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Criminal Justice Student Resources, Scholarships, and Support Services

Learn about scholarship opportunities, college support services, and top outside resources that can make all the difference in your criminal justice education.

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We don’t need to tell you that earning a college degree in criminal justice is a major undertaking requiring plenty of time, effort, and money—which may be in short supply. And, like many criminal justice students, you’ll need some help along the way to succeed.

Finding the funds to pay for your degree program will be among the first hurdles you’ll face. Some of the best funding sources are scholarships. This guide helps you get started on your criminal justice scholarship search with information on school-based scholarship programs, private scholarships currently being offered, and useful advice on how to land great criminal justice scholarships and grants. We’ve also included our list of some of the best online resources available to help you meet your criminal justice academic and career goals.

Campus and Online Support Resources for Criminal Justice Students

Whether you’re at the beginning, in the middle, or approaching the end of your criminal justice program, your college is prepared to help with a full range of on-campus resources. For starters, these include:

  • Academic counseling to help you with specialization, course choices, and (for graduate students) thesis and dissertation subject choices.
  • Personal counseling, for help with emotional and life issues affecting your academic work.
  • Career counseling and job-seeking services to help put you on the path to a successful criminal justice career.

You’ll also find an abundance of excellent online support resources from criminal justice professional associations, law enforcement and legal organizations, and many others. Here’s a look.

University Student Support Centers and Services

Student support services on your campus may be in a single location or they may be in separate offices in different buildings. You’ll discover some support services provided specifically for criminal justice students, while others are for all students, regardless of major. Your school’s website will have detailed information on what’s available. No matter where and how student support services are provided, it’s to your great benefit to make the most of them before, during, and even after you’ve completed your criminal justice degree.

The following two schools offer exemplary student support services to their criminal justice students:

1

Azusa Pacific University

Criminal justice students at Azusa Pacific University can learn all about available support services by visiting the Department of Criminal Justice’s University Resources webpage. The bulk of academic resources are housed in the campus’s Academic Success Center, where students access academic advising, accessibility and disability resources, testing services, strengths-based education and leadership development services, and TRIO support services for first-generation college students and other students who show academic need. The Academic Success Center is also where you’ll find APU’s Tutoring and Writing Centers. Other campus academic resources include the Math and Physics Center and the Center for Global Learning and Engagement, which assists international students.

2

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Part of The City University of New York, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice is focused entirely on degree programs in the criminal justice field. As you might expect from a college with “Criminal Justice” in its title, John Jay offers what may be the most comprehensive package of support services for criminal justice students of any school in the nation. You’ll find information about these services on the Student Resources webpage, including info on academic support and tutoring (math, writing, language, etc.), admissions and financial aid , career advice and planning , health and wellbeing, student emergency assistance (emergency financial aid and emergency loans, food, etc.), and much more. Online students can find help with distance learning issues by visiting the Department of Online Education & Support webpage.

News, Articles, and Podcasts for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals

5 Signs You Should Be Working in Law Enforcement Interesting and informative article from Rasmussen College offering a look at the personal traits and skills that may indicate law enforcement is the right area of the criminal justice field for you.

5 Tips for a Successful Criminal Justice Career Excellent article by the University of San Diego with valuable advice on how to start, develop, and sustain a successful career in the criminal justice profession.

Criminal Justice News This blog for criminal justice students, academics, and professionals has been around since 2009. It features both historical and current material. Readers can review hundreds of entries on criminal-justice-related topics from dozens of contributors.

Justice in America Podcast This timely and topical podcast series features conversations with advocates and experts discussing a different criminal justice issue in each episode. Examples include “Juvenile Justice,” “Judicial Elections,” and “Crime, Justice, and the Media.”

What Can I Do with a Criminal Justice Degree? The title of this guide says it all. You’ll find a comprehensive look at the agencies and organizations that hire criminal justice degree graduates, criminal justice job title descriptions and the employment outlook and salary expectations for each, required job skills, and much more.

Criminal Justice Professional Associations and Student Organizations

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) The ACJS is an international association founded to foster scholarly and professional activities in the criminal justice field. Student memberships are available with benefits that include subscriptions to the association’s journal and newsletters, and access to valuable networking and mentoring opportunities.

Alpha Phi Sigma Alpha Phi Sigma, the nation’s criminal justice honor society, recognizes academic excellence in undergraduate, graduate, and Juris Doctor students. Membership benefits include leadership development and networking opportunities and events, access to exclusive job postings, scholarships and grant opportunities, and much more.

American Correctional Association (ACA) Major professional association of corrections professionals, students, and supporters. ACA Student Chapters are active on nearly 30 college campuses in the U.S., but you can become an ACA student member whether there’s a chapter at your school or not.

American Society of Criminology (ASC) The ASC is an international association of criminology and criminal justice scholars and professionals focused on research related crime and delinquency. ASC activities include publications, sponsorship of meetings and other networking events, and providing job search resources and employment support to its members.

National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) The NCJA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose purpose is assisting in developing and implementing criminal justice policies and practices for agencies in all sectors of the criminal justice field.

Criminal Justice Social Media and Online Communities

ABA Criminal Justice Twitter/X Account The official X account (formerly known as Twitter) of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice section. You don’t have to be a lawyer, though, to benefit from the account’s up-to-date information on the criminal justice field.

