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Guide to Earning an Online Criminal Justice Degree

There are hundreds of criminal justice degree programs in the US. A growing number of schools are offering online options that allow distance learners to earn the same degree as on-campus students. In addition to general criminal justice concentrations, online options also include degrees specializing in such diverse fields as police science, counterterrorism, homeland security, computer forensics, and arson investigations. Since a bachelor’s degree is becoming a common requirement for many criminal justice careers, an online undergraduate program can be excellent preparation for many career paths. This page is designed to help you determine if online learning is a fit for your skills and professional goals and help you find the right program to launch your career in criminal justice.

Table of Contents

On-Campus vs. Online Criminal Justice Degrees: Differences and Benefits
Differences between On-Campus and Online Criminal Justice Programs
Benefits of Studying Criminal Justice Online
Advice for Evaluating Online Bachelor’s Programs
Top Schools with Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs
Profiles of Top Criminal Justice Schools with Online Programs
Frequently Asked Questions

On-Campus vs. Online Criminal Justice Degrees: Differences and Benefits

Differences between On-Campus and Online Criminal Justice Programs

The ability to review or re-review recorded lectures at times convenient to you is a perk of online programs that is not often found in traditional on-campus courses. However, in order to succeed in an online course you must be motivated and follow a schedule that allows you to participate in your virtual class while meeting assignment due dates as designated by the instructor. Since regular reminders about due dates and requirements in an online class tend to be less frequent than in a traditional classroom, this also requires strong organizational skills.

While there are many specialization options in criminal justice, not all online programs offer the same specializations and majors as their on-campus counterparts. This is particularly likely to be true in specializations that require hands-on work, like forensics. However, many students choose to earn a bachelor’s degree online in a related major before taking an on-campus certification course or even pursuing a master’s degree. The combination that works for you will depend on your career goals and your plans for further higher education.

Additionally, while online courses offer a variety of ways to interact with your professors and peers, this interaction will take place either mostly or entirely in a virtual environment — meaning you also must have a personal computer with up-to-date hardware and software, as well as reliable internet access. While this helps develop technical and communication skills that are highly valued by employers, fully online learning might not be the best fit for those who learn best with face-to-face interaction and hands-on demonstration. However, if you need the flexibility of an online program as well as some hands-on experience, a hybrid online degree can be a fitting alternative.

Benefits of Studying Criminal Justice Online

Earning your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online can offer a number of benefits aside from the potential for career advancement. For example, many schools offer in-state tuition or tuition discounts to students living out-of-state who study fully online — plus, studying at an out-of-state school online means that you don’t have to relocate to attend the program that best fits your needs.

CJDS Quote: I think law enforcement is moving more and more towards science, using forensics and computers to close cases. I can’t imagine having to work in a field like that without a college degree; I think a solid grasp of the basics of biology, computer science, and even the skill of writing are all crucial. Juries, for example, expect their witnesses to have a high degree of formal education, so from my perspective, I’m always encouraged when a witness has a few credentials to their name. –Mark Pryor, Assistant District Attorney and Author

Distance learning programs can offer flexibility for those who are working part-time or even full-time during the school year. Courses in an online program are frequently offered in an asynchronous format, meaning that students can attend “class” via pre-recorded webinars or lectures at any time during the week. While asynchronous courses still have due dates for assignments just like a traditional, on-campus class, the increased ability for online students to schedule around work and other commitments does have its perks.

Online programs may include accelerated class schedules, which can reduce the time it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree compared to traditional on-campus study. Many online programs offer courses in eight-week formats that carry the same number of credits as traditional, semester-based courses. Online programs also typically provide summer courses that can further accelerate your degree progress. If you have already earned college credits or even an associate’s degree from another accredited institution, many online programs have generous transfer credit policies that can allow your previously earned credits to count towards your bachelor’s degree.

Advice for Evaluating Online Bachelor’s Programs

Whether you are looking at on-campus programs, online programs, or a mixture of both, accreditation is critical to consider. There are two major types of accreditation, national and regional. National accreditation is typically awarded by independent organizations that specialize in a specific field, such as fire science or forensic psychology. These organizations may evaluate and award recognition to specific types of programs based on educational criteria specific to that field. Regional accreditation is awarded by one of six regional accreditors recognized by the US Department of Education. Regional accreditation is important because it is required in order for students at a school to qualify for federal financial aid, including federally-backed student loans. Regional accreditation is also a factor in the transferability of credits between institutions should you choose to change schools, or later decide to pursue specialty certification or advanced education, such as a postgraduate certificate or master’s degree.

