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Top 10 Information Technology Degree Programs

Information Technology and Criminal Justice

Information technology refers to the way in which information is stored, obtained and shared. Modern society is focused on the tremendous amount of information that is available and changing minute by minute. Criminal justice professionals rely on information to solve crimes. Each day brings new possibilities for technological advancements that can assist specialists in conducting criminal investigations. Unfortunately these technological advancements create opportunities for criminals to commit crimes using the same technology that is a part of everyday life for most individuals. Criminal justice professionals must enter the field with a broad understanding of technology. They must also be prepared to be consistently adapting and enhancing their knowledge of information technology in order to stay one step ahead of criminals.

How Criminal Justice Professionals Use Information Technology

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that there are three types of cybercrime including cyber attacks, cyber theft and other computer security incidents such as phishing, hacking, pinging or spyware. Information technology can relate to cybercrimes such as cyber theft or cyber attacks. One well known incident of cybercrime is the Nigeria computer scam where people are deceived into participating into paying an advance fee to an email sender usually described as a bank or government official in order to receive a portion of a large sum of money which is supposedly in Nigerian bank. In reality there is no bank account and the victims end up losing the money they paid up front. Criminal justice professionals have had to investigate a transnational crime such as this employing the same information technology that was used to commit these crimes. In 2001 law enforcement professionals were able to combine the disciplines of information technology and criminal justice in order to shut down a child pornography ring that originated in Russia where videos on an Internet depicting the sexual exploitation of adolescents.

Information technology is not restricted to cybercrime. It can entail any criminal investigation regardless of whether it involves electronic security issues. Information technology can refer to the crime scene investigation techniques used when an offense is committed. Criminal justice specialists use digital forensic techniques to obtain and identify evidence in investigations such as fingerprints, blood and DNA. Crime scene investigators must be adept at using information technology when accessing databases such as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System known as IAFIS or the Combined DNA Index System known as CODIS. When bullets are found at a crime scene specialists use IBIS or the Integrated Ballistic Identification System to ascertain the type of bullet found and what type of gun uses that bullet. There are also many other forensic databases that criminal justice professionals use that represent the great influence information technology has on the field of criminal justice.

Top Ten Programs Combining Criminal Justice and Information Technology

Included here are ten of the best criminal justice programs that have integrated information technology into the degree program. The criterion for selection of these colleges and universities includes programs notable because of esteemed faculty, educational accreditation and program focus or specialization on any aspect of criminal justice technology. The criminal justice information technology programs listed here represent a variety of degree levels. Undergraduate associate and bachelor programs are listed here as well as one graduate master program. Programs are identified as in-person or online. The programs are not listed in any particular order of importance. Programs include in-person and online options. Tuition does not always include technology and other university fees.

  • Tri County Technical College: Pendleton, South Carolina
    Criminal Justice Technology Associate Degree Program

    Type of Program: In-person and Online

    Tuition: Ranges from $152 to $338 per credit hour depending on the student’s location

    Tri County Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice degree. It is a flexible undergraduate program where students can attend classes physically or entirely online. Programs focus on crime scene investigations, law enforcement and, corrections and paralegal specialists. Courses include Microcomputer Applications, Communications I and Communications II. There are also a variety of electives such as Introduction to Security and Terrorism and Homeland Security. Students are permitted to take courses in any order they wish.

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology: Newark, New Jersey
    Criminal Justice and Law Specialization Programs

    Type of Program: In-person

    Tuition: New Jersey residents pay $487 per credit and students living outside New Jersey pay $1,105 per credit

    New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a criminal justice specialization through its Department of Information Technology in a cooperative effort with the Rutgers-Newark School of Criminal Justice. The program is hands-on and taught by industry professionals. The New Jersey Institute of Technology was featured in the Princeton Review’s Best 295 Business Schools: 2014 Edition. Courses include Computer Systems Security, IT and the Law, E-Commerce Technology and Ethical Hacking.

  • Berkeley College: New York, New York and Woodland Park, New Jersey
    Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice with a Minor in Information Technology Management

    Type of Program: In-person and Online

    Tuition: $525 per credit

    Berkeley College offers this in-person degree program at two of its nine locations in New York and New Jersey and also offers a completely online program. Courses include Computer Applications in Criminal Justice, Computer Applications, Database Management Systems, Introduction to Networking, Introduction to Database Management, Principles of Database Management and Introduction to Information Technology.

  • West Georgia Technical College: Douglassville, Georgia
    Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice Technology

    Type of Program: In-person

    Tuition: Ranges from $379 for one credit hour to $1569 for fifteen and more credit hours

    West Georgia Technical College students enrolled in this degree program study many aspects of forensic information technology such as death investigation, crime scene investigation, laboratory technology, evidence technology and computer science. Courses include Crime Scene Processing, Methods of Criminal Investigation, Report Writing and Criminal Procedure. Students have an opportunity to choose an externship that will provide them with a way to gain valuable hands-on knowledge and establishing their professional network which will aid in gainful employment upon graduation.

  • Oakland University: Rochester, Michigan
    Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, Interdisciplinary Core: Minor-Minor Combinations, Criminal Justice Information Technology

    Type of Program: In-person

    Tuition: $353.75 per credit hour for in-state residents and $795.75 per credit hour for students living outside the state of Michigan

    Oakland University allows students interested in computer science and programming as well as criminal justice to combine the two disciplines in their higher degree program. Students have a lot of flexibility in developing their degree program. They are permitted to choose from a variety of information technology and criminal justice courses and can create a uniquely individualized educational experience.

  • Valencia College: Orlando, Florida
    Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Technology

    Type of Program: In-person

    Tuition: $99.06 per credit hour for in-state residents and $375.22 for students living outside the state of Florida

    Valencia College offers students interested in a career combining information technology and criminal justice the opportunity to hone their skills in an exceptional and affordable degree program. This is especially true for students interested in future careers in Homeland Security or as a criminal justice technology specialist. Florida is a central hub of forensic investigation. Many crime scene labs are located there which provides students excellent opportunities for internships and employment.

  • State University of New York: University at Albany: Albany, New York
    Master of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Information Technology

    Type of Program: In-Person

    Tuition: Tuition ranges from $411 per credit hour for one credit to $4935 for twelve and more credits for in-state students and $765 per credit hour for one credit to $9175 for twelve and more credits for out-of-state students

    This graduate degree program offers a concentration in information technology. Courses include Fundamentals of Information Technology, Data Utilization in Criminal Justice and Geographic Information Systems in Criminal Justice.

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville: Jacksonville, Florida
    Associate in Science in Criminal Justice Technology

    Type of Program: In-person

    Tuition: In-state residents pay $114.52 per credit hour and out-of-state residents pay $399.27 per credit hour

    This degree program is hands-on, offers internship programs and is unique in its special topic offering of its Criminal Justice Bio-Terrorism course. Other courses include Introduction to Information Technology, Treatment Techniques and Practices and Criminal Evidence and Procedure. This college offers students attending Andrew Jackson High School an opportunity to work towards this degree by earning credits while still in high school as part of the Florida State College’s Magnet Program.

  • University of Akron: Akron, Ohio
    Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Technology

    Type of Program: In-person

    Tuition: $4867 per semester for Ohio residents and $4182 for out-of-state residents

    The University of Akron offers an undergraduate degree program for students interested in criminal justice information technology such as forensic science or computer security. Students are given the option to choose from three degree options including law enforcement, public safety and administration or corrections.

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