alt-logo-nav

The 25 Best Online Criminal Justice Schools 2021

Published:
Updated:
The 25 Best Online Criminal Justice Schools 2021
RankSchoolLocation
1Florida State UniversityTallahassee, Florida
2University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, Ohio
3Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, Michigan
4Arizona State University-TempeTempe, Arizona
5CUNY John Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew York, New York
6University of California-IrvineIrvine, California
7Northeastern UniversityBoston, Massachusetts
8Sam Houston State UniversityHuntsville, Texas
9University of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha, Nebraska
10Washington State UniversityPullman, Washington
11University of Central FloridaOrlando, Florida
12Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk, Virginia
13University of Arkansas at Little RockLittle Rock, Arkansas
14University of Massachusetts-LowellLowell, Massachusetts
15University of LouisvilleLouisville, Kentucky
16Florida International UniversityMiami, Florida
17Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, Florida
18University of New HavenWest Haven, Connecticut
19California State University-Long BeachLong Beach, California
20Southern Illinois University-CarbondaleCarbondale, Illinois
21Lamar UniversityBeaumont, Texas
22Boston UniversityBoston, Massachusetts
23University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg, Kentucky
24University of Wisconsin-PlattevillePlatteville, Wisconsin
25University of North TexasDenton, Texas

This ranking of the Best Online Criminal Justice Schools in the U.S. was made for students. We rank schools for online students who want to make informed college and degree decisions.

A Criminal Justice degree may prepare students for careers in many different fields in the criminal justice system.

Thankfully, some of the best schools in the nation offer criminal justice degrees that are fully online. As such, students have many online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs from which to choose.

Students who complete a degree in criminal justice can expect to gain the knowledge and skills in this very diverse field, which can lead to a career change or advancement in their current career (and potentially increase their salary).

Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students

Ranking Methodology

This 25 Best Online Criminal Justice Schools 2021 ranking was created using Successful Student's ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school's ranking placement:

Learn more about our methodology.

The 25 Best Online Criminal Justice Schools 2021

1.Florida State University

College of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s faculty members are experts in their field. They achieved the No. 1 ranking in the nation for research productivity. Its faculty serves as editors and co-editors of prominent journals, including Journal of Drug Issues, Criminology, and Social Problems; Criminology and Public Policy (CPP); and Justice Quarterly. The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The online programs include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides Florida State University with accreditation.

2.University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

School of Criminal Justice

Cincinnati, Ohio

With an emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach, the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice prepares students for a host of career options in Criminal Justice. The School of Criminal Justice offers a variety of online and on-campus programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees. Online degree options include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate in Crime and Intelligence Analysis
  • Certificate in Forensic Populations
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Cincinnati with accreditation.

3.Michigan State University

School of Criminal Justice

East Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice, one of the best criminal justice online schools in the nation, offers its students internship opportunities, a well-rounded curriculum as well as active research and professional affiliations. The School of Criminal Justice has more than two dozen nationally and internationally recognized faculty members. The faculty members are experts in fields such as gender-based violence and victimization, youth violence and prevention, public and private policing, forensic science, conservation criminology, international crime and justice, law enforcement intelligence and counter-terrorism, community supervision, terrorism, and cybercrime. The online criminal justice degree programs include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Judicial Administration
  • Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Michigan State University with accreditation.

4.Arizona State University-Tempe

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Tempe, Arizona

Well-known for its faculty and research productivity, Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice provides a host of undergraduate and graduate programs. The School’s programs provide students with an interdisciplinary approach to social issues. Online degree programs include:

  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Graduate Certificate – Corrections Management
  • Graduate Certificate – Law Enforcement Administration
  • Graduate Certificate – Criminal Sentencing and Sentencing Advocacy
  • Undergraduate Certificate – Criminal Investigations
  • Undergraduate Certificate – Security Studies
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Arizona State University with accreditation.

5.CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Department of Criminal Justice

New York, New York

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice houses the Department of Criminal Justice as well as officially designated CUNY research organizations and research centers. The College offers a number of online and on-campus programs. Online criminal justice degree options include:

  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in International Crime and Justice
  • Advanced Certificate in Terrorism Studies
  • Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation
  • Advanced Certificate in Transnational Organized Crime Studies
Accreditation: The CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice has accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

6.University of California-Irvine

Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Irvine, California

University of California, Irvine’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society features interdisciplinary programs, providing students with a broad context of law and society. With a focus on understanding political, social, economic, and cultural forces that interact with the law as well as the problem of crime, the Department prepares graduates for a range of careers in the criminal justice field. The Department of Criminology, Law and Society offers online and on-campus programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees. The online degree offerings include:

  • Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law, and Society
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Law, and Society
Accreditation: The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) provides the University of California, Irvine with accreditation.

