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Mississippi Criminal Justice Schools

Mississippi is home to a number of colleges and universities with degree programs in criminal justice. Whether you’re looking for an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, the criminal justice schools in Mississippi offer a variety of options; concentrations offered include social justice, criminology, administration of justice, and homeland security. There are also options for earning a criminal justice degree online from such institutions as Jackson State University and Northwest Mississippi Community College. Continue reading to learn more about earning your criminal justice degree in Mississippi.

Quick Facts

  • There are 22 schools offering criminal justice degrees in Mississippi (see below).1
  • 12 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 10 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 7 colleges and universities offer master’s or doctoral degrees in criminal justice.*1
  • 7 colleges and universities offer criminal justice degree programs online.*1
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
  • 2 schools ranked in College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges in 2018.3
  • No schools ranked in Criminal Justice Degree Schools Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2018.4
  • No schools ranked in US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs in 2018.5

*For not-for-profit colleges and universities with criminal justice degree programs.

Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Mississippi

Earning a criminal justice degree in Mississippi can lead you to several rewarding careers. Mississippi schools administer a full range of degree programs, from bachelor’s and master’s degrees in administration of justice to MS or BS degrees in forensic science. Classes can be taken at a campus in Mississippi or remotely through online programs that allow you to work at your own pace from your home. While Mississippi has struggled recently with natural disasters and man-made economic woes, the state is staging a comeback, creating great opportunities for those with the right training to capitalize on its revival. Even if an employer does not require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to qualify for an open position, having your degree can lead to expanded opportunities for promotion as well as help you negotiate for a higher salary. Earning your degree can also prepare you to be more successful by providing you with hands-on training and theoretical knowledge that will be applicable throughout your career.

Top-Ranked Schools with Criminal Justice Programs in Mississippi

Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

  • University of Mississippi (#75 in-state, #78 out-of-state)

*Institution-wide ranking.

College Factual’s Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges 2018

  • University of Mississippi (#56)
  • Mississippi College (#155)

Profiles of Well-Known Schools in Mississippi

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Mississippi State University: The Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and an Undergraduate Criminal Justice and Corrections Certificate. The certificate program combines classroom time with field experience to help students become familiar with courts, jails, correctional facilities, and parole systems. Criminology students take designated core courses and then move onto sub-area electives in Criminal Behavior and Motivation, Social Dimensions of Crime, and Crime Control Policy and Practice. Student and faculty research projects are carried out within the Social Science Research Center (SSRC), which has the Crime and Justice Research Unit through which the Department of Sociology at Jackson State University hosts the Juvenile Justice Research Consortium.

University of Southern Mississippi: The School of Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi grants a BA in Criminal Justice or a BS in Forensic Science, an MA or MS in Forensic Science, and a PhD in Criminal Justice. Within the school is the Mississippi Statistical Analysis Center (MS-SAC) where students can obtain statistical information supporting research in a variety of criminal justice focuses. The 17 full-time faculty are top-rated experts in forensics, criminal justice management, drug policy, and critical criminology. The graduate and doctoral programs are research intensive with seminar courses in policing, corrections, juvenile law, criminal justice policy, and civil liberties.

Notable Alumni from Mississippi Universities

  • Jim Hood, Mississippi Attorney General – University of Mississippi
  • William L. Waller, Jr., Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court – University of Mississippi
  • Colonel Chris Gillard, Director of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol – Alcorn State University
Police Quote: “Integrity, Honesty and Fairness is the key to good law enforcement and career growth. Within the department or dealing with the public.” -Police Chief Fabian Blache, Jr.

Mississippi Criminal Justice Careers

Mississippi offers a range of career options for those interested in working in criminal justice. Some of the most competitive positions require applicants to have completed at least some college. For example, the Mississippi Highway Patrol requires applicants who do not have military experience to hold at least an associate’s degree.

There are also opportunities to work in federal law enforcement in Mississippi and beyond. Graduates of criminal justice programs from accredited schools in Mississippi have achieved success working for the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. Mississippi is also home to several ports, leading to opportunities with the Mississippi State Port Authority as well as related federal agencies such as US Customs and Border Protection. Job openings for federal agencies tend to be competitive, and many positions recommend or require a bachelor’s degree.

