Top Criminal Justice Programs

Criminal justice programs train students to work in some of the most exciting jobs available, like law enforcement, forensic science, private investigation, and much more. Whether you want to work in a crime lab or you have plans to pursue the FBI, you can benefit from having a good education. Listed below are the top 30 criminal justice programs of 2014.

Note: The schools below are ranked by tuition rates, graduation rates, and the number of degrees they offer. For information about where we got our data for ranking, refer to the resources section at the bottom of this page.

Featured Online Criminal Justice Programs

1. Kaplan University – BS – Criminal Justice
2. Ashford University – BA/Social and Criminal Justice
3. Post University- B.S. in Criminal Justice
4. Capella University – BS – Criminal Justice
5. Walden University – Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Human Services – Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Programs

1 – Minot State University

The criminal justice department at Minot State University offers degrees of all levels for students to pursue. This is one of the only schools on our list that has a doctoral program in criminal justice, and it offers affordable tuition rates for all students. The graduation rate at this school is only 33%, but the student population is a low 3,560 a year. That gives you plenty of chances to interact one-on-one with your professors.

  • Total annual cost: $15,350
  • Location: Minot, ND
  • Degrees: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD

2 – Florida International University

Florida International University has one of the largest student populations on our list, with an average of 44,860 students on campus each year. Students here can choose several levels of education, and many of them come out with at least one degree. The graduation rate here is 49%, and the cost of tuition is low for Florida. The criminal justice department at FIU offers study abroad opportunities and internships to help students get the most out of their career training.

  • Total annual cost: $22,181
  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Degrees: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD

3 – Northeastern University

Northeastern University is one of several schools in Boston that offer criminal justice programs. While it is on the pricey side, it makes up for that in student success stories. 79% of students that pass through NU come out with a degree, and the school supports an average student population of 27,693. The spaces in the graduate programs here are limited, so students are encouraged to ace their undergraduate courses if they want to be admitted.

  • Total annual cost: $59,619
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD

4 – The University of Montana

The University of Montana is much smaller than many of the other schools on this list, but that should not detract from its academic merit. This school maintains a graduation rate of 47%, and it has a student population just under 15,000. Students can choose between criminology and sociology degrees as they work their way through school. Many students end up getting more than one degree at MU.

  • Total annual cost: $18,336
  • Location: Montana, MT
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s

5 – University of Pennsylvania

At first glance, the University of Pennsylvania may seem a little out of place on this list. It only offers two degree programs, and it has a much higher tuition rate than other schools here. The reason why this school got all the way to #5 on our list is because it has an impressive 96% graduation rate. If you decide to go to school here, chances are you will come out with a degree. The student population at PU is 24,723, and a large portion of those students earn degrees in criminology.

  • Total annual cost: $62,645
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

6 – Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro University has many different criminal justice degrees to choose from. The bachelor’s program here is by far the most popular option, but some students go one step further to earn a master’s degree. The graduation rate here is 42%, and the student population is only 7,462. This school offers an honors program for exceptional criminal justice students, which should give you something to strive for.

  • Total annual cost: $24,260
  • Location: Edinboro, PA
  • Degrees:Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s

7 – Husson University

Husson University has a student population just over 3,000, which means that you will not have to worry about fighting through huge class sizes. Despite this school’s seemingly small size, it has big opportunities in the world of criminal justice. The cost of tuition is low for New England states, and the graduation rate is 42%. If you are trying to earn a criminal justice degree in Maine, this is definitely a school worth considering.

  • Total annual cost: $27,219
  • Location: Bangor, ME
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s

8 – Kean University

In order to enroll in a bachelor of arts in criminal justice at Kean University, you must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The student population for this school is 15,391, and the graduation rate is 50%. Students at KU can benefit from enrolling in an internship program at the school, which prepares them for work in the field. There are several types of internships to choose from.

  • Total annual cost: $26,494
  • Location: Union, NJ
  • Degrees: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s

9 – Daytona State College

Many students get excited about attending Daytona State College because they assume it is a typical beach school. While there are numerous perks to attending school in Daytona Beach, this college has much more to offer than convenient access to tanning. The tuition rates here are very reasonable, and students can choose from two levels of education. The student population at this school is 13,563, and the graduation rate is 28%.

