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Best 7 Criminal Justice Colleges in California in 2021

April 2, 2021 | Staff Writers

Criminal Justice Colleges in California
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Students who major in criminal justice learn the methods that help to identify & to explain criminal behavior patterns in an effort to manage, curb, and control crime and delinquency in society. Those students interested in enrolling in one of the many criminal justice colleges in California will explore the fundamental areas of criminal justice –

  • The Criminals: the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, against a set of socially-accepted ethical codes of behavior.
  • The Crime: the identification techniques and the development of prevention techniques.
  • The Criminal Justice System: including the exploration of the correctional/legal systems across the nation and the philosophy of punishment.

Top 5 Criminal Justice Colleges in California

RankSchoolLocation
11. Sonoma State UniversityRohnert Park, California
2California State UniversityLong Beach, California
3San Jose State University San Jose, California
4California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis Obispo, California
5Brandman UniversityIrvine, California

Most criminal justice degree programs offered by the criminal justice colleges in California are delivered using an interdisciplinary approach, pulling from the related disciplines of psychology, philosophy, forensic science, legal studies, sociology, political science, public administration, and urban studies, to name a few.

Students graduating from the programs offered by criminal justice colleges in California enter the workforce in the areas of victim services, corrections, court administration, or law enforcement, among others. Many grads choose to continue onto a master’s program offered by one of the criminal justice colleges in California or even attend law school.  

Check out both the on-campus and online criminal justice colleges in California shown below, which offer associate criminal justice degree programs and doctoral criminal justice programs.

  • An associate degree is a smart way to prepare for an entry-level career in private security or law enforcement, although not always mandated.
  • A criminal justice bachelor’s degree can prepare students for criminal justice careers in law enforcement or within one of the many federal government agencies dedicated to the management of crime and criminals.
  • More advanced criminal justice degree programs are great tools to help students specialize in areas like analytics, forensics, or criminal psychology, among others.

The many criminal justice colleges in California offer a wide variety of related criminal justice majors and focus areas. A broad sampling of these criminal justice programs is noted below. The first section notes available on-campus programs, whereas the second section identifies online criminal justice degrees available from schools located in California.

Criminal Justice Colleges In California – On Campus Degree Criminal Justice Programs

1

1. Sonoma State University

  • Rohnert Park, California

Located in Rohnert Park, California, Sonoma State University’s School of Social Services is among the most innovative public criminal justice colleges in California, offering a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies or a minor in the same topic. Classes for this criminal justice undergraduate degree include drug legislation, criminal justice & public policy, and government & the rule of law, plus an internship, among others.

School Overview

Tuition Fees: $2,871 per semester (U Resident)
Criminal Justice Program Options: Bachelor’s
Student Enrollment: 8,887 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website
2

California State University

  • Long Beach, California

California State University’s College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Services is one of the most affordable and innovative criminal justice colleges in California. Established in 1957,California State University – Stanislaus offers both an undergraduate and graduate degree in criminal justice, plus an accelerated program for those with criminal justice backgrounds and professional experience.

School Overview

Tuition Fees (Undergraduate Resident): $3,792 per semester
Tuition Fees (Graduate Resident): $4,509 per semester
Student Enrollment: 10,974 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website
3

San Jose State University

  • San Jose, California

Established in 1857, San Jose State University’s College of Social Sciences/Department of Justice Studies offers several of the top criminal justice programs in the state with its various graduate and undergraduate degree programs. Students graduate from San Jose State University’s criminal justice programs to find rewarding careers in policy centers, nonprofit agencies, and community organizations, among others.

School Overview

Tuition Fee (Undergraduate Resident): $3,926 per semester
Tuition Fee (Graduate Resident): $4,643 per semester
Student Enrollment: 36,085 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website
4

California Polytechnic State University

  • San Luis Obispo, California

Established in 1901, California Polytechnic State University‘s College of Liberal Arts offers a Bachelor’s of Arts(BA) degree program in sociology with an academic specialty in criminal justice/criminology that is offered by one of the most affordable of all criminal justice colleges in California. Classes for this degree include conflict resolution, forensic psychology, juvenile justice, and crime & violence, plus an internship, among others.

School Overview

Tuition Fees (Undergraduate Resident): $5,035 per semester
Tuition Fees (Graduate Resident): $5,752 per semester
Criminal Justice Program Options: Bachelor’s
Student Enrollment: 21,426 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website
5

Brandman University

  • Irvine, California

Located in Irvine, Brandman University’s Arts & Sciences Department offers an affordable Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) program in Criminal Justice from one of the most innovative criminal justice colleges in California. Students enrolled in Brandman University’s BA in Criminal Justice degree program is available on twenty-two California locations, plus a hybrid delivered program online. Students applying for this bachelor’s degree must possess 12+ transferrable credits or finish the school’s four course pre-admission track.

School Overview

Tuition Fees (Undergraduate): $6,000 per semester (12 credits)
Criminal Justice Program Options: Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Student Enrollment: 10,231 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website

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6

Humphreys University

  • Stockton, California

Humphreys University operates campuses in Stockton and Modesto, California, and is considered among the most innovative of criminal justice colleges in California. Humphreys University’s Drivon School of Law offers an associate degree in Criminal Justice that requires the completion of 97 quarter units and a bachelor’s degree that requires the completion of 181 quarter units to graduate. The school traces its roots back to a business and teacher’s training school in the late 1890s.

School Overview

Tuition Fees: $7,290 per semester (private school)
Criminal Justice Program Options: Associate’s & Bachelor’s
Student Enrollment: 900 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website
7

Mount Saint Mary’s University

  • Los Angeles, California

Located in Los Angeles and Doheny, Mount Saint Mary’s University offers a criminal justice program designed for working learners who need flexibility and convenience to meet the time and professional demands of an academic degree program. Applicants to this program offered by one of the top criminal justice colleges in California. Mount Saint Mary’s campus in LA is primarily attended by women, making up nearly 90% of the student population. The school operates two campuses in the greater Los Angeles Area.

School Overview

Tuition Fees: $21,612 per semester (private school)
Student Enrollment: 2,855 students
Regional Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website

A number of criminal justice colleges in California also provide distance learning options with regard to available criminal justice programs. These criminal justice programs offer flexibility and convenience to students that allow them to finish on their own schedule.

Criminal Justice Colleges In California – Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

1. California State University  (Cal State San Bernardino)

California State University’s College of Extended & Global Education (PACE) is recognized by several college ranking services as one of the finest criminal justice colleges in California offering online degrees. Both the Master of Arts (MA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree programs offered by Cal State San Bernardino can be completed entirely online. Students enrolled in this undergraduate degree can opt to earn a Homeland Security certificate simultaneously. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is a completion program that requires applicants to have earned a minimum of 60 semester credits.

2. Sacramento State University (SSU)

Sacramento State University’s College of Health and Human Services, located in the state’s capital, is one of the top criminal justice colleges in California, offering both graduate and undergraduate degrees in criminal justice through the university’s distance learning platform.

3. Azusa Pacific University (APU)

Azusa Pacific University’s School of Behavioral & Applied Sciences/Department of Criminal Justice offers several criminal justice degree options with its Bachelor of Arts (BA) completion degree program or a traditional Bachelor of Arts (BA) program with a criminal justice major option. Azusa Pacific University offers tuition discounts for military members, their spouses/dependents, and veterans.

4. The University of California  (UC Irvine)

Located in Irvine, California, the University of California‘s School of Social Ecology/Department of Criminology, Law, and Society offers several criminal justice level degree programs from one of the most affordable and innovative criminal justice colleges in California. The school’s campus in southern California covers more than 1,200 suburban acres.

5. California Baptist University  (CBU)

California Baptist University, located in Riverside, California, offers a  Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice that offers a concentration in the Administration of Justice. California Baptist University, as one of the top criminal justice colleges in California, is also a military-friendly school that has been offering this criminal justice program for more than a decade and one-half.

Our Ranking Methodology Explained

The criminal justice colleges in California listed above include a cross-section of the state’s most affordable and innovative criminal justice programs available. The colleges/universities are listed according to how they rank with regard to affordability, with the most affordable programs listed first for each category.

The criminal justice colleges in California analyzed and ranked above includes the following information –

  • Tuition fees are noted on a ‘per semester,’ with 12 credits used for bachelor’s degree programs and eight credits used to calculate graduate/doctoral-level programs, where applicable. Tuition fees, unless specially noted otherwise, reflect the tuition fees for 2020 to 2021 or 2019 to 2020.
  • Each college or university’s available programs dedicated to the field of criminal justice have been included.
  • The school’s student enrollment speaks to the higher learning institution’s size, an important aspect for some potential students.
  • Each of these criminal justice schools is regionally accredited, which speaks to the quality of the programs available on-campus and online from these criminal justice colleges in California. There are just a few programs that have received specialized accreditation from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences ACJS.

Note that the information used to evaluate the available criminal justice colleges in California includes data that was pulled from each school’s website as well as the information/data available on the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) website.

Would you like to update the information provided above regarding one of the programs or criminal justice colleges in California noted above? Please reach out to us.

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