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Best Criminal Justice Schools in New York: Online/Campus

If you’re looking for the best criminal justice degree programs in New York, look no further. Here, we highlight top programs in your state. Along the way we’ll answer some common questions and take a look at your career prospects in the criminal justice field.

Author: Quinn Dannies
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Pursuing a career in criminal justice is a sure way to help make the world a better, safer place for all of us. But that’s not the only reason to pursue a criminal justice program in New York. The degree can be a great investment because New York state offers higher than average wages and ample job opportunities for criminal justice professionals at every degree level.

Now let’s get to it. First, we’ll spotlight some of the top programs New York has to offer. For all you remote learners, we’ll also look at the top online criminal justice degrees in New York. From there, we’ll dig into the details. You’ll be able to explore schools based on the type of degree you’re looking for and learn what to expect in each type of program.

Ranking the Best New York Colleges for Criminal Justice in 2024

You’re here because you want to find the best program to meet your goals. These schools are a great place to start your search. We’ve done the research and identified three of the top criminal justice colleges in New York. To make our picks, we’ve considered the school’s academic excellence, program availability, student support, and affordability. That said, this list is just the start. Stay tuned for our full college ranking lists, coming soon.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

John Jay College of Criminal Justice is New York’s premier school for undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice. This criminal justice school in New York also offers the best selection of professional certificates in the state. Students at John Jay benefit from expert instruction in a wide range of criminal justice topics including organization management, public policy, and forensics. Select programs are available online for remote learners.

Because John Jay is entirely dedicated to the study of criminal justice, it’s an excellent place to develop specialized skill sets that go above and beyond more traditional criminal justice colleges. When you study at John Jay, you’ll join a diverse student body that brings a multitude of experiences and ideas to this criminal justice program in New York. The school has plenty of support systems in place to ensure students of all types excel in their studies. At every level, students benefit from dedicated advising, career counseling, and opportunities for independent research. Because the school is a minority-serving institution, first generation college students and ESL students can access other resources to ensure their success at this criminal justice school in New York.

Program Highlights:

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 30-36
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $470/credit in-state | $855/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus, Fully Online; Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Specializations: Criminology and Deviance, Criminal Law and Procedure, Police or Corrections Administration, and Terrorism Studies

Utica University

The criminal justice program at Utica University stands out for its affordability and flexibility. Students study online, in person, or a mix of both. This criminal justice school in New York offers six start dates each year, so you can jump in quickly. Plus, if you need to take a break, you’ll have ample options for when to restart the program.

Utica University’s holistic program includes a focus on emerging topics in criminal justice. Students graduate with cutting-edge skills in in-demand fields such as cybercrime and forensics. This criminal justice school in New York also emphasizes the “justice” in criminal justice by incorporating topics such as ethics in policing and how to serve minority populations.

The school is one of New York’s many “completer programs.” This means that Utica paves the way for students with associate degrees to complete their bachelor’s without unnecessary overlaps in course content. To further support students, the school is committed to providing hands-on learning, career counseling, and close relationships with faculty.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $450/credit
  • Delivery: Fully-Online, On-Campus; Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Specializations: None

University at Albany

The robust criminal justice program at the University at Albany is an ideal choice for students interested in criminal justice schools in New York offering advanced degrees. Because of the school’s dynamic curriculum, undergraduate students can progress directly into an accelerated master’s program. Master’s students have the option to earn a dual degree in criminal justice and social work. The University at Albany is also home to an excellent PhD program that focuses on the sociology of criminal justice and provides extensive research opportunities.

Throughout your studies, you’ll learn from stars in the criminal justice field. Because this criminal justice college in New York is committed to small class sizes, you’ll be able to easily connect with your faculty and benefit from their expertise. The school’s interdisciplinary approach to criminal justice studies ensures that graduates have a foundation in all the factors that contribute to effective law enforcement and investigation. And, since the University at Albany is a research-focused institution, you’ll have access to up-to-date and emerging knowledge in the field.

Program Highlights:

PhD in Criminal Justice

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: Varies
  • Cost: $609/credit in-state | $1,112/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: In-Person
  • Specializations: None

Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in New York

Right now, you may be asking yourself, “Do I really want to move to attend school?” It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to uproot your life for the sake of your education. Fortunately, there are some equally amazing programs that you can attend fully online. These programs are designed to be particularly flexible to accommodate the needs of working professionals, students with family responsibilities, or students who are just plain busy.

But many people find the world of online education to be confusing. The key point to remember is that, when it comes to job hunting, online degrees are indistinguishable from traditional degrees. The main difference is that instead of being tied to a rigid class schedule, you’ll learn through online lectures and assignments that you can complete on your own time. If you have questions about online criminal justice degrees in New York or elsewhere, check out our guide to online criminal justice degrees.

So, if you want a stellar education on your own terms, consider these three top online criminal justice degrees in New York.