When evaluating programs for earning your bachelor’s degree it’s a good idea to look at a number of programs in order to find the best fit. Besides looking at accreditation, other questions to ask include:

  • Do the majors offered fit with my desired career path?
  • Am I self-disciplined enough to schedule myself to meet any deadlines required in an online program?
  • What industries and organizations have hired past graduates of this program?
  • Do qualifications for my desired career(s) typically include hands-on work in addition to classroom work?
  • Top Schools with Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

    Our ranking of the Top Online Bachelor’s Programs in Criminal Justice is designed to help you find the right program for your goals. Only not-for-profit schools that are regionally accredited and offer fully online criminal justice programs equivalent to their traditional on-campus counterparts are included in our ranking. The data used in this ranking was collected in January 2018 and includes weighted factors such as the average online tuition and the institution’s overall graduation rate, which we view as a measure of student success as well as institutional support for undergraduate students. The percentage of tenured faculty is included as a measure of faculty longevity and dedication to teaching. We also weighed the percentage of students who study 100% online as an indicator of the resources and reputation of the online programs offered by each school.

    Clicking on the name of a highlighted school will take you to a profile of that school’s online program, including detailed information on institutional and programmatic statistics such as acceptance rates and admissions requirements.

    SchoolCJDS RankAverage Online Tuition*% Students Studying Fully Online1Overall Graduation Rate (Undergrad)1% Tenured Faculty2US News National Rank3US News Regional Rank4Ranked in College Factual Top Online CJ Programs5
    University of Florida1$3416%87%52%#42N/ANo
    Florida State University2$2163%80%43%#81N/ANo
    Ohio University3$24224%64%37%#151N/ANo
    Pennsylvania State University4$55516%76%35%#52N/AYes
    University of Massachusetts Amherst5$3906%76%46%#75N/ANo
    Colorado State University Global Campus6$35028%67%39%N/AN/ANo
    Western Carolina University7$33014%57%28%N/A#38Yes
    Arizona State University8$543N.Av.67%49%#115N/ANo
    University of Cincinnati9$4677%67%31%#133N/AYes
    Washington State University10$5349%67%38%#140N/AYes
    Ball State University11$4015%58%36%#187N/AYes
    West Texas A&M University12$31114%44%32%N/A#81Yes
    Northwestern State University of Louisiana13$37530%35%52%N/A#114-#142Yes
    University of North Texas14$3804%52%57%#231-#300N/ANo
    Lamar University15$24821%33%38%#231-#300N/AYes
    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University16$375N.Av.55%35%N/A#12No
    Old Dominion University17$35217%51%46%#231-#300N/ANo
    University of Nebraska at Kearney18$3055%57%35%N/A#64Yes
    University of Wisconsin-Platteville19$3707%54%38%N/A#99Yes
    Eastern Oregon University20$23244%31%28%N/A#96-#126No
    Eastern Kentucky University21$40916%41%31%N/A#73Yes
    Missouri State University22$2854%55%38%N/A#106No
    Norwich University23$37524%58%22%N/A#86Yes
    Valdosta State University24$27910%36%36%#231-#300N/AYes
    Eastern New Mexico University25$27335%35%26%N/A#96-#126Yes
    Southern New Hampshire University26$32082%58%N.Av.N/A#86Yes
    Cal State San Bernardino27$2251%55%32%N/A#63No
    Portland State University28$2596%48%26%#231-#300N/AYes
    University of the Cumberlands29$19919%43%13%#231-#300N/AYes
    Utica College30$45030%45%17%N/A#130Yes
    California Baptist University31$56623%60%13%N/A#31No
    SUNY Canton32$30625%36%24%N/A#25No
    California State University-Sacramento33$370N.Av.49%34%N/A#70No
    University of Toledo34$53110%43%34%#231-#300N/AYes
    Angelo State University35$2543%36%32%N/A#96-#126Yes
    Washburn University36$3639%34%27%N/A#93Yes
    Campbellsville University37$39912%36%36%N/A#106No
    St. John’s University38$1,3231%58%31%#165N/AYes
    CUNY John Jay39$4263%44%26%N/A#111No
    New England College40$40548%38%N.Av.N/A#146-#187No
    Azusa Pacific University41$4253%70%N.Av.#187N/ANo
    Northern Arizona University42$85517%53%27%#231-#300N/ANo
    Wilmington University43$36335%33%N.Av.NRN/AYes
    University of Maryland University College44$39473%10%N.Av.N/ANRYes
    William Peace University45$32515%42%N.Av.N/AN/ANo
    Bellevue University46$41079%13%N.Av.N/ANRYes
    Indiana State University47$1,16513%37%37%#231-#300N/ANo
    Barry University48$4546%31%2%#231-#300N/ANo
    Concordia University Portland49$4708%44%N.Av.N/ANRNo
    University of Mary50$6866%54%N.Av.N/A#109No

    Table Notes and References:

    N/A = Not Applicable.
    N.Av. = Not Available.
    NR = School did not place in rankings.
    *The online tuition rate is the average of in-state and out-of-state tuition charges per credit hour for online students.

