40 Best Criminal Justice Schools and Universities in the U.S.

Best Criminal Justice Programs Colleges and Universities

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Criminal Justice is a field that includes the study of the criminal mind and behavior. It also covers the inner workings of government corrections and law enforcement agencies. Students could also study criminal and constitutional law, scientific forensics, and more.

This exciting major can serve as a foundation for a career in law enforcement, or it may be a springboard into law school. There are many opportunities a degree in criminal justice could unlock. Here, we have assembled a comprehensive list of the very best criminal justice programs in the United States. Each is unique in its own right, and students should investigate each to determine the best college for them. You might want to consider factors such as academics, internships, location, and whether programs are available online. Once students launch from one of these excellent criminal justice degree programs, the sky is the limit.


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1

John Jay College makes the top of our list for a very good reason. That is, it stands alone for its sole dedication to criminal justice. The school has gained notoriety for its appearance on television shows such as Law & Order, and its consistent record of producing the nation's best law enforcement professionals. Whether you're seeking a bachelor's or master's degree, John Jay is sure to have the perfect program for you.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,470
    • Out-of-State: $15,420
  • Rank: #1
  • Total Enrollment: 15,394
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 1,586
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
2

Stephen F. Austin State University

Whether you wish a BS or BA in Criminal Justice, SFASU has you covered. They also offer a five-year overlap program that includes a Master of Public Administration. There's no better way to launch a career than by entering the job market with a graduate degree. SFASU also offers degrees in political science and pre-Law for those seeking a minor or double major for their undergraduate degree.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,844
    • Out-of-State: $18,972
  • Rank: #2
  • Total Enrollment: 13,144
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 27
3

Nestled in North Carolina's Appalachian Mountains, students can pursue a degree in criminal justice and still go snow skiing all winter. If you are particularly eager to launch a brilliant career, you can opt for ASU's five-year program that includes a graduate degree in public administration. The university also offers a criminal justice degree with an international studies focus that might help you land a job with INTERPOL, Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, or the FBI, to name a few options.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,409
    • Out-of-State: $22,216
  • Rank: #3
  • Total Enrollment: 19,108
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 110
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
4

Criminal justice students at USD are in for a rigorous program that provides a foundation for a top-notch career. The criminal justice major is available on campus, but you can also finish enough courses for a minor online. Once you start your career you can continue at USD and complete their Master of Public Administration from any Wi-Fi router in the world.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,332
    • Out-of-State: $12,807
  • Rank: #4
  • Total Enrollment: 10,066
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 53
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
5

Whether you're an undergraduate or a student seeking graduate-level work in criminal justice, Fayetteville State will prepare you for excellence. Students can complete a BS, undergraduate minor, an MS, or a graduate certificate in criminal justice. FSU also offers an online criminal justice program that brings top instruction to you, no matter where you are. FSU offers you the opportunity to land a job with the nation's top law enforcement agencies.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,274
    • Out-of-State: $16,882
  • Rank: #5
  • Total Enrollment: 6,318
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 109
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
6

UTRGV is one of the top criminal justice programs in the nation because it offers both undergraduate and graduate programs for students. Undergraduate students can opt for a full major program or complete a minor in criminal justice to compliment another degree such as sociology, psychology, or political science among others. At the graduate level, students must maintain a 3.0 average, thus ensuring that the program maintains utmost integrity.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,132
    • Out-of-State: $18,260
  • Rank: #6
  • Total Enrollment: 28,644
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 471
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
7

Undergraduate students at Canisius can choose between a major degree or a minor concentration within the Criminal Justice program. The college's town/gown relations are a great help when it comes to landing an internship with Buffalo's local law enforcement agencies. In fact, you might be able to work with the US District Attorney's Office, Child Protective Services, or the Niagara County Probation Department.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $29,428
    • Out-of-State: $29,428
  • Rank: #7
  • Total Enrollment: 3,244
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 24
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

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8

Niagara U's criminal justice degree is known for launching brilliant careers in law, federal law enforcement, crime analysis, or victim services. Alumni are found working in the FBI, DEA, and US Customs and Border Protection. Undergraduate students are also invited to investigate NU's graduate program in criminal justice. If you've already launched a career or a family, the graduate school can accommodate you with online, weekend, campus, or hybrid course options.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $34,510
    • Out-of-State: $34,510
  • Rank: #8
  • Total Enrollment: 3,763
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Diplomas Awarded (Criminology): 70
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
9

Here, students enjoy an interdisciplinary approach to criminal justice that spans history, sociology, psychology, social work, law, and more. This allows students to blaze their own trail and arrive at new and surprising conclusions that might impact the entire field. Once graduated with a BS, students have the option to apply to UMES' graduate criminal justice program. Successful applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 as the program is quite competitive.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,558
    • Out-of-State: $18,968
  • Rank: #9
  • Total Enrollment: 3,193
  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 76
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
10

