Best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs of 2015
When combined with professional experience, the bachelor’s in criminal justice allows you to pursue mid-level positions across law and security enforcement, corrections, criminology, investigative and protective services and criminal justice administration.
Generally speaking, criminal justice careers are on the upswing. For example, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that in the next seven years careers in forensic science and police work, two major criminal justice job paths, will grow by 6% and 5% respectively.
Meanwhile, Payscale.com reports that 36% of professionals holding a bachelor’s in criminal justice have only been working in the field for one to four years, while 34% of degreeholders have over ten years field experience. Professionals with at least ten years have average salaries of $64,031, 53% higher than professionals with one to four years experience. These numbers indicate that, while the field has strong entry-level competition, those who stick with criminal justice will be rewarded with stable, well-paying careers.
Below we’ve ranked the best campus-based criminal justice bachelor’s programs and the best online criminal justice bachelor’s programs. Each college and university on our list is fully accredited and offers a multidisciplinary curriculum in criminal justice studies or criminology to prepare students for the many opportunities ahead of them. To finalize our rankings, we evaluated each school’s academics, faculty standards and, in the case of the online programs, the quality of their virtual platform learning management system.
- Best Campus-Based Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs
- Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs
Best Campus-Based Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs
1. George Washington University – Washington, D.C.
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice have the option to add a Law & Society minor concentration to their degree after completing 30 credit hours, if they have a 3.3 minimum cumulative GPA. Undergraduates may also apply this BA toward a future Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, registering for this combined program during their junior year of study.
Students must complete two prerequisite sociology courses while majoring in criminal justice. Before graduation, they must also fulfill the general education requirements for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
GWU empowers criminal justice majors to excel through its many undergraduate honors opportunities, such as the Special Honors in Sociology graduation distinction and this school’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma Honors Society.
Required freshmen application materials include a completed Common Application form, SAT or ACT scores, two letters of recommendation and high school transcripts.
2. University of Richmond – Richmond, Virginia
The University of Richmond’s unique criminal justice studies program can be completed as either a major or minor course of study. A primary draw for prospective students are the partnerships UR maintains with the FBI and CIA offices nearby. The department regularly connects students with relevant internship opportunities at these national law enforcement offices. The Victim Assistance Academy has also partnered with UR to provide students with unique research opportunities and victim rights training.
To meet the undergraduate degree requirements, students must earn 10 units through required sociology, philosophy and political science courses, and they are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 throughout the criminal justice program.
The University of Richmond distinguishes itself as a “need-blind” academic institution; students’ income or financial need does not into admissions decisions. Standard application materials include the Common Application, official high school transcripts, recommendation letters and official score reports from either the SAT or ACT.
“Outsiders tend to look at kids in the justice system and see their situations on the most superficial level, but there is so much more behind every one of them that people do not get to see.” – Abbey Beichler, BACJ Graduate
3. Keiser University-Fort Lauderdale – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice provides undergraduate students with at least 120 credit hours in general education, lower division courses on criminology and law and upper division courses on alternative punishment, organized crime and legal procedures. The general education course requirements cover topics like mathematics, economics, communications and computing.
To meet the undergraduate admissions requirements, applicants must verify completion of high school or a GED program. There are no course prerequisites for the criminal justice major.
Keiser is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
“Attending Keiser University and getting my degree was the best decision I have ever made. The small class sizes and personalized attention helped me get my degree quickly. The hands-on experience and the education landed me a job at a neighboring law firm.” – Dedrick Saxon, BACJ Graduate
4. University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree is an interdisciplinary program offered through a partnership between the School of Public and International Affairs and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The degree can be completed in five semesters.
This university does not admit freshmen students to this program outright; undergraduates must first complete 30 credit hours and four prerequisite courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. New applicants are considered every semester.
In total, students must gain 120 credit hours before graduation, which include 21 hours of required major courses. The prerequisite courses cover the following fields of study: statistics, psychology, political science and sociology.
5. Marist College – Poughkeepsie, New York
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice blends multiple learning styles: traditional classroom curriculum, a required internship with a criminal justice organization and a liberal arts general education. Undergraduates complete 60 credits in liberal arts, along with another 61 credits to fulfill the criminal justice major. Required course topics include juvenile delinquency, criminology and the politics of crime and terrorism.