    1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    2. College Factual: https://www.collegefactual.com/colleges/
    3. US News & World Report National University Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities
    4. US News & World Report Regional University Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/regional-universities
    5. College Factual Top Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Criminal Justice & Corrections: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/protective-security-safety-services/criminal-justice-and-corrections/rankings/top-ranked-online/

    Profiles of Top Criminal Justice Schools with Online Programs

    University of Florida

    university of florida logoThe University of Florida is home to an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology degree program. The program uses a competitive admissions process that gives preference to students with at least 60 college credit hours and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students must also have taken an introductory statistics course and at least nine credits from a selected list of prerequisites. Once accepted to the criminology program, students complete a core major that consists of 11 courses covering fundamentals of criminal law, the legal process, and specialty areas in criminal justice such as juvenile justice and homeland security. Students also take at least 18 credit hours of criminology electives, with the opportunity to select electives that compliment personal interests and career goals. In total, 120 credit hours are required to earn the online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. The program is designed specifically for students with outside commitments and offers enhanced flexibility while providing students with an education led by the same faculty who lead on-campus courses in the criminology major. Note that distance learning students are not permitted to take on-campus courses concurrently with their online degree program. A final exit exam covering various topics in criminal justice, criminological theory, and law is required for graduation. Graduates are prepared for careers in criminal justice as well as for advanced study in graduate school, including law school.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 46%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.5/4.01,2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 291

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $37 application fee; high school transcripts; three criminology-related courses required for formal admission to the major

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $1292
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1052
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $6,3823
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5532
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $7072
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $28,6583
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 48%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 46%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Arts in Criminology; Bachelor of Science in Fire & Emergency Services
    First online program offered in: 2001-20023

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Advanced Principles of Criminal Justice; Law and Legal Process; Law and Society; Introduction to Statistics; Criminological Theory
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 3113
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 2373
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 1663
    Student-faculty ratio (overall): 20:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours3
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 97%4
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 87%4

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $21,6451
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $56,1001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. University of Florida: http://www.ufl.edu/
    3. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education
    4. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

    Florida State University

    florida state logoFlorida State University’s online bachelor’s in criminology offers flexibility to students who are working or who wish to attend Florida State University from a distance without relocating. Courses are designed for part-time students and each student is assigned an advisor from within the College of Criminology & Criminal Justice who will assist in degree and career planning. 36 credit hours of criminology studies are needed to fulfill degree requirements; courses offered include Victimology, White Collar Crime, Criminal Justice Administration, and Criminal and Delinquent Behavior. The faculty leading the program have been ranked first in the nation for research productivity and are industry experts across a broad variety of topics. Students pursuing the criminology major are also recommended to double major or declare a minor from various other programs offered online at FSU. A full-time internship may be acceptable in lieu of a second major or minor. The criminology program offers flexible admissions, with deadlines three times per year in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. A competitive scholarship, the Regalf Scholarship, is available for current police officers that takes the form of an educational forgiveness loan in exchange for a commitment to work in a small police department as a sworn officer for three years after graduation.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 58%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: N.Av./3.8-4.31
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 271

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $30 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $2162
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1802
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $6,5073
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $6862
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $7212
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $21,6733
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 50%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 50%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminology
    First online program offered in: 2001-20024

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Criminology; Introduction to Research Methods in Criminology
    Internship/fieldwork required: Only if no second major or minor declared.

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 1074
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 404
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): N.Av.4
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 24:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: Yes
    Live virtual tutoring?: No
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 93%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 80%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $23,6791
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $39,5001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Florida State University: http://www.fsu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Ohio University

    ohio university logoThe online Bachelor of Criminal Justice at Ohio University was designed for associate’s degree holders interested in returning to school to earn their four-year degree. The curriculum broadly covers current thought and research in criminal behavior, police processes, punishment, and the criminal justice system overall. The degree is also multidisciplinary, including courses in sociology, behavioral sciences, and the humanities as well as the natural sciences. Students are offered opportunities to tailor the curriculum through the selection of electives aligning to personal and career goals. Combined with the criminal justice core, students will take at least 30 semester hours of criminal justice courses at the 3000 level or above. Undergraduate students must also complete a research methods course as well as courses in diversity, politics and legal issues, and professional skills. All students will be assigned an advisor either from the criminal justice department or the eCampus, with whom they will work closely to plan their degree. The total number of hours required to earn the degree at Ohio University may vary based on the student’s past academic experience. To be considered for admission, students must have an associate’s degree in a criminal justice-related field such as law enforcement, corrections, legal assisting, or another closely-related field. With transfer credit, students may be able to complete the bachelor’s degree on a three-year plan. Out-of-state students studying fully online also receive generous tuition discounts compared to the on-campus out-of-state tuition rate.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 75%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.0/3.52
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 241

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $50 application fee; associate’s degree in law enforcement or a related area

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $2402
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $4992
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $10,0373
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $2432
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $9412
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $28,2293
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 63%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 67%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Criminal Justice
    First online program offered in: 2008-20094

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: American Constitutional Law; Civil Liberties; Social Psychology of Justice; Criminal Justice; Criminology; Police and Society; Punishment and Society (students must select three)
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): N.Av4
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): N.Av4
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): N.Av4
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 18:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: Yes
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 82%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 64%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $27,8801
    Median starting salary of alumni: $49,5001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Ohio University: https://www.ohio.edu
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Pennsylvania State University

    pennsylvania state logoThrough its World Campus, Pennsylvania State University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that offers flexible opportunities for students new to the criminal justice field as well as those who have previous college credit. Graduates are prepared to pursue a broad variety of careers after earning a highly reputable degree from Penn State, including careers in protective services, security management, and law and corrections. An online, 18-credit minor in Homeland Security is also offered for students interested in this area of the criminal justice system. All students take an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes courses from sociology, psychology, and criminal justice for a well-rounded education. Highlights of the 120-credit hour bachelor’s program include courses in policing and corrections, ethics, statistics, and administration. The degree culminates in a senior seminar that ties together students’ learning about the past, present, and future of criminal justice. Students may choose to study on a full-time or a part-time basis; a flat, semester-based tuition rate is available for those taking 12 or more credits per semester. In addition to its reputation as a top quality on-campus school, Penn State is regularly ranked among the best online schools in the nation by virtue of its career-driven, high-tech approach to distance ed that does not sacrifice academic quality. Penn State also has a reputation as a military-friendly institution.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 56%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: N.Av./3.61
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 271

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $65 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5552
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $7262
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $17,9003
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5552
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1,3602
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $32,3823
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 47%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 54%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    First online program offered in: 2000-20014

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Criminology; Introduction to Criminal Justice; Policing in American; Courts and the Prosecution Process; Corrections in America; Research Methods in Criminal Justice; Senior Seminar; Ethics in Criminal Justice
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 4184
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 2574
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 1144
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 16:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours2
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 93%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 86%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $37,2131
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $42,2001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Pennsylvania State University: https://www.psu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    University of Massachusetts-Amherst

    umass amherst logoThe University of Massachusetts-Amherst is home to a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that can be completed entirely online. Both those who have a background in criminal justice and those who are new to the field are welcome to apply to the program. Students can personalize their degree plan with a concentration area by taking online courses from related fields such as psychology or business. Criminal justice courses offered include Criminology; Serial and Mass Murder; Crime and Forensics; Forensic Psychology; and Current Litigation/Social Issues. UMassOnline, also known as the UMass Amherst University Without Walls (UWW), has a long history of distance education, dating back to correspondence courses offered before the advent of the Internet. No campus visits are required to earn the bachelor’s in criminal justice, and a generous transfer credit policy means that up to 100 credit hours from other institutions may be accepted towards the BA. The program also offers credit for experience for qualifying prior learning through a portfolio evaluation. Note that the program is unable to accept students residing in Alabama or Arkansas.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 60%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.0/3.81,2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 281

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $75 application fee; at least 12 transferable college credit hours

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $390-$5252
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $6262
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $14,9713
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $390-$525*2
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1,3792
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $32,2043
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees. Base credit hour charges vary from $390 for UWW core courses to $525 for upper-division courses.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 54%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 68%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Arts in Advocacy and Social Justice
    First online program offered in: 2003-20044

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Not available
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 544
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 334
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 134
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 18:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 91%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 76%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $31,3971
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $56,6001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. University of Massachusetts Amherst: http://www.umass.edu
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Colorado State University

    colorado state logoColorado State University’s Global Campus offers an online bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration that builds students’ knowledge of the criminal justice system while preparing them to become effective managers and administrators in various fields, including public safety, policing, and social work. The curriculum includes deep study of both traditional and innovative methods in researching, analyzing, and approaching crime and justice. Formal concentrations in a diverse array of topics are offered to online students; available concentrations include Criminal Forensics; Emergency Management; Public and Non-Profit Management; and Data Management and Analysis. While honing their knowledge of the law and ethical issues in policing, students will develop skills applicable in the real world, including statistical analysis and criminal justice research. Both part-time and full-time study options are available, with courses taking place on an eight-week term schedule allowing students to focus on select courses during each course rotation. The accelerated schedule can also allow students to earn their bachelor’s degree at a quicker pace compared to on-campus study. In addition to offering competitive online tuition rates, Colorado State University has adopted a tuition guarantee that means that a student’s tuition rate will not increase so long as he or she remains enrolled at the university. Note that CSU’s online bachelor’s in criminal justice program does not satisfy Minnesota state requirements for law enforcement licensure.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 78%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: N.Av./3.61
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 251

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $50 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $3502
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $4162
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $11,0523
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $3502
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1,3332
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $28,3463
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 50%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 54%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
    First online program offered in: 1994-19954

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Applying Leadership Principles; Introduction to Criminal Justice; Law Enforcement and American Policing; Introduction to Crime and Deviance; Research Methods for the Criminal Justice Professional; Laws of Evidence; Fundamentals of Law; Criminal Justice and the Constitution; Ethics for the Criminal Justice Professional; Capstone: Application of Criminal Justice Knowledge and Skills
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 1694
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 1164
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 954
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 18:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 48 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: No
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 86%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 67%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $25,1551
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $41,1001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Colorado State University: https://www.colostate.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Western Carolina University

    western carolina university logoThe online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Administration of Justice at Western Carolina University is led primarily by tenured and tenure-track faculty who hold PhDs in their fields of expertise. Faculty have a focus on student engagement and encourage student research; many past students have presented their findings on campus or at conferences under faculty sponsorship. Students also have options to declare a minor or a second major; the online Emergency and Disaster Management major is an attractive choice for many distance learners. Students learn about the relationships between theory and practice in modern criminal justice, with a focus on real-world issues and ethics, emerging with a basic expertise that can be applied to various career paths. Elective courses offered include Cyber Crimes, Issues in Correctional Treatment, and Police Practices and Problems. Students must earn at least 120 credit hours, 49 of which are dedicated to criminal justice courses, to be awarded the bachelor’s. Application deadlines occur twice per year, in the spring and fall semesters. Note that online students must have at least one year of work experience in the criminal justice field and an associate’s degree to be admitted to the program. Those without an associate’s degree may be considered if they have made substantial progress towards, or have completed, WCU’s general education core requirements.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 41%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: N.Av./3.31
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 231

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $65 application fee; associate’s degree from an accredited school or substantial progress to the WCU general core; minimum one year of work experience in the criminal justice field

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $1542
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $4052
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $6,7373
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5052
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $8382
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $17,1303
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 67%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 62%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Concentration in Administration of Justice; Bachelor of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management
    First online program offered in: N.Av.4

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice & Criminology; Majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice; Research Methods for Criminology & Criminal Justice; Theories of Crime; Statistical Analysis for Criminology & Criminal Justice; Senior Seminar
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 914
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 704
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 594
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 17:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 48 hours2
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 80%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 57%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $20,2011
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $38,5001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Western Carolina University: https://www.wcu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Arizona State University

    arizona state university logoThe online Bachelor of Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice at Arizona State University (ASU) teaches students about criminal justice policy and practice across the criminal justice system, from local policing to the courts and corrections systems. As they study criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State students will also hone their research and communications skills while learning how to analyze data and situations common to the field. Classes follow a block schedule of seven-and-a-half week terms, which can accelerate the time it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree. Arizona State also offers a fast track program for the criminology and criminal justice major that can further reduce the time to completion; applicants interested in fast-tracking their degree plan can speak with an advisor for options. In addition to careers in corrections, policing, and intelligence, students will be prepared for careers in regulatory affairs, policy, and private security. Transfer students are welcome to apply, though all students must complete at least 30 credit hours of the degree plan at ASU to be awarded the bachelor’s degree. ASU offers all online students in-depth support to help them achieve success, including online library access, year-round career services, online tutoring, and a proprietary app that allows students to chat with peers, faculty, and advisors across the ASU system.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 83%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.5 (3.0 in competency courses)/3.51,2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 251

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $70 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5432
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $7022
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $10,3703
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5432
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1,112 2
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $26,4703
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 59%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 49%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies; Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Public Policy – Emergency Management Homeland Security
    First online program offered in: 2006-20074

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Introduction to Corrections; Domestic Violence; Gangs; White Collar Crime
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 5774
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 3994
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 1884
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 23:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 86%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 67%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $22,9031
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $39,8001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Arizona State University: https://www.asu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    University of Cincinnati

    university of cincinnati logoThe University of Cincinnati awards the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice to online students who successfully complete the four-year, 120-credit undergraduate program. In addition to the criminal justice core, students complete 18 credit hours of upper-level electives. Electives offered include American Violence; Race, Class, and Crime; Community Corrections; Criminal Investigation; and Problem Solving in Policing. All requirements for the program can be completed 100% online, and the university offers a rolling admissions schedule with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Admission is open to both freshmen and transfer students who have previously completed at least 24 semester hours of college credit. The university is an approved National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) institution and accepts students from all 50 states to its online criminal justice program. As the University of Cincinnati has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 1998, students can expect experienced faculty and comprehensive online support throughout their studies. Online students residing in other states receive the same base tuition rate as Ohio residents. Graduates are prepared for a wide variety of careers in policing, corrections, criminal investigation, homeland security, and federal and state law enforcement.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 76%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.0/3.61,2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 261

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $50 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $4592
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $4592
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $11,0003
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $4742
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1,0982
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $26,3343
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 54%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 65%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Science in Fire Science Technology
    First online program offered in: 1998-19994

