25 Online Criminal Justice Programs You Should Definitely Consider

With over 325 million people in the United States, there’s a great need to establish peace and order. This need is met by those who are willing to protect their country from the inside out, perhaps like you. Whether you want to be a CIA agent, a police officer, or an IRS criminal investigator, there’s a need for your drive and unique skills! The best thing is it’s not difficult to realize your dreams with an online Criminal Justice program. 

Though learning on a university campus is the tradition, in today’s world it’s not always the best option. Every year it gets easier to receive higher quality education online. Students seeking an online degree in Criminal Justice can expect it to be high-quality, flexible and affordable. Not only that, but the industry is growing!  

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for jobs that require a degree in Criminal Justice is going up. For example, the demand for forensic science technicians is projected to increase 27 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is significantly above average.

We know it’s not always simple finding the right program to take you from the beginning to graduation, so we’ve developed a list of the best online programs based on the factors most important to you!

Here are the top 25 Online Criminal Justice Programs

1. Pennsylvania State University – World Campus

Pennsylvania State University - World Campus Criminal Justice Program

Penn State’s World Campus is exclusively for students seeking an online education, and boasts nearly 18,000 students, making it the second largest “campus” in The Pennsylvania State University system. It’s implemented online education since 1998 and it’s grown to have more than 125 online degree and certificate programs. Its Criminal Justice program has been certified by The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), which certification underscores the high praise that this program receives for quality criminal justice instruction.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $13,516

2. Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University Criminal Justice Program

Sam Houston’s motto, “The Measure of a Life is its Service,” has echoed across its seven colleges for 137 years. This Texas university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degree programs, more than 50 graduate degree programs, 6 doctoral programs, and has been nationally recognized for its programs in Business, Fine Arts, Education, Mathematics, and Criminal Justice. Its Criminal Justice program not only belongs to its own college but is one of the largest and most prestigious in the country.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $16,978

3. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana Criminal Justice Program

Northwestern State University was founded in 1884 and offered only a 2-year degree for teachers. It grew over the years to offer a 4-year education degree in 1921 and continued to grow until it became Northwestern State University in 1970. It offers 39 online degrees and doesn’t charge its online-exclusive students any out of state fees. It has also been ranked as a Top Military Friendly University and one of the best online schools for veterans. Each spring, the Criminal Justice program sponsors a job fair where representatives from Criminal Justice agencies set up booths and interview students for possible employment.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $17,794

4. Indiana State University

Indiana State University Criminal Justice Program

Established in 1865, Indiana State University has been rated by Forbes as one of America’s top colleges for quality and value, and Washington Monthly has ranked ISU as No. 1 in the country for community service. It offers more than 60 online programs as well as 24-hour services to help students with course completion. In addition to your online Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, here you’ll receive a liberal arts education to help you have effective communication skills and critical thinking abilities so you can be a successful criminal justice professional.

  • Rating:100%
  • Tuition: $18,708

5. Florida International University

Florida International University Criminal Justice Program

The vision for Florida International University was born in 1969 from the air traffic control tower of an abandoned airfield. Now it is one of the largest universities in the country. Designated as a top-tier research institution, FIU is Miami’s first and only public research university and is ranked No. 1 in the nation for awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students. This year its online B.S. degree in Criminal Justice was ranked No. 3 in the nation according to BestColleges.com.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $18,954

6. Waldorf University

Waldorf University Criminal Justice Program

Waldorf University was founded in 1903 in beautiful Forest City, Iowa. It was born from the feud of two first-class hotels and was then transformed into a Christian college by Rev. C.S. Salveson. Its first online classes were introduced in 2010, with 80 percent of its students entering jobs, graduate schools or professional programs within seven months of graduation. At Waldorf, you can earn an A.A., B.A.S., B.S., or M.A. in Criminal Justice.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $20,884

7. University of Oklahoma – Norman Campus

University of Oklahoma - Norman Campus Criminal Justice Program

The University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890 in Norman, Oklahoma, and is located 20 minutes south of Oklahoma City. This public research university has been ranked as best in the nation in terms of academic excellence and student cost by The Princeton Review and is consistently ranked in the 100 Best College Buys by Institutional Research and Evaluation. Several topics in its Criminal Justice program include ethics, deviance and social control, drugs and society, and an introduction to forensic science.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $23,476

8. Washington State University

Washington State University Criminal Justice Program

Washington State University was founded in 1890 as Washington’s original land-grant university, and it boasts 22 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Its student-to-teacher ratio, which is approximately 15-to-1, and its $380 million of undergraduate financial aid and scholarships make this university hard to pass up. WSU’s criminal justice program was founded in 1943 and is the second oldest continuous criminal justice program in the nation.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $25,567

9. King University

King University Criminal Justice Program

King University was originally founded as King College in 1867 and is a Presbyterian-affiliated Christian academic community in Bristol, Tennessee. According to the school’s About page, the U.S. News & World Report has recognized King’s educational environment as “Best Regional University in the South for 30 consecutive years.” It has also been ranked by the Brookings Institution as third in Tennessee for preparing students for high-paying careers. Its Criminal Justice program is distinguished by its restorative justice concept or the concept of bringing victims and offenders together in an effort to repair relationships.

