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Best Criminal Justice Schools in Ohio: Online/Campus

Enrolling in one of the top criminal justice schools in Ohio can open career possibilities in law enforcement, the legal system, and more. Here’s an overview of the best programs available and what to expect after graduating.

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Shannon Lee
Written By

Shannon Lee

Updated

11/29/2023

If you’re looking for an entry-level position, earning an undergraduate degree at one of the criminal justice schools in Ohio will provide the necessary foundational knowledge to prepare you for your future career. Meanwhile, there are graduate degrees and certificate programs if you’re already working in law enforcement, the court systems, or corrections to help you take the next step in your career. These programs are often offered both on-campus and online to accommodate the hectic schedules of students, especially those who will continue working while in school.

This guide offers an in-depth look at the top-ranked criminal justice schools in Ohio and can help you find an online or on-campus program that’s right for you.

The Best Colleges in Ohio for Criminal Justice: 2024

There are so many criminal justice schools in Ohio that finding the right one can be challenging. Identifying the best school depends on several crucial factors unique to the individual student. However, there are still some characteristics, like affordability, learning options, accreditation, and education quality, that most students find essential. We’re spotlighting several Ohio criminal justice programs that stand out in terms of these and other key traits. A more complete rankings list will be released later, so check back soon.

Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College is a two-year college offering a wide selection of criminal justice program options. At the degree level, there’s an associate degree in criminal justice with three academic majors to choose from. Graduates with the law enforcement major will have earned their Ohio Peace Officer certification in addition to their college degree. Columbus State Community College also has general criminal justice and probation and supervision majors, the latter of which is best suited for students interested in corrections.

Because only some people need or want a college degree, two certificate programs are available. First, students can earn their Homeland Security certificate, designed for current criminal justice professionals who wish to shift into a public or private security position. Second, the Basic Peace Officer certificate consists of coursework and hands-on training that prepares students to become certified police officers in Ohio. These classes are the same ones that a law enforcement major in the associate degree program would take.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 60-65
  • Length: About 2 years
  • Cost: $177.93 per credit in-state | $363.92 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: On-Campus and Full-Time
  • Specializations: Law Enforcement; Criminal Justice; and Probation and Supervision
  • Credits: 27
  • Length: About 1 year
  • Cost: $177.93 per credit in-state | $363.92 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: On-Campus and Full-Time
  • Specializations: None
  • Credits: 24
  • Length: About 1 year
  • Cost: $177.93 per credit in-state | $363.92 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: On-Campus and Full-Time
  • Specializations: None

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University offers two main criminal justice programs. There’s a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice at the undergraduate level. It’s available in the general and forensic investigation tracks, allowing students to tailor their degree to their needs. This program requires a practicum and internship, which let students apply their classroom knowledge through field experiences.

For those interested in a master’s degree, Bowling Green State University has a Master of Science in criminal justice. Like the bachelor’s program, it’s available with a forensic investigation concentration. A victims and offenders concentration is also available.

Lastly, there’s an accelerated Master of Science in criminal justice program. This is open to juniors and seniors already enrolled in the Bachelor of Science criminal justice program at Bowling Green State University who want to get a head start on their criminal justice master’s degree.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 122
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $584.97 per credit in-state | $917.82 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: On-Campus and Full-Time
  • Specializations: Forensic Investigation
  • Credits: 33
  • Length: 1-2 Years
  • Cost: $576.56 per credit in-state | $909.41 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: On-Campus; Full-Time and Part-Time
  • Specializations: Forensic Investigation and Victims and Offender

University of Dayton

The University of Dayton’s Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and security studies program is special because it’s one of the few criminal justice schools in Ohio offering multiple academic pathways and specialization options. While most bachelor’s-level criminal justice programs provide at most one concentration, the University of Dayton offers four. These include business intelligence, criminal justice studies, cyber security management, and pre-law.

In addition to these specialization options, students can also consider the criminal justice and Juris Doctor accelerated pathway. It usually takes seven years of full-time study for someone to earn a bachelor’s and a law degree. However, this accelerated program takes five and a half years, with three years of undergraduate studies and two and a half years of legal coursework.

