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Best 15 Criminal Justice Colleges in Texas in 2021

April 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

Criminal Justice Colleges in Texas

Catching the bad guys may be what you think of when the term “criminal justice” is used. However, that is just a small part of what professionals in this industry do. Those in this profession uphold the law and create a system that protects the innocent and holds the suspects accountable. One of the best states to earn this degree is Texas because of its flourishing economic health. If you are interested in a law enforcement career, finding criminal justice colleges in Texas is the first step.

Top 5 Criminal Justice Colleges in Texas

Rank School Location
1Sam Houston State UniversityHuntsville, Texas
2Tarleton State UniversityStephenville, Texas
3West Texas A&M UniversityCanyon, Texas
4University of North TexasDenton, Texas
5The University of Texas at ArlingtonArlington, Texas

We have scoured the internet in search of institutions in the state of Texas that offers this program. Without further ado, here are our picks for the top criminal justice colleges in Texas.  

Best 15 Criminal Justice Colleges in Texas

1

Sam Houston State University

  • Huntsville, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Points: 32

Located in Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston State University ranks #27 out of 630 schools for being one of the Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America. The faculty is comprised of well-respected criminal justice experts, allowing students to learn from some of the best in the business. The College of Criminal Justice​ at Sam Houston offers its students a variety of options when it comes to areas of study. Students will have the opportunity to study Criminal Justice and Criminology, Forensic Science, Security Studies, and Victim Studies, taught by leading experts in the field. The College also offers master’s degrees in Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Leadership and Management, Forensic Science, Homeland Security, and Victim Services Management. Ph.D. programs are available in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science as well. With these many options, it is no surprise that Sam Houston produces some of the best criminal justice practitioners in the nation.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $8,534
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
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2

Tarleton State University

  • Stephenville, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Points: 31

The Criminal Justice program at Tarleton State University combines theory with the ability to practice what was learned. Along with the exceptional education offered by this institution, students will be given the opportunity to test what they have learned through internships and other opportunities within their chosen career path. Students with a major or minor in Criminal Justice will also be able to join the campus’ Criminal Justice Association or Alpha Phi Sigma.

School Overview

Annual In-STate Tuition: $7,851
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
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3

West Texas A&M University

  • Canyon, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Points: 29

Ranked as the Best Online Programs in 2018 by U.S. News, West Texas A&M University offers an online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Some of the curriculum students can expect to learn includes the study of criminology, what community corrections are, how to legally search a person’s home or vehicle, and more. Internships are available to all criminal justice majors.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $8,135
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
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4

University of North Texas

  • Denton, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Points: 28

A Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice is available at the University of North Texas, which will prepare students for careers as a police officer, detention or custodial officer, federal or state law enforcement officer, and more. The curriculum includes the practical, theoretical, and empirical aspects of criminal justice and will require 27 credit hours of core criminal justice courses, 12 credits of psychological-related courses, and 15 credits of electives.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $11,044
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 26 to 1
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5

The University of Texas at Arlington

  • Arlington, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Points: 27

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) offers Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Students learn about complex issues related to the nature and extent of crime, policing, courts, and corrections from an accomplished and experienced group of 17 full-time faculty scholars and former practitioners. Our department is one of the most diverse on campus and we take great pride in that. In addition to pursuing the BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice, students may select a minor in 1) Forensic Applications in Science and Technology or 2) Law and Legal Studies. Students may also complete an internship with a local agency, which will give them an advantage in pursuing careers in the criminal justice field. UTA is a vibrant urban campus located in the heart of DFW.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $11,040
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 24 to 1
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6

Angelo State University

  • San Angelo, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Points: 26

Founded in 1928, Angelo State University has more than 100 majors and minors and has been named one of the “Best Colleges” every year for the past decade. Three of the degrees offered are a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. The programs combine the use of lectures, case studies, videos, and discussions to give the students a thorough education in criminal justice. A minor in criminal justice is also available.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,637
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
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7

North American University

  • Stafford, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Points: 25

North American University is a private, non-denominational university that prides itself in providing individualized learning plans to meet the unique educational needs of each student. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Science requires 120 credits to complete, 42 of which should be related to forensic science and criminal justice. Students who complete this program will be prepared for both leadership and entry-level positions in criminal justice and law.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $9,900
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
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8

University of Houston- Downtown

  • Houston, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Points: 24

The University of Houston – Downtown is a regional institution with more than 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students. This school has been ranked #48 of 308 as being one of the Best Online Colleges in America, as well as #67 of 1,605 as one of the Best College Locations in America. The undergraduate Criminal Justice program offers two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree in criminal justice. UHD is located in the heart of criminal justice for Harris County and utilizes impactful learning experiences to prepare students to analyze issues with crime and justice, communicate effectively, and apply research methods to criminal justice problems. A minimum of 120 credits is required to complete the undergraduate degree programs.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,076
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
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9

Texas Christian University

  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Points: 23

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program from Texas Christian University has been ranked as the #1 program in Texas. The Master’s degree is online, cohort-based, and takes less than two years to complete. In addition, the graduate program has a Leadership, Executive and Administrative Development (LEAD) certification for law enforcement administrators. TCU also offers a Bachelor of Science with a focus on practical, evidence-based policy. Students are exposed to leadership development and are encouraged to work with faculty who are actively engaged in research with various local agencies and organizations. Courses are taught by PhD-level researchers as well as prominent members of federal, county, and local agencies/organizations.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $49,250
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
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10

Abilene Christian University

  • Abilene, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Points: 22

Abilene Christian University incorporates the Word of God into all of its courses and programs, including the Political Science and Criminal Justice program. Faculty teach topics that will strengthen the students’ knowledge of domestic and international topics through study abroad programs and on-campus classes. Some of the alumni from this institution include Ron Holifield (a government specialist), Len Wade (former 141st district court judge), and Lynn Kelly (attorney).

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $36,300
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
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11

Central Texas College

  • Killeen, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 15%
  • Points: 21

The campus of Central Texas College first opened its doors to students in 1967 with a total enrollment of just over 2,000 students. Today, this community college has more than 4,000 undergraduate students and a multitude of degree programs to choose from. Three Associate of Applied Science degrees are available in the Department of Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice with a Corrections Specialization, and Fire Service Administration. All three degrees require 60 credits and take a total of two years to complete.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $3,390
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
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12

Prairie View A&M University

  • Prairie View, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 36%
  • Points: 20

The diverse environment at Prairie View A&M University has made it a popular institutional choice among the African American population since the college was first established in 1876. The College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is designed to enhance the leadership, service, innovation, and service skills of the students. The program requires 42 credit hours to earn the degree.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $10,786
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
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13

Hardin-Simmons University

  • Abilene, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Points: 19

Hardin-Simmons University is a Christian-based institution that was founded by a Baptist minister by the name of James B. Simmons over 120 years ago. The Criminal Justice program is offered as a Bachelor’s degree or as a Minor and gives students the opportunity to participate in research-based projects. Some of the areas these programs focus on include forensic science, behavioral analysis, criminal psychopathology, and victimology.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $30,140
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
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14

East Texas Baptist University

  • Marshall, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Points: 18

Located in Marshall, East Texas Baptist University is a small university with less than 1,300 students enrolled. One of the programs offered is a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, which can be used as a career stepping stone for those who want a career in law enforcement or corrections. At least 120 total credit hours are required to graduate and students could choose between two specialization areas to add to their degree: Offender Rehabilitation and Law Enforcement.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $27,210
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
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15

Texas Southern University

  • Houston, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Points: 17

Texas Southern University is a public, mid-size institution that has approximately 6,503 undergraduate students enrolled in one of their over 100 programs. The Administration of Justice program prepares students to work in justice agencies by becoming educated on justice theories, statistics, and research methods. Law enforcement, security administration, parole and probation, corrections, and transportation security are all employment areas graduates will be able to work in.

School Overview

Annual In-State Tuition: $9,173
Student-of-Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
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How These Criminal Justice Colleges in Texas were Ranked

While all of these colleges are excellent and will fulfill the educational needs of those interested in a criminal justice career, we did rank them based on a point system. After making a list of the top criminal justice schools, we gave points to each one based on tuition and graduation, giving more to those with lower tuition costs and higher graduation rates. Once the points were given, we put the schools in order of the highest amount of points to lowest. 

This list should be just the place to start if you are still in need of the right college. If there is a school that should be listed or if there is information that needs to be corrected, please let us know. 

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