Jefferson Community College

Jefferson Community College’s two-year, online associate degree in criminal justice provides a solid education for novices and career professionals alike. This criminal justice school in New York has a goal to graduate students with the background, practical knowledge, and leadership skills to succeed in law enforcement. In fact, many graduates move directly into careers in policing, government, or military service. Or, if you have an eye on a bachelor’s degree, Jefferson has transfer agreements with many of New York’s other top criminal justice schools. That means you can seamlessly transition into an undergraduate program without repeating classes or dealing with mountains of paperwork.

Jefferson provides maximum affordability and flexibility for students. The school’s low tuition makes the program accessible for students of every background. Because students can opt to learn online, in-person, or a mix of both, the program meets the needs of different learning styles and lifestyles.

Program Highlights:

Criminal Justice AS

  • Credits: 63
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $221/credit
  • Delivery: Fully-Online, On-Campus; Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Specializations: None

Oswego State University of New York

The Online Criminal Justice BA program at Oswego State University of New York is one of the fastest options for earning your undergraduate degree in a criminal justice program in New York. Full-time students earn their diploma in as few as two years, depending on their previous studies. Oswego understands that students have full lives and many struggle to carve out time for their studies. So, despite the program’s fast pace, the school ensures that online students have the flexibility to study on their own schedule. This means courses are entirely online and asynchronous. Students can also choose to study full-time or part-time or vary their course load each semester.

During your studies, you’ll investigate the many social and political factors that contribute to effective criminal justice. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to apply your knowledge while you investigate possible careers in law enforcement, social work, or policy. This online criminal justice degree in New York allows students to explore the benefits and challenges of multiple types of roles before they start job hunting in real life.

Program Highlights:

Criminal Justice BA Online

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $3,535/semester in-state | $8,490/semester out-of-state
  • Delivery: Fully-Online; Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Specializations: None

St. Joseph’s University

St. Joseph’s University recognizes that best practices in criminal justice are rapidly evolving. Students pursuing this online criminal justice degree in New York learn to keep up the pace. By focusing on the latest evidence-based practices, St. Joseph’s criminal justice students graduate with practical skills and useful knowledge that they can apply to their future careers. Further, St. Joseph’s designed this program with criminal justice professionals in mind. So, in the classroom you’ll benefit not only from your professor’s instruction, but also that of your peers’ lived experience and professional expertise.

St. Joseph’s also stands out for its incredible student support. Online students access individual advising, tutoring, and career counseling through an online portal. Distance learners have the opportunity to connect with their peers through a network of virtual communities including book clubs and affinity groups. This online criminal justice degree program in New York also goes above and beyond for military students and families to ensure that they can effectively balance their service and studies.

Program Highlights:

BS in Criminal Justice Practice and Policy

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $740/credit
  • Delivery: Fully-Online, On-Campus; Full-Time, Part-Time
  • Specializations: None

Types of Criminal Justice Degrees in New York You Can Earn

Whether you’re just getting your foot in the door or are a seasoned professional looking to polish your credentials, New York has a criminal justice college that meets you where you are. In this section, we’ll break down the different types of criminal justice degrees you can earn, from associate to PhD. You can also explore tailored lists of programs for degrees at each level.

Criminal Justice Associate Degrees

Earning an associate degree in criminal justice is a great way to start your academic or professional journey. These degrees are typically offered by community colleges, which means they’re affordable and they’re most likely offered at a campus in your area.

Some students earn their associate degree before transferring to a four-year university to complete their BA or BS. New York schools do an excellent job ensuring that your credits transfer seamlessly to another institution. Other students move into careers in law enforcement, corrections, or forensics after graduation from a two-year criminal justice school in New York.

Examples of Accredited New York Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

Herkimer County Community CollegeHerkimerOnlineMSCHE
LaGuardia Community CollegeLong Island CityOn-CampusMSCHE
Onondaga Community CollegeSyracuse, LiverpoolOn-CampusMSCHE
Rockland Community CollegeSuffernOnlineMSCHE
Erie Community CollegeWilliamsville, Buffalo, Orchard ParkOnlineMSCHE

Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree from a criminal justice school in New York gives you an edge when it’s time to look for jobs. You’ll likely find yourself qualified for higher status and higher paid positions. The extra time in school also gives you a chance to explore your interests and develop unique skills.

Most people who graduate with a four-year degree head out into the workforce, taking on criminal justice jobs such as criminal investigator, probation officer, or mediator. If you want to continue your studies, earning your BA or BS sets you up to apply for master’s programs in criminal justice in New York.

Examples of Accredited New York Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

SUNY CantonCantonOnlineMSCHE
Monroe CollegeBronx, New RochelleOnline; On-Campus; HybridMSCHE
SUNY OneontaOneontaOn-CampusMSCHE
Dominican UniversityOrangeburgOn-CampusMSCHE
SUNY DelhiDelhiOnline; On-CampusMSCHE

Criminal Justice Master’s Degrees

Earning an MS or an MA from a criminal justice school in New York qualifies you to work at the highest levels of the justice system. Graduates of criminal justice master’s programs go on to work in federal agencies such as the FBI, take on leadership roles such as a police supervisor, or work in public policy. In academia, a master’s degree also qualifies you to teach criminal justice at some colleges or prepare you for a PhD program.

