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Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
Top Online Degree Programs 2020

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Best Online Bachelors Criminal Justice

Choosing a degree path is never easy. There are so many ways to contribute to the world, and finding a rewarding career can be an addition to that list. Criminal justice career paths are often sought by people who are interested in making a difference in their communities. This course of study offers students an opportunity to learn how to engage in various forms of law enforcement and taking agency to ensure our communities are safer and more just. Well, that is the intention anyway. Many of these programs enable students to understand the impact of crime and enable students to go to a deep place that engages in the humanness connected to all people. So, what will a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice offer? This four year degree pathway provides students with many career options, some of which ensure students will be able to easily find entry level, and also in many cases, more advanced positions in the fields related to criminal justice. 

If you are considering getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you have come to the right place. We have done some of the research for you, as we have sourced the best online criminal justice degrees and rank them using the following metric:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Student Success Rate

These online programs offer the flexibility many of you need in order to fulfill your other life commitments while embarking on a four year degree program.

1

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona State University offers an online bachelors of science degree program in criminology and criminal justice. This course of study is designed to offer students an unmatched level of flexibility. The entire program is made up of 120 credit hours. Students will be required to take a total of 40 classes, all of which are seven and a half weeks in length.  This program highlights the most up-to-date information regarding the practices and policies that make up the criminal justice field. Some of the related topics embedded into this program include communications (oral and written), research, and analysis. ASU gives students the option of taking a 4+1 accelerated program, which means students will be able to accomplish their bachelors and masters in a five year period. Students must earn a 3.4 GPA or above for this program to be an option. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice 

2

Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus offers an online bachelors of science program in criminal justice program. This program is delivered entirely online with zero on campus requirements. This program prides itself on being transfer friendly, both in and out, and also gives students what they need to work at their own pace. The faculty are the same professors that work at Penn State’s traditional on-campus programs. Some of the course topics include: alternatives to incarceration, sociology, psychology, criminology, ethics in criminal justice, aspects of the juvenile justice system, and more. Military personnel and their spouses receive tuition discounts and additional benefits. Upon graduation many students will begin working in fields such as law, corrections, and protective services. Many students might already be working in a similar field while completing their degree. Students in this program have the option of completing a homeland security minor that is made up of 18 credit hours. 

Degree Type: BS Criminal Justice 

3

University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY

The University of Wyoming offers a bachelors of arts in criminal justice program that is delivered entirely online. The program concentration is pre law, and students also have the option of minoring in pre-law. This course of study is interdisciplinary and offers students introductory classes in a variety of aspects of the field including criminology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and political science. One unique aspect of this Best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Online is their hands on approach to learning. Students in this program will take a 12 credit hour course that includes an internship. This gives students experiential on the job experience prior to graduating. A variety of career paths are accessible to graduates including corrections, military, police force, probation and patrol, homeland security, social work and court administration. Students in the program can join the criminal justice club, which offers relevant opportunities to take field trips to places like the Wyoming Police Academy. 

Degree Type: BA in Criminal Justice 

4

Ohio University-Main Campus
Athens, OH

Ohio University offers a bachelors of criminal justice program that is delivered entirely online. This program is uniquely designed for students who have already graduated from an associates degree program in a similar field. Some of the fields include criminal justice, corrections technology, law enforcement, legal assisting, human services, and police administration This course of study gives students the skills to understand the inner workings of the law including what they call understanding criminal behavior. Students will also learn the ins and out of decision making processes for police officers. Prospective students must have a combined grade point average of 2.0 from their previous coursework. There are many financial aid options for students in the program on top of the fact that the tuition is already accessible and affordable. They are also named a military friendly school, and they even offer ROTC and Air force ROTC. 

