Society is fascinated with Criminal Justice. Movies, tv shows, and books about detectives, police officers, and Crime Scene Investigators have entertained and amazed audiences since before Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in 1887. But for those who are a part of online Criminal Justice Programs, it is more than just a source of interest or amusement, it is their day to day life. Criminal justice covers a wide array of interests and prepares graduates to pursue careers as forensic science technicians, police officers, private detectives, fish and game wardens, fraud investigators, immigration and customs enforcers and more.
Online Criminal Justice Programs provide non-traditional, distance, and working students with the resources, convenience, and flexibility that they need to graduate with a degree in criminal justice and transfer into the career. Online learning becomes more popular and practical every day, making it not only possible but easy to achieve a degree regardless of your circumstance.
To help you find the best fit for your unique situation, we have put together a list of the 25 best online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Programs in the country. Each program offers something unique and personal, and each one provides the education needed to unlock your inner sleuth.
Here Are The 25 Best Online Criminal Justice Programs
#1 Pennsylvania State University (PSU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $550
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- What Sets It Apart: In Field Internship
Courses at PSU’s online, Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice program are typically 12 to 15 weeks long and are designed for students with or without a background in criminology. The degree also allows for the option of an 18 credit minor in homeland security. Students will finish the course with an in field internship and a capstone class where they explore past, present, and future criminal justice developments. Those with previous law enforcement training or can earn up to 7.5 credits for their experience.
#2 Arizona State University (ASU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $633
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- What Sets It Apart: Research Emphasis
ASU’s Criminal Justice degree focuses heavily on research and analysis, creating students who are well versed in the impact of crime, law enforcement and court systems, and correctional facilities. Students participate in internships, self-directed study, and an honors thesis during their time at Arizona, which provides 7.5-week terms and an optional fast track program. ASU accepts up to 64 community college credits and Arizona transfer students with a minimum GPA of 2.0 are guaranteed admission. To provide efficiency and convenience to their online students, Arizona offers several start dates throughout the year and also partners with Google to offer access to additional educational aids.
#3 University of Central Florida (UCF)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $105
- Graduation Rate: 65%
- What Sets It Apart: BS or BA Options
UCF’s Online Criminal Justice Program can be completed as either a Bachelors of Science or a Bachelors of Arts, depending on the preference of the student. Online classes are designed by their individual instructors, which allows for variation between asynchronous and non-asynchronous classes. Students are encouraged but not required to participate in an internship, which can take the place of an upper-level course. Students who wish to transfer from another institution must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 at their last school and up to 12 hours of criminal justice related coursework will be accepted. Unfortunately, because of state regulations, UCF is not able to accommodate distance learning for those in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, or Oregon.
#4 Florida International University (FIU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $329
- Graduation Rate: 49%
- What Sets It Apart: Demo Course
Every online student at FIU is matched with a virtual success coach to help and guide them through their online education. This aid, as well as 24/7 access to tech support and various tutoring service and academic coaches, provide a huge support to distance learners, particularly those that are newly returning to school. Students at FIU also have the ability to join the FIU Honors College, a group that practices problem-solving, communication and analysis skills and allows them access to scholarships, study abroad and research opportunities, jobs, and internships. To graduate from the honors program, students must complete 12 credits of honors coursework. Students who may be hesitant to apply also have the ability to take a demo course, to see what an online experience at FIU would be like before enrolling. Enrollment is open to students in the fall, spring or summer.
#5 University of Massachusetts (UMass)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $375
- Graduation Rate: 54%
- What Sets It Apart: Rolling Admissions
Known as one of the country’s top research universities, UMass offers its Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice entirely online. Students in the program also have the option of minoring in business, economics, English, history, political science, or psychology. For those that wish to pursue an MA, UMass uniquely offers an accelerated joint degree program, allowing students to apply some graduate courses toward both degrees. Students at UMass are accepted on a rolling basis, providing the opportunity for students to apply at almost any time. Prospective students under 21 who have fewer than 12 college credits must submit their SAT or ACT scores in order to be considered. UMass is unfortunately unable due to state requirements, to provide distance learning to residents of Arkansas, Kansas, or Minnesota.
#6 University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $417
- Graduation Rate: 56%
- What Sets It Apart: Variety in Degree Options
UNK stands apart from its competitors by offering multiple online criminal justice programs, providing learners with the freedom to pursue their genuine interests. UNK’s degrees, however, are designed for degree completion for individuals who have already finished the majority of their general education or who already have an Associate’s Degree. UNK’s programs are offered entirely online and are instructor lead with specific start and end dates. All options conclude with a capstone class and intensive field internship. Applicants must earn a minimum ACT score of 20, an SAT score of 1030, or be ranked in the top 50th percentile of an accredited high school to be considered. UNK also accepts up to 66 transfer credits.
#7 Concordia University Saint Paul
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $420
- Graduation Rate: 47%
- What Sets It Apart: Cohort Learning
Concordia University in Saint Paul is a private, Lutheran based institution. It varies from others schools by enrolling students of its Criminal Justice degree in a cohort learning program. This program groups students together at the beginning of their studies, who remain together until graduation, regularly working and communicating together. Students who complete their Associate’s degree at one of Concordia’s partner institutions will receive a $2,000 scholarship to Concordia and are guaranteed a seamless credit transfer. According to their records, 92% of students who graduated with an online degree in Criminal Justice received an employment offer by the time of graduation.
#8 University of Oklahoma (UO)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $806
- Graduation Rate: 66%
- What Sets It Apart: Accelerated Format
Coursework in UO’s online Criminal Justice program is taught in an accelerated format, allowing students to potentially take up to 18 credits a semester. All classes are taught exclusively online and a rolling calendar allowing students to take courses with separate start dates. UO prides itself on innovation and seeks to offer its students as many options as possible to aid in their degree including free software, iPad integration, digital textbooks, and on campus space designed for meetings and peer collaborations. Students in the program finish with 192 hours of field work.
#9 University of Colorado (CU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $968
- Graduation Rate: 45%
- What Sets It Apart: Joint Degree Program
CU’s Criminal Justice Program allows students to fulfill their coursework either entirely online or through a combination of on campus and off campus learning, providing flexibility and convenience. Discount tuition rates can also be obtained for non-Colorado residents who are enrolled online. CU stands apart by offering a generous bachelor-master joint degree program, allowing 15 credits to be applied to both degrees and making it possible to complete a Master’s degree in criminal justice with only one more year of study.
#10 University of Wisconsin (UW)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $310
- Graduation Rate: 53%
- What Sets It Apart: Affordability
Offered entirely online, UW’S online BS in Criminal Justice recognized and accommodates for the busy lifestyle of working adults providing flexibility and speed. Students have the opportunity to complete their degree in their own time in as little as two years. In addition to its flexibility and quick pace, UW perhaps stands most apart in its price. Offering students $310 per credit it hour tuition cost.
#11 Florida State University (FSU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $315
- Graduation Rate: 75%
- What Sets It Apart: Degree Completion Program
Designed for students who have already earned an Associate’s Degree, FSU’s online program allows students to complete their Criminal Justice Degree with the choice of a minor, an onsite internship, or a specialization in criminology. Designed for those with limited availability, FSU makes it a priority to give students flexibility and ease in their studies. Potential applicants to the program must complete their Associate’s Degree in Florida or meet the FSU Liberal Studies requirements and complete an oral competency exam. An ACT or SAT score must also be submitted. Start dates for students are in the fall, spring or winter and students may transfer up to nine credits from a previous institution.
#12 University of Memphis (U of M)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $480
- Graduation Rate: 40%
- What Sets It Apart: Emphasis on Community Relationship
U of M sets itself apart with its strong emphasis and ties to the community. This focus not only ensures that U of M will provide students with internships from local and national law enforcement, providing them with quality first-hand experience in the field, but also that it seeks to provide students with skills needed to develop and maintain lasting relationships with the community around them, a skill they consider to be vital for someone in the field of criminal justice. With as student to faculty ration of 15:1, students will receive the attention they need, whether they decide to pursue their degree entirely online or with a combination of on and off campus work.
#13 University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $500
- Graduation Rate: 84%
- What Sets It Apart: Taught By Local Authorities
Students at UMUC are able to complete their degree entirely online or participate in selective hybrid classes. These hybrid courses meet once a week, allowing students to do most of their work away from campus but still occasionally participate in the benefits of in class instruction and aid. Courses in the program are taught and developed by local law enforcement and pride themselves on their combination of theoretical, practical and real world learning. Students after completing the program will be prepared to move into a command position in local law enforcement or pursue federal law enforcement.
#14 Portland State University (PSU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $524
- Graduation Rate: 42%
- What Sets It Apart: Variety of Programs
With advanced certificate options in criminology, criminal behavior, and crime analysis, PSU’s online Criminal Justice degree truly allows a student the ability and freedom to tailor their education. Rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s top 10 most innovative universities, Portland does all that it can to make learning convenient and personal. PSU prides itself on its innovation and creative thinking skills. It’s Criminal Justice degree can be completed in just two years.
# 15 Washington State University (WSU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $569
- Graduation Rate: 66%
- What Sets It Apart: Longevity
WSU boasts being the second oldest criminal justice program in the nation, founded in 1943, and it’s longevity has served it well. With awards and prestige all throughout the nation, WSU recently boasted on their criminal justice website being rated #1 in the nation. Washington also established the founding chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma, a Criminal Justice Honor Society. Washington State University’s Online criminal justice program is offered entirely online and combines research with real world experience to prepare graduates for state, federal and private law enforcement.
#16 Ohio University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $243
- Ohio University: 67%
- What Sets It Apart: Designed For Those With Criminal Justice Experience
Ohio University’s Bachelor of Criminal Justice program is a degree completion course, designed for students who have already completed an associate’s degree in criminal justice or a similar field, and are looking to further their education and advance their career. Students will focus on criminal behavior theories and research, police decision-making processes, punishment, and the workings of the criminal justice system. Ohio also provides its students with a low 18:1 student to faculty ratio.
#17 University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $244
- Graduation Rate: 33%
- What Sets It Apart: Wilderness Emphasis
UAF provides its students with not only an education in Criminal Justice but emphasizes law enforcement in its unique environment. Courses in this degree include law enforcement in rural Alaska, Alaskan language and culture, and rural justice in Alaska. These courses examine the anthropology, language, cultural and societal qualities of Alaska and their unique influence on criminal justice. Particularly between potential issues arising from western justice systems and native communities. The harsh weather conditions of the area are also taken into consideration, such as the difficulty in enacting procedure in an area with little to no roads. With an astounding student to faculty ration of 11:1, students are sure to receive individual attention.
#18 University of Florida (UF)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $258
- Graduation Rate: 87%
- What Sets It Apart: Criminology Degree
UF’s online degree is technically a Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminology, but it still prepares graduates to work in fields such as Federal Investigations, Corrections, Probation or Police Officer, and similar positions. UF’s degree in Criminology emphasizes understanding crime and the role it plays in society. This unique focus provides students with sociology and psychology rich perspective not necessarily obtained in a study of simply Criminal Justice. UF also boasts an abnormally high graduation rate of 87%.
#19 Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $265
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- What Sets It Apart: Two Track System
Students in SEMO’s Criminal Justice Online Bachelor’s Degree have the option of two tracks to participate in. The Academic/University track provides students with a well-rounded education in the criminal justice field and utilizes theory, technique and application practices. The Law Enforcement Academy track provides the basic training needed for individuals pursuing a degree in law enforcement.
#20 California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $270
- Graduation Rate: 45%
- What Sets It Apart: Affordability
In order to qualify for CSUBS’s Online Bachelor’s Degree Program, the prospective student must be a transfer student from a California community college. While this does limit to a degree those who can apply, for students and residents of California, it is a fantastic opportunity. Rated as one of the top online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice by the Best Degrees Program and Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice by the Center for Online Education, CSUBS offers students a quality education at a very affordable tuition price.
#21 University of Missouri at St Louis (UMSL)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $911
- Graduation Rate: 44%
- What Set It Apart: Law Emphasis
UMSL’s degree in criminal justice gives students an education in the fields of criminology, social science, law, public administration, and corrections. It is also tailored toward students seeking to attend law school. Students are able to complete their degree entirely online and will be prepared for a wide scope of potential careers. UMSL was rated #4 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report.
#22 University of Cincinnati (UC)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $389
- Graduation Rate: 59%
- What Sets It Apart: Sociology and Psychology Focus
UC’s online Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice is offered entirely online and emphasizes study in the fields of sociology, criminology, psychology, and law. While not required, students are strongly encouraged to participate in service learning projects and to involve themselves in community-based research and study, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of their studies and to strengthen their sense of civic responsibility.
#23 University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $400
- Graduation Rate: 40%
- What Sets It Apart: Emphasis on Courts and Corrections
ULM’s online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Degree gives its students a hands on and in depth knowledge of criminal justice. It focuses primarily on the law enforcement system and coursework emphasizes knowledge of the police force, the court system, and corrections. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared for careers in fields such as forensic science technicians, police officers, private detectives, fish and game wardens, fraud investigators, and immigration and customs enforcers.
#24 Virginia College
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $400
- Graduation Rate: Unlisted
- What Sets It Apart: Wide Scope
A Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice is designed to provide students with a wide array of knowledge and experiences. The program covers concepts such as law enforcement, criminal law, corrections, court systems, and private security. Students upon graduation will be prepared to enter a large range of careers within the realm of criminal justice. Coursework also emphasizes computer and technical knowledge and skills needed for the modern justice system.
#25 University of North Carolina Pembroke (UNCP)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $380
- Graduation Rate: 90%
- What Sets It Apart: Emphasis on Applied Learning
UNCP’s department of Sociology and Criminal Justice strongly emphasize stimulating students with both real life and in classroom experiences. As a result, students in the online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Program will be provided with experiences designed to stimulate critical analysis in diverse social settings and real world situations. Faculty at North Carolina come from a variety of backgrounds in the criminal justice field, providing students with a broad array of perspectives.
We know that finding the best school to fit your unique needs can be a huge challenge. For that reason, we work hard to develop lists of the best schools based on the characteristics most important for you. Whether that be cost of attendance, student success, resources available, flexibility of schedule, or any other number of important factors, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our ranking process and to find lists of schools based on specific characteristics, check out our methodology page.
While every effort has been made to ensure up to date and accurate information, we invite any school listed to contact us for edits or to add or update their school’s information. We also invite schools not included on our list to contact us with information about their university. We are always seeking to provide the best and most useful information.