  • Rating: 100%
  • Tuition: $26,480

10. Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University Criminal Justice Program

Northern Arizona University was founded in 1899 and boasts more than 30,000 students. It’s ranked No. 4 in the United States as USA Today’s Best Small College Town. On top of its online degree programs, NAU also offers blended degrees, which permit students to complete part of their degree online and part of it in person on one of its more than 30 campuses across Arizona. NAU’s Criminal Justice degree offers two emphases: Criminal Justice Administration and Intelligence Studies.

  • Rating: 92%
  • Tuition: $23,348

11. California University of Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Program
Old Main 2012

Cal U has been located in California, Pennsylvania, just 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, for over 160 years. Since 2004 California University has been considered one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States by The Princeton Review. One thing that makes Cal U stand out is that more than 87 percent of its full-time faculty have a doctorate or other terminal degree. Its B.S. degree in Criminal Justice focuses on homeland and international security and offers a blend of courses in counter terrorism, cyber crimes, forensic science, and more.

  • Rating: 83%
  • Tuition: $14,069

12. University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida Criminal Justice Program

Founded in 1963 and located in Orlando, Florida, UCF is ranked as a best-value university by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s most affordable colleges by Forbes. Nearly 45 percent of UCF students graduate debt-free. This 1,400-acre university currently draws more than 64,000 students, and its fully online degree programs include bachelor and master degrees, as well as master certificates. Its B.A./B.S. in Criminal Justice offers a core course structure as well as a rich variety of upper-division electives to provide an excellent knowledge base in the field of Criminal Justice.

  • Rating: 83%
  • Tuition: $22,467

13. Iowa Central College

Iowa Central College Criminal Justice Program

Iowa Central College was founded in 1966 and offers a variety of distance-learning options, including FlexNet courses with few deadlines and lots of flexibility, 15-week online courses with weekly deadlines and forums, 8-week courses that enable students to complete an entire degree, and televised courses to students at a distant location. Some elective courses offered through its A.A.S. Criminal Justice program include Defensive Tactics, Terrorism Response, Juvenile Delinquency, and Medicolegal Death Investigation.

  • Rating: 82%
  • Tuition: $7,125

14. Herzing University

Herzing University Criminal Justice Program

Founded in 1965, Herzing University is a private, nonprofit institution that has more than 30 online degree or certificate opportunities as well as a large campus network where students can take classes on one of its 11 campuses. It also offers students the option of combining in-class and online learning. Herzing University has also been recognized as a Military Friendly University and has been ranked as one of the “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs” for the fifth consecutive year by US News & World Report. At Herzing, you can get a regular B.S. in Criminal Justice or you can emphasize in Homeland Security or Supervision and Management.

  • Rating: 82%
  • Tuition: $12,790 – $13,670

15. Saint Leo University Online

Saint Leo University Online Criminal Justice Program

Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 and is located just outside of Tampa, Florida. It has nearly 15,000 students located throughout the world and offers the same highly regarded degrees to its online students as it offers to on-campus students. Saint Leo is also ranked among the country’s most military-friendly institution by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazines. Some of the classes required in its Criminal Justice curriculum include Police Organization and Administration, Substantive Criminal Law, and Theories of Criminal Behavior.

  • Rating: 70%
  • Tuition: $20,830

16. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University Criminal Justice Program

SNHU was founded in 1932 and has over 80,000 online students. They have earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs. SNHU offers more than 200 career-focused online college degree programs and has online tutoring, an online library, and 24/7 tech support to help their busy students. Its Criminal Justice program offers six concentrations: Corrections, Criminology, Homeland Security & Counterterrorism, Human Services, Legal Studies & Advocacy, and Police Administrations & Operations.

  • Rating: 66%
  • Tuition: $11,520

17. Arizona State University

Arizona State University Criminal Justice Program

Arizona State University opened its doors in October of 1891 when 32 students enrolled, but only six were admitted to the freshman class. Now, it’s been ranked in the top 100 schools in World Reputation. UA Online’s 80+ programs have been ranked in the top 25 percent of online programs by U.S. News & World Report, and Forbes has ranked the UA as among the top school in the nation for return on investment. Its Criminal Justice program is ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

  • Rating: 66%
  • Tuition: $15,529 – $25,458

18. Capella University

Capella University Criminal Justice Program

Capella University is an accredited online university that was founded in 1993. It has two online learning opportunities: a set-your-schedule learning experience where students pay per quarter, or a more traditional approach with pre-set deadlines and forums. Its Criminal Justice program will help you gain the skills necessary to support your success—including conflict resolution, ethics, multicultural communication, and more. And with over $30 million available in scholarships, Capella University is an affordable option that will fit your life and your budget.

  • Rating: 64%
  • Tuition: $13,176

19. Liberty University

Liberty University Criminal Justice Program

Liberty University has been pioneering distance education since 1985. It offers more than 300 degrees and claims that 87 percent of their students receive financial assistance. Here you can transfer up to 75 percent of a degree you’ve already completed. Its student-to-professor ratio of 17-to-1 makes it an attractive option, as well as its support of military students and veterans. LU’s Criminal Justice degree has seven specializations including Business Administration & Management, Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Psychology, Homeland Security, Juvenile Justice, Public Administration, and Strategic Intelligence.

  • Rating: 60%
  • Tuition: $11,700

20. National University

National University Criminal Justice Program

National University was founded in 1971 and has since been striving to make lifelong learning opportunities accessible. It has more than 70 degree programs online and provides more master’s degrees in education to minority students than any other college or university in California. Furthermore, it annually ranks in the Top 10 nationally in granting master’s degrees to women. Its B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration is part of NU’s transition program which allows students to take several graduate level courses if they are interested in pursuing Criminal Justice on a higher level.

  • Rating: 60%
  • Tuition: $12,744

21. Regis University

Regis University Criminal Justice Program

Regis University was founded originally in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1877, and was moved to its present location in Denver, Colorado in 1887. It’s proud to be one of the 28 Jesuit colleges in the United States. It is consistently ranked as a Top Tier Western University by U.S. News & World Report. Regis students received more than $134 million in federal, state, and institutional financial aid in the 2015-2016 school year. Students can fast track a graduate degree in Criminology if they get a B.S. in Criminology from Regis as well. Two classes from the M.S. in Criminology program can be substituted for two upper division elective undergraduate courses.

  • Rating: 60%
  • Tuition: $33,710

22. Utica College

Utica College Criminal Justice Program

In 1946 Utica College was founded in the heart of New York. With its student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1, Utica offers the intimacy and high degree of personal attention associated with smaller private colleges. Nearly 85 percent of its professors earned a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field, and 94 percent of its students receive financial aid each year. Its Criminal Justice program has six specializations including criminal justice, cyber criminology and policy, homeland security, legal issues in criminal justice, public policy and leadership, and white-collar crime.

  • Rating: 60%
  • Tuition: $34,466

23. Baker College Online

Baker College Online Criminal Justice Program

Since 1911 Baker College has been preparing students for successful careers. It has grown to be one of the largest online colleges in the U.S., and its students are spread throughout the world, many of which are in the U.S. military. Its professors are located all over North America, which offers a broad, world-class perspective to Baker students. Furthermore, every Baker College student is offered free lifetime employment assistance after graduation. As part of Baker’s Criminal Justice program, you’ll take classes like 9-1-1 Telecommunications, Security Management, Cyber Crime Investigations, Evidence-Based Practices, and Abnormal Psychology.

  • Rating: 59%
  • Tuition: $8,640

24. South University Online

South University Online Criminal Justice Program

South University began as a small business college in 1899 in Savannah, Georgia and has since grown to a doctoral-level university with more than a dozen campuses around the United States. It welcomes all students who are seeking academic challenges and strives to instill in its students a philosophy that values learning, professionalism, and contribution and commitment to the advancement of the community. Possible topics to study in your electives at SU’s Criminal Justice program include white collar, organized, or cyber crime; crime mapping; homeland security; immigration; forensics and more.  

  • Rating: 58%
  • Tuition: $14,568

25. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University Criminal Justice Program

For more than 65 years GCU has been situated in the heart of Phoenix as Arizona’s premier private Christian university. It has been and hopes to continue to be the gateway to success for countless scholars and industry leaders. With tens of thousands of online students, GCU is constantly refining its digital platforms to deliver an outstanding campus experience to virtual settings. Although the B.S. of Justice Studies only has 12 core classes, be prepared to work because the classes are four credits each!

  • Rating: 58%
  • Tuition: $17,050

The Ranking Process

We know that finding the best school for your unique situation and interests can be a difficult task. That’s why we’ve evaluated thousands of school based on the factors most important to you. For more information about our evaluation and ranking system, as well as other lists that were ranked by the factors most important to you, see our methodology page.

If you are associated with a school on this list and would like to make edits or add additional information, or you would like to add your school’s program to our list, please feel free to contact us with additional information.