Mississippi Criminal Justice Salary and Jobs

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Correctional Officers and Jailers7,090$26,740
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives840$55,140
Detectives and Criminal Investigators910$56,570
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers7,320$33,350

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.5,6,7,8

Mississippi’s Criminal Justice Employment Outlook

As of May 2016 the unemployment rate for Mississippi was 5.8%, which was above the national average of 4.7%.11 The state’s 10-year peak unemployment occurred in January 2010, with a rate of 10.9%.11 Government employment is a good indicator of criminal justice jobs in Mississippi. Projection Central estimates the following criminal justice job openings through 2024:

  • Police and Sheriff Patrol: 290 annual openings; 46% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 24% holding an associate’s degree.12,13
  • Correctional Officers: 340 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 15% holding a post-secondary certificate.12,14
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: 30 annual openings; 37% in these positions report completing at least some college, with 21% holding an associate’s degree.12,15
  • Security Guards: 270 annual openings; 4% in these positions report completing at least some college.12,16
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 50 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.12,17

Note that projected openings are based on both employment growth and replacements.

The Mercatus Center, a conservative think tank, rated and analyzed the long-term solvency of each state’s government. After looking at the state’s budgeting process, cash/tax handling, and pensions, Mississippi was ranked 32nd in the nation.18 This means the state will likely be able to fulfill its long-term obligation to pay employee pensions.

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Directory of Not-for-Profit Mississippi Universities Offering Campus-based and Online Criminal Justice Degrees

If you live in Mississippi, we recommend looking for an accredited campus-based or online program for pursuing your associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in the growing field of criminal justice.

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 (Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, or Alabama).

Schools with Online and On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Blue Mountain College (Blue Mountain)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)

Delta State University (Cleveland)
Bachelor of Science | Social Justice & Criminology
Bachelor of Science | Geospatial Information Technology
Bachelor of Science | Interdisciplinary Studies: Geospatial Information Technology
Master of Science | Social Justice & Criminology (online or on-campus)
Master of Applied Science | Geospatial Information Technologies
Certificate | Criminal Justice

Jackson State University (Jackson)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Technology: Emergency Management Technology (online)
Bachelor of Science | Chemistry: Forensic Science
Master of Arts | Criminology and Justice Services
Program | Military Science: Army ROTC

Itawamba Community College (Fulton)
Associate of Applied Science: Law Enforcement Technology (online)

Mississippi College (Clinton)
Bachelor of Science | Administration of Justice (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Homeland Security (online or on-campus)
Bachelor of Science | Loss Prevention (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Cyber Security and Information Assurance (online or on-campus)
Master of Social Science | Criminal Justice/Administration of Justice
Master of Social Science | Homeland Security (online or on-campus)
Master of Social Science | Loss Prevention (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Homeland Security (online or on-campus)
Certificate | Loss Prevention/Security Management (online or on-campus)

Student Review: “I attended Mississippi College and was enrolled in the Criminal Justice (Administration of Justice) program. I truly enjoyed the Criminal Justice program at Mississippi College. The professors and the Department Coordinator provided a nourishing environment for all students. The curriculum overall was sometimes difficult; however, through hands-on projects, job shadowing, and thorough lectures, the Criminal Justice program provided me with an experience that I am forever grateful for. One of my favorite things about the program was a training elective called CJOF. During CJOF, I could visit local crime labs, police departments, and courthouses to get a feel for what having a career in the Criminal Justice field would really be like. The only thing I disliked about the program was the limited acceptance rate. The requirements for entering the program included having a 3.3 GPA or higher plus three letters of recommendation. As a student who hasn’t been employed before, finding references could be fairly difficult.” – Student at Mississippi Collegestars-4

Northwest Mississippi Community College (Senatobia)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice (online or on-campus)
Associate of Arts | Forensic Chemistry
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice

William Carey University (Hattiesburg)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (thesis) (online or on-campus)
Master of Science | Criminal Justice (non-thesis) (online or on-campus)

Schools with On-Campus Criminal Justice Programs Only

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Alcorn State University (Alcorn State)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Applied Science | Geospatial Engineering Technology (Homeland Security)
Master of Applied Science and Technology | Homeland Security Management
Program | Army ROTC

Belhaven University (Jackson)
Bachelor of Science | Management with Criminal Justice Concentration

Coahoma Community College (Clarksdale)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice

Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Wesson)
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Hinds Community College (Raymond)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice

Holmes Community College (Goodman)
Associate of Applied Science | Conservation Law Enforcement Technology
Associate of Arts | Criminal Justice

Jones County Junior College (Ellisville)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Perkinston)
Associate of Applied Science | Criminal Justice Technology
Associate of Applied Science | Human Services
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Criminal Justice
Certificate | Human Services
Diploma | Criminal Justice
Diploma | Human Services

