Top 10 Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs 2019

There are some professional fields that are always in demand, and criminal justice is one of them; a competent, experienced expert in criminal justice will always have job opportunities. With job market demand in criminal justice at a level never seen before – and still growing – there’s never been a better time to earn an online criminal justice bachelor degree.

For working adults already in some area of the field (who may have earned an online criminal justice associate’s degree, for instance), an online bachelor’s degree from one of the best online criminal justice programs can make a big difference in promotion and advancement. For those who want to switch careers into criminal justice, the search for the fastest criminal justice degree online is on – it’s possible to earn the credits for a BS or BA in as little as a year and be off on a new professional career. In any case, finding the best online criminal justice programs is as simple as turning to Criminal Justice Degree Hub.

Our Process: Ranking the Best Online Criminal Justice Programs

To rank the Top 10 Online Criminal Justice Bachelor Degree Programs, Criminal Justice Degree Hub considered only regionally accredited, reputable colleges and universities offering fully online bachelor’s degrees and bachelor degree completion programs in criminology and criminal justice. We ranked programs according to their:

  • Cost (IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (Niche reviews)
  • Alumni Salary (College Scorecard surveys)

By bringing together these concrete factors, CJDH editors bring attention to the best online criminal justice programs that are really worth the time, expense, and energy that goes into earning an online criminal justice bachelor degree.

1. Arizona State University – ASU Online

The Arizona State University online BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice presents the highest level of preparation for those looking to advance their roles in the justice system and corporate security. This particular online criminal justice degree is designed for those looking to advance their knowledge in the policies and practices of the various components of the criminal justice system. The Criminology and Criminal Justice BS is offered 100% online. ASU Online is affordable and one of the best online criminal justice programs in the country.

ASU Online is one of the best ranking universities nationally, and one of the best universities to earn a criminology and criminal justice degree. The college’s graduate program has been named by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the top five degrees in the nation for three years running. The ASU Online BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice is offered via the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice. According to the U.S. News and World Reports, ASU’s online BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice ranks 12th in the country.

Degree: BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice

2. Colorado State University Global Campus

The Colorado State University-Global Campus online BS in Criminal Justice program gives those interested in developing a career within the criminal justice system an opportunity to follow their dream. The students gain knowledge in the inner workings of the law and law enforcement as well as the skills and competencies they need to protect people and their property. CSU Global’s accelerated BS in Criminal Justice Program online allows start times every month accelerated 8-week courses, making it possibly the fastest criminal justice degree online.

Colorado State University-Global Campus’s online degree programs are among the most sought after in the nation. CSU-Global’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program is one of the best in the nation. CSU-Global Campus is ranked No. 9 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News & World Report. CSU Global has been offering online degree programs since 2008. Their online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Degree: Bachelor of Criminal Justice

3. University of Massachusetts Lowell – UMass Lowell Online

The University of Massachusetts Lowell online BS in Criminal Justice degree program is designed for the working individual looking to advance his/her career in preparation for some of the highest roles in the criminal justice system. The program is offered 100% online but those who wish can opt for a combination of online and on-campus courses. The program is designed to accommodate a busy lifestyle; students get to learn in their own convenience. UMass Lowell offers some of the best online criminal justice programs in terms of affordability, ROI, and job market reputation.

UMass Lowell’s online degree programs rank among the best in the United States. According to the 2018 U.S. News & World Report, UMass Lowell online bachelor’s degree programs rank among the top in the nation. As part of the UMass system, UMass Lowell builds on the long heritage of New England’s most respected public research university. UMass Lowell, though, began as a teacher’s training school and industrial school, and the university has retained its focus on practical, market-centered education throughout its history, including one of the best online criminal justice programs.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

4. University of Missouri-St. Louis – UMSL NOW

The University of Missouri-St. Louis online BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice program is designed to help the student acquire the knowledge, skills, and understanding of the inner workings of the criminal justice system. Upon completion of the program, the student will have a clear understanding of criminal theory, criminal justice issues, as well as institutions and policies and join one of the many professions in the criminal justice sector. The university’s online criminal justice bachelor degree program comes with low tuition, high ROI, and proven job market reputation.

