Online Criminology Degrees

From a career in forensics to working for the FBI, earning an online bachelor's degree in criminology can be the first step. Learn what these schools offer.

Updated September 20, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Criminology Degrees

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Criminology entails the study of society-based crimes' causes, patterns, and responses. A type of sociologist, criminologists often hold an advanced degree and conduct research, teach, or work on evidence-based crime-prevention initiatives.

Bachelor's in criminology programs often include coursework in sociology, criminal justice, history, and public policy. Graduates frequently pursue graduate degrees in fields such as sociology, public administration, community and urban planning, and social services.

Other students enter the workforce immediately after graduation, pursuing roles like police officer, detective, and criminal investigator. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that these professionals make median annual salaries ranging from $65,000-$80,000.

This guide ranks the best online bachelor's in criminology programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for criminology students.


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Should You Consider an Online Criminology Program


What jobs can I do with a degree in criminology?

A bachelor's in criminology meets the degree requirements for roles such as prison officer, federal law enforcement investigator, and victims advocate. With additional education, criminology graduates can work as forensic scientists or psychologists

Do criminologists get paid well?

Criminology salaries vary by factors like location, employer, and experience. Criminologists who work as researchers or educators in universities or public organizations earn a median annual salary of $83,420.

Is criminology a BS or BA?

Students can pursue a BS or a BA in criminology. BS programs often feature more major-related courses, while BA programs include more liberal arts and theory-focused courses.

Where do criminologists work?

Criminologists may work in industries including criminal justice, education, and mental health.

Why Get a Criminology Degree?

Getting a bachelor's in criminology can help professionals advance their careers and increase their salary potential. Enrolling in flexible, online programs often allows working professionals to keep their day jobs while pursuing their degrees. Online criminology bachelor's degrees also sometimes feature lower tuition rates and fewer additional expenses than on-campus programs.

PayScale salary data from March 2021 indicates that BA in criminology graduates make an average salary of $61,110 annually. Graduates who go on to earn master's or doctoral degrees may work as sociologists, who earn a median salary of $83,420 per year.

How Much Does a Criminology Degree Cost?

College tuition prices vary by factors like school, delivery format, and location. According to a 2020 College Board report, tuition at in-state, public colleges and universities averages around $10,560 per year. The same report found that out-of-state tuition costs over double the in-state rate, while private school tuition averages more than three times as much as in-state tuition.

College prices also vary by state, with Vermont in-district college tuition costing nearly six times more than it does in California. However, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as commuting costs. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Criminology Majors Make?

Criminology majors can work in fields like corrections, law enforcement, and forensics. Common entry-level careers include corrections officer and police officer, jobs which often pay around $45,000-$65,000 annually.

With requisite professional experience, criminology graduates may qualify for jobs as criminal investigators or police chiefs. Median annual salaries for these professionals fall into the $87,000-$93,000 range. Earning advanced degrees can help students qualify for other high-paying careers, such as forensic psychologist, criminology professor, lawyer, and judge.

Courses in Criminology

Criminology bachelor's programs usually require around 120 credits, including general education, major, and elective coursework. Major coursework often covers topics like psychology, data analysis, sociology, and history. Core coursework may cover research methodologies, deviance theory, and sociology of law. Core requirements may also include a senior seminar, capstone project, and/or internship.

Many programs also feature specialized courses or concentrations on topics such as women and crime, elite and organized crime, drugs and society, and social psychology.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines several classes commonly found in bachelor's in criminology programs.

Certifications and Licensure for Criminology

A bachelor's in criminology satisfies the degree requirements for many criminology-related careers, but some positions require additional training in specific skill areas. The following certificates and certifications can help criminology professionals learn and demonstrate specialized skills.

The International Association of Forensic Criminologists administers this professional certification. Candidates must pass an exam that covers crime scene analysis, criminal profiling, and forensic science. The American Board of Criminalistics grants this certification to candidates who pass the Comprehensive Criminalist Examination (CCE) and receive an approving vote from the board. To sit for the CCE, candidates need at least two years of professional experience in criminalistics. CCC-holders maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits.

Scholarships for Criminology

Criminology students can take advantage of scholarships to help offset the cost of their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students pursuing an online bachelor's in criminology.

Scholarships for Criminology
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Hispanic Education Endowment Fund Mike Carona Foundation Law Enforcement Scholarship

Varies The scholarship supports Orange County Hispanic high school or community college students pursuing criminology or law enforcement-related majors. Only legal residents who qualify for financial aid and enroll in four-year colleges or universities can apply.

