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Best Criminal Justice Schools in Indiana: Online/Campus

Indiana is home to many great online and campus-based criminal justice degree and certificate programs. We’ll introduce you to the best of these programs and shine a spotlight on financial aid resources and job opportunities for graduates.

Author: Angela Myers
Editor: STEPS Staff

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What do a criminal psychiatrist in Indianapolis, an attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Solicitor’s Office, and a Deputy Chief Counsel with the Indiana Department of Child Services all have in common? They all completed a criminal justice program from an Indiana university.

A criminal justice degree is an ideal option for anyone looking to serve their community. But while this degree can launch or accelerate your career, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact criminal justice degree that is right for you. To help, we researched the best criminal justice schools in Indiana and compiled them into a list in this guide for you. The guide includes the best on-campus and online criminal justice degrees in Indiana, as well as an insight into what degree type and delivery format are suited for your learning style and career goals.

2024’s Best Colleges in Indiana for Criminal Justice

The difficult part about researching criminal justice programs is knowing which ones check all the boxes in terms of education quality and cost. To facilitate this, we researched and compared the popular criminal justice schools in Indiana. The three below stood out in terms of curriculum, cost, and career opportunities upon graduating.

While these three schools stood out, there are plenty of great criminal justice programs in Indiana. So, check in later for a full college ranking.

Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana University is one of the premier criminal justice schools in Indiana, and most of their criminal justice programs are hosted through their Bloomington campus. Their Bloomington campus offers criminal justice degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. They also offer the only criminal justice PhD program in the state at the time of writing this guide. In all programs, students explore the intersection of justice, law, and society, with coursework originating in various disciplines. There’s also a focus on how race, gender, and class play into the criminal justice system. Since there are so many degree types at Indiana University, it’s easy for students to transfer from undergraduate to graduate coursework. While this school is top ranked in terms of curriculum and opportunities, it doesn’t offer online or hybrid programs, making it less flexible than online criminal justice degrees in Indiana.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $393 per credit in-state | $1,349.33 per credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Credits: 90
  • Length: 3-4 years
  • Cost: $717.33 per credit in-state | $2,049.87 per credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus

University of Indianapolis

Anyone considering getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice should consider the program from the University of Indianapolis. The curriculum is more flexible than most criminal justice colleges in Indiana. Students take a variety of courses on law, the juvenile justice systems, corrections and probation, and other related topics. There’s also the option to concentrate in crime scene investigation or to minor in youth and child programs. Along with a robust and diverse curriculum, the school actively works with community partners to set up internships for students. Most students complete an internship in the area of interest to them, which provides hands-on experience in their desired sub-specialization within criminal justice. Students can also participate in research projects, either in teams or with one-on-one support from a faculty mentor. Because the program is based in experiential learning, all components must be completed on campus.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: About 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $1,434 per credit
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Specializations: Crime Scene Investigation

Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech offers online and in-person criminal justice programs in Indiana. Their programs are available at the bachelor’s and associate level. Currently, the school offers a two-year associate degree and a four-year bachelor’s degree. Both programs begin with foundational courses such as policing in America, corrections, probation, and criminal psychology. Then, the bachelor’s degree built upon the previous foundational courses with more advanced courses in criminal justice and a senior capstone in the final two years. For either degree, students have the option to complete the program in-person or online; however, hybrid classes aren’t an option. All online courses are offered in eight-week class sessions, with most course components being completed asynchronously. The only difference between the two formats is that the in-person track requires one additional credit hour for experiential learning. The university also offers an option for students to transfer into the bachelor’s program from the associate degree if they want to continue their education.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 60-61
  • Length: About 2 years
  • Cost: $399 per credit in-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus, Online
  • Specializations: None
  • Credits: 120-121
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $630 per credit in-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus; Online
  • Specializations: None

Top-Tier Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Indiana

There are many quality programs in Indiana that provide an online learning option. Online criminal justice programs are a great alternative to traditional ones because they offer more flexibility and reduce transportation costs and student fees. It also provides the ability to balance different responsibilities such as work and family in combination with school more easily. For this reason, these programs are especially beneficial for working students or students with outside responsibilities.

In an online criminal justice program, students take all courses virtually. A hybrid program is a mix of online and in-person classes. For a better idea of what either program looks like generally, check out our guide to online criminal justice degrees.

To learn what to expect from online and hybrid classes in Indiana specifically, explore the three online criminal justice degrees in Indiana that stood out in 2023.

Indiana State University

Indiana State University is one of the most flexible criminal justice programs in Indiana. The campus offers a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and an undergraduate minor. Both the undergraduate major and minor can be taken in-person, fully online, or in a hybrid format that mixes online and in-person classes. The master’s degree is one of a select few 100% online criminal justice degrees in Indiana. In any program, students explore criminology from a variety of perspectives, including the humanities, sociology, psychology, and law. They also take courses positioned within the criminal justice discipline that cover topics like criminal justice report writing, victimology, and juvenile delinquency. While all components for the minor and master’s can be completed online, students in the bachelor’s program must complete an internship, which most likely will be completed in-person. The school also has online professional development resources to help students adjust to life after graduation.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $351 per credit in-state | $758 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online; Hybrid
  • Credits: 18
  • Length: 2-4 years
  • Cost: $351 per credit in-state | $758 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online; Hybrid
  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $450 per credit in-state |$885 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online; Hybrid
  • Specializations: None

Southern Indiana University

Southern Indiana University hosts an online graduate program in criminal justice that’s speedier than most. The fully online master’s degree can be completed in less than one year, depending on a student’s previous coursework. If students have no background in criminal justice, it often takes up to two years with full-time coursework. All online courses are offered either at flexible times or in an asynchronous format since most students work full-time while completing this degree. The degree consists of some required courses, such as criminal justice policy, quantitative methods, and research methods. Students also take electives in topics like law, corrections, policing, and criminal justice theories. The master’s program features six start times throughout the year for added flexibility. To make the master’s more affordable, the in-state tuition rate is offered to all master’s students.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 1-3 years
  • Cost: $432.78 per credit in-state | $847.66 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online

Indiana University Northwest

Anyone looking for an affordable, fully online master’s program in criminal justice should consider Indiana University Northwest. While students take courses in both criminal justice and public safety, they choose to concentrate on one or the other. Those in the public safety concentration learn how to mitigate, prevent, and respond to public safety risks. Students in the criminal justice concentration focus on the nature of crime and creating effective criminal justice and non-criminal justice programs. Either concentration is completed online, and courses are designed for students who are also working full-time. Because of this, a large chunk of the degree can be completed asynchronously. Plus, at the cost of $350 per credit hour in-state and $490 per credit out-of-state, the master’s program is one of the most affordable online criminal justice degrees in Indiana. Alumni report job titles such as correctional officer supervisor, police and detective supervisor, security manager, criminal investigator, and emergency management director.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $350 per credit in-state | $490 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Specializations: public safety; criminal justice

Types of Criminal Justice Degrees in Indiana You Can Earn

When looking at criminal justice schools in Indiana, you’ll notice there are many different degree types, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. There’s also certificates and minors, which allow you to dip your toes into criminal justice while focusing on another field. Let’s break down each degree type and decide which best fits your career goals.

Criminal Justice Associate Degrees

If you have less time and financial resources to commit to your education, but want to study criminal justice, an associate degree program might be for you. Often, these degrees take two years to complete and provide a broad overview of the field. For added flexibility, there are some online criminal justice degrees in Indiana, such as the program at Ball State University. Upon graduating, students will be prepared for entry level jobs in the field, such as working as a patrol officer, bailiff, or emergency management director.

Examples of Accredited Indiana Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

CollegeLocationDeliveryAccreditation
Indiana TechFort WayneOnline; On-Campus; HybridHigher Learning Commission
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarionOnline; On-Campus; HybridHigher Learning Commission
Ivy Tech Community CollegeIndianapolisOnlineHigher Learning Commission
Ball State UniversityMuncieOnlineHigher Learning Commission
Anderson UniversityAndersonOnlineHigher Learning Commission

Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degrees

Getting your bachelor’s degree in Indiana is a great way to jumpstart or advance your career. It’s a great option for those who already have their associate’s and folks who are new to the field. Depending on your previous education, a bachelor’s degree takes 2-4 years to complete. For added flexibility, there are some online criminal justice degrees in Indiana, such as the program at Indiana University’s online campus. Upon graduation, students are prepared to work across criminal justice disciplines.

Examples of Accredited Indiana Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

CollegeLocationDeliveryAccreditation
Indiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonOn-campusHigher Learning Commission
University of Southern IndianaEvansvilleOn-campusHigher Learning Commission
Indiana University Online CampusOnlineOnlineHigher Learning Commission
Indiana University SoutheastNew AlbanyOn-campusHigher Learning Commission
Indiana State UniversityTerre HauteOn-campus; online; hybridHigher Learning Commission

Criminal Justice Master’s Degrees

If you already have your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and want to advance your career, a master’s degree might be the right option. These postgraduate degrees are also ideal for those wanting to enter the criminal justice field from a non-criminal justice background. Often, students explore a certain area of criminal justice through coursework and a research thesis. Indiana University Northwest for example, offers specializations in public safety or the criminal justice system.

Examples of Accredited Indiana Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

CollegeLocationDeliveryAccreditation
Indiana University NorthwestGaryOnlineHigher Learning Commission
University of Southern IndianaEvansvilleOnlineHigher Learning Commission
Indiana State UniversityTerre HauteOnlineHigher Learning Commission
Indiana Wesleyan UniversityMarionOnline; On-Campus; HybridHigher Learning Commission

Criminal Justice Doctoral Degrees

To become an expert in criminal justice, you’ll most likely need to complete a professional doctoral program. A doctorate or PhD in criminal justice can lead to a career in academia and research, or a career as a high-level consultant and leader in the private or public sector. However, we could only find one criminal justice program at a PhD level in Indiana. Nonetheless, Indiana University Bloomington features a high-quality PhD option.

Examples of Accredited Indiana Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

CollegeLocationDeliveryAccreditation
Indiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonOn-campusHigher Learning Commission

Criminal Justice Certificates

If your primary interest is in another field, but you want to gain an educational background in criminal justice, consider a certification program. These short programs often take up less time, with some requiring as few as five courses. The program at Indiana University Bloomington, for example, hosts a criminal justice minor with nine courses. Often, these shorter programs manifest as postgraduate certificates or minors at the undergraduate level. These programs are ideal for careers where some criminal justice education is useful, but an entire degree is not required as they are for a criminal psychologist or a social worker.

Examples of Accredited Indiana Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

CollegeLocationDeliveryAccreditation
Indiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonOn-campusHigher Learning Commission
University of Southern IndianaEvansvilleOn-campusHigher Learning Commission
Indiana University SoutheastNew AlbanyOn-campusHigher Learning Commission
Indiana State UniversityTerre HauteOn-campus; online; hybridHigher Learning Commission
Marion UniversityIndianapolis On-campusHigher Learning Commission

Getting Help Paying for Your Criminal Justice Degree in Indiana

In Indiana, the average four-year bachelor’s degree costs $71,032. For most students, that large tuition cost is the barrier to getting their degree. Luckily, there are financial aid opportunities available such as grants, scholarships, loans, and the federal work-study program.

While you should apply for more general financial aid, you also want to apply for opportunities that have specific eligibility requirements, such as state residency or preferred majors. In Indiana, you might consider:

As a criminal justice student, you also want to apply for scholarships, grants, and other resources designed specifically for your discipline. Check out our guide to criminal justice scholarships and financial aid for even more financial aid opportunities.

Earnings and Job Outlook for Criminal Justice Professionals in Indiana

Criminal justice jobs in Indiana are well paid, and opportunities are plentiful. Usually, graduates of criminal justice programs in Indiana find themselves working in corrections, law enforcement, probation, and other related fields. Specific roles in the state that are in particularly high demand include leadership roles that require advanced degrees in the police force and probation officers.

Graduates of criminal justice schools in Indiana can expect to make anywhere between $41,000 and $80,000, according to the mean wages of five popular jobs in the state. This is on parr for the average salary for all full-time employees in the United States ($57,200 annually). However, it’s important to remember that Indiana is ranked as one of the fifteen least expensive states to live in, meaning your money will go further here than in other states.

For a better breakdown of the job growth rate and annual salary for popular criminal justice jobs, explore the chart below:

Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings
(2020-2030)
Annual Mean Wage
(2022)
Bailiffs2.1%50$41,200
Compliance Officers9.4%430$70,910
Police Patrol Officers7.1%1010$62,190
Detectives and criminal investigators3.5%70$70,340
Probation Officers6.7%150$54,710

Sources: Projections Central;Bureau of Labor Statistics

Helpful Resources for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals in Indiana

  • Indiana Criminal Justice Association
    The Indiana Criminal Justice Association offers free publications and professional development resources to help anyone navigate the criminal justice career landscape in the state. Members enjoy additional resources and events, with a student membership option available.
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Institute
    Professionals who work in criminal justice may find the resources from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute helpful. These include their law enforcement offerings, online career development resources, and more.
  • Indiana Criminal Justice Student Association
    Along with joining professional organizations, it can be useful to join those designed for students in the discipline. Many criminal justice schools in Indiana host chapters of the criminal justice student association, including Indiana University at Bloomington.
  • Indiana Sheriffs Association
    Interested in becoming a law enforcement leader? Check out the Indiana Sheriffs Association. This group offers networking events, leadership training, and other free resources to their members. Some resources are also available to non-members.
  • Probation Officer Professional Association of Indiana
    Students who are interested in becoming probation officers should consider joining this association. Members enjoy networking events, training, and access to a job board. Certain free professional development resources are also available to non-members.