Located just outside of Kansas City, Missouri, Park University rounds out our top 10 criminal justice programs. They offer a degree in criminal justice administration which prepares students with a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or an Associate of Science degree. The BS degree is available online, which makes it convenient for students nationwide. Both four-year degrees allow the choice of concentrating on law enforcement, corrections, or security.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,190
    • Out-of-State: $11,190
  • Rank: #10
  • Total Enrollment: 11,415
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 182
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
11

If you want a program that will support your studies clear through your doctoral degree, Rutgers-Newark fits the bill. Undergraduate students can choose between a traditional four-year program or choose the accelerated master's degree program, which results in a joint BS/MA degree in only five years. The program offers numerous opportunities for students to pursue internships. Since Newark is a close neighbor to New York City, students can choose nearly any specialty field for their experiential learning courses.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $14,826
    • Out-of-State: $31,608
  • Rank: #11
  • Total Enrollment: 13,451
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 214
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
12

AUM boasts a Criminal Justice department headed by a former Deputy Chief of Police from California as well as many esteemed alumni who have held high positions in law enforcement and academia, too. In fact, all AUM's legal studies professors are practicing attorneys. Students can study criminal justice at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at AUM and, since so many alumni work in the local area, they can surely find abundant internship opportunities nearby.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,620
    • Out-of-State: $18,292
  • Rank: #12
  • Total Enrollment: 5,211
  • Graduation Rate: 34%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 33
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
13

The Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology at CSU is one of the best in the state of Georgia, if not the entire South. Students have the option to pursue their education starting with a one-year certificate, an associate degree, or a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. For graduate work, students can choose to study through either the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College or the Columbus State Graduate School.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,241
    • Out-of-State: $17,295
  • Rank: #13
  • Total Enrollment: 8,076
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 132
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
14

The department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UNF is perhaps the best students will find in Florida. Their faculty and curriculum are both cutting-edge and they support a minor concentration, an undergraduate degree, and a master's degree in the subject. UNF's multi-disciplinary approach prepares students to conduct stellar careers in law enforcement. Students should be prepared to complete a mandatory internship that includes the option to complete an experiential course with a Federal agency.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,389
    • Out-of-State: $20,793
  • Rank: #14
  • Total Enrollment: 16,776
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 151
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
15

Whether you're studying for your MS or BS in Criminal Justice, West Virginia State University has one of the nation's top programs. Students can even pursue a criminal justice degree online. WVSU's online criminal justice program also offers four separate certificate options: generalist, law enforcement, corrections, and investigation. Regular campus students will cover those areas and can choose between a BS in Criminal Justice or a BS with the Forensic Science option.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,237
    • Out-of-State: $17,691
  • Rank: #15
  • Total Enrollment: 3,692
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 50
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
16

At DeSales, students have the option of a minor, a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. The university's digital forensics laboratory is state-of-the-art and prepares undergraduate students for success in law enforcement. They also offer a five-year program that combines the BA and MA degrees. Further, students will benefit immensely from internship programs that have been custom-made just for them. Students can intern in a coroner's office, a professional digital forensics lab, in addition to opportunities with local police, courts, and more.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $38,700
    • Out-of-State: $38,700
  • Rank: #16
  • Total Enrollment: 3,438
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 48
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
17

Students can start as first-year undergraduate students at LMU, complete their Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and then proceed into the graduate school for a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Along the way, the program supports students in securing internships with the Attorney General's office, County Circuit Court, the FBI, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in addition to many other local, state, and federal opportunities.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $22,740
    • Out-of-State: $22,740
  • Rank: #17
  • Total Enrollment: 4,798
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 10
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
18

Whether you prefer to complete your bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice online or on campus, WSU has you covered. Students can also stick with Westfield State for their Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Even more exciting is the 4+1 option that allows students to combine their MS degree with their undergraduate work. Thus, in five short years, students can go from dewy-eyed first-years to masters of their field.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,849
    • Out-of-State: $16,929
  • Rank: #18
  • Total Enrollment: 6,100
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 230
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
19

Students who are looking for an incredibly flexible multi-disciplinary approach to criminal justice should check out Mississippi Valley State. Undergraduate students can become generalists with a strong foundation of knowledge or begin to specialize in work that they can complete in graduate school. MVSU's graduate program in criminal justice offers concentrations in criminology, law enforcement, corrections, and criminal justice administration.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,746
    • Out-of-State: $6,746
  • Rank: #19
  • Total Enrollment: 2,285
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 37
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
20

For those who can't make it to campus, Faulkner University offers an online criminal justice program that is second to none. In fact, their online degree program is the top ranked in Alabama and ranks 20th when matched against other campus and online programs. Once students complete the program's six modules of three courses each, they will be well-equipped to lead in the field of law enforcement, corrections, and more.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $22,310
    • Out-of-State: $22,310
  • Rank: #20
  • Total Enrollment: 3,178
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 134
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
21

Students can launch their careers with an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice from New England College and then return later to finish up their four-year degree. The program supports students with experiential learning courses that place them in police departments, prosecutor's offices, corrections agencies, and plenty more. Whatever students' long-term criminal justice goal is, New England College will support them.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $38,670
    • Out-of-State: $38,670
  • Rank: #21
  • Total Enrollment: 2,521
  • Graduation Rate: 25%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 36
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
22

Whether students walk across the stage to collect a hard-earned Bachelor of Arts or Master's in Criminal Justice, they will find that innumerable opportunities result from the effort. While studying, students can take advantage of plenty of experiential learning opportunities throughout Georgia and the Atlanta Metro area. Clark students might also enhance their studies with a minor in sociology.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $23,144
    • Out-of-State: $23,144
  • Rank: #22
  • Total Enrollment: 3,911
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 60
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
23

Criminal justice is a multi-faceted field that is best explored through either a bachelor of science or a master of science program at UW-Platteville. Scientifically minded students can pursue forensic science through the university's Criminal Justice department, which is the only choice for such an undergraduate degree. The department even supports a "house" that can be dressed to mimic a real-world crime scene. On top of this, there are a variety of internship opportunities available.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,353
    • Out-of-State: $15,473
  • Rank: #23
  • Total Enrollment: 8,955
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 129
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
24

On-campus criminal justice students at Northwestern State University of Louisiana will receive a well-rounded education that includes coursework in sociology, psychology, and political science. The online degree option for criminal justice students is likewise compelling and offers a concentration in pre-law and paralegal studies. To top off the learning experience, each spring the department hosts a job fair that is chock-full of opportunities.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,768
    • Out-of-State: $19,556
  • Rank: #24
  • Total Enrollment: 11,081
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 55
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

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25

Criminal Justice students at Western Carolina University have options. They can pursue their degree online or on-campus. Some may even mix up online and classroom work. WCU is also renowned for its Emergency and Disaster Management program, which can be added to one's criminal justice degree as a minor concentration. With these options, WCU is a clear choice.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,277
    • Out-of-State: $8,277
  • Rank: #25
  • Total Enrollment: 11,639
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 119
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
26

Few programs do as good of a job of preparing criminal justice students as Radford University's Criminal Justice department. Students can complete a minor concentration, an undergraduate degree, and graduate work in the field. Radford offers concentrations in both crime analysis and forensic studies. The Criminal Justice Master's Degree can also be complimented with a certificate in crime analysis. Graduate students might also have the opportunity to study online, but space is limited.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,350
    • Out-of-State: $23,432
  • Rank: #26
  • Total Enrollment: 9,335
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 153
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
27

When it comes to criminal justice degrees in Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University is the tops. The faculty and curriculum are both top notch and students have a variety of options. EKU students can pursue their criminal justice bachelor's degree in a traditional classroom setting or from their kitchen table, online. Graduate students also have online options, including public administration. Traditional undergraduates can augment their criminal justice degrees with certificates in subjects such as Homeland Security, Intelligence Studies, and Dispute Resolution, to name a few.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,876
    • Out-of-State: $19,948
  • Rank: #27
  • Total Enrollment: 15,815
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 219
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
28

Undergraduate students at SUNY Potsdam will join the Department of Sociology & Criminology and engage in an interdisciplinary course of study that can include a minor in human services, social justice, or sociology. The department is incredibly supportive and helps students find suitable internships with local police, the Judicial Process Commission, Mental Health Counseling organizations, and more. Graduates have pursued careers with public defender's offices in Vermont; the Sherriff in Beaufort, SC; and the Massena, NY police department.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,711
    • Out-of-State: $18,621
  • Rank: #28
  • Total Enrollment: 3,521
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 26
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
29

Students at Marshall University have the option of pursuing criminal justice courses, both online and in traditional classrooms. For the Bachelor of Arts, students must attend courses on campus but the minor can be achieved online. Marshall's Master of Science in Criminal Justice can be achieved solely online. Undergraduates also have the opportunity to complete a dual BA/MS degree in five years. The dual degree program is quite competitive however and students must have an overall GPA of 3.3, including a 3.5 in their degree field.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,412
    • Out-of-State: $8,412
  • Rank: #29
  • Total Enrollment: 13,204
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 60
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
30

Students at New Jersey City University have many options within the criminal justice department. They can pursue a minor in criminal justice that will inform their work in sociology, cyber security, or other fields. Others can go for the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and then complete their education with a Master of Science.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,414
    • Out-of-State: $22,220
  • Rank: #30
  • Total Enrollment: 7,991
  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 116
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
31

