal Justice Association's Lambda Alpha Epsilon.

CAG Score 97.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,136 Students

3

Texas A & M University-College Station

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Texas A&M University Commerce offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science in Applied Criminology. The program is meant to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of law enforcement, corrections, and the courts. Students in the criminal justice program may participate in organizations such as the Sociology and Criminal Justice Society and Alpha Phi Sigma, the honors society for criminal justice majors.

CAG Score 96.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

61,642 Students

4

University of Minnesota-Crookston

The Department of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Minnesota-Crookston offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and an undergraduate minor in criminal justice. The B.S. in Criminal Justice is available in two concentrations: law enforcement or corrections. The B.S. curriculum includes 35 credits of program core requirements, including courses in criminology, corrections, policing, judicial process, criminal justice ethics and criminal law. Program core courses also include a three-credit internship. Additionally, students in the law enforcement concentration are required to complete at least 24 credits of specialization courses, while students in the corrections concentration are required to complete at least 18 credits of concentration courses. UMC's criminal justice program has been approved for certification by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training.

CAG Score 96.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,850 Students

5

Texas Woman's University

At Texas Woman's University, the Department of Sociology and Social Work is part of the College of Arts & Sciences. The department has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program. Students can complete the requirements for this degree entirely on campus, 100% online or through a combination of online and classroom-based courses. The program includes an internship, which can be taken in such locations as the Denton County District Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Dallas), or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,071 Students

6

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Through its Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice offers a BA in Criminal Justice with a concentration in research policy and analysis, a baccalaureate/master's degree program in criminal justice, a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and a doctoral program in criminal justice. Related undergraduate degrees offered through other academic departments include a BS in Correctional Studies, a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in institutional theory and practice, a BS in Criminal Justice Management, a BA in Criminology and a BS in Police Studies. Numerous scholarships are available to students studying criminal justice at John Jay College, including the $1,000 Sebastiano "Sabby" Crecco Memorial Scholarship for first-year students pursuing a criminal justice bachelor's degree.

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,045 Students

7

Rutgers University

The Criminal Justice Department at Rutgers University offers an undergraduate major in criminal justice that teaches students about the criminal justice system, crime prevention and how criminal behavior is dealt with in both the public and corporate world. The criminal justice major requires the completion of at least 36 major credits, including 18 credits of general coursework in subjects like criminology, police and prisons. Students are also required to complete nine credits of thematic coursework in at least two different thematic areas from the following three options: human behavior, deviance and crime; social control institutions; and law and ethics. Additionally, students complete nine credits of electives, which can include a three-credit internship. Criminal justice majors can also choose to complete an independent study or an honors research thesis.

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,321 Students

8

Wayne State College

The School of Natural and Social Sciences at Wayne State College has a Criminal Justice program that is offered through the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Criminal Science. Students have the option of pursuing either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. The program is offered in cooperation with the Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska. Criminal Justice majors (full-time juniors or seniors) may be eligible for the Brad Bigelow Criminal Justice Scholarship. Active members of the Wayne State Criminal Justice Association (WSCJA) and/or the Alpha Phi Sigma can apply for the Criminal Justice Alumni Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,470 Students

9

California State University-Long Beach

The Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice at CSU Long Beach is offered through the College of Health and Human Services. The curriculum includes required courses such as criminal courts and judicial processes, policing, criminological theory, criminal justice ethics, values and diversity and constitutional criminal procedure. There is also a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program available with two format options: a full-time, on-campus, two-year option, or a fully on-line, accelerated option (beginning fall 2016). Scholarships for undergraduates include the Dr. Judy Hails Criminal Justice Student Award and the George M. Montoya Memorial Scholarship ($1,000-$3,000 each). Graduate students can apply for the Dr. Libby Deschenes Memorial Scholarship ($2,000-$3,000) and the Kay Holloway Memorial Scholarship (half-tuition).

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,809 Students

10

Buffalo State SUNY

The criminal justice program at Buffalo State takes a multi-disciplinary approach, looking at criminal justice from both theoretical and real-world perspectives. Students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice can concentrate in Policing, Corrections, or Intelligence Analysis. To earn the degree, students must earn at least 42 credits in major classes, including courses in criminal law, the police process, the correctional process, and criminal justice theory. Students are also required to take a statistics course and at least two courses selected from a list of relevant professional, behavioral, and social science electives. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a 36-credit program that allows students to choose either a master's project or a comprehensive exam.

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

11,083 Students

11

University of Houston-Downtown

The College of Public Service at the University of Houston-Downtown offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree is offered online. The criminal justice degrees prepare students for careers in the world of criminal justice by providing a comprehensive understanding and in-depth study of the definition and causes of crime and the formal and informal efforts to prevent and control it. Students will take courses in criminology, the criminal court system, the correctional system, the police system, and crime, law, and society.

CAG Score 96.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

14,439 Students

12

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University's Department of Government and Justice Studies offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, as well as a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology. The BS in Criminal Justice requires 64 major credits and is offered in an international studies concentration. The graduate Criminal Justice and Criminology program is offered in coordination with the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. The MPA's administration of justice track requires 15 credit hours of concentration-specific coursework and a six-credit internship, which involves full-time work at a criminal justice agency. The Department of Government and Justice Studies offers need-based scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, including the Andy Nobles Scholarship in Criminal Justice and the North Carolina Sheriff's Association Scholarship in Criminal Justice.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

18,026 Students

13

Iowa State University

Through its Department of Sociology, Iowa State University offers an undergraduate major in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on criminology and criminal justice. The major requires the completion of coursework in several broad subject categories, including social science methods; the epidemiology of crime and justice; legal, political and philosophical bases; theoretical bases of crime, justice and social control; special topics in criminal justice; and diversity topics. The major also requires a 3 to 12 credit practicum. A 15-credit undergraduate minor in criminal justice is also available. Students majoring in criminology and criminal justice are eligible for several scholarships, including the Mary W. Lees Scholarship, the Cy-Ty Memorial Award and the Donald and Janet Payer Award in Criminal Justice.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

34,435 Students

14

The University of Texas at El Paso

The Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at El Paso currently offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. This degree is available on campus or online. The degree will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the nature of law and social control, criminal behavior and its relationship to society, the use of research in the criminal justic field, and the organization and management of various criminal justice agencies such as courts, corrections, and law enforcement agencies. Students in the program will take such courses as Criminology, Advanced Concepts in Criminal Justice, and Correctional Systems and Practices.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,079 Students

15

Texas A & M University-Commerce

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Texas A&M University Commerce offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science degree in Applied Criminology. These degree programs are designed to establish a comprehensive understanding of three components (courts, corrections, and law enforcement) of the criminal justice system. Students pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Criminology may be eligible for a Graduate Assistantship. Students may join such organizations as the Sociology and Criminal Justice Society and Alpha Phi Sigma.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,111 Students

16

SUNY College at Oswego

The Department of Public Justice at SUNY Oswego's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has a Bachelor of Arts in Pubic Justice program. This is one of only three programs that the college offers as an Evening Program. Students pursuing this degree can take a minor in Forensic Science through a program developed by the Public Justice Department and the Chemistry Department. The interdisciplinary course of Pre-Law study in Public Justice is an excellent option for students planning to attend law school after graduation. Admitted students may be eligible for the following Criminal Justice scholarships: Raymond Joseph Stastny Memorial Scholarship ($500), Luciano j. Iorizzo Scholarship Award ($400.00) and the David A. Ingram, Esq. Memorial Scholarship ($500).

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,034 Students

17

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University's Department of Criminal Justice provides degree programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. The department's Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice requires a minimum of 45 credits of major coursework and also requires that students research, write and orally defend a senior thesis. The department's Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a 36- to 42-credit degree program offered in a criminal justice administration track, a criminal justice counseling track and an elective track. Both the BA and MS program can be completed through in-person or online learning. Criminal justice students are eligible for several major-specific scholarships, including the $2,000 Joseph Plant Living the Dream Scholarship in Criminal Justice and the $1,000 Caldecott Family Scholarship in Criminal Justice.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

16,076 Students

18

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Sociology Department at UMass Amherst's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a Criminal Justice Certificate for public safety and security professionals. This certificate program is offered online through Continuing and Professional Education. Areas of specialties include domestic violence, criminal forensics, and white-collar crimes. The University Without Walls (UWW) is an academic major at UMass Amherst for adults pursuing their first bachelor's degree. Criminal Justice is offered as an area of study in this program. UWW has several scholarship programs for adult learners such as the Bonnie Lynn Scholarship Fund, the Edward J. Harris Lifelong Learning Fund, the Jeffrey C. Taylor Educational Opportunity Fund, and others. Students need to have a good academic record and demonstrable financial need.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