  • Total annual cost: $7,122
  • Location: Daytona Beach, FL
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s

10 – New Mexico State University

The Department of Criminal Justice at New Mexico State University was founded in 1962, and since then the school has developed a great reputation in the field of legal studies. NMSU has an average of 900 bachelor’s students and 100 master’s students in criminal justice alone. The student population for the whole school is 9,270, and the graduation rate is 13%.

  • Total annual cost: $17,947
  • Location: La Cruces, NM
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s

11 – Arizona Western College

Arizona Western College has many different criminal justice degrees to choose from, and it has a low cost of attendance for citizens of the state. The graduation rate here is only 17%, but that does not reflect the success of the criminal justice department specifically. The student population of 8,079 creates a quiet learning environment, which is perfect for most students who want to work in crime labs.

  • Total annual cost: $12,231
  • Location: Yuma, AZ
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s, Bachelor’s

12 – Lewis-Clark State College

Lewis-Clark State College has one of the lowest student populations on this list, with less than 4,700 students in attendance each year. The graduation rate here is 30%, and the assortment of degree opportunities is expansive. The justice studies program here is closely related to the school’s degrees in social work, social sciences, and psychology. If you change your mind about the career you want to pursue, you can easily transition into one of those majors.

  • Total annual cost: $16,729
  • Location: Lewiston, ID
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s, Bachelor’s

13 – University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands has a graduation rate of 45% and a student population of 4,117 students. This school has several levels of education to choose from in the field of criminal justice, and it has great scholarship programs to pursue. These may come in handy because the school’s cost of attendance is fairly high. Most students are able to get enough grant and scholarship money to cover their educational expenses.

  • Total annual cost: $31,333
  • Location: Williamsburg, KY
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

14 – Defiance College

Defiance College has a tiny student population that is just over 1,000 students. While that may make this school sound like it would have limited degree opportunities, criminal justice majors can go as far as a master’s degree with their education. The cost of attendance at this school is fairly high, but the graduation rate is 50%. If you choose to pursue a degree here, chances are you will graduate in a few years.

  • Total annual cost: $41,413
  • Location: Defiance, OH
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s

15 – Niagra University

Niagra University has a great graduation rate, with 2/3 of the students getting through school here with a degree. Whether you want a graduate degree or an undergraduate degree, you can get it from this New York based university. NU supports an average student population of 4,063 each year, and many of those students are in the social science department. There is even a Criminal Justice Honor Society that you could be a part of if your grades are high enough.

  • Total annual cost: $43,633
  • Location: Lewiston, NY
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

16 – Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University is one of several schools in the Atlanta area that offer criminal justice degrees. What makes this school great in particular is that it offers low tuition rates and a decent graduate rate of 39%. The student population here is only 3,419, which means that the classroom sizes are small in most cases. If you want to transition to a sociology degree later on, most of your criminal justice credits will transfer between majors.

  • Total annual cost: $33,889
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

17 – Dyersburg State Community College

Dyersburg State Community College has one of the lowest tuition rates on this list, both for in-state students and out-of-state students. Even though DSCC lacks a graduate degree program, it is in close proximity to many large schools in Tennessee that students can transfer to. The graduation rate here is only 8%, which is why this school is not higher on our list. There are less than 3,600 students in attendance here each year.

  • Total annual cost: $8,062
  • Location: Dyersburg, TN
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s

18 – Glenville State College

Glenville State College has a great cost of attendance, and it maintains a student population of less than 1,900. Approximately 1/3 of students that go to GSC come out with a degree. If you want to earn a master’s degree after completing your bachelor’s here, there are other West Virginia criminal justice schools that will allow you to do that. Your credits should transfer over without any issues.

  • Total annual cost: $19,629
  • Location: Glenville, WV
  • Degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s

19 – University of Central Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma, otherwise known as UCO, has one of the best criminal justice programs in the state of Oklahoma. This small school has a student population of 17,211 and a graduation rate of 32%. The criminal justice department offers some great study abroad programs here, including a chance to spend four weeks in Great Britain during the final year of your bachelor’s degree. Contact the school for more information.