Out to Protect Scholarship

$500-$1,000 The scholarship supports LGBTQ+ students pursuing law enforcement careers and undergoing basic training. Eligible candidates must serve as role models in their personal and professional lives.

Association on Indian Affairs Scholarship

Varies Alaskan and continental U.S. tribal members in full-time, degree-seeking programs at accredited schools may apply for this scholarship. Candidates must submit copies of tribal enrollment, official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.5 GPA, and an essay.

Online Bachelor's In Criminology Programs 2022

#1

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 32%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

From its campus in Gainesville, the University of Florida enrolls learners as a public institution. The institution's offerings include on-campus and online academic programs. Online undergraduate degree-seekers can choose from 21 remote bachelor's programs. While completing the institution's online bachelor's degree in criminology and law, enrollees take courses emphasizing the skills needed for criminology careers.

The school confers the criminology degree to individuals who complete all requirements, including earning at least 120 credits. Students pursuing the online degree complete core courses, general education requirements, and upper-division classes. Faculty mentors help learners customize the program based on their professional goals. Individuals in the criminology program can pursue in-person internships, which online students typically complete locally.

Enrollees with financial need can submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal loans and grants, such as the Pell Grant. The school reports that 90% of its student body receives financial aid to fund their education. Prospective applicants can contact an admissions advisor for details about application deadlines and requirements.

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#2

Arkansas State University

School Information
Location Jonesboro, Arkansas
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

With a main campus in Jonesboro, Arkansas State University is a public institution. Learners can study in person or in a distance learning format. The school delivers 42 online programs, including 10 online bachelor's programs. Online enrollees can pursue the bachelor of arts in criminology from the institution.

To graduate, degree-seekers complete at least 120 credits. To earn the bachelor's degree, online students complete general education coursework, along with core and upper-division major classes. Specialized electives allow learners to customize the criminology program based on their goals and interests. Internship opportunities allow students to gain professional experience, which they can add to their resume.

Enrollees with financial need can submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Bachelor's programs at the school cost an average of $301 per credit and require about 120 credits. According to the institution, 97% of undergraduates receive financial aid. For specific application details, including requirements and deadlines, prospective students can contact an admissions advisor.

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#3

University of South Florida

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 75%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of South Florida enrolls students in 238 programs and is located in Tampa. The public institution delivers bachelor's programs in online and in-person learning formats. The school's online offerings include a criminology degree for students planning to pursue careers in the field.

The online bachelor's degree in criminology emphasizes scheduling flexibility. Graduates can apply the critical thinking and analytical skills gained during general education coursework to careers in a variety of fields. The curriculum blends classroom learning and hands-on experiences to help degree-seekers gain field-specific knowledge and transferable skills. Faculty mentors and academic advisors assist undergraduates as they tailor the criminology program curriculum to their interests and career aspirations.

The institution charges online learners affordable tuition rates. Students enrolled in online bachelor's programs pay an average per-credit tuition rate of $907 and complete approximately 120 credits to earn their degree. Students can discuss funding options with financial aid counselors.

University of South Florida Numbers:

Number of Online Students: 24,241

Student Acceptance Rate: 48%

Total Bachelor's Programs: 84

Online Bachelor's Programs: 5

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#4

Missouri State University

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Missouri State University's bachelor's degree in criminology and criminal justice prepares online students to succeed in criminology careers. Busy learners balancing work and school can benefit from the online criminology program's scheduling flexibility.

Enrollees can attend classes at Missouri State University's campus in Springfield. With 82 online programs, the school provides distance learning options for students interested in various fields. In addition to on-campus offerings, the institution delivers 24 bachelor's programs online.

Learners in the online criminology program take core major classes to develop a foundation for upper-division coursework. Degree-seekers earn at least 120 credits to graduate with the bachelor's degree. The curriculum emphasizes field-specific and transferable skills to prepare enrollees for various criminology careers.

The school supports distance learners with several online student services. Undergraduates and alumni can receive online advising from faculty advisors and career counselors. The school's financial aid office also helps online students identify scholarship and grant opportunities.

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#5

University of West Georgia

School Information
Location Carrollton, Georgia
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor of science in criminology program at the University of West Georgia ranks among the best online degrees in criminology. Located in Carrollton, Georgia, the public institution offers on-campus and online bachelor's programs. The flexible learning format helps degree-seekers balance college with work and other responsibilities.

During the online bachelor's program, undergraduates take advanced coursework in criminology. Students work with faculty mentors and academic advisors to customize their degree through electives and minors. The program's online support services include tutoring, financial aid advising, and career counseling.

At the accredited institution, online students can submit the FAFSA and use financial aid like the Pell Grant to pay for college. Degree-seekers can also use scholarships, grants, and loans to cover educational expenses.

University of West Georgia Fast Facts:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 41

Online Bachelor's Programs: 6

Number of Online Students: 8,295

Percent of Applicants Accepted: 59%

Rate of Undergraduate Graduation: 45%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#6

University of North Carolina Wilmington

School Information
Location Wilmington, North Carolina
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Distance degree-seekers can pursue high-quality online undergraduate programs from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The public institution also provides in-person academic programs. The online criminology program's high-quality learning experience incorporates scheduling flexibility.

Distance learners in the criminology program can complete coursework from any location. Online students participate in virtual discussions and communicate with faculty members online. Degree-seekers in the criminology program gain foundational knowledge during core classes and complete advanced coursework to develop specialized skills. A bachelor's degree qualifies graduates for a variety of entry-level criminology careers.

For exact application deadlines and requirements, prospective applicants can speak with an admissions advisor.

University of North Carolina Wilmington Numbers:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 54

Online Bachelor's Programs: 8

Students Receiving Financial Aid: 72%

Percentage of Students Awarded Loans: 44%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#7

Southern Illinois University

School Information
Location Carbondale, Illinois
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The top-ranked bachelor's in criminology and criminal justice program at Southern Illinois University provides an online path to a college degree. The public institution delivers online and on-campus bachelor's programs from its main campus in Carbondale. The online learning format appeals to students balancing school with work and other responsibilities.

Degree-seekers gain foundational and advanced skills in criminology during the online bachelor's program. Students work with faculty mentors and academic advisors to customize the degree through electives and minors. The program also supports distance learners with online tutoring, financial aid advising, and career counseling.

As an accredited institution, online students can submit the FAFSA and use federal financial aid to cover their expenses. Online students can also pay for school with scholarships, grants, and loans.

Southern Illinois University Facts:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 106

Online Bachelor's Programs: 20

Number of Online Students: 4,417

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Percent of Students who Graduate: 48%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#8

Drexel University

School Information
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 69%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Drexel University is a private institution offering online and on-campus academic programs in various fields. The school delivers 89 online programs, with 360 total programs available. The institution's online offerings include a flexible BS in criminology and justice studies for students planning to pursue criminology careers.

During the online criminology program, distance learners take general education courses along with classes in their major. Elective classes and experiential learning opportunities help degree-seekers gain field-specific skills. Faculty advisors and career counselors help undergraduates and alumni identify career opportunities.

At the accredited institution, enrollees who demonstrate financial need can qualify for federal aid, such as the Pell Grant. Prospective students can contact the school for specific application details.

Drexel University Numbers:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 101

Online Bachelor's Programs: 8

Number of Online Students: 9,300

Student Acceptance Rate: 75%

Graduation Rate: 69%

Transfer Credits Accepted: No

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#9

Loyola University New Orleans

School Information
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 62%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Loyola University New Orleans's online bachelor's degree in criminology and justice provides a flexible option for learners interested in criminology careers. Degree-seekers can enroll in the school's academic programs on campus in Louisiana. The school's 26 online programs include 12 options for bachelor's students.

With various scheduling options, the criminology program provides flexibility for online learners. Students balancing academics with personal or professional obligations can take advantage of the online program's customizable nature. Learners in the online program complete assignments and participate in class discussions virtually. Undergraduates pursuing their degree full time typically graduate in four years.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates, making higher education more accessible. Degree-seekers with financial need can apply for federal loans and grants, such as the Pell Grant. Students can discuss funding options, including grants and scholarships, with qualified financial aid counselors.

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#10

University of Missouri St. Louis

School Information
Location Saint Louis, Missouri
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

With on-campus and online programs, the University of Missouri St. Louis offers diverse enrollment options for degree-seekers. The public institution offers online and on-campus programs. Enrollees in the online bachelor of science in criminology and criminal justice program benefit from flexible scheduling options.

The criminology program takes place in a virtual classroom environment. During the online program, students participate in virtual classroom discussions with peers. In addition to fulfilling core requirements, individuals studying criminology gain specialized knowledge during advanced classes. Graduates of the online bachelor's program possess the hard and soft skills necessary to pursue entry-level criminology careers.

For exact application deadlines and requirements, prospective applicants can speak with an admissions advisor.

University of Missouri St. Louis Numbers:

Total Bachelor's Programs: 44

Online Bachelor's Programs: 7

Learners Awarded Financial Aid: 97%

Students Awarded Student Loans: 28%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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