7.Northeastern University

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Boston, Massachusetts

Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s programs are led by expert faculty members who specialize in a number of criminal justice areas, such as serial and mass murder, criminal law, hate crime, terrorism, juvenile justice, crime in a global context, community policing, and incarceration and punishment, among others. With a focus on experiential learning, the School prepares students for careers in the criminal justice field. Online criminal justice degree program:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) provides Northeastern University with accreditation.

8.Sam Houston State University

College of Criminal Justice

Huntsville, Texas

Established in 1963, Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice, one of the best online criminal justice schools in the United States, provides a number of undergraduate and graduate programs, both online and on-campus. Led by highly regarded faculty, the College’s curriculum incorporates internship and research opportunities, and professional partnerships. Criminal justice online degree options include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides Sam Houston State University with accreditation.

9.University of Nebraska at Omaha

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Omaha, Nebraska

Known as a leader in criminological education and research, the University of Nebraska, Omaha’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs online and on-campus. Its curriculum incorporates theory and experiential learning. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty conducts research in a host of related areas, such as international criminology and criminal justice; women, crime, and criminal justice; policy and applied research; criminological theory and juvenile delinquency; and more. Criminal justice online programs include:

  • Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Nebraska, Omaha with accreditation.

10.Washington State University

Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Pullman, Washington

The Washington State University (WSU) Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology emphasizes hands-on learning. V.A. Leonard, the person who established Alpha Phi Sigma, founded the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology has an affiliation with research centers and institutes, including the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice, the Division of Governmental Studies & Services, the Institute for the Study of Intercommunal Conflict, and the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service. Online criminal justice degree:

  • Bachelor in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) provides Washington State University with accreditation.

11.University of Central Florida

Department of Criminal Justice

Orlando, Florida

The University of Central Florida’s Department of Criminal Justice offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as non-degree options, both online and on-campus. The programs combine theory and experiential learning. The Department of Criminal Justice allows students to tailor their degree through specializations. The expert faculty members have experience in corrections, victim services, police culture, correctional health, and police-community relations, among other areas. Online criminal justice degree options include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice / Master of Public Administration (dual degree)
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides the University of Central Florida with accreditation.

12.Old Dominion University

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Norfolk, Virginia

Old Dominion University’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice offers an array of programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Department’s programs prepare graduates for careers in the criminal justice field. Criminal justice online degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides Old Dominion University with accreditation.

13.University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Department of Criminal Justice

Little Rock, Arkansas

The University of Arkansas, Little Rock’s Department of Criminal Justice offers online and on-campus programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Department’s curriculum combines theory and experiential learning. Criminal justice online programs include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Little Rock, Arkansas with accreditation.

14.University of Massachusetts-Lowell

School of Criminology and Justice Studies

Lowell, Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts, Lowell’s School of Criminology and Justice Studies offers a number of undergraduate, graduate and non-degree programs. The programs help students understand the concepts and facts of criminal justice as well as how to apply them to situations and social problems. The programs incorporate innovative technologies. Online Criminal justice degree:

  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) provides the University of Massachusetts, Lowell with accreditation.

15.University of Louisville

Department of Criminal Justice

Louisville, Kentucky

The University of Louisville’s Department of Criminal Justice offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the criminal justice field. Through online and accelerated programs, the Department provides students flexibility. The Department of Criminal Justice prepares students for successful careers in a range of criminal justice agencies as well as further academic study. Criminal justice online degree programs:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides the University of Louisville with accreditation.

16.Florida International University

Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Miami, Florida

Through a holistic approach, Florida International University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice incorporates theoretical and analytical aspects of criminal justice with their practical applications. The Department offers an array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Online criminal justice degrees:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Crime Science
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides Florida International University with accreditation.

17.Nova Southeastern University

Department of Justice and Human Services

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Justice and Human Services prepares graduates to enhance the quality of life for their community and its residents. The Department offers relevant experience and connections to local- and state-level law enforcement agencies to help prepare students for careers in the criminal justice field. The Department of Justice and Human Services offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Online criminal justice degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides Nova Southeastern University with accreditation.

18.University of New Haven

Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice

West Haven, Connecticut

With an emphasis on experiential learning, the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences prepares students for careers in the criminal justice field. The College houses outreach and research centers and offers a host of undergraduate, graduate and non-degree options. Online criminal justice degree:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) provides the University of New Haven with accreditation.

19.California State University-Long Beach

School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management

Long Beach, California

One of the oldest criminal justice programs in the state, the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management strives to prepare its graduates as ethical leaders in policy, practice and scholarship. The curriculum also helps students produce influential and informative research as well as promote safety, equity and justice in their communities. Its expert faculty have national recognition in the fields of disaster preparedness, corrections and re-entry, forensic psychology, drug policy analysis, bail reform, and forensic science, among others. The School regularly updates its rigorous curricula to reflect the faculty’s disciplines. Online criminal justice degrees:

  • Master of Science in Emergency Services Management
  • Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission provides California State University, Long Beach with accreditation.

