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Minnesota Criminal Justice Schools

  • 29 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Minnesota are in our database (see below).
  • Of the criminal justice programs in Minnesota, 21 offer associate’s degrees or certificates, 14 offer bachelor’s degrees and above, and 5 offer master’s or doctoral degrees.
  • 3 schools offering online criminal justice degrees in Minnesota ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: University of Minnesota-Crookston (#63), Concordia University-St. Paul (#79), Bemidji State University (#187).
  • 1 school in Minnesota is on Kiplinger’s Best College Values: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (#25 in-state, #4 out-of-state).


Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Minnesota

University of Minnesota: The Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus offers undergraduate specializations in Law, Criminology, and Deviance with a BA or BS in Sociology. The department has four research centers where students and faculty engage in collaborative projects, the Life Course Center, Flexible Work and Well-Being Center, Minnesota Population Center, and the Teaching Resources Center. There are also numerous department-led projects including the Youth Development Study (YDS), an ongoing effort to examine the components of the adolescence to adulthood transition. There are approximately 30 full-time faculty and those who teach the Law, Criminology, and Deviance courses specialize in juvenile justice, family, labor and unionization, and environmental justice.

University of Minnesota, Crookston: The Criminal Justice Department at University of Minnesota, Crookston offers two tracks for their Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, Corrections or Law Enforcement. The Criminal Justice BS prepares students with the skills and understanding of law enforcement needed to begin a career in this field, with a concentration in either law enforcement or corrections. This program is certified by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST), which qualifies graduates to apply for licensure as Minnesota police officers. The university also offers a minor in Criminal Justice and a BS in Law Enforcement Aviation, a unique program that trains students to become law enforcement pilots for local, state, and federal agencies that is also POST-certified. An internship program for future law enforcement pilots is available. Those interested in criminal justice with a focus on natural resources may be interested in the school’s BS in Natural Resources Law Enforcement, a POST-certified program that equips students to enter careers as law enforcement officers protecting the country’s natural resources in accordance with the law.

Minnesota State University: Minnesota State University has the Department of Sociology and Corrections, which offers the only Bachelor of Science in Corrections in the state in addition to master’s and certificate programs. The department offers the JOLT (Joint Opportunity to Learn to Thrive) program, a course dedicated to students who wish to work in juvenile probation. Corrections majors are required to complete 450 internship hours to graduate and can do so within state agencies, correctional institutions, and victim services. The 19 full-time faculty are experts in corrections and related focuses such as juvenile delinquency, correctional law, and social organization. The school’s Master of Science in Sociology: Corrections has been designed for individuals that want to pursue leadership and management positions in state, federal, or private institutions.

Minnesota Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers 4,740 $47,820
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 2,060 $83,540
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 1,190 $73,600
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 8,790 $59,310

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4,5,6,7

Police Quote: “To be successful in this career you need to conduct a self-assessment on a daily bases. You must constantly prepare yourself for tough decisions by playing different scenarios in your head and asking yourself the ‘What if’ questions. What would you do or how would you act if you were placed in that situation. Of course you can never pre-plan for everything you may encounter in your career, but if you do this, you will be far better prepared when faced with ethical dilemmas.” -Chief Fred W. Hayes

Minnesota Criminal Justice Degrees

Minnesota is an ideal choice for those interested in criminal justice education and careers. The University of Minnesota administers a full range of degree programs for those who like to live and dream big. Schools like Hamline University and Macalester College also offer excellent criminal justice programs in more intimate settings. A growing number of schools are offering the option of earning a criminal justice degree online.

Salaries for criminal justice jobs are competitive and offer great benefits. The average annual salary for protective service occupations, which includes police officers, in Minnesota was $46,750 as of May 2015, while police first-line supervisors earned an average of $2,060.5,8 Many criminal justice jobs have a positive outlook as the population grows and security continues to be critical for businesses and governments. Many good job opportunities can be found in the paralegal field, homeland security, and cybersecurity.

With job opportunities in both the private and public sector, a criminal justice education is excellent preparation for an exciting career. Federal budget allocations for homeland security operations have created a wealth of career prospects for those with the specialized training to perform them. Not all positions require a four-year degree; ATF agents are one example. CSI jobs generally are awarded to police officers who attend the kind of special instruction offered in criminal justice programs, especially those who obtain a degree in a specialty like forensic science.