Criminal justice students at PSU-Abington are treated to some of the state's top criminal justice faculty. Upon graduation, students often find top jobs in the criminal justice system including with police departments, sheriff’s offices, and as investigators for prosecutors. Criminal justice students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree and others can join the Criminal Justice department to complete a minor.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $14,532
    • Out-of-State: $23,720
  • Rank: #31
  • Total Enrollment: 3,746
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 46
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
32

An exciting career in the criminal justice field will launch from Blackburn College's esteemed Criminal Justice department. Once students take all their courses and complete at least one internship, they will be prepared for nearly anything the working world can present. Graduates can consider working for local police departments, state investigative bodies, or at the federal level. Students will qualify for jobs within the ATF, CIA, FBI, or ICE.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $23,510
    • Out-of-State: $23,510
  • Rank: #32
  • Total Enrollment: 566
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 11
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
33

Mississippi has many great universities and Jackson State leads the way with perhaps the best criminal justice program in the state. Students will cover an array of topics such as government, psychology, and sociology, among others. JSU offers a Bachelor of Science degree that can launch a career with the TSA, ICE, FBI, Homeland Security, US Marshall Services, or even INTERPOL. The sky is the limit.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,445
    • Out-of-State: $9,445
  • Rank: #33
  • Total Enrollment: 7,250
  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 64
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
34

Students at Mount Mercy University can pursue an undergraduate major, minor, or even a master's degree in criminal justice. While the MA in Criminal Justice opens many exciting doors, undergraduate criminal justice students have applied their learning in graduate programs for psychology, social work, sociology, and public policy, in addition to criminology. Future criminal attorneys are also encouraged to pursue criminal justice at Mount Mercy. The insights of a criminal justice degree will also bring great insights to a law career.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $33,862
    • Out-of-State: $33,862
  • Rank: #34
  • Total Enrollment: 1,835
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 29
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
35

Students of criminal justice and law at Madonna University have a broad range of options. The university offers a number of specialized certificates in topics such as animal cruelty investigation, crime scene practice, private investigation, and private security, among many others. The program also confers certificates to a range of legal professionals, including paralegals. To sweeten its offerings, Madonna U offers an array of criminal justice degrees and certificates both online and in traditional classroom settings.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $23,100
    • Out-of-State: $23,100
  • Rank: #35
  • Total Enrollment: 3,044
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 86
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

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36

Students who wish to pursue a career in public service should apply themselves in ASU's department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences. Criminal justice students choose between one of three concentrations: corrections, juvenile justice, and law enforcement/criminology. The department also offers a wealth of complimentary minor concentrations such as sociology, geography, and even gerontology. ASU's criminal justice students are all fully vetted for graduation when they take and pass a mandatory major field test.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: 11,068
    • Out-of-State: 19,396
  • Rank: #36
  • Total Enrollment: 4,413
  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 51
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
37

Students who are passionate about law and law enforcement are encouraged to apply to Limestone for its Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and the adjacent program that includes more law-related coursework. The criminal justice/law degree includes additional coursework in constitutional law, which will be a terrific precursor for those pursuing law school or even careers as paralegals.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $26,300
    • Out-of-State: $26,300
  • Rank: #37
  • Total Enrollment: 2,442
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 17
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
38

Students with a passion for public service, law, and criminal justice will find a dizzying array of options at Ohio's Tiffin University. For instance, the school offers programs in corrections, criminal behavior, cyber security, criminalistics, forensic psychology, homeland security, and law enforcement. Many of these programs are available online for those who need more flexibility. Graduates from Tiffin pursue fulfilling careers in corrections, law enforcement, and security, to name a few.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $26,110
    • Out-of-State: $26,110
  • Rank: #38
  • Total Enrollment: 3,045
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 77
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
39

For those who want a variety of concentrations to choose from, Berkeley College offers six fantastic choices. Students can pick from a high-tech career in cyber security or something more traditional like police studies. Other concentrations include Homeland Security, investigations & Security, Social Justice, and Social Welfare. For convenience, Berkeley has campuses in New York City, White Plains, Newark, Paramus, and other metro-area locations. There are also online options for those who need even more flexibility.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $26,500
    • Out-of-State: $26,500
  • Rank: #39
  • Total Enrollment: 3,696
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 104
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
40

Students in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York should consider pursuing their criminal justice studies at Keuka. The college offers both a bachelor of science and a minor concentration in the field. The department is dedicated to graduating only the best-prepared students imaginable, and to that end they have instituted semester-long internship programs. To enhance one's criminal justice degree, the college also offers minors in pre-law, forensic chemistry, and psychology.

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $33,048
    • Out-of-State: $33,048
  • Rank: #40
  • Total Enrollment: 1,926
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 36
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings

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