28,635 Students

19

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. The Master's degree can be completed entirely online. Graduates of these programs may become police officers, federal or state law enforcement officers, probation or parole officers, detention or custodial officers, victim's advocates, and many more. Students will take courses on subjects such as criminal justice and public policy, criminological theory, criminal law and procedure, ethical and diversity issues in criminal justice, police and correctional systems, and research methods. Criminal justice students may qualify for scholarships such as the Jacob Andrew Fritsch Memorial Scholarship, the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship, and the Tory J. Caeti Memorial Scholarship.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,486 Students

20

SUNY College at Plattsburgh

The School of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Plattsburgh offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program that gives students the opportunity to explore crucial social problem areas such as crime, delinquency and violence. Completion of this degree qualifies graduates for federal employment at the GS 7-8 level. Criminal Justice can also be pursued as a minor for students majoring in areas such as psychology, public administration, or social services. SUNY Plattsburgh's BA in Criminal Justice program requires an internship, which can be completed with any government agency, community service organization or local business.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

5,968 Students

21

Alfred University

The Social Sciences Division at Alfred University offers an undergraduate major and minor in criminal justice studies. The major in criminal justice studies requires 24 credits of core courses and 20 credits of electives. Core courses cover subjects like penology, criminal behavior, judicial processes, abnormal psychology, crime and social deviance. Criminal justice majors are also required to attend at least two institutes, which are half-day sessions that deal with specific issues in the criminal justice profession. The criminal justice minor requires 22 credits of coursework.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,310 Students

22

Michigan State University

Michigan State University's School of Criminal Justice offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that requires major coursework in criminology, criminal procedure, policing, corrections, juvenile justice and private security and can be completed with an optional concentration in security management. The school also offers a master's degree in criminal justice, a master's degree in forensic science, a PhD in Criminal Justice, as well as three online master's programs. Graduate and undergraduate criminal justice students are eligible for several scholarships through the School of Criminal Justice, including the Diane M. Diponio Memorial Scholarship for women entering the field of law enforcement and the Louis A. Radelet Graduate Diversity Scholarship Fund, which provides assistantship and fellowship funding to minority criminal justice graduate students.

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

50,081 Students

23

Marshall University

Marshall University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and an Accelerated Master's Degree in Criminal Justice. A criminal justice degree prepares students for successful careers (in either public service or the private sector) or for law school or graduate school. Many criminal justice students are members of the Alpha Omega Chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association and/or the Omega Gamma Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. The Department of Criminal Justice at Marshall University is among the oldest in the state of West Virginia, and it is the first to offer criminal justice degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,381 Students

24

Holy Family University

Holy Family University's School of Arts and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and a five-year BA/MA option, which allows students to complete the requirements for both the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Criminal Justice in five years. The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice requires 30 credits of major requirements in subjects like the American criminal justice system, criminological theory, ethics in criminal justice and research methods in criminal justice. The master's program also includes a capstone course that allows students to apply their knowledge and practical skills to a specific issue in the field of criminal justice through writing, research and analysis.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,658 Students

25

SUNY College at Brockport

At SUNY Brockport, the Criminal Justice Department is part of the School of Education and Human Services. The department has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program. Students pursuing this degree have the option of taking a Minor in Forensic Science. There is a one-semester Study Abroad program at Brunei University in Uxbridge, England. The program consists of courses and field trips designed to introduce American students to the fundamental elements of criminal justice in England. Students admitted to SUNY Brockport's criminal justice program must complete an internship in order to graduate.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,106 Students

26

Northwest Missouri State University

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminology degree with the following areas of emphasis: diversity within the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system, and the adult justice system. The curriculum includes courses in abnormal psychology, police and society, courts and the rights of the accused, and the juvenile justice system in America. There is also a minor in criminal justice available. Although internships are not required, students are encouraged to seek internship opportunities that support their academic and future career goals. Students with financial need can apply to a number of university-wide scholarships such as the Carrick Lee Scholarship ($1,000) and the Harvey and Joyce While Scholarship ($1,000).

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,720 Students

27

Ferris State University

Undergraduate students studying criminal justice at Ferris State University's School of Criminal Justice can earn a bachelor's degree in three concentrations: criminal justice law enforcement, criminal justice corrections and criminal justice generalist. The school also offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, which is a 30-semester-hour program that emphasizes four core areas: administrative and leadership skills, personnel and budgeting management, research and evaluation, and crime and violence. The master's curriculum combines coursework in criminal justice with coursework in administration to prepare students to act as managers and administrators of criminal justice institutions. Several scholarships are reserved specifically for criminal justice students, including the Martin J. Wozniak Scholarship for a student enrolled in the criminal justice law enforcement track.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

14,600 Students

28

California State University-Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS). The program draws from different disciplines (psychology, public administration, law, etc.) and familiarizes students with various subsystems of the American criminal justice system, such as law enforcement and corrections. The curriculum covers diverse topics including crime and delinquency, criminal justice research methodology, and public management and policy. Full-time criminal justice majors who plan to pursue a career in law enforcement after graduation can apply for the Dan Byrnes Scholarship ($500 to $1,000). Continuing upper-division students pursuing a CHSS major (such as criminal justice) can apply for the Don A. Schweitzer Memorial Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences ($800).

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

38,128 Students

29

California State University-Stanislaus

Students admitted to the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program at Stanislaus State University can choose from the following areas of concentration: law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, juvenile justice, and criminal legal studies. The BA in Criminal Justice program is the only program in the state (and one of only a handful throughout the country) to offer a concentration in juvenile justice. The program includes courses in criminal procedures, causes of crime, juvenile justice, and the historical and contemporary aspects of criminal justice. There is also a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree available. The Cecil Rhodes Scholarship supports academically qualified part-time or full-time Criminal Justice students with demonstrable financial need. Only one award is given each year.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

9,045 Students

30

University of Wyoming

At the University of Wyoming, the Department of Criminal Justice is part of the College of Arts & Sciences. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program. Students admitted to this program can choose from two areas of concentration - Forensic Science or Pre-Law. The department also allows students pursuing a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree in the Department of Political Science to select criminal justice as their area of concentration. Criminal Justice students can apply for the following scholarships: Deputy Bryan Gross Memorial Scholarship ($1,000/year), Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP) Scholarships (two $500 awards), William D. Griffith Scholarship ($1,500), and the John R. Shell Memorial Scholarship ($1,500).

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,820 Students

31

Chadron State College

Chadron State College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies with a concentration in criminal justice, as well as a criminal justice minor. The B.A. program includes 57 major credits and allows students to choose an area of focus in law enforcement, law, juvenile justice, corrections or forensic sciences. Students are required to complete nine major core courses in subjects like law enforcement, criminal justice corrections and multicultural issues in criminal justice. Students are also required to complete six credits in their area of focus. The criminal justice minor requires 21 credits of coursework in subjects like law, corrections and law enforcement. Criminal justice students also have the opportunity to study abroad and complete internships.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,033 Students

32

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College offers an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice and an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice. This program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system in America by concentrating on its three primary components: the judicial system, corrections, and law enforcement. Students who graduate from this program often go on to become security officers, legal assistants, probation officer trainees, institutional parole assistants, youth detention counselors, and crime statistic analysts. Students in this program will take such courses as Juvenile Justice, Criminal Law & Procedure, and Probation & Parole.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,470 Students

33

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte offers bachelor and master's programs in criminal justice. To enter the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program, students must first pass an introductory class in criminal justice and a statistics class. They also must take a research methods class. Majors are required to take at least one class each in law enforcement, corrections, and the legal area. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice requires 25 credits of coursework plus a thesis, or 31 credits of coursework and passing a comprehensive exam. The department offers a variety of opportunities for criminal justice students, including several named scholarships and a campus chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

27,238 Students

34

SUNY College at Oneonta

Criminal justice majors at SUNY Oneonta take a criminological approach to the subject, with classes concentrating on the causes and effects of crime, as well as analyzing criminal justice policy. To earn the bachelor's degree, students must complete 42 credits in major classes, including courses in sociology, psychology, and ethics. The program is housed in the Department of Sociology, which gives students the flexibility to easily transition to a sociology major track if they change career plans, such as deciding to prepare for law school instead of a career in law enforcement. Criminal justice majors must complete an internship. The department also allows students to achieve a minor in criminal justice.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,101 Students

35

SUNY at Fredonia

SUNY Fredonia grants a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice to students who complete at least 42 credits of classes in the major. Students are required to take six core classes, two classes in statistics and research methods, three criminal justice electives, and three interdisciplinary electives from a long list of classes offered by other departments. For instance, criminal justice majors could take a computer science class on computer security and ethics or a sociology class covering deviant behavior. Departmental scholarships include the Steven C. Croglio Scholarship, given to a senior based on academic performance and commitment to a career in law enforcement, and the University Police Scholarship, awarded to a junior.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

5,215 Students

36

University of Nebraska at Omaha

At the University of Nebraska Omaha, the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is located within the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS). The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice that prepares students for a career as a DEA agent, a police or probation officer or a correctional counselor. There are three graduate programs available: Master of Arts and a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology and Criminal Justice. There is also a Graduate Certificate in Managing Juvenile and Adult Populations program available. Students have the option to pursue the Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice/Master of Social Work (MS/MSW) Dual Degree Program.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,227 Students

37

University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Criminal Justice Department at the University of Nebraska-Kearney offers a comprehensive criminal justice major, a traditional criminal justice major and a criminal justice minor. The comprehensive criminal justice major requires 54 major credits and allows students to choose a minor but does not require it. The traditional criminal justice major requires 36 major credits and does require the completion of a minor or second major. Both programs include criminal justice core requirements in correctional services, police service, theories of crime, criminal law and criminal evidence. Students in both programs are also required to complete a six to nine-credit criminal justice internship. Students in the comprehensive major are required to complete 21 credits of criminal justice electives, while students in the traditional criminal justice major are required to take nine credits of electives.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,902 Students

38

Winona State University

The criminal justice program offered by WSU's College of Liberal Arts has two tracks - a Corrections Track and a Law Enforcement Track. This provides students with the chance to pursue a career in law enforcement or correctional agencies. WSU's criminal justice program is a professional peace officer education program certified by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). An internship of 12 semester credit hours is an integral part of the criminal justice program for both Tracks. All students admitted to the program are required to complete the internship.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,684 Students

39

Gogebic Community College

Gogebic Community College offers an associate degree program in criminal justice that prepares students for careers in various areas of the criminal justice field, including roles as police officers, detectives, sheriffs, FBI agents, special agents and drug enforcement agents. The criminal justice degree program requires 63 to 65 credits of coursework, including courses in corrections, juvenile corrections, community-based corrections, legal issues in corrections and first aid. Students are also required to complete three to four credits of psychology electives and nine to ten credits of humanities electives. Additionally, students have the option to tailor their coursework to include the 15 credits required by the State of Michigan to become a corrections officer in the Michigan Department of Corrections.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

1,119 Students

40

Towson University

Through its Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, Towson University offers an undergraduate major in sociology-anthropology with a concentration in criminal justice. The criminal justice concentration requires a minimum of 45 credits of major coursework, including upper-level courses in the broad subject areas of social control, criminology and criminal justice practice. Students are also required to complete nine credits electives with the option to undertake an advanced learning experience in the form of a seminar, internship, honors thesis or another upper-level course. Criminal justice students also have the opportunity to participate in the Criminal Justice Student Association, the Forensic Science Student Organization or the National Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

22,285 Students

41

University of South Florida-Main Campus

At the University of South Florida, the Bachelor of Arts in Criminology degree is offered through the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. The curriculum includes coursework that cover topics such as the theories of criminal behavior, environmental law and crime, forensic psychology, race and crime, the juvenile justice system, and criminal investigations. The BA in Criminology degree can be pursued entirely online as long as students choose electives that are offered online. Master of Arts degrees are available in criminology and in criminal justice administration, in addition to a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology degree. MA and PhD criminology students are considered for Criminology Graduate Assistantships, which award $6,000 and $15,000 yearly stipends for Master's and doctoral students respectively.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

41,938 Students

42

Arkansas Tech University

The Behavioral Sciences Department at Arkansas Tech's College of Arts & Sciences offers a minor in criminal justice that gives students a foundation for employment or further studies in the field of law enforcement, probation and parole, or corrections. The minor requires the completion of 18 hours of courses, including an introduction course on criminal justice and a course in crime and delinquency. The department also offers an Associate in Science (AS) in Criminal Justice program designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in police work after graduation. For students who wish to continue on to a bachelor degree, completing the Associate of Arts (AA) in Criminal Justice program will qualify them for transfer to a four-year program.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,002 Students

43

Waynesburg University

Waynesburg University offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, and criminal justice students have the opportunity to participate in mock trials, mock crime scenes, as well as interning at probation offices, federal agencies, police departments, sheriffs' offices, human service agencies, law offices, coroners' offices, private detective agencies, and other organizations. Criminal justice majors will take courses such as American Policing, Criminal Investigation, Private Security Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, Law and the United Legal System, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, and Interview and Interrogation.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,039 Students

44

Saint Joseph's College-New York

Students accepted to the Bachelor of Science program at St. Joseph's College can choose from five tracks of study: law and justice, juvenile justice, mental health, community corrections, and technology and the criminal justice system. The completion of an internship program is required in order to earn the degree. In addition, the college offers a BS in Criminal Justice Practice and Policy that can be completed entirely online. An 18-credit minor in the discipline is available for non-criminal justice majors enrolled at the college. St. Joseph's also offers a 24-credit Criminology/Criminal Justice Certificate. Students are required to take courses that cover topics such as criminal justice administration, political and civil rights, criminology, corrections, social theory, and research methods in criminal justice.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

4,979 Students

45

Niagara University

Niagara University offers a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Criminal Justice and an accelerated B.S./M.S. program. Undergrads can add a related minor in computer crime, forensic science, or law and jurisprudence. The master's program requires 33 credits, with students selecting about half those credits as electives. Master's candidates prepare either a thesis or policy paper. The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice employs a full-time coordinator to help students find meaningful criminal justice internships, and Niagara students have interned at many local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Student activities include the Criminal Justice Association, which arranges speakers and community service activities, and a campus chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

4,015 Students

46

Minnesota State University-Mankato

Minnesota State University-Mankato's College of Social and Behavioral Science is home to the university's Department of Sociology and Corrections, which houses its Corrections program, and its Department of Government, which houses the Law Enforcement program. The Department of Sociology and Corrections offers a Bachelor of Science in Corrections, a corrections minor and a graduate degree in corrections. The Department of Government's Law Enforcement program offers a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Law Enforcement. The Department of Sociology and Corrections awards $1,000 scholarships each year to academically outstanding students. Additionally, five separate scholarships are reserved specifically for law enforcement majors, including the Frank A. and Marolin P. Korth Law Enforcement Scholarship and John Liebenstein Memorial Law Enforcement Scholarship.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,387 Students

47

University of Georgia

The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and International Affairs have been jointly administering UGA's Criminal Justice program since 1977. Students who complete this program graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. A semester-long internship in a criminal justice agency is part of the program. Eligible students can apply for the following scholarships created specifically for Criminal Justice majors at UGA: Sherry Lyons-Williams Scholarship, Kenneth M. McCarthy Scholarship and the James T. "Tommy" Morris Scholarship. Additional sources of funding include the Will Bush Student Professional Development Fund, the Susette M. Talarico Fund, and the Criminal Justice Studies Discretionary Fund.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

35,197 Students

48

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

The School of Public Affairs at UCCS offers the following undergraduate Criminal Justice programs: Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Minor in Criminal Justice, and an Undergraduate Certificate in Homeland Security. The BA in Criminal Justice has the following option areas: Corrections, Family Violence, Forensic Studies, Law Enforcement, Law, and Public Policy. The school has a Master of Criminal Justice program. Undergraduate students can pursue an accelerated Bachelor of Arts/Master of Criminal Justice degree, while graduate students can earn Dual Masters in Public Administration/Criminal Justice. There are also graduate certificates available in Criminal Justice, Homeland Defense, and Security Intelligence. The School of Public Affairs is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

11,761 Students

49

West Virginia University

West Virginia University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology degree. Students follow a curriculum that include courses in deviant behavior, police culture and socialization, punishment and social control, organized crime, terrorism, and victimology. On the graduate level, the department offers a Master of Arts in Sociology with a specialization in crime, social control and violence. Beginning in fall 2016, there will also be a Doctor of Philosophy degree in sociology offered with a specialization in crime. Students will have the option of earning their MA degree as part of the department's doctoral program. The MA thesis requirement may be waived for students who already have their MA in Sociology or in a related field of study.

CAG Score 95.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

29,175 Students

50

Truman State University

The Bachelor of Science in Justice Systems degree at Truman State University is offered through the School of Social and Cultural Studies. Students accepted to the program learn about the various components of the criminal justice system (law enforcement, the courts, corrections, etc.) and how to navigate each field effectively. The curriculum consists of coursework in topics such as juvenile delinquency, the rehabilitative system, criminology, the enforcement system, and the legal system. Students have access to a functional crime lab equipped with modern instruments for microscopic examination, chemical analyses, and latent print work. Students are required to complete an internship experience in order to graduate from the program. The school also offers minors in justice systems and in forensic science.

CAG Score 95.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,248 Students

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