Degree Type: Bachelor of Criminal Justice

5

Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University Online offers a bachelors of science program in criminology and justice studies. They offer a flexible online format that makes it easy for students to work while participating in the program. The online coursework is the same as the traditional on campus program. The program is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is considered the highest level of accreditation. The coursework includes extensive criminology theory, complex communication skills as they relate to decision making, information gathering, mediation, and interpersonal relations. Also embedded in the curriculum are the necessary technological skills to engage in the criminal justice system in the current age. They have many tuition discounts including for community college partners, military members and their family, and people who work for partnering employers. Students will learn the networking skills that will make them successful candidates for careers upon graduation. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminology & Justice Studies

6

University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Lowell, MA

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell offers a bachelors of science degree program in criminal justice. This course of study is delivered entirely online if students choose. The online degree is the exact same as the one traditional students receive. There is also the option to take the program with a blended model. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours from another institution. The program is very flexible and convenient, including the fact that students can apply for the program any time of year. The curriculum offers a balance of relevant topics including: policing, emergency management, criminal law, criminology, corrections, hate crimes, terrorism, homeland security, criminology, violence, and victimology. Students will also learn the foundations of the criminal justice system. Graduates of the program can pursue many employment opportunities upon completion including: social worker, federal agent, detective, court clerk, paralegal, bailiff, among many others. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

7

Colorado State University-Global Campus
Greenwood Village, CO

CSU- Global Campus offers a bachelor degree program in criminal justice. This course of study is delivered entirely online, utilizing a flexible asynchronous format. Students will learn how to build top notch skills that relate to the fields that are connected to criminal justice. Some of the distinct skills embedded into the curriculum include: making informed complex decisions, how to run the criminal justice system effectively, a foundation of the practices and theories of law enforcement; students will develop an in-depth understanding of the controversial and ethical policies that inform criminal justice organizations. Students have the option to specialize their degree path in topics such as: project management, organizational leadership, marketing, human resources and organizational development, healthcare management, and emergency management. CSU Global Campus offers a myriad of financial aid opportunities including employer discounts. They are fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 

Degree Type: Bachelor of Criminal Justice

8

University of Louisville
Louisville, KY

The University of Louisville offers one of the best online criminal justice degrees. This is a bachelors of science program in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online. There are no on campus requirements. This program is designed for transfer students who already have associates degrees. Students will only have to complete 54 credit hours beyond their associates to walk away with their bachelors degree. This is the equivalent of 18 classes. This particular program offers a foundation in criminal justice administration. The program is delivered by the College of Arts and Sciences. Students will learn how to work with adults and juveniles that are incarcerated. Some of the jobs graduates will be prepared to apply for include: corrections officers, criminal records managers, crime prevention officers, detectives, criminal investigators, court referral officers, special agents, and victim advocates. All students have access to the success team, who will ensure that they will get the support they need to make it to the finish line. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

9

Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ

Northern Arizona University offers a bachelors program in Justice Studies. This course of study is delivered entirely online. Students can choose between two program emphasises, which include intelligence studies and criminal justice administration. The entire course of study is made up of 120 credit hours. This includes 36 credits that are focused on major coursework. Communications coursework makes up 6 credit hours. Students have the option of taking a foreign language and participating in an internship/ fieldwork experience. The core coursework includes classes in leadership, criminology, ethics, critical thinking, leadership and the law, among many others. Students will  learn how to understand terrorist ideology and behavioral sciences, as it relates to mental health of inmates and the psychology of criminals. An understanding of cultural diversity is emphasized in the program as is racial bias and the law. Criminal intelligence is another important thread that will be woven throughout the curriculum. 

Degree Type: Justice Studies Bachelor 

10

Ball State University
Muncie, IN

Ball State University offers a bachelors of science program in criminal justice and criminology. This course of study can be completed entirely online. Students will learn how to understand all aspects of the laws foundation and the ways it relates to policing and law enforcement. Students come into the program with a variety of interests including community corrections and the court systems. There are many opportunities for students to customize their degree program to their unique goals. They have made the list of required courses shorter, so students can take more elective classes that engage their interests. Graduates of the program have the opportunity to apply for jobs such as witness or victim advocate, corrections officers, parole officers, probation officer, law enforcement officer, and institutional counselors. As one of the best online criminal justice degrees, it is considered an excellent precursor for law school. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology

11

University of Nebraska at Kearney
Kearney, NE

The University of Nebraska offers a bachelors of science in criminal justice program. This program is delivered entirely online if the students choose that format. The option of engaging with the coursework in a traditional format is also there. Students can choose to work towards a career path upon graduation within the following: county and municipal justice systems, federal, county, and state. Students will have the opportunity to engage in real life situations and research based opportunities with the support of the faculty. Many classes have low student to faculty ratios. This program is delivered from the College of Arts and Sciences. One of the pluses of the program is that students have the spaciousness to engage in other disciplines simultaneously, including in the capacity of double major or minor. Graduates of the program can easily achieve entry level employment in a variety of fields. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

12

Lewis University
Romeoville, IL

Lewis University offers an accelerated bachelors of arts program in criminal justice that is delivered entirely online. This program is unique in that it does not only focus on the criminal justice system, but it emphasizes social justice. Students in this program will engage in all of the aspects required to be part of creating a more just world. This program is known for being extremely military friendly. Some of the subjects embedded into the curriculum include: understanding the foundations of crime, juvenile justice policies, the repercussions of excessive force, criminology and corrections, juvenile justice policies, ethical issues that surround mandatory arrest, domestic violence, the revitalization of community oriented policing, and legal and procedural courses that are taught by professional lawyers. Some of the career options for graduates include: CIA agent, court reporter, DEA agent, private investigator, among many others. 

Degree Type: Accelerated BA in Criminal Justice 

13

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
Delhi, NY

SUNY Delhi offers a bachelors of science degree program in criminal justice. This is an online program designed to be both flexible and convenient. One of the unique aspects of this program is that they offer an exclusive program that leads to a law degree called accelerated 3+3. This is in partnership with the Albany Law School and the Western New England School of Law. The program is flexible enough to allow students the freedom to work while participating in the program, take part  in an internship or other experiential learning opportunity, and continue being accountable to their other life commitments. The classes are all internet user friendly with access to additional resources like online tutoring and support services. Prospective students must have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in their previous coursework in order to transfer into the program. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

14

Columbia College
Columbia, SC

Columbia College offers a bachelors of arts program in criminal justice administration. This course of study is delivered entirely online. The program is given through the criminal justice and human services department at Columbia College. The general education requirements in the program make up 29-42 semester hours. They also have a unique 3 credit hour requirements of ethics related courses. The core requirements make up 42 semester hours and include classes like: introduction to criminal justice administration, police in a democratic society, criminal law, cultural diversity in criminal law, ethics and morality in criminal justice, juvenile delinquency, criminology, and judicial process. Students can choose to get a certificate in crime scene investigation. In addition there are a variety of electives that include behavioral, forensic, and social sciences electives. The entire program is made up of 120 credit hours. 

Degree Type: BA in Criminal Justice Administration

15

University of Missouri-St Louis
Saint Louis, MO

The University of Missouri- St. Louis offers a bachelors of science degree program in criminology and criminal justice. This course of study is delivered entirely online if the student chooses this format. This course of study enforces critical thinking as a critical tool in criminal justice. Many pre-law students participate in this program as it is an excellent precursor for law school. The classes in the program interrogate topics like race, class, gender, criminal justice policy, the court system, policing, and a variety of forms of service learning. Prior to declaring the major, students must participate in a series of classes including introduction to criminology and criminal justice, statistical analysis in criminology and criminal justice, theories of crime, and research methods in criminology and criminal justice. Students must achieve a grade point average of 2.0 or above to complete the program. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice 

16

Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University Online offers a bachelors of arts in criminal justice program that is delivered entirely online. This program is considered one of the best online criminal justice degrees.

Students can take a number of related classes, many of which they can tailor to their specific interests in the field. Some of the classes include: criminal procedure, substantive criminal law, introduction to homeland defense, forensic science and criminal justice, police organization and administration. There are some specializations that students can choose from including homeland security and criminalistics. They offer many professional development opportunities including a variety of field placements that give students hands-on work experience. Some options include working at the United States secret service, drug enforcement administration, and United States district court. They also have many co-curricular activities including access to the national criminal justice honors society called Alpha Phi Sigma. 

Degree Type: BA in Criminal Justice 

17

Monroe College
Bronx, NY

The School of Criminal Justice at Monroe College offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program. This is one of the best online criminal justice degrees. It can be completed entirely online if the student chooses this format. They also have the option of completing the program in a hybrid format, or the traditional option. This course of study has a real world focus that supports students to understand the inner workings of the criminal justice field. They offer many internship opportunities that give them hands on experience that supports them to have a lucrative career. The many career focal points include court management, administration, law enforcement, corrections, the court systems, counseling, and social services. They offer a featured class called criminal law, which highlights theories, histories and practices of criminal law. Many students end up working as police officers, security managers, correctional counselors, among many others. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

18

Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC

Western Carolina University offers a bachelors of science in criminal justice program that is considered one of the best online criminal justice degrees. All of the classes are offered online and students have no requirements to ever step foot on campus. The online classes are accessed through the blackboard learning management system. Western Carolina offers many extracurricular activities that help students engage more deeply in their chosen field of study. This includes a students association of criminal justice affairs and the alpha phi sigma- national criminal justice honors society. Prospective students must first have one year of criminal justice work behind them or an associates degree. The concentration core courses include: social justice and the law, criminal justice policy, criminal justice procedure and judicial process, criminal justice management, and legal liability in criminal justice personnel. There is a requirement of 15 credit hours of electives. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

19

St. Cloud State University

St. Cloud State University offers a bachelors of arts in criminal justice program that is considered one of the best online criminal justice degrees. Students can choose to participate in this program using the online format if flexibility and convenience are necessary for them. There will be some on campus requirements for online students, however. The classes are delivered in a synchronous format, giving students the opportunity for live discussions, peer connection and faculty mentorship. This course of study looks at the intricacies of crime and punishment in our country and all of the nuances of victimization and systemic injustices. There are several concentrations to choose from including victim services, 21st century policing, and corrections and reentry. St. Cloud offers a number of related student organizations including: criminal justice association, conflict resolution for students, students organized for change, national society of leadership and success. 

Degree Type: BA in Criminal Justice 

20

Youngstown State University
Youngstown, OH

Youngstown State University offers a bachelors of science applied science in criminal justice completion program. This made the list as one of the best online criminal justice degrees. Students are required to complete 120 credit hours to complete the program. Students will learn the methodology and practical skills to keep their communities safe in this program. This program is targeting students who already have an associates degree in criminal justice, significant coursework, or a lot of experience in the field. This major requires students to complete at least 57 elective credit hours and 36 credit hours towards the major. Prospective students who have completed the police academy training at Ohio Police Officer Academy are eligible for 16 credit hours that can be applied to the program. Some of the required classes include: policing, crime and delinquency, corrections, and criminal law. 

Degree Type: BS in Applied Science – Criminal Justice

21

King University (TN)
Bristol, TN

King University online offers a bachelors of science in criminal justice program. This is one of the best online criminal justice degree programs. This course of study is designed exclusively for students who are interested in leadership positions in the field of criminal justice including law enforcement management, human services, and security. This course of study requires students to complete 48 semester hours of classes towards their major. A total of 124 credit hours are necessary for completion of the entire program. Within these credits are classes that include general education requirements and a variety of electives or transfer credits. Graduates of the program can choose careers such as parole officer, state law enforcement officer, child and family advocate, and federal law enforcement officer. King is considered a yellow ribbon school, which means they are known for being military friendly. They show this by offering military personnel a variety of benefits including reduced tuition. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

22

Wilmington University
New Castle, DE

Wilmington University offers a bachelors of science in criminal justice through their college of social and behavioral sciences. This course of study is delivered entirely online, and is considered one of the best online criminal justice degrees. There are many aspects of this program that make it desirable, including the fact that they make it easy for students to tailor their classes to their particular goals. It is also known for being affordable and an excellent preparatory experience for careers in the field. They also make it easy for students to continue onto graduate level coursework. They also give students extensive opportunities for field work experience that will make their resumes as career ready as possible. Some of the general education classes include computer applications, english composition, fundamentals of economics, introduction to critical thinking, among many others. The criminal justice core courses include survey of criminal justice and principles of criminology. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

23

Utica College
Utica, NY

Utica College offers a bachelors of science degree program in criminal justice. This course of study is delivered entirely online, without ever a need to step foot on campus. This virtual program is 120 credit hours in length. They offer five distinct specializations including: homeland security, cyber criminology and policy, white collar crime, public policy and leadership, and legal issues in criminal justice. Graduates of the program can easily matriculate into a masters level program upon program completion. This will give them additional options to achieve leadership roles in the field of criminal justice. Students will also have many opportunities for entry level employment upon completion in career paths such as management and law, policing, juvenile services, private security, probation, among many other options. Students will gain a large foundation in criminology with classes that are related like: seminar in justice studies, ethics in criminal justice, criminal justice communications, and introduction to criminal justice. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice

24

Bethel University (TN)

Bethel University offers a bachelors of science in criminal justice. Students can take this course of study online. This program was designed explicitly for professionals in law enforcement, administrators, managers, among others. This is a completion program designed to accommodate working professionals who are self motivated. Prospective students should already have 30 college credit hours under their belts. The curriculum is 45 credit hours in length and the majority of classes are made up of 3 credit hours. All students are required to take a class called introduction to adult online learning, which will allow them to get the most out of the rest of their coursework. The general education classes offered for this program include: humanities credits, religion core coursework, social sciences, computer information systems, and mathematics/ science. The staff and faculty in this program are leaders in the fields of criminal justice and excellent mentors for the prospective professionals in the field. 

Degree Type: BS in Criminal Justice 

25

Anderson University (SC)
Anderson, SC

Anderson University offers a bachelors of criminal justice program that is considered one of the best online criminal justice degrees. The online format offers students a flexible and convenient option. The entire course of study is made up of 123 credit hours that are delivered in 8 week segments. This program was explicitly created with working professionals in mind. The goal is to give those who are already working in the field more tools to grow their skills and enhance their career opportunities. The credits are broken down into 42 hours for general education requirements, 54 credit hours of core coursework, 27 semester hours in general electives.  The elective options give students the chance to engage in coursework that interests them both within and outside the disciplines of criminal justice. Some of the related topics covered in the coursework include search and seizure, arrest, victimization and violence, and ethical and religious issues that pertain to the law. 

Degree Type: Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Why Should I Get My Criminal Justice Degree Online?

If you are interested in an online criminal justice degree, you have come to the right place. Whether you want to simply achieve a masters or also a masters degree in criminal justice there are many options to study online. There are many programs out there, as you can see above, however, they are definitely not all the same. While some of the programs may be considered within the best criminal justice schools, they might not have the specialization that you are looking for. It’s a good idea to have a sense of your academic and career goals before choosing a program, and tailor your search accordingly. One amazing aspect of studying online is that you no longer have to type in to the search bar criminal justice schools near me. Geography no longer has to be an issue when you are searching for a criminal justice degree program, as many programs allow you to complete your coursework from anywhere in the world. Look closely though before applying, because some programs do have some on campus requirements. The reason many people choose to study within an online criminal justice degree program is that they are already working in the field, or another industry, and they require flexibility in order to work while achieving their education. An online criminal justice bachelor degree program can sometimes be so flexible that the majority of the coursework can be self paced, while others still have live classes that require logins at a certain time. 

How Do I Choose an Online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s?

Good question. This is a very personal question, as you may find that even the best colleges for criminal justice and law enforcement do not exactly have what you personally are looking for. Maybe you are interested in a distinct specialization like policing? In this case, make sure you find a program that has the offerings that interest you and keep you on your path. The one thing to truly prioritize on your quest is finding a school that offers an accredited criminal justice degree online. Accreditation is important when searching for a program that will be respected by employers and other institutions that offer graduate programs in criminal justice and related fields. Beyond specializations, think about additional factors. Are you interested in finding a program that is faith based? There are several in this category, so think that through carefully prior to choosing something. Some of the faith based programming has additional requirements that include religion courses within their core coursework. In addition, think about how much experiential learning you would like to have access to. Some programs require a field experience/ internship. This can be an excellent resume builder, offering job experience prior to even graduating. If you are interested in such options, make sure you are looking at programs with such offerings beyond the theoretical coursework. 

How Much Can I Make with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice?

The average criminal justice salary according to the data on payscale is $53,178. Criminal justice jobs salary range quite a bit. In fact, a security manager can make up to $80,000, while a purchasing manager makes something to the tune of $40,000. This is to say, look deeply, because the average comes from such a large salary range. According to payscale the criminal justice salary per hour averages at $15.79.

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