The University of Dayton also has the Omega Phi Delta and Alpha Phi Sigma student organizations. They provide opportunities for students to engage in community criminal justice activities and volunteer events.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 124
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $1,322.22 per credit
  • Mode: On-Campus and Full-Time
  • Specializations: Business Intelligence; Criminal Justice Studies; Cyber Security Management; and Pre-Law.

Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Ohio

Criminal justice is a popular field of study, so with the recent dramatic growth of distance learning, many traditional criminal justice schools in Ohio with on-campus programs also offer online criminal justice degree options. Many of these programs can be completed entirely online, meaning students never have to set foot on campus. Online criminal justice degrees in Ohio are widespread at every level, making earning a degree possible for students with families, jobs, and other responsibilities that require them to complete their coursework on an ever-changing schedule.

To help you find the right online criminal justice degrees in Ohio, we’ve spotlighted three schools that are affordable, accredited, and offer flexible learning possibilities. If you’re interested in online criminal justice degrees from schools in states outside Ohio, check out our main guide to online criminal justice degrees.

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice offers several criminal justice programs, many of which are available online. Students earn their Bachelor of Science in criminal justice at the undergraduate level. This is a fully online program with the only campus visit you might want to make is for graduation ceremonies, and even that’s optional.

At the graduate level, there are two online criminal justice degrees in Ohio available. Those seeking a degree can get a Master of Science in criminal justice. Of the required 33 credits, 15 cover core courses. The remaining 18 credits can consist of any criminal justice courses the student chooses, although three topical area selections are available. Students interested in topical areas who don’t want to commit to a master’s degree can enroll in any of the three graduate certificate programs that cover the same material.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $496.00 per credit in-state | $581.00 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online and Full-Time
  • Specializations: None
  • Credits: 33
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $746.00 per credit in-state | $761.00 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online and Full-Time
  • Specializations: Correctional Rehabilitation; Crime Analysis and Prevention; and Analysis of Criminal Behavior
  • Credits: 12-15
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $746.00 per credit in-state | $761.00 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online and Full-Time
  • Specializations: Correctional Rehabilitation; Crime Analysis and Prevention; and Analysis of Criminal Behavior

Ohio University

The bachelor’s of criminal justice online program from Ohio University is an upper-division transfer program intended for students who have an associate degree in criminal justice or related fields. Therefore, only students who have earned at least 60 credits from an accredited post-secondary institution may apply. Depending on how much prior coursework they have already completed, students can complete the program with the minimum 32 criminal justice credits required to graduate.

In addition to the core criminal justice courses, students will take classes in other areas, such as oral communication, ethical reasoning, research methods, theories of behavior, and social problems. Online students can also pace their learning, allowing them to graduate in as little as four semesters or several years if they want to take a lighter course load. For added convenience, online classes are offered asynchronously, meaning students can not only attend class from anywhere there’s an internet connection but also at any time that suits them.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 32
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $307.00 per credit in-state | $312.00 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online; Part-Time and Full-Time
  • Specializations: None

University of Toledo

The online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice program at the University of Toledo can be completed entirely online, or students can opt for a hybrid format and take specific courses only available on campus and the rest online. Experiential learning comes from internships from which students can receive credit that will apply toward their graduation requirements.

Even though the bachelor’s in criminal justice program has no formal concentrations, criminal justice students are encouraged to minor in a field that can apply to criminal justice. For example, those wishing to focus on white-collar crime may want to minor in business or accounting. Those interested in technology-based crimes may want to minor in cyber security. Minors in political science or legal specialties are available for those looking to work in policymaking. To be admitted to the program, prospective students must have at least a 2.50 cumulative GPA from high school and an ACT score of at least 19 or an SAT score of at least 910.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $428.53 per credit in-state | $818.53 per credit out-of-state
  • Mode: Fully-Online and Hybrid; Full-Time
  • Specializations: None

Which Types of Criminal Justice Degrees Are Offered by Ohio Colleges?

Future criminal justice students will appreciate the plethora of criminal justice schools in Ohio to choose from. These can be found at the graduate and undergraduate levels and vary in their cost, learning formats, and time it takes to complete the programs. There are many choices to meet the varied professional and education needs of students, who may be veteran professionals or just starting out. The following sections discuss the major types of criminal justice programs available in Ohio.

Associate Degrees

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