Examples of Accredited New York Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

University at BuffaloBuffaloOnlineMSCHE
St. John’s UniversityQueensOn-CampusMSCHE
John Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkOnlineMSCHE
Monroe CollegeBronx, New RochelleOnline; On-Campus; HybridMSCHE
Long Island University, BrentwoodBrentwoodOn-CampusMSCHE

Criminal Justice Doctoral Degrees

A doctoral degree is the highest level of education at criminal justice schools in New York and elsewhere. These programs prepare you to take on big roles. Graduates of doctoral programs go on to work in high levels of government, manage large police forces, or become policy analysts. Or, if you’re more interested in the intellectual components of criminal justice, you’ll be qualified to work as a researcher or professor at universities in New York and beyond.

Examples of Accredited New York Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

John Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkOn-CampusMSCHE
University at AlbanyAlbanyOn-CampusMSCHE

Criminal Justice Certificates

Earning a criminal justice certificate can be a happy medium between returning for an advanced degree and staying where you are. These courses at criminal justice schools in New York typically can be completed in less than a year and prove that you’ve developed expertise in a certain area of criminal justice. As a result, earning certificates may help you earn promotions or take on new roles. Many criminal justice professionals choose to earn certificates in specialty areas such as forensic psychology or seek to expand their knowledge by exploring related subjects such as paralegal studies.

Examples of Accredited New York Colleges with this Criminal Justice Degree

Alfred State College of TechnologyAlfredOnlineMSCHE
Genesee Community CollegeBatavia, Albion, Medina, Warsaw, Dansville, Arcade, LimaHybridMSCHE
Utica UniversityUticaOnlineMSCHE
Mercy UniversityBronx, Dobbs FerryOn-CampusMSCHE
Finger Lakes Community CollegeCanandaiguaHybridMSCHE

Financial Aid in NY to Help Pay for Your Criminal Justice Degree

Earning a criminal justice degree at a school in New York is a worthy investment in your future. But it’s still an investment, so naturally you want to do everything you can to minimize your out-of-pocket costs for tuition and other expenses. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. For starters, many schools offer merit and need-based financial aid packages that reduce your tuition costs and fees. You can also seek federal funding for your education through the FAFSA program.

From there, you’ll find that many law enforcement professional groups offer scholarships and grants to students enrolled in criminal justice schools in New York. For example, both the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute and the New York State Trooper Foundation award funding to promising students. Many of the professional institutions we’ve linked to below also have scholarship programs.

If you want to learn more about funding your education, we’ve got a guide for that. Our Criminal Justice Scholarships and Resources page has all the information you need to finance your tuition.

Job Outlook and Salaries for Criminal Justice Professionals in New York

Criminal justice experts of all stripes are in high demand throughout New York. Across the board, careers in law enforcement, criminal investigation, and related fields are growing far faster than the national average. On top of that, criminal justice professionals in New York command significantly higher wages than average. So, once you’ve graduated from a criminal justice school in New York, you can expect to have some options when it comes to starting your career. And because of the wide range of job opportunities, you’ll find plenty of openings to apply to, whatever your degree level.

To paint a picture of New York’s job landscape, we’ve researched five common job titles for criminal justice grads. In the table below, you can compare job growth, annual job openings, and the average salary of the various profession. These projections can be a helpful guide while you explore your interests and develop a career plan tied to your criminal justice program in New York.

Job Growth Rate
Average Annual Openings
Annual Mean Wage
Criminal Investigator12%880$110,390
Police Officer14%5,740$81,750
Forensic Science Technician25%160$82,100
Correctional Officer Supervisor3%330$125,900
Probation Officer15%520$81,370

Sources: Projections Central;Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals in New York

  • Associated Licensed Detectives of New York State (ALDONYS)
    This association is made up of private detectives, security professionals, and other nongovernmental workers in the criminal justice field. ALDONYS is a valuable resource for independent workers to network, attend professional development workshops, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.
  • New York Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (OPCA)
    The OPCA is a state-run organization dedicated to oversight, resources, and professional development for criminal justice professionals. Here, you can access practical resources including news, current statistics, project information, and a considerable library.
  • New York State Probation Officers Association
    This professional organization offers you access to a network of current and retired probation officers. Through their regular events and networking resources you can learn from their collective experience and build connections in your field.
  • Police Benevolent Association of New York City
    The Police Benevolent Association represents the entirety of New York City’s police force. The organization advocates for officers’ rights and offers support to them and their families. The organization also runs a scholarship program for criminal justice students who intend to pursue careers in the police force.
  • Police Conference of New York
    Despite its name, the Police Conference of New York is actually a professional network for law enforcement officers of all types. Here, you can stay up to date on current issues, learn about events, and connect with other law enforcement professionals.