Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice: Top in 2016

  1. You are here:
  2. Home
  3. »
  4. Degrees
  5. »
  6. Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Online degree programs in criminal justice provide a flexible higher education to students who need balance – with work, family commitments and education. Top online programs offer not only flexible schedules, but also great teachers, tremendous resources and student support to rival their on-campus counterparts. The following page helps aspiring criminal justice majors move their college and career forward in two ways. First, it provides a quick and easy way to search for online CJ programs from top colleges and universities across the country. This includes programs at multiple levels, and from myriad types of institutions. Second, it dissects the various higher educational journeys available in the field, from earning an associate degree online to seeking an advanced credential in the field. Find colleges and learn more about online degrees.

A Look at Online Criminal Justice Degrees

The criminal justice field includes three main sectors: law enforcement, corrections and security. Numerous professions fall within these areas, such as forensic scientist, police officer, paralegal, probation officer, security guard, loss prevention specialist, teacher and many more (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). Many careers in the field require some type of post-secondary education, from vocational training through advanced degrees. Traditional and online institutions across the country offer criminal justice degree programs via distance learning. Some schools offer an online criminology degree rather than one in CJ specifically. Criminology is a comparable major with a similar program. Let’s begin by examining the most common types of online criminal justice degrees in higher education:

Meet the Expert: KARLA LANT

Karla Lant is a retired criminal defense attorney and an adjunct professor for Northern Arizona University’s Master of Administration program. She teaches students working in law enforcement routinely as they study administration and leadership. During her years as a trial attorney her specialty areas included forensic science and medical and scientific evidence.

Now more than ever, students with high-quality training in criminal justice are crucial to the reform and support of our justice system. Criminal justice as a field has grown, and is a robust area of study. The days of simple experience being enough for criminal justice professionals are in the past; today even officers working the streets need sophisticated technology, well-informed theory, and an intellectual strength to excel.

Online Criminal Justice Degrees: An Academic Timeline

The path to a career in criminal justice varies by student. For those interested in the field, but perhaps unsure about their direction, it’s important to have as much information as possible. To simplify the investigative process, the timeline below identifies the educational options available from an associate degree to a doctorate and examines the important considerations involved in pursuing each of these degrees online.

Online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice (Two Years)

An online associate degree in criminal justice provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for an entry-level career in the field. All students must take a certain number of general education courses in addition to courses in law enforcement, corrections and criminology. Some schools allow students to declare a concentration in one of these three areas.

Students who earn an online associate degree in criminal justice can transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree. Many students find this to be a cost-effective route to a four-year credential. Before deciding to follow this path, students should meet with the academic advisor at their two-year college to determine which credits will transfer over to a four-year institution. It is also helpful to speak with an academic advisor at the college or university they plan to transfer to find out the specific requirements because — this can simplify the transfer process later on.

Miami Dade College
  • Enrollment: 99,253
  • Tuition: $3,366
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate in Criminal Justice Technology
Broward College
  • Enrollment: 61,784
  • Tuition: $2,494
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
Seminole State College of Florida
  • Enrollment: 27,853
  • Tuition: $3,131
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Associate of Science Major in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Associate in Arts Major in Criminal Justice
Troy University
  • Enrollment: 22,220
  • Tuition: $6,844
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Alabama
  • Associate of Science in General Education - Criminal Justice

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice (Four Years)

The online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice serves as the benchmark for students entering the field by expanding on concepts introduced at the two-year level. Students prepare for future careers by examining crimes and their effects on communities, as well as methods of promoting community safety. Courses help students clarify their career aspirations by identifying specific areas of interest. The following coursework is typical of years three and four in an online criminal justice degree curriculum:

Criminology: Focuses on explanations and measurement of crime, characteristics of criminals and victims. This includes property, white-collar, organized, violent and sexual crimes.

Courts and the prosecution process: Covers the purpose and function of criminal courts, including organization, jurisdiction and staffing. Other subjects include prosecution, adjudication and sentencing of offenders.

Policing: Examines police organizations and operations in the United States. Topics discussed include the impact of police on crime, disorder and social issues; police culture and public support; and community policing.

Corrections: An overview of the punishment and treatment of sentenced offenders. Students develop an understanding of correctional institutions and how they are organized, including staffing, inmates and subcultures among correctional institutions.

Other primary courses:

  • Law enforcement administration
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Criminal justice ethics
  • Alternatives to Incarceration
  • Crime control
  • Complex organizations
Florida International University
  • Enrollment: 51,334
  • Tuition: $6,417
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
University of Maryland
  • Enrollment: 43,574
  • Tuition: $6,384
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Maryland
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Arizona State University
  • Enrollment: 43,072
  • Tuition: $9,724
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Arizona
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology And Criminal Justice
Pennsylvania State University
  • Enrollment: 41,535
  • Tuition: $16,444
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice (Two Years)

It usually takes two years of full-time study, after the bachelor’s degree, to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice. During that time, students gain knowledge and develop leadership skills that prepare them for supervisory or administrative careers in law enforcement management and the judicial courts. With a master’s degree in the discipline, graduates can also pursue careers in academia as instructors, although likely at the community college level. Visit our detailed page on online master’s programs in criminal justice to learn more.

Online Doctoral Degree in Criminal Justice (Eight Years or More)

A doctoral program in criminal justice explores the theories and legal framework of crime and criminal behavior, focusing on areas such as prevention, intervention and effective consequences. Coursework investigates theories of crime and criminal behavior, criminal laws and ethics. Students in an online criminal justice PhD program must research, write and defend a dissertation in an area of specialization, such as behavioral science, juvenile justice or organizational leadership. Graduates may pursue careers at organizations such as the CIA, FBI and secret service in positions that do not require fieldwork. Explore other career options, find top programs, and dive deeper into the timeline on our guide to online PhDs in criminal justice.

Quality Matters: Finding the Right Online CJ Program

Students interested in studying criminal justice can enroll at online community colleges, state and private schools, and for-profit institutions. No matter where an online criminal justice education resides, there are specific qualities that identify a high-caliber program.

A Stamp of Approval (Accreditation)

All online criminal justice degree programs should be fully accredited. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes six regional accreditation agencies as well as the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Students should avoid any program without one of these forms of accreditation. Some programs are also accredited by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), which promotes high-quality higher education, research and policy analysis for both educators and practitioners within the discipline.

Program Diversity

Students pursuing online criminal justice degrees benefit from the option to choose from multiple specializations or concentrations. For example, students who wish to pursue a career in academia can specialize in Teaching for Higher Education. Students interested in working in jails and prisons in administration can specialize in Corrections and Case Management. Other concentrations include Homeland Security, Public Safety Leadership, Forensics, Public Administration and Health Policy and Management. Many of these concentrations train graduates for careers in one of the hundreds of departments within the U.S. Department of Justice ( or the U.S. Secret Service (Secret, a federal law enforcement agency headquartered in Washington, D.C., with more than 150 offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Resources and Technology

Flexibility is one of the top reasons students are attracted to online criminal justice degrees. Therefore, a quality program should have round-the-clock access to tools and technology such as digital libraries, communication software, tech support and other materials. The curriculum should also have a strong technology component. According to “The State of Criminal Justice 2012,” a report by the American Bar Association, the rates of violent crimes are declining, yet cybercrime is on the rise. Experts in the field need to be trained in advanced technology in order to combat this rising problem.

Networking Opportunities

Students need the opportunity to build relationships with faculty members who are subject matter experts with years of hands-on experience. They also benefit from an internship program that allows them to associate with experts in the field. Additionally, a strong alumni network is essential for finding a job after graduation.

Online criminal justice degree graduates should have the knowledge skills to seek and obtain entry-level positions in law enforcement, corrections and security. By developing a broad understanding of criminal law, the justice system, and the legal structure, students are able to graduate with a strong understanding of the nature of crimes, ethics in criminal justice and the ability to identify and analyze social problems and develop solutions. According to multiple studies by PayScale, the top six careers for criminal justice majors are police officer, paralegal, probation officer, detective, security officer and loss prevention manager.

Criminal Justice Certification

Although professional certifications are not required for most positions, those who hold them display a high level of education and experience in their specialty area. The professional programs below are examples of designations available to experts in the criminal justice field by various organizations. Requirements vary be certification.

ACA Corrections Certification: The American Correctional Association sponsors the Corrections Certifications Program, which offers credentials for experts working in adult corrections, juvenile justice, security threat groups and corrections healthcare.

Certified Jail Officer: The American Jail Association recognizes those jail officers with superior knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as a commitment to the corrections profession on a national level, with the Certified Jail Officer Program.

Certified Criminal Justice Specialist: The National Association of Forensic Counselors offers several certifications. Several of the programs, including the Certified Criminal Justice Specialist program, are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Certified Security Consultant: Experts who display a high level of professionalism, knowledge and integrity as professional security consultants can earn Certified Security Consultant certification through the International Association of Professional Security Consultants.

Certified Law Enforcement Analyst: The International Association of Crime Analysts awards the Certified Law Enforcement designation to experts with high-level crime analysis, intelligence analysis, geographic profiling, police research and planning skills.

IAI Crime Scene Certification: The International Association for Identification manages the Crime Scene Certification Program, which is comprised of four separate designations: Certified Crime Scene Investigator, Certified Crime Scene Analyst, Certified Crime Scene Re-constructionist, and Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst.

The Inside Scoop: Interview with an Online CJ Graduate

The best way to discover the pros and cons of earning an online criminal justice degree is by listening to people who have already experienced it. Students and alumni can provide unique insight into the complete educational path, from the application process to finding a job. Let’s take a look at how Kerry Bush viewed his online program experience.

1. How did you get started with your online criminal justice degree education?

I knew I wanted to go into law enforcement from an early age because my father and uncles were on the police force while I was growing up and I always looked up to them. But even though I knew I would major in criminal justice, I was concerned about paying for a four-year education. I ended up enrolling in an associate degree program online while working full-time in retail, saving money for tuition. Then after I got my two-year degree I transferred to Florida State University to get my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online. I think it was a smart decision because I saved a lot of money on tuition expenses.

2. How was the transfer process? Did your credit transfer without a problem?

Actually, since I knew I would transfer before I even started with my associate degree, I was able to meet with an advisor before choosing my courses and we mapped it all out so that it was a simple process. Most of the courses in a two-year program are general education courses similar to those at all colleges so it wasn’t that big a deal.

3. You mention that you wanted to follow in your family’s footsteps in law enforcement. Did you always plan on finding a position in a police department?

I thought I would become a police officer after graduation, but I ended up changing my path a bit. I decided to try volunteering in my community while earning my two-year degree because I thought it would help me when it came time to apply to four-year schools. I volunteered with the police department and a staff member who was active in Meals on Wheels encouraged me to give the program a try. I really enjoyed working with the elderly population in a way I didn’t know would happen. I still try to put in a few hours a month.

4. Were you happy with your online undergraduate education?

Definitely. There were so many benefits to doing the program online. I had the same courses as students on-campus and received the same diploma. But I had so much flexibility. In fact, I was able to continue working and volunteering once I got started. I didn’t have to go to campus for any courses at all, so it turned out to be even better than I expected. The faculty was amazing and I always felt supported- every step of the way.

5. What kind of technology was used in your distance learning program?

A few of my courses used videotapes but mostly I had to log in for discussions and lectures. Most of my courses allowed me to work on my own schedule. That was actually tricky in the beginning. I was handed these assignments and activities and a week to get them done. It can be difficult to get your own regular schedule without waiting until the last minute to get everything done. But I picked it up quickly. Everyone gets assigned an Academic Coordinator who keeps you on task.

Criminal Justice Degree Search Tool

Myriad postsecondary institutions offer criminal justice degrees at varied levels as part of their online learning options. Many of these programs have numerous qualities an online student may be looking for, such as asynchronous classes or a good value for cost, though only some may have the student support and financial assistance they may want. The search tool below will provide a quick and helpful list of online criminal justice programs that have all the qualities a student desires.

Degree Level:
Student Population:
School Type:
see map

Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees for 2015-2016

With so many criminal justice degrees available online, students can find a program to meet just about any set of unique needs they may have. However, sifting through all the options to find the absolute best match can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Which ones are the most affordable? Which ones offer the best support and resources to online learners?

To help students, we’ve carefully evaluated numerous colleges and universities for our list of Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees for 2015-2016. The following schools offer a range of quality online degrees in the major, from associate and bachelor’s through master’s. Find out who made the list and get more information on specific programs below.

For more information about our criteria and scoring, please visit our methodology page.

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCost MORE INFO
1 University of North Carolina at Pembroke 99.5015:192%

With a focus on the practical applications of criminal justice, the Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice degree allows students to experience real-life simulations delivered via streaming video, with the goal of developing critical, strategic and independent thinking. Internships are available to introduce students to the criminal justice working environment, and can help prepare them to work as victims' advocates, narcotics officers, detectives, police supervisors and customs officers. Resources such as financial aid, writing support and academic advising are also available to online students.

2 Fayetteville State University 98.9717:196%

The 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is comprised of core studies in areas relating to race, class and gender; white collar crime; criminal justice theory; and special topics in criminology. Throughout the program, students will also spend time learning about communication, statistics, ethics, and civic engagement, providing them with a holistic knowledge of the field. Graduates take up roles as police detectives and officers, judges, and criminologists. This online degree uses Blackboard to disseminate information about academic calendars, program announcements, course catalogs, and registration procedures. Students also use this portal to submit assignments, undertake examinations, and interact with their classmates and professors.

3 Missouri Valley College 97.8614:1100%

A thorough study of the justice system and its role and impact in society forms the basis of the curriculum for the online Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. Classes explore penology, women and minorities in the criminal justice system, and ethics and administration. Other courses investigate theories and techniques involved with community-oriented policing, sexual offenses and offenders, victimology, drug abuse, homicide investigation, and criminal law. Students may go on to work as police or private security officers, attorneys, or investigators. Graduates complete 120 credit hours with 40 hours in upper-division coursework. Criminal justice internships and independent studies are also required before graduation.

4 University of Wyoming 97.3414:192%

Two concentrations are built into this online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, one in pre-law and one in pre-forensic science. The first targets students who want to enter law school while the second is aimed at those who desire laboratory and research work. Training should prepare students for investigative and practical careers in fields such as state, local and national law enforcement; court administration; and homeland, corporate and private security. Job fairs are held to connect students and prospective employers. Core courses include policy, management within the criminal justice system, ethics, global terrorism and research techniques. WyoWeb is used to receive course documents, instruction from professors, registration materials and exams.

5 Liberty University 97.1318:195%

Seven distinct specialty areas are available to students who pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice through Liberty's online program. Specializations include law enforcement administration and management, criminal psychology, crime scene investigation, homeland security, public administration, strategic intelligence, and juvenile justice. Studies explore the constitutional, organizational and procedural differences between federal, state and local agencies. Attention is also given to the interaction between the various facets of criminal law, including substantive and procedural law. The online degree requires 120 total hours for graduation, with 50 percent of law enforcement courses completed at Liberty. Students with previous education at law enforcement academies or with the military may apply for class credit.

6 Western New Mexico University 96.8814:197%

Bachelor of Applied Science degrees are offered in criminal justice corrections, criminal justice policing, and forest wildlife law enforcement. Courses cover the fundamentals of criminal justice, ethics, trends, and research, following a sequence that allows full-time students to earn their degrees within four years. The multi-disciplinary education readies students to work in fields such as law enforcement, private security, juvenile corrections, forensic science and social work. Students may complete coursework on their own schedules as long as they meet deadlines given by the instructor; they may also participate in online discussions with their instructors and classmates. Services such as tutoring and library access are also available.

7 Missouri Southern State University 96.2019:193%

Careers in law enforcement, corrections, criminal law, juvenile justice, and industrial or private security are some of the options for students who earn a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration. Established criminal justice professionals may receive credit toward the 120-hour degree for previous experience in the field. Students can choose concentrations leading to bachelor's degrees in several areas, including criminal justice administration, juvenile justice, and criminal justice administration with a focus on computer forensics. MSSU online programs also offer students the opportunity to complete criminal justice administration minors in corrections, juvenile justice, and crime scene investigation.

8 University of West Georgia 95.8219:194%

If they have earned an associate degree that fulfills several of the school's general education courses and electives, students may finish the online Bachelor Science in criminology in as little as a year. Otherwise, the 120 hours required for graduation typically takes three to four years. Up to 90 credit hours can be transferred and applied toward the degree requirements. Courses highlight core elements of criminology including justice issues, the criminal court system, juvenile delinquency, drug abuse and research methods. Academic preparation aims to prepare students to work in government, private, and nonprofit law and criminal justice organizations. The online option is delivered through eCore.

9 Culver-Stockton College 95.0213:1100%

Courses comprising the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Criminal Justice include studies in criminal justice, the judicial process, comparative criminal justice, and deviant behavior. Classes are delivered in eight week blocks and are available fully online. Applicants with prior professional training or military experience may qualify to transfer up to 31 credits; otherwise, the degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete. Once enrolled, students use MyCulver to access course schedules, school assignments, exams, and webmail. An interactive HelpDesk is also offered to all online students and can be accessed via the same portal.

10 Belhaven University 94.8812:1100%

Students aspiring to leadership positions in the field of criminal justice are often drawn to Belhaven's undergraduate Management degree offering a criminal justice concentration. Upon completion, alumni have gone on to work as leaders in police units, Homeland Security, and business law organizations. The degree is comprised of 136 credits, with focused studies in criminology, police organization, and justice and society. Available 100 percent online, students use My Belhaven to access class projects, discussions and assignments. This portal also serves as the info point for degree requirements, details about transferring existing credits, and how to register.

11 Tiffin University 94.8018:198%

Students enrolled in Criminal Justice degree program at Tiffin University select from four distinct concentrations of professional expertise: Corrections, Homeland Security/Counter Terrorism, Justice Administration, and Law Enforcement. Seven-week terms starting in January, March, May, July, August, and October provide incoming students with a rotating selection of accelerated online courses that count towards fulfillment of the 120-credit hours required. Programs are comprised of 16 hours of core knowledge skills, 21 hours in criminal justice studies, 21 hours of electives within the major, and 33 hours of general education courses. The remaining 30 hours are comprised of core classes related to the major. The university is a student-centered teaching institution with average class sizes of fewer than 20 students.

12 Fort Valley State University 94.5220:197%

At Fort Valley State University, the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is taught fully online. The program emphasizes three aspects of the criminal justice system: These are courts, corrections, and law enforcement. Students can expect to research, discuss in online classrooms, and study topics such as justice, system ethics, management strategies, policing in America, criminal courts and judicial administration. Courses, learning tools, links to the helpdesk, student email and school mass notifications are retrieved through Brightspace by D2L. Students access eCore to watch streaming videos, listen to recorded audio lectures, purchase textbooks and connect with academic advisors.

13 Viterbo University 94.3312:199%

Preparation for leadership roles is at the heart of Viterbo University's Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration. Students will be asked to hone their critical thinking, independent thinking, and management and decision-making skills as they develop the capabilities needed for professionals in this field. Courses cover subjects such as criminal court systems, juvenile court systems, policing and corrections, research, ethics, and the impact of poverty on crime. Students have the flexibility to set their own schedules for watching lectures and completing assignments, but should expect to meet certain deadlines and attend classroom discussions at times. Web cams for discussions, streaming videos, conference calls and campus Web mail are used to deliver course materials.

14 Florida Atlantic University 94.0624:187%

Students interested in the online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree offered by Florida Atlantic University will become familiar with the school's Center for eLearning. CeL oversees the development and implementation all online degrees, creating e-learning tutorials and ensuring all technical aspects run smoothly. This 120-credit degree can be completed fully online, provided students are able to earn a 3.0 or above in all core classes. Criminal justice management, international criminal justice systems, crime prevention, and ethics in the justice system are just a few of the course options available. Upon graduation, alumni may go on to work as case managers, court coordinators, fraud investigators, field administrators, or child services counselors.

15 Eastern Kentucky University 93.5217:197%

Eastern Kentucky University's Department of Criminal Justice offers two baccalaureate degrees and one graduate-level program in criminal justice topics. Undergraduates choose between Bachelors of Science in either Police Studies or Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies, while postgraduate students undertake an MS in Justice, Policy and Leadership. Knowledge gained from the four-year offerings include an understanding of the legal and theoretical foundations of criminal justice, the impact of ethics on police behavior, policing society trends, and criminal justice strategies. While the undergraduate programs equip adults for entry-level positions, the graduate degree prepares adults to apply advanced skills and strategies to management and leadership positions. EKU Online is the gateway to Illiad, Blackboard, the Instructional Development Center, and Library Express.

16 Dallas Baptist University 93.2214:195%

Students seeking baccalaureate or graduate level degrees in Criminal Justice are in luck at Dallas Baptist University. The Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Criminal Justice and Master of Arts in Professional Development with a concentration in Criminal Justice are both perennially popular program options. The undergraduate degree is comprised of 120 hours, with 30 devoted to major-related classes. Topics may include organization and administration, economic crimes, research methods, multicultural perspectives, and constitutional law. Some alumni take up careers as detention center specialists, police investigators, Homeland Security agents, and criminologists, while others elect to continue into graduate programs. Learners use Blackboard to find out about upcoming class assignments and reading materials.

17 Midway College 93.0013:1100%

Originally a program focused entirely on homeland security, the online bachelor's degree in public safety administration has been broadened to provide a comprehensive education in three major concentrations: corporate security, criminal justice, and emergency management. Homeland security emergency planning remains a mainstay of all three concentrations, with a curriculum that focuses on the coordination and management of emergency service organizations, including studies in infrastructure protection, risk assessment, conflict resolution, organizational communications and strategic planning. The 124-credit degree is made up of 45 units of public safety administration and 42 units of electives, with the remaining hours in general education courses that satisfy graduation requirements.

18 North Greenville University 92.6314:1100%

Offered online and as a hybrid program through the College of Adult Professional Studies, the Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and legal studies is designed to focus on Christian values, advocacy and empiricism, practical applications, and technology germane to the criminal justice professions. It explores the role of religion as it impacts courts, corrections and law enforcement. The 120-hour degree program includes 69 hours of studies in the major, 33 hours of general education, and 18 hours devoted to electives or completion of a minor. Minor fields include business administration, Christian ministries, early childhood education, and pychology. Graduates must also complete four seminars and two semesters in a criminal justice internship.

19 Cedar Crest College 92.499:1100%

Both white and blue collar crimes taking place at the local, national and global levels require governments and private institutions to institute and maintain criminal justice systems. At Cedar Crest College, the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice offers two concentrations to prepare students to work in these arenas, including law enforcement management and criminal justice and deviance. At the end of their degrees, graduates go on to roles as police and probation officers, private investigators, and sociologists. My Cedar Crest is used to keep students in touch with their professors and classmates and provide information abut academic registration, book lists, syllabi, and class assignments.

20 Averett University 92.2010:1100%

Students undertaking Averett University's fully online bachelor's degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice have the opportunity to study principles of psychology, human and juvenile delinquency, criminal law and prosecutions, corrections, and rehabilitation. The program provides practical exposure to criminal justice while learning from experienced educators. The curriculum is geared towards learners who have taken some college courses and have previous work experience in a criminal justice related field. Students also have the opportunity to engage in online discussion with each other to review course material and share work experiences.

21 Oklahoma Wesleyan University 92.0215:1100%

Created by police professionals, the online Bachelor of Science degree program in criminal justice is targeted at police officers seeking to rise in their profession as well as to those new to law enforcement. Coursework includes studies in criminal law, victimology, ethics, evidence and procedure, asset security, and the court system. Law enforcement officers who want to extend their initial training for more career opportunities may also take advanced courses covering gangs and their role in crime, patrol tactics, and techniques for domestic intervention. Graduation from this Christian-centered program requires students complete 126 credit hours, including 21 hours in a specialty of either law enforcement (police) or law enforcement administration. Up to 72 semester credit hours can be transferred from previous law enforcement or general education courses completed at the community college level.

22 Shorter University 92.0012:199%

With an entirely online format that caters to busy students, the Bachelor of Science in criminal justice degree program is designed to arm students with the skills necessary to advance to management or leadership positions in the field. The 120-hour, four-year program is composed of 42 hours of core classes, 39 hours in the criminal justice major, and 39 hours of electives. Christian values inform the study of criminal investigation, casework, interpersonal leadership, and administration. Classwork also includes studies in judicial systems, conflict resolution and mediation, the correctional system, and procedural law. General education courses in the arts, sciences, social sciences and theology complete the undergraduate requirements for graduation.

23 University of Louisville 91.9311:197%

A general foundation in criminal justice, with a specialization in justice administration, characterizes this degree in criminal justice. Applicants are encouraged to earn an associate degree before enrolling, but may also fulfill general education requirements through Kentucky's community college system. The 121 credit hours for the degree are completed through classes covering topics such as U.S. law enforcement, juvenile justice, criminal behavior, and criminal law and evidence. Lectures may be watched live via streamed video, or in a recorded format through Blackboard. The university's ULink system keeps students up to speed with library information, admissions records, course descriptions and class schedules.

24 Reinhardt University 91.6114:192%

Faculty with real-world experience teach the fundamentals of criminal justice, giving students a solid knowledge base that emphasizes critical thinking and effective decision-making. The online, 120 credit-hour criminal justice bachelor's degree program is made up of 54 units of degree-specific courses and 66 units of general education courses that satisfy overall graduation requirements. Online classes include studies in criminal evidence and procedure, ethics, criminality theory, juvenile justice, terrorism/counterterrorism, forensic science, and incident command. Students can shorten time to graduation by transferring previous classwork or by receiving credits for on-the-job experience in law enforcement, corrections or other related professions.

25 Bluefield College 91.6014:1100%

With a focus on corrections, court systems and law enforcement, students in this online Criminal Justice program graduate with a full understanding of political, legal, economic and social changes and how those affect the criminal justice system. The degree is comprised of general education courses, electives and criminal justice major requirements. Fully online, the program maintains an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students log in to My BC to submit course papers, view upcoming assignments, undertake tests, and converse with peers and professors. The school also offers academic support and tutoring through the ACE portal.

26 University of Memphis 91.4114:197%

A combination of general education, major-related, and elective courses make up the 120 credit hours required for the Bachelor of Arts in criminology and criminal justice. At least 36 credit hours must come from core courses in subjects such as corrections, operation of the criminal justice system, the court system, and criminal behavior theory. Careers for graduates could include CIA analyst, computer forensics investigator, emergency management director, and forensic psychologist. The school employs several online tools, such as podcasts and the Desire2Learn program, to deliver course content and help students with administrative tasks.

27 Saint Leo University 91.2115:194%

The online Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice degree program represents the outgrowth of more than 30 years of academic criminal justice programs at Saint Leo University, a military-friendly college with a Catholic focus. The program prepares professionals for advancement to graduate school or to such roles as police officers, probation officers and crime scene investigators. Coursework investigates the legal system and substantive criminal law, criminal behavior, ethics and criminal procedure, law enforcement organization and administration, and forensic science. The 120-credit BA program includes foundation courses in general education (arts and sciences) and 39 units of studies that satisfy criminal justice core requirements.

28 Bethel University 91.0815:194%

The Department of Justice, local and state court systems and investigation units are just a few of the major organizations looking to hire professionals with training in criminal justice. Bethel University's fully online bachelor's in Criminal Justice provides students foundational knowledge of criminal justice theory, forensic psychology, research methods, and social systems. This four-year degree includes coursework in planning for emergency and disaster management, forensic science, criminal procedure, and management of terrorist incidents. Students use Blink and Moodle to connect to coursework, peers and professors.

29 Mercer University 91.0712:1100%

The Bachelor of Science degree in public safety leadership at Penfield College (Mercer University) offers an online format designed to serve working professionals seeking career advancement, as well as students looking to enter this growing field. The degree is comprised of 120 credit hours, divided by specialty among the criminal justice, emergency services, and homeland security tracks. Emergency Services majors must be certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians at the time of application. Students may transfer qualifying credits from previous undergraduate work from regionally accredited junior colleges or technical schools. Online course management systems are available 24/7 and employ Blackboard, Moodle and blogs.

30 Campbell University 91.0116:1100%

Students seeking flexibility within a postsecondary program are often drawn to Campbell University's online degrees, which allow them to watch lectures, read assignments, and listen to recorded audio lessons at their convenience. Standout programs include a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a pre law concentration and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice. Graduates find themselves working in a variety of industries, ranging from corporate security and drug enforcement to juvenile intervention and court administration. Blackboard and eAccounts are the main learning portals, and students can use these services to sign up for the 124 credits required for degree completion.

31 Cameron University 90.9920:188%

Cameron University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice for individuals interested in advancing their criminal justice career. Students may also complete an associate's level program in the same field prior to earning a bachelor's level diploma. The curriculum, comprised of 33 hours of criminal justice related coursework, prepares graduates to take up a number of professional roles. Alumni have gone on to work as sociologists, investigators, corrections officers, and criminologists. Blackboard, AggieAccess and CU-Duncan are the main online learning platforms used by students to participate in virtual classroom activities.

32 University of Florida 90.8821:196%

This multi-disciplinary degree in Criminology and Law at UF prepares students for careers in criminal and juvenile justice courts, law enforcement, and corrections organizations. Students complete general education courses required for the degree along with core courses in topics such as advanced principles of criminal justice, criminological theory, law and society, and five elective courses in criminology and law. The culminating class for completion of the degree is in law and legal process. The interdisciplinary approach provides students with insight into the psychological, legal, political, social, and historical influences on the criminology and legal fields. To transfer credits to the UF program, students must have previously completed three foundation courses in the criminology field.

33 SUNY College of Technology at Delhi 90.8416:191%

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at SUNY College of Technology is designed to prepare students for new careers or for advancement in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, probation, private security, criminal investigation, and juvenile justice. Graduates may also continue on to advanced degree programs or law school. Students who hold an associate degree from a SUNY Criminal Justice program can transfer to the baccalaureate program and be classified as a junior. Students from other institutions may submit a maximum of 62 hours for transfer credit. Coursework includes studies in civil liberties, public policy, technology in criminal justice, substance abuse, constitutional law, criminal courts, and forensics.

34 King University 90.7312:192%

The idea of "restorative justice"-bringing crime victims together with offenders with the goal of repairing relationships-is the focus of King's online criminal justice bachelor's degree. After graduation, students should have the skills to enter a number of fields within law enforcement, parole and probation services, and prisons. Students may complete the 124 required hours in as little as 16 months, and may elect to transfer credits from approved elective or core courses previously completed at another accredited school or college. Applicants to the degree program must have completed a minimum of 45 semester hours to become eligible for entry. To graduate, students must pass a comprehensive assessment test consisting of 75 questions on general education topics.

35 Baker University 90.319:1100%

Upon graduation, students completing Baker University's online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice have a plethora of career options available, including police officer, law enforcement educator, private investigator, social worker, federal special agent, and border patroller. Graduates are prepared to enter either the legal or criminal justice system fields after completing 42 credit hours. Throughout coursework, students will learn about the inner workings of the criminal justice system, ethics, the court system, and policing. Offered fully online, BU's online learning management system allows students to review course materials, access reading assignments, and view test results.

Police officer is but one of the careers that criminal justice majors could enter. Other careers in the field include law enforcement educator, private investigator, social worker, federal special agent and border patroller. Baker University's online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree prepares adults to enter either the legal or the criminal justice system fields. Forty-two credit hours are needed to complete the program. Lessons learned cover how the criminal justice system works, ethics, the court system and policing. The program can be completed without stepping into a classroom. Moodle is Baker's online learning management system. Students review course materials, access reading assignments and get their test results.


36 Campbellsville University 90.1613:195%

The Center for Distance Education offers this online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration. Key courses comprising the 120-credit curriculum include police administration and management, methods of research, court processes and procedures, and juvenile justice. Upon completion, students are qualified for careers as private security managers, paralegals, police officers, and correctional administrators. A qualified team of staff and faculty offer academic advising, develop course plans and provide assistance with all facets of distance learning. Fully online, the degree can be completed from anywhere in the world.

37 Columbia College 90.1010:198%

Students seeking a broad curricular approach to law enforcement training are often drawn to the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration at Columbia College. Students are widely exposed to a variety of topics related to criminal justice, allowing them to take on entry-level positions upon graduation. Adults already working in the field can use the coursework to leverage their knowledge into leadership roles. Up to 42 credits can be used towards major-specific classes, with options available in corrections and penology, management of criminal justice agencies, qualitative research methods, and ethics and morality. Graduates must undertake a minimum of 120 hours to graduate, all of which can be completed via the school's online learning platform, Cougar Track.

38 Roosevelt University 90.0611:196%

Quality education wrapped up in convenient scheduling is the goal of the Flex-Track program designed for working adults. A Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice is offered in an accelerated format, with eight-week long classes. Students can choose a fully online or hybrid (online and face-to-face) option to complete the 15 hours of basic criminal justice core courses, 18 hours of upper-division core classes, and six hours of criminal justice electives. Students can further shorten time to graduation by transferring up to 66 semester hours from community college. The academic focus is on comparing "the ideals of law with the realities of the streets," with upper-division classes including studies in police and society, ethics and diversity, constitutional law, and crime in America.

39 Norwich University 90.0314:1100%

Aimed specifically at working military and law enforcement personnel, the Bachelor of Science in criminal justice programs offers public sector workers additional education to advance their careers in courts, public safety, police and corrections. The fully online classroom is home to courses in leadership, social science research, policy development, ethical problem solving, data analysis, and law-enforcement intelligence. Entering students may transfer up to 84 semester credits, shorting their time to graduation to two years or less. Degree work culminates in a senior capstone project. The bachelor's degree can stand alone, or serve as a pathway to graduate-level studies in public administration, criminal justice, law and related fields.

40 University of South Carolina-Upstate 90.0015:197%

The University of South Carolina Upstate's online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice is designed to satisfy the educational goals of adults who have existing criminal justice work experience, as well as those who are just entering the field. Combining theory and practice, courses prepare students to assume jobs in the criminal justice arena, continue to law school, or pursue graduate-level study in criminal justice. Major-specific classes are complemented by general education classes in subjects such as math, information technology, communication and history. Instructors decide whether to offer classes in a synchronous or asynchronous format.