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Best Criminal Justice Schools in California: Online & Campus

Learn what you need to know about the best criminal justice schools in California, your career options and earning potential, and much more.

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Are you interested in making a difference in your community through the criminal justice system? Are you passionate about social change and seeking a fulfilling career in criminal investigation, probation, or law enforcement? California criminal justice schools offer a range of options to prepare you for these exciting career paths. While some entry-level positions only require a high school diploma and on-the-job training, advanced roles often require education at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level. To help you navigate your options, this guide offers insights into the best criminal justice schools in California. Start your search for a quality program today!

Best Criminal Justice Degrees in California for 2024

The school spotlights below give you a detailed look at some of the best criminal justice schools in California. These accredited programs were chosen because of their affordability, high curriculum quality, and excellent student support services. The universities featured below are a preview of our full rankings of schools with criminal justice programs in California, which will be posted later in 2024. For now, see which top criminal justice schools in California stand out this year.


California State University Long Beach (CSULB)

Established in 1949, CSULB is a public university with approximately 39,400 students. The school is one of 23 schools in the California State University System and one of the best schools with criminal justice majors in California.

The school offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice. The 123- or 124-credit, four-year bachelor of science in criminal justice is an on-campus program. Master’s students can choose from a 36-credit, two-year on-campus or online program. Required courses for the bachelor’s degree include statistics for criminal justice, substantive criminal law, policing, and crime analysis. Master’s students must have completed five graduate-level prerequisite courses before admission to the criminal justice program.

Bachelor’s applicants for this criminal justice school in California must have a 3.0 or higher GPA and a history of coursework in sociology, psychology, American government, and introduction to the criminal justice system in society. Master’s criminal justice applicants must submit a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and complete Cal State online application. Additionally, master’s applicants may submit a