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Introduction to Criminology; Criminal Justice Research Methods; Criminal Procedure; Criminal Justice Statistics; Corrections in America; Policing in America
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 884
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 494
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 344
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 17:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 88%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 67%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $28,9701
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $41,9001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. University of Cincinnati: http://www.uc.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Washington State University

    washington state university logoWashington State University offers an online bachelor’s in criminal justice through its Global Campus. Beyond the five-course criminal justice core, students take six credit hours of courses covering criminal justice institutions as well as a further nine credit hours of criminal justice electives. Offerings include Juvenile Justice & Corrections; Criminal Law; Realizing Justice in a Multicultural Society; and Issues in the Administration of Criminal Justice. Online students may also elect to complete an internship in a criminal justice setting, though this is not a degree requirement. Online students may pursue a formal minor in such areas as Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. The on-campus criminal justice program at Washington State University has been in continuous operation since 1943, making it the second-oldest criminal justice program in the US. Students also benefit from a student services department dedicated to online students. Distance learners have access to virtual mentors as well as highly engaged faculty who are experts in their fields. In addition to being prepared for criminal justice careers in law enforcement, corrections, and federal agencies, graduates will be prepared for advanced study, including law school.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 72%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: N.Av./3.41
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 231

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $50 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5002
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $8242
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $11,0413
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5672
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $2,4032
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $25,6733
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 57%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 58%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
    First online program offered in: 2000-20014

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to the Administration of Criminal Justice; Introduction to Criminological Theory; Crime Control Policies; Senior Seminar: Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 1664
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 1244
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 874
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 15:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 48 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 79%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 67%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $25,8741
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $44,2001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Washington State University: https://wsu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Ball State University

    ball state university logoBall State University offers an online bachelor’s in criminal justice and criminology that can be completed fully online. Students are prepared to seek careers in the public sector as well as the private sector, such as in residential treatment or private security. In addition to developing fundamental knowledge about the criminal justice system and its processes, students develop skills in communication and leadership while honing their writing and research abilities. Students take 24 credit hours of foundation courses towards the major and then have an opportunity to build a specialization with 24 credit hours of upper division electives. Electives offered include Victimology; Juvenile Justice and Delinquency; Criminal Evidence and Procedure; and Special Populations in Criminal Justice. Students may also complete an optional professional experience for upper-division credit. All courses emphasize data-driven decision making while leading students to consider ethical issues and develop cultural competency. Students taking 12 to 18 credits during a given semester pay a flat tuition rate, which can reduce overall degree costs compared to paying per credit hour on a part-time basis. Online criminal justice courses are taught by the same widely-respected faculty who teach on-campus courses. Online students are also supported by academic, advising, and career planning services designed for distance learners.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 62%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.5/3.51,2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 221

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $55 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $3002
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $6502
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $9,6543
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $5012
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $1,9972
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $25,4283
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 74%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 72%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Criminology
    First online program offered in: 2001-20024

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Introduction to Criminology; Race, Gender, and Crime; Research Methods in Criminal Justice; Ethics and Decision Making; Criminal Law; Evaluation Research in Criminal Justice; Capstone in Criminal Justice
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 1454
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 944
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 804
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 14:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 48 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 81%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 58%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $27,6171
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $35,1001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Ball State University: https://cms.bsu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    West Texas A&M University

    west texas a&m logoWest Texas A&M University offers a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration that can be completed fully online. Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science will complete additional math and science courses, while students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts will take additional courses in a foreign language and the liberal arts. All Criminal Justice Administration students complete 12 credit hours of core criminal justice requirements with an additional 27 credit hours devoted to developing administrative and management skills for the degree emphasis through courses such as Public Administration, Public Personnel Administration, and Public Financial Administration. An internship is also required as part of the degree plan, which can be completed in the student’s local area with departmental approval. In total, 120 credit hours are required to earn the degree. It is recommended that students consult closely with advisors in developing a degree plan, since while all courses required for the Criminal Justice Administration degree are offered online, not all courses are offered each semester; a two-year course rotation is typical for most upper-division courses. The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, through which the online degree is offered, has a strong reputation in the criminal justice field; courses are led by highly qualified faculty with deep real-world experience. Tuition at West Texas A&M is also competitive; whether attending online or on campus, out-of-state students receive the same base tuition rate as Texas residents.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 60%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.5/N.Av.2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 211

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $40 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $2802
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $2802
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $7,6993
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $3422
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $3422
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $8,9453
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 63%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 61%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration; Bachelor of of Applied Art and Science in Emergency Management Administration
    First online program offered in: 2000-20014

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Court Systems and Practices; Crime in America; Introduction to Law; Statistics for the Social Sciences; Constitutional Rights of the Accused; Ethics and the Justice and EMA Systems; Administration of Criminal Justice Organizations; Internship
    Internship/fieldwork required: Yes

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 924
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 704
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 664
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 20:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 65%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 44%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $24,5251
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: N.Av.1

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. West Texas A&M University: http://www.wtamu.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    northwestern state university louisiana logoThe online arm of Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSULA), the eNSU Global Campus, offers a distance learning Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that pairs core criminal justice courses with courses in sociology, psychology, and political science. The typical degree plan consists of 120 credit hours and can be completed fully online. Students also gain proficiency in a foreign language by taking at least six semester hours in their language of choice. With the careful selection of electives and required courses students can also add a formal concentration in Pre-law and Paralegal Studies, which takes 21 credit hours to earn. Criminal justice electives offered include Introduction to Criminalistics and Forensic Science; Advanced Criminalistics and Forensics; and Homeland Security. NSULA accepts applications for the online bachelor’s in criminal justice from both first-time college students and transfer students. The university participates in the Louisiana Transfer Degree Program as well as with state-to-state transfer guidelines to maximize transfer credits for those who have previously attended college. As an added benefit, internet-only students who are residing outside of the state of Louisiana are not assessed any out-of-state fees for tuition or related expenses. Additionally, beyond the first 12 credit hours in a given semester, students are only charged $100 per credit hour thereafter – adding value and incentives for full-time students.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 58%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.0/3.51,2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 221

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $20 application fee; high school diploma or GED; either 18 or higher ACT English subscore or 19 or higher ACT math subscore

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $3752
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $6552
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $7,6203
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $3752
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $3,804+**2
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $18,4083
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.
    **For out-of-state students studying on campus, Northwestern State University of Louisiana charges a sliding scale of out-of-state fees for all credits after six credit hours in a given semester.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 75%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 64%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Science in Unified Public Safety Administration
    First online program offered in: 2000-20014

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Police Process; Adjudication Process; Corrections Process; Criminology, Foundations, and Punishment; Analysis of Police Operations; Criminal Justice Ethics; Community Based Corrections; Criminal Law; Introduction to Criminal Justice Research; Drug Use in Modern Society; Juvenile Delinquency and Justice; Criminal Investigation; Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 2864
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): N.Av.4
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): N.Av.4
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 20:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: N/A2
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: No
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 70%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 35%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $41,5001
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: N.Av.1

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Northwestern State University of Louisiana: https://www.nsula.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    University of North Texas

    university of north texas logoThe University of North Texas awards the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice to students who complete the fully online, 120-credit hour program. Students complete 27 credit hours of core courses in criminal justice as well as 15 credit hours of advanced electives in criminal justice, building both broad and deep preparation for careers in this field. Electives available include Domestic and International Terrorism; Organized and Consensual Crime; Criminal Procedure; and Criminal Investigation. Students may also be able to use their 33 credit hours of planned general electives to earn a formal minor that complements the BS in Criminal Justice. Courses are offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, providing opportunities to accelerate the degree plan through year-round study. The highly-respected faculty leading the online criminal justice program are the same faculty who lead on-campus courses and are dedicated to engaging distance learners. The University of North Texas is classified as a Tier One Carnegie University, one of only 115 research universities in the US to achieve this designation. The University of North Texas has a competitive but flexible admissions policy; high-achieving students who meet certain class rank and/or ACT or SAT test score cutoffs may be eligible for guaranteed admission.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 72%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: 2.5/N.Av.2
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 231

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $75 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $9642
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $502
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $10,1533
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $1,3172
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $4652
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $19,9453
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 64%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 63%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies
    First online program offered in: 2006-20072

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Crime and Justice in the US; Diversity Issues; Criminal Law; Police Systems; Correctional Systems; Criminology; Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice; Research Methods in Criminal Justice; Criminal Justice and Public Policy
    Internship/fieldwork required: Select courses require experiential and/or service learning activities

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 624
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 484
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 314
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 26:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 24 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 80%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 52%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $25,2491
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $44,0001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. University of North Texas: https://www.unt.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Lamar University

    lamar university logoLamar University is home to a fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. The degree is designed for those who are currently working as law enforcement professionals, though admission is open to those who are new to the field. In addition to offering accelerated courses on eight-week and 15-week schedules that can allow students to earn their bachelor’s degree in reduced time, students with law enforcement experience can be awarded academic credit for past police academy (TCOLE) training. Of the 120 credit hours required to earn the degree, 48 credit hours are devoted to the criminal justice core curriculum. Students also take 45 credit hours of advanced electives, which offers opportunities to specialize in areas that align with students’ personal, academic, and career goals. Advanced electives offered include Criminal Behavior; Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice; Organized Crime; and Correctional Administration. Online students are provided with individualized support throughout their plan of study and also have access to career advising through the university. As many courses are offered in an eight-week format, the university uses a rolling admissions system with possible start dates throughout the calendar year. As an added benefit, out-of-state students studying online receive the same low tuition rate as in-state students. Those who are currently employed as sworn peace officers with law enforcement agencies in Texas may qualify for tuition exemptions.

    Admissions & Enrollment

    Admissions
    Acceptance rate (undergraduate): 76%1
    Minimum / average high school GPA for acceptance: N.Av/3.21
    Average ACT score of accepted students: 211

    Requirements
    Testing: ACT or SAT
    Other admissions requirements: $25 application fee; high school diploma or GED

    Tuition

    In-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $2482
    In-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $4212
    In-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $8,1463
    Out-of-state tuition (per online credit hour*): $2482
    Out-of-state tuition (per on-campus credit hour): $9432
    Out-of-state tuition for academic year (on-campus, including fees): $17,9383
    Notes:
    *The cost per online credit hour does not include online course fees or other expenses such as books and exam proctoring fees.

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid available: Yes
    Percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid: 61%1
    Percentage of students graduating in 2016 who took student loans (all types): 62%1

    Academics & Faculty

    Regional accrediting agency: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC)
    Online undergraduate criminal justice programs offered: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    First online program offered in: 2009-20104

    Criminal Justice Coursework

    Core courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice; Court System and Practices; Correctional Systems and Practices; Criminal Investigation; Police Systems and Practices
    Internship/fieldwork required: No

    Faculty

    Full-time online instructional faculty (campuswide): 2604
    Full-time online instructional faculty with PhD (campuswide): 1764
    Full-time online tenured faculty (campuswide): 1754
    Student-faculty ratio (campuswide): 15:11

    Student Support & Success

    Instructor response expected within: 48 hours4
    Dedicated criminal justice career center/advising: No
    Live virtual tutoring?: Yes
    One-year new student retention rate (full-time, campuswide): 63%3
    Overall undergraduate graduation rate (campuswide): 33%3

    Graduate Statistics

    Average indebtedness of 2016 graduates: $31,5811
    Median starting salary of criminal justice alumni: $40,2001

    References

    1. US News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges
    2. Lamar University: https://www.lamar.edu/
    3. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    4. US News & World Report Best Online Colleges: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online?

    Answer: The timeline for earning an online bachelor’s in criminal justice is similar to the timeline for earning a traditional, on-campus bachelor’s degree. With full-time study, students can typically complete the degree in four years. Students who have previously earned college credit that is accepted as transfer credit can complete a criminal justice program in even less time. Additionally, many online programs offer accelerated schedules, including eight-week course formats and summer courses, that can reduce the time it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree.

    Question: What jobs can I get with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice?

    Answer: A bachelor’s degree can open many doors in the criminal justice field. Organizations like the CIA, DEA, and FBI typically view bachelor’s degree holders as competitive applicants. Earning a bachelor’s degree can also provide career advancement in other positions, such as police officer, as many police departments award competitive points to applicants who have a four-year degree for supervisory positions. There are also many positions in emergency management, forensics, and information security for which a bachelor’s degree is preferred.

    Question: What is the difference between an online degree in criminology and a degree in criminal justice?

    Answer: Criminal justice is the study of the criminal justice system (especially enforcement, courts, and corrections), including its policy aspects. Criminology typically focuses on the study of crime as a social phenomenon, including its causes and effects. Although there is significant overlap between the two fields, each provides stronger preparation in certain areas. Criminal justice is typically preferred for common on-the-ground positions in law enforcement agencies, whereas criminology may be preferred for positions dealing with analytics and policy.

    Question: Will a criminal justice degree help me become a police officer?

    Answer: Especially in jurisdictions where the selections process is highly competitive, having a bachelor’s degree can give you an edge over applicants with an associate’s degree or no degree at all. However, you should still anticipate passing the same physical fitness and other readiness benchmarks as other applicants and completing at least 12 weeks of police academy training if selected by a police department as an officer candidate.

    Question: Does an online degree offer career advancement in the same way that an on-campus degree can?

    Answer: Absolutely! One of the keys to ensuring that your online criminal justice program provides you with the background you need to succeed is checking the reputation and accreditation of the school offering such a program. In most cases, your transcript will be exactly the same as that of an on-campus student — meaning that employers may never even know that you studied online. Taking an internship or completing field experience with employers in your local area as part of your college education can also help you become more competitive in the job market following graduation.

    Question: Are there online master’s programs in criminal justice that accept graduates from online bachelor’s programs?

    Answer: Yes! Many of the same institutions that offer online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice also offer online master’s degrees in criminal justice. In some cases, undergraduates from the same institution may even receive preferential admissions to the master’s program. If this is an option that interests you, researching the master’s programs at institutions where you might like to earn your bachelor’s is a good idea. Some schools also offer what are known as 4+1 programs, where students earn their bachelor’s degree in four years and immediately transfer into the graduate program for one more year of study to earn their master’s degree.