Minnesota’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

As of May 2016 Minnesota had an unemployment rate of 3.8%, the lowest statewide rate seen in the past ten years and below the national average of 4.7%.9 The state experienced peak unemployment in January 2010, with a rate of 8.5%.9 Government employment is a good proxy for criminal justice jobs in Minnesota. Projections Central estimates the following criminal justice job openings in Minnesota through 2024:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 370 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.10,11
  • Correctional Officers: 140 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.10,12
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 30 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.10,13
  • Security Guards: 190 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.10,14
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 150 annual openings; 86% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 30% holding an associate’s degree and 44% holding a bachelor’s degree.10,15
  • Forensic Science Technicians: 10 annual openings; a bachelor’s degree is typically required for these positions.10

These positions are a result of growth and replacement.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, rated and analyzed each state’s long-term solvency. They looked at the budgeting, cash/tax collection, and pensions for the state, and ranked Minnesota 26th in the nation.16 This means that it is likely the state will be able to fulfill its pension obligations.

Online and Minnesota Criminal Justice Schools

If you live in Minnesota, we recommend the following accredited campus-based and online criminal justice programs for students interested in pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in the growing field of criminal justice.

Searching for Schools...

Tip: If you don’t live near a campus-based school that offers a program of interest, consider an online degree or a university in an adjacent state (Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, or North Dakota).


Student Review: “I attend the University of Phoenix online. It has been a great experience so far. Everyone has been so helpful with helping me to understand how the whole college process works. My enrollment and academic advisers’ always call to make sure I am understanding everything in my classes. My facilitators have been very nice. I believe they genuinely want me to succeed, which they should. In the traditional school setting, the teachers sometimes gave off the vibe that they did not care if I succeeded or not. That is why I am thankful that I made the decision to go back to school at the University of Phoenix. I do not have any negative things to say about the school. They have done a very good job making sure that I feel welcome.” -Vanessa P., student at University of Phoenix
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Student Review: “Herzing University Online has been a fairly good experience for me. Herzing University is a nationwide school, with campuses in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Florida, as well as online. It has been widely known for it’s electronics and technology degrees, but has recently entered into the disciplines of healthcare, business, design, and public safety. I am currently studying software development. I love having the ability to do my work at my own pace, at a time of my choosing. I also like participating in online discussions with my classmates. Many of the courses I have taken have been quite rigorous, requiring many hours of reading, projects, homework, and research. If I could change anything about this college it would be adding an online mobile applications development course. I also would have more options for programming languages and give students the opportunity for independent study in a programming language of their choosing.” -Sarah S., student at Herzing University
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Directory of Minnesota Universities Offering Criminal Justice Degrees

Alexandria Technical College (Alexandria)
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Law Enforcement Skills
Diploma | Law Enforcement Career Transition
Diploma | Law Enforcement Career Transition (online program)

Bemidji State University (Bemidji)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Victimology
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Tribal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Chemical Dependency
Minor | Criminalistics
Minor | Fraud Examination
Certificate | Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Central Lakes College-Brainerd (Brainerd)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Natural Resources Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminalistics
Certificate | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Law Enforcement Skills

Student Review: “The criminal justice program at Central Lakes College in central Minnesota was a great program. Many of the teachers had life long careers in the field so they were experienced and could provide so much more information beyond coursework. They encouraged students to get involved volunteering at local activities to gain experience and to join groups that got us involved in the community. This gave us the opportunities to make connections to assist us in starting a career when graduated. The program had diverse concentrations allowing you to follow multiple career paths whether it was to become a police officer, corrections, crime scene photographer, forensics, and more. Overall it was a great program that I would highly recommend to anyone looking into criminal justice programs.” -Student at Central Lakes College
stars-5

Concordia University St. Paul (Saint Paul)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Arts | Criminal Justice Leadership
Master of Business Administration | Cybersecurity
Minor | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Cybersecurity: Risk Management

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (Cloquet)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Geospatial Technologies
Associate of Applied Science | Human Services
Associate of Science | Corrections
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Geospatial Technologies
Certificate | Law Enforcement Skills

Student Review: “While the professors at the school are very knowledgeable in their fields and the classes are small, there is a definite cause for improvement. Granted, the education I received seems equal or better to that of the local community college or state university but I had issues. The Blackboard online software is somewhat glitchy and some of the tools available are not always functioning completely up to par. Also, my biggest issue with this school is that the credits do not transfer. Not one. Not to any accredited school in the state. Not only that but my current bachelor’s degree is not recognized by any of the other accredited schools in the state. Globe University is not accredited by the state college accrediting system, they are accredited by an independent accrediting body, so the credits are only good at other schools of the same accreditation. At over $500 per credit, that is a steep penalty choosing Globe.” -Jacquelyn L., student at Globe University

Hamline University (Saint Paul)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Social Justice
Masters Degree | Study of Law
Masters Degree | Study of Law (online program)
Minor | Conflict Studies
Minor | Forensic Science
Minor | Criminology and Criminal Justice
Minor | Social Justice
Certificate | Conflict Studies
Certificate | Forensic Science
Certificate | Bullying Prevention
Certificate | Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Corrections Administration (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Public Safety Leadership
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Public Sector Conflict Resolution

Hibbing Community College (Hibbing)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement 31B Military Police
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Diploma | Law Enforcement Professional Peace Officer Education
Diploma | Law Enforcement Skills Program

Inver Hills Community College (Inver Grove Heights)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Corrections
Certificate | Pre-Law Enforcement Skills

Leech Lake Tribal College (Cass Lake)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement

Metropolitan State University (Saint Paul)
Bachelor of Science | Alcohol & Drug Counseling
Bachelor of Applied Science | Computer Forensics
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Law Enforcement
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Certificate | Law Enforcement Licensing

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (Minneapolis)
Associate of Applied Science | Computer Forensics
Associate of Applied Science | Homeland Security Specialist
Associate of Science | Addiction Counseling
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Basic Certificate | Homeland Security
Certificate | Homeland Security Emergency Management
Certificate | Homeland Security Planning Certificate
Diploma | Addiction Counseling

Student Review: “Minneapolis Community and Technical College is a great value for the money, especially compared with any local state universities. They have several good programs for matriculation into 4 year degrees, as well as many different 2 year associates and technical programs. I found the teachers to be relatively accessible, and there were many online courses available which added to the convenience. Many of the summer courses are ideal for students to take who may be home visiting to expedite the acquisition of cheaper and quicker credits. Overall, some of the educators may be a bit hard to communicate with, particularly with the online coursework, but I’ve found that they are generally pretty accessible and pleasant to deal with. I would definitely recommend the school for people who are unsure what degree they may wish to pursue, are returning to school after a long hiatus, or need more flexibility in the timing of classes or the pursuit of their degree, particularly with the online coursework.” -Patrick H., student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College
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Minnesota State Community and Technical College (Fergus Falls)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Arts | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Correctional Officer

Minnesota State University-Mankato (Mankato)
Bachelor of Arts | Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Arts | Law Enforcement: Pre-Professional
Bachelor of Science | Alcohol & Drug Studies
Bachelor of Science | Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Law Enforcement:Pre-Professional
Master of Science | Sociology: Corrections
Master of Science | Sociology: Human Services Planning and Administration
Minor | Alcohol & Drug Studies
Minor | Corrections
Minor | Law Enforcement
Minor | Military Science/ Army ROTC
Minor | Social Welfare
Certificate | Law Enforcement Management

Student Review “Minnesota State University Mankato is a wonderful location for any sort of degree. The surrounding area is very welcoming for students. A plethora of jobs, off-campus housing, and city life are very close to campus. Living on campus is fantastic, with fast internet connection and stupendous meal halls. The teachers and academic advisers are very helpful towards whatever problems students might have and the campus hub is very welcoming and able to help with whatever problems students might have. MSU Mankato is a very well rounded school.” -Skyler J., student at Minnesota State University-Mankato
stars-5

Minnesota State University-Moorhead (Moorhead)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Political Science
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Psychology
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Sociology
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement Track
Minor | Juvenile Justice

Minnesota West Community and Technical College (Granite Falls)
Associate of Applied Science | Information Security Administration
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Arts | Law Enforcement: Corrections
Certificate | Information Security Administration
Certificate | Law Enforcement Skills

Normandale Community College (Bloomington)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Law Enforcement

North Central University (Minneapolis)
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Law Enforcement
Minor | Alcohol & Drug Counseling
Certificate | Alcohol & Drug Counseling
Program | Army/ Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)

North Hennepin Community College (Brooklyn Park)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement

Northland Community and Technical College (Thief River Falls)
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Applied Science | Geospatial Intelligence Analysis
Certificate | Law Enforcement
Diploma | Law Enforcement

Student Review “I found that most of the teachers that I had were helpful and genuinely seemed like they wanted us to succeed. Most of the classes were relative to my degree, but I also felt like they could definitely improve some of their courses. The school was a little more expensive than the community schools, which I disliked. I really wished they would have had a skills type program to really teach us the fundamentals about being in law enforcement. Overall, I found Rasmussen to be just okay.” – student at Rasmussen College, Mankato
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Ridgewater College (Willmar)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement (online program)
Associate of Arts | Law Enforcement
Associate of Arts | Law Enforcement (online program)
Associate of Arts | Corrections

Riverland Community College (Austin)
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement: Non-MN POST
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Diploma | Criminal Justice: Corrections

Rochester Community & Technical College (Rochester)
Associate of Applied Science | Law Enforcement
Associate of Science | Criminal Justice
Associate of Science | Law Enforcement
Certificate | Law Enforcement

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (Winona)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Police Science
Master of Science | Geographic Information Science
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Geographic Information Science
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Addiction Studies
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Emotional Behavioral Disorders
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Geographic Information Science

Southwest Minnesota State University (Marshall)
Bachelor of Applied Science | Law Enforcement Administration
Bachelor of Science | Justice Administration
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Social Welfare

St. Cloud State University (Saint Cloud)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (online program)
Master of Science | Social Responsibility
Master of Science | Applied Behavior Analysis
Master of Science | Applied Behavior Analysis (online program)
Master of Science | Rehabilitation and Addiction Counseling
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Forensic Science
Minor | Geographic Information Science
Minor | Military Science
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Addictions
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Addictions (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Geographic Information Science
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Emotional/ Behavioral Disorders
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Chemical Dependency Specialist
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Chemical Dependency Specialist (online program)
Post-Baccalaureate Program | Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Post-Baccalaureate Program | Assistant Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Student Review “St. Cloud State was an amazing experience. I feel that the professors will helpful and if I needed help I felt that they were there and I could approach them. I loved that the school was big but yet I got the individual treatment. My class sizes were small and very well taught. Everything that I did was for a reason and was used wisely. Other positives include campus activities, good price, great food, and an overall great atmosphere. I am very happy with my school choice and would recommend it to anyone.” -Daniel K., student at St. Cloud State University
stars-5

University of Minnesota-Crookston (Crookston)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Natural Resources Law Enforcement
Minor | Criminal Justice

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Twin Cities)
Bachelor of Science | Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance
Bachelor of Arts | Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance
Master of Science | Security Technologies

University of St. Thomas-Minnesota (Saint Paul)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Law Enforcement

Student Review: “St. Thomas is the largest private school in Minnesota, at 6,000 students. Coming from a large high school it seemed a bit bigger, but not overwhelmingly large the way the U of M or similar schools sometimes are. Nearly all the professors are friendly and helpful, and all of them knew my name and had specific things to say to help me if I went in for office hours. The overall atmosphere of the school is also fun, and I’ve made a lot of friends there. However, for students who don’t get involved and look down upon partying and drinking, weekends might be kind of dull, and it may be harder for them to meet new people, since a large amount of student interaction involves joining clubs or sports teams and often going to parties hosted by those groups. Since the addition of the new student center, the food has improved substantially, and there are a lot more options than there used to be, which is especially nice for those who live on campus.” -Max H., student at University of St. Thomas-Minnesota
stars-5

Vermilion Community College (Ely)
Bachelor of Science | Information Security
Bachelor Degree | Criminal Justice
Bachelor Degree | Geographic Information Systems
Bachelor Degree | Peace and Justice Studies
Bachelor Degree | Peace and Justice Studies: Leadership for Social Justice
Bachelor Degree | Peace and Justice Studies: Conflict Transformation
Bachelor Degree | Peace and Justice Studies: Public Policy Analysis and Advocacy
Minor | Criminal Justice
Minor | Geographic Information Systems
Minor | Information and Decision Theory
Minor | Social Welfare
Minor | Social Services Management
Minor | Chemical Dependency: Addiction and Recovery
Minor | Peace and Justice Studies

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report, Best Online Programs: http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
3. Kiplinger’s Best College Values: http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Correctional Officers and Jailers http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes331012.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Protective Service Occupations (Major Group): http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes330000.htm
9. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://http://ycharts.com/indicators/minnesota_unemployment_rate
10. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
11. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
12. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
13. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
14. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
15. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
16. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings