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Best Criminal Justice Schools in Missouri: Online/Campus

Find top criminal justice schools in Missouri to prepare for careers that protect the community. Plus, learn about the different types of programs available and how much you can earn after you’ve completed your degree.

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Written By

Kenya McCullum

Updated

11/29/2023

Are you interested in how crime affects communities? Whether you’re interested in helping the victims of crime get the justice they deserve or ensuring that people who’ve been arrested are given the due process the law affords them, criminal justice schools in Missouri can help you prepare for the rigors of this important field.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to enroll in a criminal justice school in Missouri, or you’re already in the field and want to further your education for career advancement, this guide is for you. We highlight the best online and on-campus programs to help you find the right option for your academic and career goals. Also, you will find information about the different types of degrees you can pursue, financial aid opportunities, and the jobs and salaries available to those who complete online criminal justice degrees in Missouri.

Ranking the Best Missouri Colleges for Criminal Justice (2024)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are dozens of criminal justice schools in Missouri. But you don’t want to enroll in just any program. You want to ensure you’re getting the best education for your tuition dollars. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of curated criminal justice colleges in Missouri to give you an idea of what the best schools offer so you can make an informed decision. We’ve chosen the schools below based on what’s essential to all students, such as affordability and availability of student services.

Missouri State University

Missouri State University offers criminal justice and criminology programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels. For example, the bachelor’s degree program introduces students to how the American criminal justice system operates. The curriculum includes content on crime prevention initiatives and how well they work in communities, current problems and issues in the justice system, and the rights and responsibilities of everyday citizens. Students take coursework about community-based policing, criminology, and law and the courts.

If you’re looking for a graduate-level degree, Missouri State University has an online master’s program that focuses on policy and leadership. This makes it a good option for students who want to assume a managerial role in a criminal justice environment. To best serve student’s needs, the school allows them to choose between a thesis and nonthesis program option. Students in the thesis option examine a problem in criminal justice and conduct research to explain it and propose solutions, while nonthesis students participate in a public policy capstone course and conduct an in-depth analysis of a criminal justice policy.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $279 per credit in-state | $572 per credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Specializations: None

University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri has a criminal justice and criminology bachelor’s degree program that gives students a real-world perspective of the field through faculty members who are veterans in their specialties and learning opportunities that augment classroom work. When you enroll in this program, you are taught by professors who have extensive work experience to draw on—including a juvenile probation officer, a U.S. marshal, and a Missouri municipal judge.

Additionally, the University of Central Missouri offers experiential learning opportunities that help to solidify the information you’ve learned from experts in the classroom. If you want to participate in an internship, you can get hands-on training at locations like the U.S. Secret Service and the Missouri Department of Corrections. The school also provides opportunities to assist professors with research projects and study abroad for an international look at the justice system.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $277.50 per credit in-state | $555 per credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus; Online
  • Specializations: None

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Students who complete the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City leave the program with an understanding of the field’s prevalent theories, research, and policies. You will learn how to leverage the skills you gain in the program to identify and solve practical problems, communicate effectively in the workplace, and understand how social issues impact crime. As a result, graduates can pursue middle management positions in a variety of settings, including security companies, law enforcement departments, and administrative agencies on the local, state, and federal levels.

To provide the education necessary for students to succeed, the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s criminal justice curriculum addresses the principles that guide policing, corrections, and criminal courts. Coursework also emphasizes understanding the U.S. and Missouri State Constitutions, so students take classes covering U.S. history, the Supreme Court, and the criminal justice process. You will also be required to take general education courses designed to help sharpen your writing, verbal communication, and critical thinking skills.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $373 per credit in-state | $973 per credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Specializations: None

Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Missouri

Do you work full-time and can’t leave your job to attend a criminal justice school in Missouri? Are you taking care of a family but want to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue your education? You don’t have to drop your responsibilities to meet your education goals. Thanks to online criminal justice degrees in Missouri, you can have the best of all worlds because they allow you to juggle your classwork with your professional and personal life.

Online criminal justice degrees in Missouri can provide maximum flexibility because you can often take all your classes virtually. However, other schools may require you to travel to campus for certain activities like capstone courses. In addition to offering convenience, these programs also offer affordability because students save money on travel and often pay the same online tuition cost as in-state students.

Read our guide to online criminal justice degrees to learn more about how virtual programs work, and continue reading to find out how the best online criminal justice degrees in Missouri can help you further your educational and professional goals.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University has harnessed over a century of providing quality education to create online programs that are as effective at preparing students for careers as their on-campus ones. The school boasts a 98% employment success rate for students graduating with criminal justice degrees, so whether they are traditional or online students, graduates have been able to land a job within six months of finishing their degrees.

To achieve these outcomes, the school’s online criminal justice bachelor’s degree gives students the confidence to reach their goals because the curriculum has instilled in them the critical thinking, writing, and leadership skills they need. This is accomplished through core coursework covering corrections, law enforcement, criminal courts, and juvenile justice, as well as a choice of electives in areas such as deviant social behavior, the death penalty, and social inequities. There are also general education requirements in social and behavioral science, humanities, and civics.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $316.50 per credit in-state and out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Specializations: None

Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University’s online criminal justice bachelor’s degree program is rooted in the Christ-centered education that the school is known for. As a result, whether students take courses in constitutional law, criminology, or policing, they learn the principles of criminal justice through the lens of biblical teachings.

In addition, the school offers courses to help students understand how criminal justice organizations run. For example, the organization and administration course teaches the principles of administration in law enforcement environments. Also, the criminal justice ethics and leadership course is designed to familiarize students with how those in managerial roles navigate workplace challenges while still adhering to high ethical standards.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $499 per credit
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Specializations: None

Maryville University

The online criminal justice degree program offered by Maryville University provides a holistic view of the field that encompasses criminal justice, psychology, criminal law, and criminology principles. Students can enroll in one of two tracks: the police academy track and the non-police academy track. Those not earning their degree as part of police academy training take a combination of core classes in corrections, research methods, and criminal law and procedure. Those in the police academy training concentration take the same core classes and 12 credits provided in conjunction with the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy so they can pass the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) licensing examination.

To further support student success, the school allows people who aspire to pursue graduate studies to participate in its Early Access program to concurrently earn 12 credits towards a master’s degree as they finish their bachelor’s.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 128
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $525 per credit
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Specializations: None

What Types of Criminal Justice Degrees Are Available in Missouri?

Whether you are brand new to the justice system or you’re already in the field, criminal justice colleges in Missouri have programs for your needs. From undergraduate to graduate degrees, below we provide information on what you can expect when you enroll in these programs.

Associate Degrees

Associate degrees from criminal justice schools in Missouri act as the groundwork for further education or gaining entry into a criminal justice career. Generally, when people pursue these degrees for career training, they use their education to prepare for corrections, security, and law enforcement jobs. During these programs, which usually take two years to complete, students may learn about the history of the criminal justice system, how probation and parole systems work, and the role of forensic science in solving a variety of crimes.

Examples of Accredited Missouri Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

CollegeLocationDeliveryAccreditation
Missouri Western State UniversitySt. JosephOn-Campus Higher Learning Commission
St. Louis Community CollegeSt. LouisOn-CampusHigher Learning Commission
Ozarks Technical Community CollegeSpringfieldOn-CampusHigher Learning Commission
Columbia CollegeColumbiaOn-Campus; OnlineHigher Learning Commission
Drury UniversitySpringfieldOn-CampusHigher Learning Commission

Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelor’s degrees at criminal justice schools in Missouri can also give you the foundation of skills and knowledge you can use to start your career or continue your education. However, the curriculum gives you the opportunity to learn more advanced concepts and, in some cases, choose a concentration to focus your studies on. For example, schools may allow you to take courses that explore specific criminal justice topics more in-depth, such as corrections, security management, or juvenile justice.