Criminal justice degrees are not just for those seeking a career as a police officer or federal agent. Students can choose from a variety of subjects, including forensics, the prison system and criminal law.
While nearly every major university in the country offers a criminal justice degree program, choosing a well-known school will help you get a higher-paying job and may be the deciding factor in how fast you will be able to get a promotion.
Featured Undergraduate Criminal Justice Programs
- Certificate in Criminal Justice: Liberty University Online
- AA in Criminal Justice: American InterContinental University
- BS in Criminal Justice: Colorado Technical University
Featured Criminal Justice Graduate Programs
- Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice: Liberty University Online
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice: Saint Leo University Online
- PhD in Criminal Justice: Capella University
Before you make a final decision about where to go to school to get your criminal justice degree, consider these top ten American criminal justice schools:
1. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is located in New York City. For potential criminal justice majors, their program has been widely touted as one of the best in the country.
John Jay is an internationally-recognized leader in criminal justice education and employs a number of Pulitzer Prize-winning faculty members.
Currently, their criminal justice department offers students the chance to study in a variety of different areas of concentration; including Correctional Studies, Criminology, Fire Science, International Criminal Justice, Philosophy, Police Studies, Criminal Justice Management and more.
The dynamic educational environment that this college provides for its students and the large number of overseas exchanges that are available gives John Jay the number one spot on this list.
2. George Washington University
George Washington University is located in Washington, D.C. The criminal justice major is administered by the Department of Sociology. This allows for students to gain a broad understanding of both national and international social issues and how they relate to the criminal justice system and law enforcement.
Students who are criminal justice majors at George Washington University can either obtain a general criminal justice degree with a specific concentration or take classes to pursue a forensic sciences degree. These majors are catered to their interests and are normally approved by faculty prior to the beginning of the student’s college career.
Because so many of George Washington’s faculty are actively involved with community organizations, federal law enforcement agencies and the justice system on a federal level, this college takes the number two spot on this list.
3. University of California, Irvine
The University of California at Irvine is located in Irvine, California just south of Los Angeles County. Its criminal justice major intentionally allows students to study two different areas of concentration: criminology and law and society. University of California at Irvine boasts one of two law and society concentration units within the University of California system.
The criminal justice program at this university allows for students to combine classes and create majors that cater to their specific career paths. The university allows for its students to access a variety of internships in the field; including juvenile centers, police departments, the Orange County Public Defenders’ Office, legal firms and more.
The faculty that the University of Irvine employs have held various prestigious positions in law organizations and public office throughout the country. Some of these organizations include the American Society of Criminology, the Law and Society Association and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
The prestigious faculty is reason enough to give the University of California at Irvine the number three spot on this list.
4. American University
The American University is located in Washington, D.C. and administers their Department of Justice, Law and Society through their School of Public Affairs. Their School of Public Affairs offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in a wide variety of criminal justice fields.
American University’s degree programs that are offered to their students include Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars, Law and Society, Justice and Law and more. They are well-known for offering their students a chance to study abroad with students who are studying similar subjects and hand out numerous scholarships on a yearly basis to assist students with their college-related projects.
The large amount of international experience that’s offered to their students on a yearly basis combined with their impeccable faculty achievements makes the American University number four on this list.
5. California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Long Beach is located in Long Beach, California just south of the city of Los Angeles. California State University, Long Beach is regarded as one of the best schools in the California State University system.
The Department of Criminal Justice offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and certificates in a variety of criminal justice areas of study. Their programs are designed to educate students using a variety of scientific, philosophical and critical reasoning skills to achieve answers to every day criminal justice issues.
The undergraduate programs that are available to students include a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, a Minor in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Forensic Studies.
Their interdisciplinary approach towards teaching their students the ins and outs of criminal justice is the reason why California State University, Long Beach takes the number five spot on this list.
6. Northeastern University
Northeastern University is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in a variety of criminal justice fields.
Their faculty focus on teaching their students to view criminal justice from a global point of view. Some of their areas of concentration include Law and Justice, Global Criminology, Criminology and Public Policy and Criminal Justice Organizations and Leadership.
Northeastern University has earned the number six spot on this list because of their interdisciplinary studies program and the teaching theories that they have put into place.
7. George Mason University
George Mason University is located in Fairfax, Virginia. Their Criminology, Law and Society Program is administered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The programs that are offered to criminal justice students include Law and Society, Criminology and Intelligence Analysis. They offer minor certificates, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and PhD’s in these fields.
This school emphasizes a global learning environment. Their students are taught to analyze worldwide issues using a variety of interdisciplinary skills. The school’s concentration on Intelligence Analysis is the reason they have taken the number seven spot on this list.
8. Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York
Marist College is located in Poughkeepsie, New York. They offer both bachelor’s degrees and minor certificates in a variety of criminal justice fields.
Marist College teaches their students to use a variety of problem-solving techniques to solve complex problems. Their classes promote an interdisciplinary learning environment that includes liberal arts, science and philosophy.
Marist College’s methods of teaching and popularity among those that have taken the class have earned them the number eight spot on this list.
9. Indiana University
Indiana University is located in Bloomington, Indiana. They offer both graduate and undergraduate degrees in a variety of criminal justice fields.
Some of the programs that Indiana University offers includes Criminology, Law and Society and a variety of interdisciplinary degrees that can be individually planned by the student.
Indiana University has earned the number nine spot on this list because of the University’s desire to allow students to cater their degrees to the career paths they have chosen.
10. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University is located in Huntsville, Texas. The School of Criminal Justice offers a variety of bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees to their students which includes a specialized online criminal justice degree for those that cannot attend classes on campus.
They are widely recognized as one of the best forensic science schools in the nation. They have one of the largest training facilities that is widely used by local and federal law enforcement agencies. Because they are so well respected, they have earned the tenth spot on this top ten list of criminal justice schools.
Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015