  • Total annual cost: $16,727
  • Location: Edmond, OK
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

20 – Chaminade University of Honolulu

Hawaii may not be the most obvious state for criminal justice degree programs, but it has some amazing opportunities at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Many students choose to live on other islands and commute to CUH for their classes. This school has many online classes, on top of the ones available on campus. The student population here is 2,900 and the graduation rate is 36%.

  • Total annual cost: $35,353
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

21 – Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University is obviously a religious university, but it offers some great degrees in the social sciences that you should keep in mind. You could earn one of three undergraduate degrees in criminal justice, and you could even double major here if you wanted to. The graduation rate at CCU is 41% and the student population is 3,863.

  • Total annual cost: $38,519
  • Location: Lakewood, CO
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s, Bachelor’s

22 – Pace University

Pace University is one of the most expensive schools on our top 30 criminal justice programs list, but it makes up for that in its 56% graduation rate. The average student population here is 12,535, not including the students in the graduate school. If you want to pursue a degree in security, this school has one of the only ones in the country. You could also choose to combine this with a criminal justice degree.

  • Total annual cost: $55,022
  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

23 – American River College

For being a college in California, American River College has a very affordable cost of attendance. Approximately 20% of first-time degree seekers at this school graduate from their degree programs, but many come back after dropping because the tuition is so low. The student population here is 32,868, and many of those students are enrolled in the criminal justice program.

  • Total annual cost: $5,539
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s

24 – Cape Fear Community College

Cape Fear Community College has a low annual cost, but it does not offer anything beyond an associate’s degree. If you want to become a paralegal or court reporter, you may be able to start a career with this. Otherwise, you will need to find a secondary school to pursue a bachelor’s degree through. The graduation rate here is 20% and the student population is 9,168.

  • Total annual cost: $6,860
  • Location: Wilmington, NC
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s

25 – Harper College

Harper College offers degrees in paralegal studies, law enforcement, and public safety. If you want a career in one of those fields, this could be a great school for you. The graduation rate here is 17,306, and the graduation rate is 20%. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree after you complete your associate’s here, there are schools close by that you could transfer your credits to.

  • Total annual cost: $15,400
  • Location: Palatine, IL
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s

26 – Peru State College

Peru State College is a small community college, but it offers a four year bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The cost of attendance here is fairly low, which is to be expected in the Midwest. The graduation rate is 35% and the student population is 2,373. The criminal justice department here is located within the school of professional studies.

  • Total annual cost: $16,563
  • Location: Peru, NE
  • Degrees: Certificate, Bachelor’s

27 – East Arkansas Community College

East Arkansas Community College has a great tuition rate, but it only has a graduation rate of 18%. There are approximately 1,500 students at this school during the year, and most of them are pursuing two-year associate’s degrees. There are not many criminal justice programs in Arkansas, so if you live in this state, EACC may be the best option for you.

  • Total annual cost: $7,225
  • Location: Forrest City, AR
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate’s

28 – Emporia State University

Emporia State University offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, which takes about four years to complete. The graduation rate for this school is 42%, and many students get through their education with the help of scholarships and grants. The student population here is 5,867, which is actually a decent size for Kansas. If you live in Kansas or one of the surrounding states, this could be a great place for you to attend school.

  • Total annual cost: $17,333
  • Location: Emporia, KS
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s

29 – Trine University

Trine University has a fairly high tuition rate, but it offers several great degree programs for you to choose from. The graduation rate here is 52%, and the student population is only 1,948. The financial aid department at TU is great about helping students find ways to pay for their education. If you want to enroll here, they will assist you in the pursuit of scholarships.

  • Total annual cost: $42,183
  • Location: Angola, IN
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s, Master’s

30 – Louisiana College

The bachelor’s program at Louisiana College is very affordable, and it takes anywhere from four to five years to complete. The student population at this school is 1,511, and the graduation rate is 39%. If this school had more degree programs to offer, it would have been much higher on our list. Nevertheless, it is still a great educational institute to apply to.

  • Total annual cost: $22,061
  • Location: Pineville, LA
  • Degrees: Bachelor’s

RESOURCES