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Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Are you interested in pursuing a criminal justice education through an online degree program? Discover all the essential information you need to know about top-ranked programs, school accreditation, degree paths, and career advancement opportunities. Take the next steps towards a successful criminal justice career by learning everything you need to know.

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Updated

10/05/2023

2024’s Best Online Schools for Criminal Justice

As the number of schools offering online criminal justice degrees continues to increase, it can be difficult to identify the most valuable programs. To assist you, we have conducted thorough research and analysis on thousands of colleges to identify the best institutions to earn your criminal justice degree online. Our top picks exclusively consider accredited programs, with the highest marks awarded to schools offering affordable prices, robust student support services, and multiple online criminal justice programs. Browse the rankings below to learn more about each school and find the online criminal justice degree that best meets your needs.

About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).

Affordability

  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for undergraduate students per academic year.
  • Percentage of students who receive institutional financial aid (directly from the school).
  • Average amount of institutional financial aid awarded.

Online Learning

  • Number of online programs in subject area self-reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Percentage of students at the school taking at least one class online.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Percentage of full-time, first-time students graduating within 6 years.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: August 2023

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ABHES: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

ACCJC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

ACCSC: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

1

Purdue University Global

West Lafayette, Indiana

The Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Purdue Global is completely online, offering students convenient flexibility in an ever-busy world. Students pursuing this degree can choose from seven different concentrations — Business Foundations, Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Psychology, Homeland Security, Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement, and Socially Responsible Leadership. Courses are offered over 10-week terms, allowing students to complete the program in four years of full-time study. Students wishing to go on to complete a master's degree have the option to apply for an accelerated master's, which allows them to take up to five graduate courses while they are still in their bachelor's program.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 180 quarter credits
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $371/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: HLC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 27:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 100%

2

Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice that's available entirely online. Classes are given in an accelerated 8-week format and will provide learners with a practical approach to studying criminal justice. Students in these programs can expect to conduct research projects and learn using real-world case studies. Multiple specializations — including Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Psychology, Business Administration and Management, Corrections and Human Services, Homeland Security, Public Administration, Strategic Intelligence Studies, Homeland Security, and Juvenile Justice — make it possible for students to tailor their degrees to fit their career objectives. Students with previously earned college credits can transfer in up to 75% of the degree total, and, upon graduation, choose to pursue the university's online Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 3.5 years
  • Cost: $390-$455/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 1.5 years
  • Cost: $565-$615/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 91%

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is part of the greater City University of New York. Its Master of Arts in Criminal Justice offers flexibility through an online format and short, 8-week terms. Classes typically have fewer than 20 students with no scheduled meeting times. Students have the opportunity to choose from several specializations including Criminology & Deviance, Criminal Law and Procedure, Policing, and Terrorism Studies. Dual specialization is an option. Required courses include Issues in Criminal Justice: Theory and Courts; Issues in Criminal Justice: Policing and Corrections; Research Design and Methods; Using Computers in Social Research; and Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice.

Program Highlights:

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $470/credit (resident), $565/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 90%

4

Wheeling University

Wheeling, West Virginia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 96%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 65%

6

California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 80%

7

Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 65%

8

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation NECHE
Online Students 39%

9

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 66%

10

Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 79%

11

Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 60%

12

Carolina University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation TRACS
Online Students 98%

13

Siena Heights University

Adrian, Michigan

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 63%

14

Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 92%

15

Philander Smith College

Little Rock, Arkansas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 86%

16

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 58%

17

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 66%

18

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 76%

19

Jackson State University

Jackson, Mississippi

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 89%

20

Madonna University

Livonia, Michigan

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 72%

21

Arkansas Tech University

Russellville, Arkansas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 64%

22

Park University

Parkville, Missouri

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 90%

23

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 81%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 81%

25

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 50%

26

Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 56%

27

McNeese State University

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 86%

28

University of Providence

Great Falls, Montana

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 8:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation NWCCU
Online Students 100%

29

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 88%

30

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 23:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation WSCUC
Online Students 87%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 93%

32

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 73%

33

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 58%

34

Columbia College

Columbia, South Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 79%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 89%

36

University of North Alabama

Florence, Alabama

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 77%

37

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 76%

38

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 75%

39

Washburn University

Topeka, Kansas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 45%

40

Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 77%

41

Central Penn College

Summerdale, Pennsylvania

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 9:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 79%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 24:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 65%

43

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 55%

44

Webster University

Saint Louis, Missouri

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 62%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 81%

46

Rowan University

Glassboro, New Jersey

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 51%

47

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 23:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 77%

48

Herzing University-Brookfield

Brookfield, Wisconsin

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 76%

49

Tarleton State University

Stephenville, Texas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 81%

50

SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, New York

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 55%
About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).

Affordability

  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for undergraduate students per academic year.
  • Percentage of students who receive institutional financial aid (directly from the school).
  • Average amount of institutional financial aid awarded.

Online Learning

  • Number of online programs in subject area self-reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Percentage of students at the school taking at least one class online.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Percentage of full-time, first-time students graduating within 6 years.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: August 2023

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ABHES: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

ACCJC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

ACCSC: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

1

Napa Valley College

Napa, California

Napa Valley College offers students interested in criminal justice two options — an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, or an Associate of Science - Transfer (AS-T) in Criminal Justice. If you're intending to transfer to a college within the CSU system to pursue a bachelor's degree in criminal justice it's recommended that you choose the AS-T degree option. The major difference between the two options is that the standard associate degree requires 22 credits to be completed within the major, whereas the transfer degree only requires 18 credits. However, the transfer degree guarantees California Community College students admission with junior standing into a college within the CSU system. It also gives them priority admission consideration to their local CSU campus. Both degrees require a total of 60 credits and are designed to be completed in two years. Most courses are offered online or in a hybrid format.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $46/credit (resident), $389/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC

Associate of Science in Criminal Justice - Transfer

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $46/credit (resident), $389/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: ACCJC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation ACCJC
Online Students 83%

2

Albany Technical College

Albany, Georgia

Albany Tech offers students an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), a diploma, and a technical certificate of credit in Criminal Justice Specialist that they can pursue. All courses are given in an online format through the Blackboard learning management system. Students that choose to take the AAS degree or diploma option will be required to complete a criminal justice practicum course or externship. The AAS degree requires 60 credits (about 2 years to complete), the diploma requires 48 credits (about 3 semesters), and the certificate requires 15 credits (about 1 semester). Example courses include Principles of Law Enforcement, Criminal Law for Criminal Justice, Corrections, and Ethics and Cultural Perspectives for Criminal Justice.

Program Highlights:

Certificate of Credit - Criminal Justice Specialist

  • Credits: 15
  • Length: 1 semester
  • Cost: $100/credit (resident), $200/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

Diploma in Criminal Justice Technology

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: 3 semesters
  • Cost: $100/credit (resident), $200/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 4 semesters
  • Cost: $100/credit (resident), $200/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 83%

McLennan Community College has several online degree options related to criminal justice. The Associate of Arts degree with a field of study in Criminal Justice is designed to transfer as a block into specialized bachelor's degree programs at a Texas state university, such as Tarleton State University or Texas Tech University. MCC also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Corrections or Law Enforcement. These programs can be completed in four semesters and require 60 credits. MCC also offers a Certificate of Completion in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Corrections or Law Enforcement, which can be completed in two semesters.

Program Highlights:

Certificate of Completion in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: 2 semesters
  • Cost: $106/credit (McClellan County resident), $124/credit (Texas residents), $181/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

Associate of Arts - Field of Study in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 4 semesters
  • Cost: $106/credit (McClellan County resident), $124/credit (Texas residents), $181/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 4 semesters
  • Cost: $106/credit (McClellan County resident), $124/credit (Texas residents), $181/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 57%

4

Randolph Community College

Asheboro, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 8:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 93%

5

Diablo Valley College

Pleasant Hill, California

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 24:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation ACCJC
Online Students 90%

6

Ogeechee Technical College

Statesboro, Georgia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 62%

7

Itawamba Community College

Fulton, Mississippi

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 67%

8

College of the Albemarle

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 97%

9

Haywood Community College

Clyde, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 6:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 74%

10

Northwood Technical College

Shell Lake, Wisconsin

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 7:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 73%

11

Isothermal Community College

Spindale, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 79%

12

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 89%

13

Oconee Fall Line Technical College

Sandersville, Georgia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 56%

14

Blue Ridge Community College

Flat Rock, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 98%

15

Central Community College

Grand Island, Nebraska

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 72%

16

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 78%

17

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa, California

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation ACCJC
Online Students 85%

18

Bristol Community College

Fall River, Massachusetts

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation NECHE
Online Students 98%

19

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 82%

20

Robeson Community College

Lumberton, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 87%

21

Central Georgia Technical College

Warner Robins, Georgia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 45%

22

Hopkinsville Community College

Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 70%

23

Madisonville Community College

Madisonville, Kentucky

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 55%

24

National Park College

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 68%

25

Murray State College

Tishomingo, Oklahoma

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 83%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 49%

27

Richmond Community College

Hamlet, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 57%

28

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 78%

29

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

Salisbury, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 82%

30

Northeast Community College

Norfolk, Nebraska

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 38%

31

Northern Essex Community College

Haverhill, Massachusetts

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation NECHE
Online Students 95%

32

Beaufort County Community College

Washington, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 63%

33

Carl Albert State College

Poteau, Oklahoma

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 73%

34

Surry Community College

Dobson, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 55%

35

Roane State Community College

Harriman, Tennessee

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 52%

36

Sandhills Community College

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 79%

37

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

Martinsburg, West Virginia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 37%

38

Wayne Community College

Goldsboro, North Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 78%

39

Amarillo College

Amarillo, Texas

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 55%

40

Three Rivers College

Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 81%

41

Technical College of the Lowcountry

Beaufort, South Carolina

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 72%

42

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Wesson, Mississippi

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 66%

43

South Louisiana Community College

Lafayette, Louisiana

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 23:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 77%

44

Lanier Technical College

Gainesville, Georgia

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 44%

45

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation MSCHE
Online Students 79%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 58%

47

Ridgewater College

Willmar, Minnesota

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 71%
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 72%

Explore Top Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Popular States

Can You Get a Criminal Justice Degree Online?

Absolutely. Online criminal justice degree programs are in high demand and can be found at a vast number of both public and private colleges and universities across the United States. These programs are available for all degree levels and offer a variety of specializations to choose from. Below is a comprehensive breakdown of the available online criminal justice degree options, including program components, ideal candidates, duration of completion, and additional relevant information.

Online Certificates in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice online schools offer both undergraduate and graduate certificate programs that serve different purposes for their respective student bodies. Two primary types of undergraduate criminal justice certificate programs exist, with general studies certificates providing students with an introductory overview of the criminal justice system’s three primary branches: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Vocational subject certificates also provide an introduction to the field, but focus on specific areas such as policing, corrections, or private security. Typically, undergraduate certificates require a year or less of study to complete, and they can be a sufficient requirement for some entry-level positions in criminal justice. Additionally, credits earned through a certificate program can often be applied towards an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Graduate criminal justice certificate programs are designed for working professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills in a specific area of the criminal justice field. These certificate programs typically cater to applicants with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field and offer coursework in topics such as criminal justice and criminology, homeland security, cybercrime investigation and cybersecurity, and security management. Graduate-level certificates usually require a year or less to complete.

Online Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice

Online criminal justice associate degree programs offer students a more comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system beyond introductory level coursework. These programs cover topics such as crime scene investigation, police studies, corrections, ethics, and constitutional law, along with general education courses in areas such as math, science, history, sociology, and English composition. Associate degree programs in criminal justice usually last two years, although accelerated formats may be available that can be completed in 18 months or less.

Earning an associate degree in criminal justice prepares graduates for various career opportunities, including positions as investigators, police officers, probation officers, and corrections officers. Often, credits earned through an associate degree program can be applied towards a criminal justice bachelor’s degree program.

Learn more about earning your associate degree in criminal justice online school.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice are more likely to secure higher-paying jobs, experience greater career advancement opportunities, and enjoy a more extensive range of job options than those without a degree. Bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice include both general education coursework and major-specific classes in areas such as criminology, corrections, governmental policy, and crime prevention. Furthermore, many programs offer various concentrations that enable students to customize their studies to suit their career objectives and personal interests.

Online criminal justice bachelor’s degree programs typically require four years of full-time study. Accelerated programs, however, can be completed in substantially less time – two years or less in some cases – depending on the number of previously-earned college credits transferred into the program.

Online Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

The criminal justice master’s degree program is intended for experienced professionals seeking to expand their knowledge, skills, and credentials to qualify for advanced positions within the criminal justice field. Completing a master’s degree prepares students for mid- and top-level jobs in leadership, management, and administration. Certain programs offer concentrations in areas such as crime analysis, cybersecurity, forensic science, and strategic management, while others allow students to customize their coursework to concentrate on a specialized area of interest.

Online master’s degree in criminal justice programs are available for both full-time and part-time study. Full-time programs typically require two years to finish, but some can be completed in 18 months or less, depending on the availability of previously-earned transferable college credits.

Learn more about earning your master’s degree in criminal justice online.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Criminal Justice

Doctoral degrees in criminal justice can be classified as either Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ) or PhD in Criminal Justice. DCJ programs typically prioritize leadership and management skills to prepare students for top administrative roles, while PhD in Criminal Justice programs focus on research, theory, and policy for students interested in pursuing academic research careers in college campuses and academic settings. However, it is important to note that not all online programs adhere to the same criteria, so it is crucial to understand the specific focus of any program you are considering, regardless of the degree title.

Online doctoral degree programs in criminal justice are intensive, highly competitive, and require applicants to hold a previously-earned master’s degree with a good grade point average. Students should expect to dedicate from three to five years to complete all coursework and dissertation requirements. A small number of online programs admit students with only a bachelor’s degree, but these programs typically take five to seven years for completion.

Learn more about earning your doctoral degree in criminal justice online.

Regardless of the degree level you’re pursuing, certain skills will go a long way while you’re enrolled as a student. Discover the most essential skills for criminal justice students and learn how each of them can benefit you in the field.

How Do Online Criminal Justice Programs Work?

Online degree programs provide a convenient and high-quality alternative to traditional on-campus programs. However, successful online study demands self-discipline and strong time-management skills. If you lack either of these qualities, an on-campus program may be a better option for you. Criminal justice is an ideal subject for distance learning, with all degree levels available through 100% online coursework. Nevertheless, it is crucial to verify whether programs deliver all coursework online before enrolling, as not all programs provide this option. Also, some programs include in-person fieldwork components, which we will discuss below.

Here’s a closer look at the various course and program formats and delivery methods used by online criminal justice degree programs:

Course Format

Partially-Online

Partially-online degree programs are those that feature online coursework, but include some form of on-campus or other in-person participation. In-person components may include lectures, seminars, labs, exams, or orientation sessions. Individual courses may also be offered in a hybrid format that employs a combination of online and in-person components.

Fully-Online

“Fully-online” may refer to either the entire degree program, the individual courses, or both. Fully-online courses are those that can be completed without any required on-campus class attendance or other related in-person activities and offer 100% of the coursework online. It’s important to be sure you clearly understand how the term is being used by any program you’re considering.

Part-Time

Online criminal justice degree programs are more often than not presented in part-time study formats. The reason is that online students, particularly those in graduate programs, typically pursue their studies while working full-time jobs. Part-time programs allow students more time to complete their degree requirements when compared to their full-time counterparts.

Full-Time

While less prevalent than part-time programs, full-time online criminal justice degree programs remain a popular option. Full-time programs offer the benefit of shorter completion times, particularly for undergraduate students eager to initiate their careers as soon as possible. For instance, full-time online criminal justice bachelor’s degree programs usually have four-year curriculums for students with no prior college experience. Accelerated bachelor’s programs, which necessitate a significant number of previously-earned college credits, may be completed in as little as two years or less.

Delivery Mode

Asynchronous

Asynchronous refers to online coursework that can be accessed by students at anytime. Students log in on their computers to view lectures and complete assigned readings and other tasks at times of their own choosing. And, in most cases, work can be done at the individual’s preferred pace. Students enrolled in asynchronous programs will still be required to meet some spefific deadlines to be eligble for graduation.

Synchronous

Synchronous refers to coursework that is accessed online, but is presented on a specific date and at a specific time. Synchronous coursework typically takes the form of streaming class lectures or other real-time presentations. Synchronous classes are commonly presented during the day, which means that they’re more likely to be part of a full-time degree program. However, some synchronous activities may be scheduled in the evenings or on the weekends for part-time programs.

Benefits of Online Programs

It is essential to recognize that not all criminal justice degree programs are created equal, and there are significant differences between online and on-campus programs. For instance, some online programs may offer fewer concentrations or specializations compared to their on-campus equivalents. However, distance learning provides students with access to a broader range of schools and programs, enabling them to locate the ones that provide the particular concentration or specialization they desire. Nonetheless, most students find that the advantages available through online degree programs exceed those of traditional programs. Here’s a look at some of the biggest benefits:

  • Tuition
    Public colleges and universities often charge higher (sometimes prohibitively higher) tuition rates to out-of-state students. However, many online criminal justice programs offer the same low rates to out-of-state residents enjoyed by in-state residents.
  • Accelerated degree programs
    Accelerated degree programs are those designed to be completed more quickly than standard programs. Accelerated criminal justice programs are sometimes offered on-campus, but are more commonly available online.
  • Study flexibility
    A big plus to most online programs (compared to on-campus) is that online students can access and complete their coursework at any time that’s convenient to them.
  • Time and money
    Online students save both the time and expense of traveling to and from classes on a physical campus.
  • Accessibility
    Some people simply don’t live near enough to a campus offering a criminal justice college degree program.

Does an Online Degree in Criminal Justice Include Fieldwork?

An in-person internship, field practicum, or field experience may be a requirement or option depending on the specific online program. In general, fieldwork is typically offered as an option in online criminal justice undergraduate (both associate and bachelor’s) and master’s programs, and participation is highly recommended. Although in-person residencies are frequently required in online doctoral programs in criminal justice, field experience may not be a requirement.

How Much Does an Online Criminal Justice Degree Cost?

The cost of your online criminal justice degree will depend on the specific program and several factors (in-state vs. out-of-state student residency, public vs. private school, etc.) This chart provides examples of per-credit tuition costs (as of the summer of 2019) for five online criminal justice bachelor’s programs to give you an idea of what you might spend. Visit our pages for online associate, master’s, and doctoral criminal justice degrees for information on costs for those programs. And view our list of most affordable online criminal justice degrees to find the lowest-cost options that still deliver on quality.

School NameNo. of Credits*Cost/Credit**Total Cost**
Bellevue University127$425$53,975
Liberty University120$390 full-time (12 credits or more per semester);
$455 part-time (less than 12 credits per semester)
$46,000 full-time;
$54,600 part-time
North Carolina Central University120$144.29 in-state; $573.58 out-of-State$17,314.80 in-state; $68,829.60 out-of-state
Southern New Hampshire University120$225.00$27,000
University of Arkansas at Little Rock120$280$33,600

Discover more ways to learn about paying for college by reading our guides on financial aid and scholarships.

Career Outlook for a Criminal Justice Graduate

In broad terms, criminal justice degrees are meant for individuals interested in careers in a wide range of criminal justice fields, including:

Law enforcement

Police Officers, Seriff’s Deputies, Bailiffs, etc.

Corrections

corrections officers, parole officers, etc.

Private security and investigation
Court staff

clerks, records personnel

Homeland security

FBI agents, etc.

Social services

social workers, juvenile justice officers, drug and alcohol counselors

Career outlook varies substantially by specific occupation. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Outlook Handbook, the 2016-2026 job growth estimate for police and detectives is 7%, while the job growth estimate for correctional officers and jailers is -7%.

To learn more, visit our what can you do with a criminal justice degree page.