Student Review: “The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College provided me with an excellent criminal justice program while enrolled. With easy to grasp teachings of criminal law thanks to great professors, I believe I have the necessary knowledge and skills to make use of my new found knowledge out of school. There were fascinating guest speakers which I truly believe helped shape my path within the criminal justice field. A practicum course was offered and this internship opportunity more than exceeded my expectations.” – Student at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College stars-4

Mississippi Valley State University (Itta Bena)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Master of Science | Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice Administration
Minor | Criminal Justice
Program | Army ROTC

Student Review: “The criminal justice department at MVSU was good but it needed more. Some professors are precise with information and are very good at that. My research method class was the best for me because it was very challenging and opened my mind to new information unlike much of the other class they were so simple and at some point I felt I knew more than my professors. Some classes became a repetition of the others. What I really enjoy was the mock trials and court on the road program that was incorporated into the program. The department’s internship program is also great and effective, The school joined forces with the police department, juvenile center, etc. I did my intership at the police station and it was wonderful, I had first had experience filing cases and putting them in crime groups.” – Student at Mississippi Valley State University stars-4

University of Mississippi (University)
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Corrections
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Bachelor of Science | Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Bachelor of Science | Forensic Chemistry
Master of Criminal Justice | Criminal Justice
Master of Criminal Justice | Homeland Security
Minor | Military Science
Minor | Naval Science
Minor | Intelligence & Security Studies

Student Review: “My review of our Criminal Justice program of the University of Mississippi was a wonderful overall experience for me. I had professors who were more than willing to help us as students understand the material being taught. For examples, there were extra credit sessions and tutoring lessons during the professors’ downtime. The thing I liked best about the Criminal Justice department I attended was the attitude of our professors. The lessons were interesting; however, we had professors who always told stories of their personal experiences in law enforcement and how they handled various situations in their careers. The class I enjoyed most was Police Administration and Organization. Being in law enforcement myself, I still remember some of the lessons learned in this class and it helps my skills to this day. If I personally had a choice to redo my college years, I would have no problem doing so. The one thing I felt that could be improved in the department was our access to the most updated textbooks. We have good textbooks but they were always the older editions.” – Student at the University of Mississippistars-5
Student Review: “My experience with the University of Mississippi Criminal Justice program was a great one. The professors were very knowledgeable of the courses they taught. The curriculum was challenging; however, all of our professors kept an open door policy. I also feel that the courses that were being taught are very applicable to my career as a current police officer. One of the classes I took consisted of an internship with the University of Mississippi Police Department. This internship included ride alongs with other officers, DUI checkpoints, and serving of warrants. This really gave me the “hands-on” experience I needed to perform my job today. The professors also encouraged us to use them as references should we need to. I would recommend our Criminal Justice program to anyone looking to major in that field. If I had the opportunity to do it over again, I would.” – Student at the University of Mississippistars-5

University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg)
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Arts | Criminal Justice: Juvenile Justice
Bachelor of Science | Forensics (Anthropology)
Bachelor of Science | Forensics (Criminal Justice)
Bachelor of Science | Forensics (Physics)
Bachelor of Science | Forensics (Polymer Science)
Bachelor of Science | Forensics (Biological Sciences)
Bachelor of Science | Forensics (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Bachelor of Science | Geography: Geographic Information Technology/Systems
Master of Arts | Criminal Justice
Master of Science | Criminal Justice
Master of Arts | Juvenile Justice
Master of Science | Forensics
PhD | Criminal Justice
Minor | Criminal Justice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Criminal Justice
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate | Geographic Information Technology

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-public-colleges/index.php
3. College Factual Best Criminal Justice & Corrections Colleges: https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/protective-security-safety-services/criminal-justice-and-corrections/rankings/top-ranked/
4. US News Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/criminal-justice/rankings
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Correctional Officers and Jailers https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333012.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes331012.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Detectives and Criminal Investigators: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333021.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes333051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Protective Service Occupations (Major Group): https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes330000.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
11. Y Charts 10 Year Unemployment Chart: http://https://ycharts.com/indicators/mississippi_unemployment_rate
12. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
13. O*Net OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/details/33-3051.01
14. O*Net OnLine, Correctional Officers and Jailers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3012.00
15. O*Net OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
16. O*Net OnLine, Security Guards: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9032.00
17. O*Net OnLine, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/23-2011.00
18. Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2016 Edition: https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings