Criminal Justice Degree

Train online for a career in criminal justice

If you're interested in a career in criminal justice, you can pursue both diploma and degree programs through online schools. Diploma programs in criminal justice fields typically lead to practical careers in administration, records management, and support services for crime victims and their families. Degree programs provide a point of entry into senior-level careers in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including such roles as criminologists and criminal profilers.

As a general rule of thumb, you should pursue a diploma program if you are looking to make a quick transition into an entry-level administration or management position. On the other hand, if you are more interested in laying the foundation for a lifelong career with a high ceiling, then getting a degree in a criminal justice field is a better path to follow.

Top Online Criminal Justice Programs

This ranking of the top online criminal justice programs was compiled by evaluating accredited schools according to specific criteria including reputation, student satisfaction rates, tuitions costs and overall academic quality. The rankings are based on publicly available information.

With that in mind, here are the top ten online criminal justice programs:

  • Arizona State University. Based on a combination of reputation, affordability, student satisfaction rates and instructional quality, Arizona State University's online criminal justice programs were all rated at or near the top of a nationwide survey.
  • University of Cincinnati. The University of Cincinnati's criminal justice programs enjoy strong rankings because of high graduate success rates. You can earn your degree in just two years if you study part time, and one year if you commit to full time.
  • Portland State University. Crime prevention and criminal behavior are among the highly specialized topics you can study through Portland State University's renowned online criminal justice program.
  • Boston University. Designed for working professionals, Boston University's online criminal justice courses are taught by instructors who bring valuable and comprehensive real-world experience to the table.
  • Regis University. Regis University offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice. Students interested in criminal psychology will find a wealth of worthwhile programs to pursue at Regis.
  • Michigan State University. Students looking for a high-quality master's degree program that can be completed fairly quickly are encouraged to take a close look at Michigan State's online program, which requires just 30 course hours while offering comprehensive training.
  • Washington State University. This university has the second-oldest school of criminal justice in the United States, and it has made a highly successful transition to the world of online education. It is an excellent choice if you want to pursue a bachelor's degree in a criminal justice field.
  • Florida State University. Florida State University is particularly renowned for its Master of Science program in criminal justice. The program is designed for working professionals seeking to train for a new career in their off hours.
  • Penn State World Campus. This accredited undergraduate program is made up of 120 credit hours that give students a solid foundation in essential concepts including juvenile corrections, ethics, criminology, law enforcement and public service.
  • University of Nebraska-Kearney. If you're looking to earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and you have already completed some college-level courses or an associate's degree, the University of Nebraska-Kearney makes it easy for you to transition into their online criminal justice program while receiving credit for your prior studies.

The following schools also earned high marks from surveyors, and offer excellent online criminal justice programs:

  • The University of Phoenix
  • Keiser University
  • Everest University
  • Upper Iowa University
  • Columbia College
  • Bellevue University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Incarnate Word
  • University of Colorado-Denver
  • Saint Leo University
  • Drexel University
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Loyola University New Orleans
  • University of Massachusetts (UMassOnline)
  • Kaplan University

You should use these rankings as a starting point for your research. If you have a particular specialization in mind, or if you prefer to attend a local school, factor in these needs while you search for a school that offers the best combination of instructional quality, flexibility and affordability.