The University of Missouri is one of the best places to earn a criminal justice degree. The university’s online BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice program is offered through the college’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. This online BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice ranks among the best. According to the Journal of Criminal Justice, for scholarly research the University of Missouri Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice ranks 2nd nationally. U.S. News & World Report ranks the department’s doctoral program as the 4th best in the country, making for an online criminal justice bachelor degree like no other.

Degree: BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice

5. Penn State World Campus

The Penn State World Campus online BS in Criminal Justice offers aspiring detectives, correctional officers, and security managers an opportunity to pursue their dreams. By enrolling in an online BS in Criminal Justice program, students are preparing themselves for key service roles in the criminal justice field. The program’s curriculum incorporates both the theoretical and practical aspects of criminal justice, is affordable, and comes with a proven reputation in the job market.

The 2018 U.S. News & World Report ranking recognized Penn State World Campus’s online degree programs as some of the best nationwide. The online Criminal Justice Degree from Penn State is also one of the most respected in criminal justice degree programs in the country thanks to their Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) certification. The ACJS only certifies programs that have met all the certification requirements; only programs that are highly respected and renowned throughout the country get the certification.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

6. Drexel University – Drexel Online

The Drexel University online BS in Criminal Justice is ideal for those seeking to build a career in the criminal justice system. The online degree program gives the student a strong foundation in justice and criminological theory and analytics. The program is designed to help the student translate innovative criminal justice concepts into real-world practice. The Drexel University online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program prepares the student for roles in private security, criminal justice, and the legal profession. In terms of convenience, this is one of the best online criminal justice programs available.

With its main campus located in the University City neighbourhood of Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University is a well-known private research university. The university is known for producing highly competent, ambitious graduates in line with the school’s motto “Ambition Can’t Wait.” Their online programs are highly respected institution in the country. The Drexel University online BS in Criminal Justice is ranked among the best in the nation. The online BS in Criminal Justice program is fully accredited at the highest level of accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

7. University of Louisville Online Learning

The University of Louisville online BS in Criminal Justice offers the highest level of preparation for those interested in any of the career options in the criminal justice system. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program is offered 100% online. It’s the ideal choice for those looking for an opportunity to earn a degree in criminal justice and maintain other commitments in their lives. The students learn skills and competencies they need to be successful in the criminal justice system at standardized tuition fees with an option for financial aid for those who qualify.

The University of Louisville is one of the best learning institutions in the country. The university’s online degree programs have national recognition as being some of the best. Reputable higher education ranking institutions such as the U.S. News and World Report ranked University of Louisville among the best colleges and national universities in the country. UL’s online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is also highly respected and regarded to be one of the best in the nation. The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice

8. Ball State University – Ball State Online

The Ball State University online BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology is designed for those looking to build a career in policing and law enforcement. Ball State’s criminal justice and criminology degree program is available 100% online, ideal for those who are trying to find a balance between work, education, and other commitments. Students are required to fulfill a minimum of 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree. With a reputation for training some of the most competent professionals in the criminal justice system, Ball State’s online criminal justice degree has a proven job market reputation in the country.

Ball State University is nationally ranked in the 2018 U.S. News and World Report of the best bachelor’s online degree. The university’s online criminal justice bachelor degree includes all the required courses, but emphasizes ethics, data-driven decision making, and best practices courses in the curriculum. When it comes to effectiveness in online education and innovation, the university is ranked and well-regarded. These are just some of the factors that set Ball State’s online criminal justice and criminology degree program apart.

Degree: BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology

9. Lewis University

The Lewis University online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program gives the student the best chance at building a successful career as a professional in the criminal justice system. The online BA in Criminal Justice is designed for people juggling obligations and family; it’s flexible and highly convenient. The program’s curriculum covers the most important topics in criminal justice including causal factors of crime, excessive force, juvenile justice policies, etc. The university offers an accelerated program covered in 8-week sessions, 100% online, putting it in the running for the fastest criminal justice degree online.

Lewis University is widely recognized as a top-ranking university in the country. The university’s online bachelor’s criminal justice program is one of the largest and highly respected in the country. The Lewis University criminal justice degree program has an impressive list of alumni, which includes several police commissioners and superintendents and more than 40 police chiefs. By enrolling for the program, students have an opportunity to be added to the university’s list of distinguished alumni. The online BA in Criminal Justice is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Degree: Accelerated BA in Criminal Justice

10. Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University’s online criminal justice bachelor degree programs include an online Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies – Justice Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Justice Studies. All these programs are available online and the students get to choose which option they prefer. NAU’s criminal justice programs prepare the student for various assignments in the criminal justice system including police officer, police detective or police supervisor, intelligence analysts, private security, and more. Northern Arizona University runs some of the best online criminal justice programs in the country.

Northern Arizona University’s criminal justice program is one of the largest in the country. NAU gives students the opportunity to choose between a BA, BS, or BAS program in justice studies, something only a few universities do. The justice studies programs are available online 100% but those who wish to combine online sessions with on-campus classes can do so in many of the university’s campuses including Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, NAU-North Valley, and Yuma. NAU online criminal justice programs are not only ideal for people who want to become professionals within the criminal justice system but also those looking to advance their careers.

Degree: BA, BS, or Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Studies

Is an Online Criminal Justice Bachelor Degree Reputable?

An online criminal justice bachelor degree comes with the same level of reputability as a degree earned through any traditional college courses. The reputation of the degree isn’t governed by whether someone earned it online. The reputation of an online criminal justice bachelor degree depends on whether you earn it through an accredited program.

True, there was a time when you would wonder if employers would take an online degree of any sort seriously, but those times are in the past. With the growth of online degrees, the acceptance of them has permeated academia and the workforce. In fact, even Ivy League colleges offer full, partial, and blended online degree programs these days.

How Much Does a Criminal Justice Degree Online Cost?

As with any educational program, costs can vary depending on a number of factors. Some of those factors can include:

  • The reputation of the school
  • The location of the school
  • Whether you’re in the same state as the school
  • Whether the school has a physical campus or not
  • The cost of supplies
  • The degree level sought
  • Whether it’s a private or public institution

Prices per credit hour can range from $80 to up to $500, or start at $4,000 per year. People would do well not to focus strictly on the criminal justice degree online cost, but rather on the quality of the education provided. With that said, it’s possible to find a great criminal justice program without spending an extravagant amount of money to do so.

Can I Find Criminal Justice Online Courses Free?

People looking for criminal justice online courses free will likely find many real lectures, courses, and materials that explain careers in modern criminal justice. Many reputable colleges and educational institutions often release these types of things for the general public to use. However, a free course will not give college credit.

These materials work well to help someone brush up on information before continuing their degree. The materials also serve as a good introduction to people on the fence about pursuing a criminal justice degree. Videos and lectures can show what goes on and what someone should expect from a criminal justice degree course.

Sometimes, finding criminal justice online courses free can earn attendees a certificate indicating they completed the course. These certificates can help give an edge against other applicants when seeking employment in the field.

How Long is the Fastest Criminal Justice Degree Online?

In some cases, someone can earn an online criminal justice associates degree in as little as 12 months. Equally, an online criminal justice bachelor degree program can clock in at around 12 months (at least for a completion program). Many institutions offer accelerated or fast-track programs, creating a race to the fastest criminal justice degree online.

Going fast can benefit some, but speed isn’t for everyone. People considering an accelerated program should take some time to consider if they’re ready. Many people choose online degrees because it allows them to attend school on their own time without overly interfering with their daily life duties.

Some accelerated programs allow the student to choose how fast they want to go through the course. In these courses, it’s not about getting the fastest criminal justice degree online, but how much work and effort someone puts into the course.


Related Rankings:
Top 10 Most Affordable Criminal Justice Programs
Top 10 Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs 


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