Council on Criminal Justice Twitter Account The Council on Criminal Justice is a national organization that advocates for a fair and effective criminal justice system. Its Twitter account offers visitors a place to learn about the most pressing issues concerning criminal justice in the U.S.

Criminology and Criminal Justice Forum Substantial online student forum sponsored by The GradCafe and dedicated to the field of criminology and criminal justice. Dozens of threads relevant to students about both the criminal justice profession and college criminal justice programs.

Criminology and Criminal Justice Student Support and Teaching Facebook Page Dedicated to criminology and criminal justice undergrads and other interested people. The Facebook page is based in the U.K., but includes members in the U.S. and around the world.

Officer.com Forums This highly active site provides access to dozens of public forums and discussion groups related to criminal justice and law enforcement, as well as information on employment and careers, law and politics, and much more.

Support Resources for Students in Online Criminal Justice Programs

There’s been a tremendous amount of growth over the last decade or so in the quality and availability of distance learning postsecondary education. And the pace of that growth has picked up significantly. The result is a substantial and rapidly expanding base of valuable online resources dedicated to helping online students succeed in their academic pursuits. Here’s a look at five such resources for students in online criminal justice programs:

Criminal Justice Student: Online Class Discussion Engagement Brief but informative article for online criminal justice students that offers advice on how to effectively engage in, and contribute to, online class and related discussion groups. Be sure to check out all of the other great articles on the E-Roll Call Magazine website.

Inside Look at Online Criminal Justice Degrees Excellent guide on everything you need to know about the many types of criminal justice degrees offered online, along with a comprehensive list of the best online criminal justice programs currently available.

Justia Criminal Law Website Not for law students only, this extremely useful reference website offers a wealth of information on criminal law. Included are definitions and in-depth discussions on topics such as types of criminal offenses, drug crimes, theft crimes, white collar crimes, arrests and arrest warrants, probation and parole, and dozens more.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service Comprehensive reference website from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. Online criminal justice students will find a wealth of resources to use in completing course assignments. Visitors will also find information on attending live criminal-justice–related events.

Student Guide to Online Learning Success Another great step-by-step guide, this one focused on providing new distance learners with valuable information and advice on how to make the most of their online education experience. We’ve also included an interview with a digital learning expert.

College-Sponsored Scholarships in Criminal Justice

Some of the best (as in, biggest dollar amounts) sources of scholarships are colleges and universities themselves, and a great place to start your scholarship and grant search is your school’s financial aid office. That’s where you’ll find information on these school-sponsored scholarships, some of which may be available exclusively to criminal justice students. You can also check for in-house awards by contacting your criminal justice department directly or by visiting the school’s website.

Here are two colleges with noteworthy scholarship opportunities for students enrolled in their criminal justice programs:

1

Michigan State University (MSU)

MSU’s School of Criminal Justice bills itself as the oldest continuing degree-granting program in Criminal Justice in the U.S. This very substantial program includes degree options on the baccalaureate, master, and doctoral levels, and features two master’s degrees (Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis) that can be completed entirely online. To help its students fund their education, the School of Criminal Justice offers more than a dozen internal scholarships, including the one highlighted below. Award requirements and amounts vary by specific scholarship, but all winners are chosen by the SCJ director upon the recommendation of a school selection committee. Winners are notified in writing by the end of each spring semester.


Michael J. Rutherford Endowed Scholarship

Amount

Varies. Not to exceed the estimated cost of university attendance for the year of the award.

Deadline

Last Friday in February (2/24/25) (Annual)

Eligibility

Available to full-time and part-time criminal justice juniors, seniors, and grad students, who have maintained a minimum 2.0 GPA and, “possess the capacity, motivation and initiative to realize educational and professional goals.”

How to Apply

Follow the application link on the scholarship website. Materials required include academic transcript, resume, letter of recommendation (from instructor or professor), personal reference letter, and personal statement explaining the applicant’s choice of the criminal justice field and intended career.

2

University of Nebraska – Omaha

The University of Nebraska – Omaha School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (SCCJ) is home to degree programs for both undergraduate and graduate criminal justice students, including MA, MS, and PhD degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice, as well as both on-campus and online options for its BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree. The SCCJ offers several scholarship opportunities exclusively for its students, including the one described below. Amounts and award criteria vary, and some of these scholarships are open to SCCJ students on both the Omaha and Lincoln campuses. Criminology and criminal justice students may also take advantage of scholarships exclusive to UNO students but open to all majors.


Detective Kerrie Orozco First Responders Scholarship

Amount

Up to $2,000

Deadline

2/1/25 (Annual)

Eligibility

Available to undergrad Criminology and Criminal Justice students with a 2.5 minimum GPA who will be juniors or seniors as the time of the award. Other requirements include Nebraska or Iowa residence, a record of community service, and expressed interest in pursuing a career as a first responder. Preference is given to applicants with financial need.

How to Apply

Follow the application link on the webpage to be directed to the UNO Scholarships portal.

Private Scholarships in Criminal Justice

Scholarships and grants for criminal justice degree seekers come from all sorts of places, including federal and state governments, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, private companies, and even individual donors. Award amounts vary significantly, from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Eligibility requirements also vary from scholarship to scholarship, so it’s important to get a clear understanding of the details of each award before spending the time and effort to apply.

Below is a list of 15 scholarships currently available for cri