20.Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Carbondale, Illinois

Founded in 1961 as the Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a range of online and on-campus programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Built on tradition and experience in the field, the Department’s programs prepare graduates for careers. Criminal justice online degree:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Southern Illinois University Carbondale with accreditation.

21.Lamar University

Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice

Beaumont, Texas

Lamar University’s Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice offers a number of baccalaureate programs as well as a graduate program in applied criminology. The Department’s programs emphasize community service, professional development, research and scholarship. The Department’s curriculum prepares students for successful careers in law enforcement, courts, law, and more. Online criminal justice degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation to Lamar University.

22.Boston University

Metropolitan College

Boston, Massachusetts

Designed for non-traditional students and working adults, Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers a range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs as well as non-degree options. The College’s programs combine theory with practical experience. The College’s online criminal justice options include:

  • Master of Criminal Justice
  • Graduate Certificate in Cybercrime Investigation and Cyber Security
  • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Management in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accredits Boston University.

23.University of the Cumberlands

Department of Criminal Justice

Williamsburg, Kentucky

The University of the Cumberland’s Department of Criminal Justice’s programs emphasize community service, career-readiness and ethics. The Department offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs both on-campus and online. Online criminal justice degrees include:

  • Master of Science in Justice Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides the University of the Cumberlands with accreditation.

24.University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Department of Criminal Justice

Platteville, Wisconsin

With an emphasis on hands-on learning, the Department of Criminal Justice offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Designed to prepare graduates as leaders in the criminal justice field, the Department provides students with simulated field work and internship opportunities. Online criminal justice degree:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.

25.University of North Texas

College of Health and Public Service

Denton, Texas

The University of North Texas’ College of Health and Public Service offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online and on-campus. The College’s curriculum combines experiential learning with theoretical and academic approaches to the criminal justice field. Online criminal justice programs include:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Accreditation: The University of North Texas has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Online Criminal Justice Degrees Synchronous or Asynchronous?

Synchronous online courses occur on set schedules and timeframes. Students and the instructor meet online at the same time. Synchronous online courses provide lectures, discussions, and presentations at specific hours. Students in synchronous online criminal justice courses have the opportunity to participate in the class. Asynchronous courses give students the opportunity to take online classes on their schedule and complete their assignments on their own time. However, some asynchronous courses require online students to adhere to a specific timeframe, often a one-week window, during this time online students need to connect to their online class at least once or twice. Online students have access to the materials, lectures, assignments and tests at any time. Online students in asynchronous courses can contribute to the online class at their convenience.

Back to top

How long does it take to complete an Online Criminal Justice Degree?

Students at an online criminal justice school can complete an online Bachelor in Criminal justice degree in about four years and an online Master in Criminal Justice degree in two to three years. However, some schools provide students opportunities to complete their online criminal justice degree in less time.

Back to top

What Are Criminal Justice Professional Organizations?

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences: The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), an international association, fosters scholarly and professional activities in the criminal justice field. ACJS promotes criminal justice research, education, and policy analysis in the criminal justice field for educators and practitioners. The membership includes scholars, professionals from the various sectors of the criminal justice system, and students seeking to explore the field of criminal justice. National Criminal Justice Association: The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), a not-for-profit, member association has a dedication to help criminal justice agencies develop and implement effective criminal justice policy. NCJA members represent all areas of the criminal and juvenile justice community as well as elected officials. NCJA members also work within educational institutions. Students members have benefits such as opportunities to participate in the organization’s online community, Connect2Justice, a subscription to the NCJA’s newsletter, Justice Bulletin, and discounted registration rates for regional conferences. The American Society of Criminology: The American Society of Criminology (ASC), an international organization, encourages scholarship, research, as well as the exchange of knowledge among criminal justice professionals and students. The ASC has numerous society divisions and committees. American Society of Criminology membership includes students, academicians and practitioners from the various fields of criminal justice and criminology.

Back to top

How can I get financial aid for a Criminal Justice Degree?

Many colleges and universities offer online students financial aid. Online students as well as traditional students applying for federal financial aid must attend a school which has accreditation from an accrediting agency which has recognition from the Department of Education. Our Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students provides vital information about the various types of financial assistance such as Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Grants, Lifetime Learning Credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Parent Plus Loans, Grad Plus Loans, and more.

Back to top

What are some common online Criminal Justice degrees?

Online criminal justice students can select from a variety of degrees: Crime Science, Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Leadership and Management, Criminology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Criminology, Law, and Society, International Crime and Justice, Judicial Administration, Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis, and Legal and Forensic Psychology.

Back to top