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Best Criminal Justice Schools in Virginia: Online/Campus

Discover the best criminal justice programs in Virginia and see how top schools offer you flexibility and affordability while advancing your career.

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James Mielke
Written By

James Mielke

Updated

11/29/2023

Whether you’re interested in law school, public policy, law enforcement, or different professional goal, criminal justice degrees in Virginia offer solid preparation for countless careers and graduate-level studies. Virginia is home to a roster of outstanding undergraduate and graduate criminal justice programs that are available for both in-person and online learners.

Throughout this page, we’ll walk you through criminal justice programs in Virginia, what you can expect, what you’ll pay, and what your career prospects will be upon graduation. Additionally, we spotlight the best criminal justice programs that Virginia has to offer. Keep scrolling to see how a criminal justice degree can help propel your career forward.

Best Virginia Colleges for Criminal Justice in 2024

A successful criminal justice career starts with the right education, and our spotlights are here to help in the hunt for the best school for you. We’ve taken the time to highlight schools that prioritize affordability, accreditation, and comprehensive student support—essential elements to your college experience. Continue reading to see which programs top our list.

While we’ve only showcased three Virginia criminal justice programs below, stay tuned for our full college ranking to see a more comprehensive list of quality programs.

George Mason University

Based in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., George Mason University is a public research institution that’s home to undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice and criminology, law, and society. Throughout these programs, students dive into the American justice system and its impact on everything from communities to the court system.

As undergraduate students progress through this 120-credit program, they tackle core classes such as introduction to criminal justice, criminal justice ethics, constitutional law, and a degree-culminating capstone course. In addition to core coursework, students choose from three concentrations: criminal justice, homeland security and justice, and law and society.

Additionally, students have access to a 4 + 1 pathway, allowing them to complete a criminal justice master’s in just five years. A standalone criminal justice master’s is also available; students complete essential classes such as leadership in justice organizations, criminal justice research methods, and legal and ethical issues in criminal justice.

Because of Mason’s proximity to Washington, D.C., students can access countless internship opportunities in roles spanning from nonprofits to law enforcement. When applying to Mason, prospective students are evaluated holistically. The school considers past academic performance, personal experiences, and standardized test scores.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $421/credit in-state | $1,428/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Specializations: Criminal justice; homeland security and justice; law and society
  • Credits: 30
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $772/credit in-state | $1,687/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Credits: 138
  • Length: 5 years
  • Cost: $421/credit in-state (undergraduate); $772/credit in-state (graduate) | $1,428/credit out-of-state (undergraduate); $1,687/credit out-of-state (graduate)
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Credits: 72
  • Length: 5 years
  • Cost: Varies with funding
  • Delivery: On-Campus

Radford University

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Radford University was established in 1910 and serves over 10,000 students. This public university is home to both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice that prepare students for a long list of careers including business, law, law enforcement, and social services. Radford also offers a crime analysis graduate certificate that professionals can use to enhance their skills and expand their career options.

Throughout Radford’s undergraduate criminal justice program in Virginia, students tackle 24 credits of core major classes, including introduction to criminal justice, corrections, diversity issues in the criminal justice system, and research methods in criminal justice. At the graduate level, students complete courses covering topics such as quantitative methods in criminal justice research, studies in criminological theory, and public policy and criminal justice.

Prospective undergraduate students can apply directly to Radford or through the Common App; there is no fee when applying. Additionally, grad students must hold a minimum 2.9 GPA and submit letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and a personal statement. Applicants aren’t required to submit standardized test scores for admission.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $6,143/semester in-state | $12,593/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $394/credit in-state | $770/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Credits: 15
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $394/credit in-state | $770/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: Online

Virginia Commonwealth University

Founded in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research institution with more than 82,000 students. VCU is based in Richmond and is home to both undergraduate and graduate criminal justice programs that prepare students for a diverse set of careers or further graduate-level study. In addition to major requirements, VCU criminal justice students can pursue a specialization in forensic crime scene investigation.

Throughout VCU’s 120-credit criminal justice bachelor’s program in Virginia, students complete core requirements while also having the option of completing a forensic crime scene investigation specialization. Alongside traditional undergraduate options, VCU also offers 4 + 1 pathways that allow students to complete both undergraduate and master’s coursework in just five years.

Prospective VCU undergrads must apply through the Common Application; successful applicants typically complete a college-prep curriculum in high school. VCU does not require criminal justice students to submit standardized test scores for undergraduate or graduate admission.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $443/credit in-state | $582/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Specialization: Forensic Crime Scene Investigation
  • Credits: 30
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $745/credit in-state | $1,531/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus
  • Credits: 15
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $596/credit in-state | $1,531/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: On-Campus

Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Virginia

In the world of criminal justice education, online programs in Virginia have not only emerged as a compelling alternative to campus-based options but also have expanded access to higher education. Particularly suited for busy professionals, adult learners, and those seeking convenience and affordability, online criminal justice programs in Virginia offer flexibility while providing quality academic content.

While earning your criminal justice degree online, you’ll likely encounter virtual classes, recorded lectures, online course materials, and group discussions. In addition to course content, standout online criminal justice programs in Virginia provide robust resources for distance learners, including online libraries, tutoring, counseling, and faculty support.

To aid in your pursuit of the right online criminal justice program, we’ve identified three standout criminal justice schools in Virginia. For a more comprehensive guide to online criminal justice degrees, be sure to check out our main guide to online criminal justice degrees in Virginia and elsewhere.

Liberty University

Established in 1971 and based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is a private Christian university that’s known for its expansive roster of online programs. Among the school’s online options are criminal justice programs that span associate to doctoral degrees. These flexible, 100% online degrees offer multiple start dates per year, and students complete classes in eight-week sessions.

Through these online criminal justice degrees in Virginia, students explore the criminal justice field while developing marketable skills in areas such as policy analysis, crisis response strategies, public administration, and management and leadership techniques. Undergraduates complete core classes and general education requirements; students can also complete a concentration in criminal psychology, crime scene investigation, homeland security, or public administration.

Prospective Liberty University students can apply online or over the phone. While you only need an unofficial transcript for admission, when you enroll you must supply an official transcript within 60 days of acceptance.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 1.5 years
  • Cost: $390/credit
  • Delivery: Fully Online/Part-Time/Full-Time
  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 3.5 years
  • Cost: $390/credit
  • Delivery: Fully Online/Part-Time/Full-Time
  • Specializations: General; Business Administration and Management; Corrections and Human Services; Criminal Psychology; Crime Scene Investigation; Homeland Security; Juvenile Justice; Public Administration; Strategic Intelligence Studies
  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 1.5 years
  • Cost: $565/credit
  • Delivery: Fully Online/Part-Time/Full-Time
  • Specializations: General; Corrections Management; Cybercrime Investigation; Forensic Psychology; Homeland Security; Law Enforcement Leadership; Legal Studies; Public Administration; Restorative Justice
  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 3 years
  • Cost: $595/credit full-time | $650/credit part-time
  • Delivery: Fully Online/Part-Time/Full-Time
  • Specializations: General; Homeland Security; Leadership
  • Credits: 21
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $565/credit
  • Delivery: Fully Online/Part-Time/Full-Time

Old Dominion University

Based in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University is a public research institution that serves over 24,000 students. Among this public school’s online programs is a bachelor’s in criminal justice that offers a flexible and affordable pathway toward careers in fields such as corrections, law, public policy, and policing.

As learners work through this 100% online criminal justice degree in Virgina, they encounter the legal, social, and tech foundations of the criminal justice field. With the required 120 credits, students tackle core classes such as introduction to criminology, law and the criminal justice system, criminological theory, and a degree-culminating capstone research project.

Every Old Dominion applicant gets paired with an admission coach. Students can apply for start dates in the fall, spring, or summer. Additionally, Old Dominion partners with Virginia community colleges to ensure a seamless transition for those wanting to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Program Highlights:

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $393/credit in-state | $423/credit out-of-state
  • Delivery: Fully Online
  • Specializations: None

Virginia Wesleyan University

Established in 1961, Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) is a small, private Christian institution based in Virginia Beach. The school offers a 100% online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in Virginia that leans on an interdisciplinary approach and liberal arts foundation. VWU’s online programming prioritizes flexibility and allows students to complete coursework at their own pace and on their own time.

Throughout this 128-credit online program, students complete core classes such as criminology, introduction to social research, cri