To apply to the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, prospective freshmen must submit a completed Marist online application or Common Application, secondary school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores and a personal essay. Marist hosts Criminal Justice Career Fairs to help students find internship or employment positions with local, state and national law enforcement agencies.
Future criminal justice students are invited to join the Summer Criminal Justice Institute hosted in New York City or Italy to learn more about this field and gain prerequisite credits. Students interested in joining the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice honors society must hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
6. The College of New Jersey – Ewing, New Jersey
TCNJ’s Bachelor of Science in Criminology program emphasizes the social and historical implications of crime. Students complete general education requirements and 48 credit hours in major courses; topics include: Policing Civil Societies, Penology and Crimes and Offenses. Upper-division students with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 are invited to take an internship for course credit at one of the many agencies that have partnered with TCNJ.
On average, admitted undergraduates hold an A or A- high school GPA and rank among the top 15% of their graduating class. To apply, prospective students must submit 2-3 recommendations letters, a personal essay, academic transcripts and a completed Common Application form.
Criminology students have the opportunity to compete for scholarship funds provided by the Jeffrey R. Ralston Foundation and join the TCNJ Criminology Student Association for its weekly meetings, training seminars and professional speakers.
“I am grateful that my criminology major at TCNJ fully prepared me for the difficulties of law school and law practice.” – Regina McKenna, BSC Graduate
7. Northeastern University – Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers undergraduate degrees in four fields of study: Criminal Justice Organizations and Leadership; Global Criminology; Law and Justice; and Criminology and Public Policy. Undergraduates who plan to pursue a Master of Science after earning their bachelor’s degree can reduce their overall credit requirements by enrolling in the PlusOne program during their junior year.
The NU admissions process includes an examination of applicants’ standardized test scores (ACT or SAT), advanced coursework taken during secondary school and recommendation letters. Generally, students who are accepted for admission have a median high school GPA of 3.8 to 4.3, an ACT score of 31-33 or a combined SAT score of 2020-2190.
NU prides itself on providing criminal justice students with opportunities to participate in experiential learning. Undergraduates can spend a maximum of 18 months participating in a co-op to gain relevant work experience in their field of study.
8. North Carolina State University at Raleigh – Raleigh, North Carolina
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a Bachelor of Art in Criminology with a number of multidisciplinary paths that students may take in conjunction with this program, including Pre-Law Services for prospective law students and HealthPAC for future medical professionals.
Students complete a total of 122 credits in order to graduate, including required courses in Social Deviance, Sociology of Law and Theories of Social Interaction before graduation. Twelve hours are earned through political science and sociology electives. The recommended course-load for undergraduates is five to six classes per semester, which totals 16 credits.
Prospective freshmen must submit the following materials to be considered for admission: an online application, a Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR), SAT or ACT scores and official transcripts.
9. San Diego State University – San Diego, California
Students gain hands-on work experience through the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program at SDSU; the degree requires that undergraduates complete a practicum at a law enforcement agency in order to qualify for graduation. Students who maintain a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2 are invited to join the Criminal Justice Honors Society
Prospective students must have completed the A-G high school course requirements recognized by California state colleges, submit ACT or SAT scores and submit an online application through CSU mentor.
Graduates from this program may continue their studies at this university and pursue a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) or a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.
10. Harding University – Searcy, Arkansas
This private, Christian university provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to major in criminal justice. This bachelor’s degree program can be completed in four years at the rate of six classes each semester term. Some of the required course topics include Statistics, Juvenile Crime and Justice, Criminal Procedure and Bible study. It is recommended that students complete a capstone internship with a partnering criminal justice agency.
Harding has built strong relationships with several national organizations, including Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Theta Omega, Alpha Phi Sigma and the American Society of Criminology, allowing students to pursue honors studies and research opportunities. To join Alpha Phi Sigma, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Prospective students must submit ACT or SAT scores and official high school transcripts with their completed applications.
11. University of Washington-Tacoma Campus – Tacoma, Washington
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program offered by the School of Social Work instills students with the knowledge and skills they need to recognize and understand the origins of criminal behavior, injustices in the nation’s criminal justice system and how society reacts to crime.
Students may not enter this program immediately as freshmen; they must first earn 60 undergraduate credits before applying for this major. The general admission requirements at UW-Tacoma include an online application, personal statement, list of achievements, ACT or SAT scores and official high school transcripts.
After gaining admission to UW, students must complete prerequisite courses in political science, English composition and sociology with a minimum GPA of 2.0 before declaring the criminal justice major. To qualify for the Criminal Justice Honors program, students must hold a 3.5 GPA for at least 12 credits.
The curriculum includes a total of 180 credits, and course topics include Diversity and Social Justice in Criminology, Police and Society and Adult Corrections. Seniors may enroll in an internship experience at partner institutions, including the IRS, the Pierce County Volunteer Services Program, the Puyallup Police Department, campus security and other law enforcement agencies.
12. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus – University Park, Pennsylvania
In 2012, the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Penn State changed the name of their BS and BA criminal justice programs to better reflect the program’s curriculum. The BA or BS in Criminology places an emphasis on crime-related social behaviors and the policies that shape various legal systems.
Students pursuing the BS option may also earn a concentration in Business/Public Administration. Upcoming freshmen must meet the high school subject course requirements for the College of Liberal Arts. Some of the course topics available through the BA and BS tracks include Intro to Criminology, Research Methods and Policing in America. Both the BS and BA include 45 credits of general education requirements.
Students who maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher may be eligible to enter a criminal justice internship program with the Justice and Safety Institute and other criminology sites, and those who maintain a 3.75 GPA are eligible for a departmental Distinguished Graduating Seniors award.
13. Florida State University – Tallahassee, Florida
Before fully enrolling in either the BA in Criminology or BS in Computer Criminology program offered at FSU’s College of Criminal Justice and Criminology, students must complete 36 undergraduate semester hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
FSU has a very competitive admissions process; the average enrolled freshman profile includes a minimum 3.8 secondary school GPA. Applicants must score at least a 26 on the ACT or a total of 1760 on the SAT. They must also submit a Self-Reported Student Academic Record but do not need to include recommendation letters.
Students entering the criminology major gain 36 semester hours in major requirements with courses like White Collar Crime, Crimes Against Humanity and Human Behavior. Those pursuing the computer criminology degree complete 52 hours in major requirements, with course topics that include Programming, Introduction to Unix and Cybercrime Detection and Forensics.
Undergraduates may apply to several College of Criminology and Criminal Justice scholarships by filling out a single online application.
14. University of Central Florida – Orlando, Florida
Students enrolled in the BA or BS programs from UCF’s Department of Criminal Justice have unique opportunities to gain exposure to graduate studies early by exploring the Scholars Track for graduate study preparation or the Senior Scholar Program, in which students take 5000-level courses for eventual transfer into the master’s program.
Freshmen applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit SAT or ACT scores. On average, admitted students enter with a 3.9 GPA, an average combined SAT score of 1850 and an average ACT score of 27.
Students must complete UCF’s general education requirements before moving into the criminal justice major. Prerequisites for the program include Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Economics and American National Government.
“The people I worked with … put me in every scenario possible and allowed me to experience it first hand.” – Max Thedy
15. Rutgers University-New Brunswick – Newark, New Jersey
Undergraduates enrolled at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers may earn a BA or BS in this field, both of which use interdisciplinary curricula. Students are expected to maintain at least a C average throughout the major requirements, which covers topics like Reducing Local Crime, Crime Mapping and Youth Violence.
Students with a 2.0 GPA or higher may double major in criminal justice and another field of study, or those who wish to eventually obtain a graduate degree may enroll in an accelerated BA or BS to MA program.
Most students who are accepted to Rutgers hold a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 along with an ACT score of 25 or an SAT score of 1730. The New Jersey Police Scholars Program provides financial assistance to students interested in employment with this agency after graduation.
16. Boston University – Boston, MA
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program offered by the Metropolitan College enables students to specialize in social justice issues or legal administration. Students take 48 general education credits followed by 64 criminal justice credits in required courses like Criminal Law, Sociological Methods and Corrections.
Prospective students are required to meet an academic counselor or take an informational session before applying. Applicants must submit official high school or GED transcripts and a personal statement along with a completed application.
Offered to both incoming freshmen and transfer students, the criminal justice degree allows students to complete their BS full-time or part-time, and classes can be taken on campus, in a blended format or online. All criminal justice campus-based courses are held at BU’s Charles River location.
17. Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI
MSU is of particular interest to scholars who wish to study criminal justice systems abroad. Undergraduates enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice have the opportunity to travel to Australia, Madagascar, the Caribbean and the Philippines to work firsthand with international legal systems.
Prospective freshmen must submit the following materials with a completed application: personal statement, official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The School of Criminal Justice also offers undergraduates several scholarship opportunities, each with their own online application.
Students earn 30 credits while fulfilling major requirements, through courses like Criminal Procedure, Methods of Criminal Justice Research and Criminology. Undergraduates have the option to specialize in Security Management. In order to graduate, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA throughout the program.
18. American University – Washington, DC
The Department of Justice, Law and Criminology offers four distinct degree tracks for undergraduates: a BA in Law and Society; a BA in Justice and Law; a BA in Politics, Policy and Law; and a combined BA and MS in Justice, Law and Criminology. While most of these are traditional four-year programs, the Politics, Policy and Law degree can be earned within three years due to an accelerated cohort curriculum.
Prospective freshmen must submit a Common Application or Universal College Application along with SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission.
Students are invited to take part in the American Mock Trial Association Team, where students use their criminal justice training to build and present legal arguments in a competitive courtroom simulation. They may also participate in a practicum experience in Washington, D.C., through the Agencies in Cooperation for Effective Services (ACES).
19. Georgia College and State University – Milledgeville, GA
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at GCSU is offered through the Department of Government and Sociology. Students must complete 42 semester hours in general core curriculum, along with 27 semester hours of major requirements including courses on Correctional Systems, Criminal Law and Police Practices.
To fulfill core curriculum requirements, students may select courses in accounting, economics, political science and history, and they must reach the foreign language proficiency equivalent of nine semester hours before graduation.
Prospective GCSU students must submit a completed application along with their SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission. The median high school GPA for enrolled freshmen is 3.26 to 3.75, with SAT scores ranging between 1100-1240 and ACT scores between 23-27.
20. West Chester University of Pennsylvania – West Chester, PA
The Criminal Justice Department at WCU provides undergraduate students with two academic tracks: a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a fast-track degree for those who wish to pursue a Master of Science after completing their bachelor’s program. Students enrolled in these programs participate in a summer-long practicum with one of WCU’s 600 partnering criminal justice agencies. While courses are instructed on campus, some materials are available online through the D2L classroom system.
WCU requires prospective undergraduates to have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a 1040 or higher combined SAT score. Applicants must also be within the top 40% of their high school graduating class.
Students who demonstrate a high level of academic performance during this undergraduate program are invited to join the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society, or they may participate in events hosted by the school’s chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association Lambda Alpha Epsilon.
“West Chester University’s Criminal Justice Department gave me the skills and confidence I needed in order to perform as a police officer. The courses, practicum, professors and staff were each an integral part of the preparation I needed to help me gain full time employment in the criminal justice field.” – Officer Nathan P. Kutz, BSCJ Graduate
21. The University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, AL
Undergraduates entering the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at UA have access to several departmental tuition assistance opportunities, including the Chairperson’s Award of Merit and the Criminal Justice Scholarship. UA offers internship opportunities with partnering state and federal agencies, and the campus is the home to several student organizations, including the Cyber Crime Club, the Moot Court Program, the Criminal Justice Student Association and Alpha Phi Sigma.
Before graduation, students enrolled in this undergraduate program earn at least 120 credits. Freshmen are not admitted directly into the criminal justice program; they must first earn at least 12 semester hours while maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.25. Students must maintain at least a C- grade level throughout their major requirement courses in order to earn the degree.
The general admission materials required for prospective freshmen include SAT or ACT scores, high school transcripts and institutional scholarship applications for those who want to be considered for funding assistance.
22. University of Mississippi – University, MS
Students attending Ole Miss can earn a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in one of three fields: Homeland Security, Law Enforcement or Corrections.
This degree, offered through the Department of Legal Studies, entails the completion of at least 124 credit hours, including general education courses and major requirements like Ethics in Legal Studies, Colloquium in Criminal Justice and an internship experience. Some of the required courses vary based on students’ selected concentrations.
Prospective students must demonstrate that they have completed the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) during high school with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Applicants are also expected to score higher than 22 on the ACT or 1020 on the SAT Math and Reading sections combined. Existing Ole Miss students who wish to change their major to criminal justice must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0.
23. Truman State University – Kirksville, MO
TSU places an emphasis on small freshmen class sizes so that students can work closely with their faculty and classmates. This university offers a vibrant campus life for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Justice Systems program.
Undergraduates are able to participate in mock trial competitions and honors societies, including a Lambda Alpha Epsilon American Criminal Justice Association chapter.
A course load of five to six classes each semester is recommended. In addition to a completed online application, students must also submit a one to three page essay, ACT or SAT scores, a resume and official high school transcripts.
24. University of Oklahoma - Norman – Norman, OK
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is designed for schedule flexibility; courses are delivered at an accelerated pace of eight-weeks at a time, so that students can graduate within 18 months. In total, students earn a minimum of 120 credits, with 30 hours gained from the liberal studies curriculum and 40 hours earned from upper-division classes in Comparative Justice Systems, Forensic Science and Criminal Behavior.
While students have the option of completing this degree in 18 months, most students take four to five years to earn the BS in Criminal Justice, and they must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to graduate. This program also accommodates degree completion students who already have an undergraduate degree or transfer credits.
Enrolled OU freshmen, known as “Sooners,” have a median unweighted GPA of 3.6, a 1180 combined score on the SAT and a score of 26 on the ACT.
25. Appalachian State University – Boone, NC
The Department of Government and Justice Studies at ASU offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is designed to be completed within four years. Students may specialize in fields like American Politics, International Studies, Pre-professional Legal Studies and International and Comparative Politics.
On average, incoming freshmen hold a combined SAT score of 1180 or a ACT score of 26, along with a GPA of 4.12.
An internship experience is required, unless a student already has a year of relevant work experience in the field. Students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 during all major courses in order to qualify for graduation. Those who earn and hold a 3.25 cumulative GPA have the option of joining the Honors Program in Criminal Justice during their junior year.
26. Messiah College – Mechanicsburg, PA
MC is a private academic institution that provides undergraduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice instructed from a Christian faith-based perspective that places an emphasis on restorative justice.
Students complete total of 123 credits, with nearly half of those earned through general education requirements. Some of the required courses include topics like Social Inequality and Statistical Methods of Psychology. MC has partnered with several local, state and federal agencies to create internship opportunities at sites such as police departments, a coroner’s office and state legislative offices.
Prospective students are expected to submit ACT or SAT scores, official high school transcripts and a personal statement along with a complete online application. Students who maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher may join the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society.
27. Temple University – Philadelphia, PA
Temple offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program designed to provide college students with extensive insights into prison systems. A unique Inside-Out program allows criminal justice students to participate in a seminar that gives them the opportunity to have conversations with men and women inside Pennsylvania’s correctional system.
Aspiring TU freshmen must submit an online application along with SAT or ACT scores and official transcripts. Undergraduates earn a total of 123 credits while completing this program and may opt to take a practicum lab to gain hands-on work experience at crime rehabilitation or prevention facilities.
Students have access to a number of funding and networking resources, including the annual departmental scholarships, the on-campus Criminal Justice Society and the criminal justice mentoring center, where they can get assistance with major requirement courses and writing.
28. Texas Christian University – Fort Worth, TX
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program at TCU places a strong emphasis on major requirements, with 42 credit hours dedicated to criminal justice courses and an internship experience of at least 125 hours of fieldwork. Students gain a total of 124 semester hours covering course topics like Policing Cyberspace, Multiculturalism in the Justice System and Community Corrections.
Applicants must submit the following materials to be considered for admission: a completed online Common Application, official high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, a resume, a personal essay and recommendation letters. Students must also complete an admissions interview before a decision is reached.
Undergraduate students who hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 are invited to join the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Honors Society chapter on this campus. The Criminal Justice Society at TCU provides students with professional networking opportunities and events.
29. University of South Carolina-Columbia – Columbia, SC
The Criminology and Criminal Justice department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree that undergraduates may enter as freshmen or as two-year degree completion students. Students take required courses including Criminal Procedure, Sociology of Crime and Research Methods.
This department provides bachelor’s students with several scholarship opportunities, including the Kenneth R. Blind Outstanding Service and the Cameron W. Taylor Outstanding Academic awards. SC hosts research colloquia events on a monthly basis, so that students can learn more about relevant criminal justice topics, and those who hold a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher may join the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society.
Prospective undergraduates apply online by submitting a completed application form along with ACT or SAT scores, unofficial transcripts, a counselor evaluation, two recommendation letters and a personal statement.
30. East Carolina University – Greenville, NC
The College of Human Ecology offers undergraduate students a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is meant to be completed within four years. ECU has its own Alpha Phi Sigma honor society chapter, which welcomes students who maintain a high GPA throughout the program.
ECU students may not immediately declare the criminal justice major upon enrollment as freshmen. First, students must take a prerequisite course, JUST 1000, and hold an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.0.
Undergraduates earn a total of 120 credits during this program, with 36 credits received through the core major requirements, including courses like Issues and Problems in Criminal Justice, Crime and Criminality and Research Methods. In order to graduate, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.
31. University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, AR
The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UA offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that is meant to be completed within four years of study. Applicants are expected to submit high school or GED details, ACT or SAT scores and details about extracurricular activities.
Students complete a total of 31 semester hours of criminal justice major requirements. Internships are optional and count toward a student’s degree once 180 work hours are completed. Partnering agency sites for internships include the Fayetteville Police Department and the city prosecutor’s office. Those with a 3.5 GPA may enroll in the honors program, which features 12 credit hours of honors research courses.
Students also have access to the Terrorism Research Center, a campus facility operated in partnership with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.
32. SUNY at Fredonia – Fredonia, NY
Undergraduates enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program at SUNY Fredonia complete 18 hours of core curriculum and six hours of statistics research as a foundation to their degree. Students then select 18 criminal justice and interdisciplinary courses to tailor the BA to their interests and professional goals. Course topics include Law Enforcement Policy and Practice, Homeland Security and Criminal Investigations.
Applicants are required to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for admission. On average, accepted students hold a score of 1090 on the SAT (Math and Reading combined) and a 24 on the ACT.
Criminal justice students may be eligible for departmental scholarships, such as the University Police Scholarship or the Steven C. Croglio Scholarship. While this college does not have an honors society specific to criminal justice, students with high GPAs may still take a general education Honors Program and appear on the Dean’s List.
33. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire – Eau Claire, WI
The multidisciplinary BA and BS in Criminal Justice helps undergraduates gain exposure to a variety of subjects, including foreign language, math and science. Students also complete 24 credits of criminal justice coursework on topics such as Criminology Theory, Police in Society and Crime Prevention.
Prospective freshmen must submit SAT or ACT scores and official transcripts with their completed online application. Prerequisite courses include Intro to Sociology, Intro to Psychology, American National Politics and a Survey of the Criminal Justice System.
Internships are optional and are hosted at agency sites like the county sheriff’s office, the Restorative Justice Center and the local police department. The BA program places an emphasis on humanities coursework while the BS program emphasizes math and science lab courses.
34. SUNY College at Brockport – Brockport, NY
Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an optional minor in Forensic Science at SUNY Brockport. Freshmen are not admitted directly into the CJ program; applicants must first complete 24 undergraduate credit hours at SUNY or through an external associate degree program while maintaining a 2.5 cumulative GPA.
Students take criminal justice curriculum requirements like Juvenile Justice Process, Police Process and Research Methods. The optional forensic science minor includes coursework on Archeological Analysis, psychopharmacology and Abnormal Psychology.
The Criminal Justice Student Association at Brockport facilitates professional networking conferences as a student resource on campus, and the school has its own dedicated job board for students seeking internships and employment in criminal justice.
35. Rowan University – Glassboro, NJ
RU is an ideal academic institution for students focused on also obtaining a master’s degree. Their combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts program in Law and Justice Studies enables undergraduates to earn both degrees within a total of five years.
To apply for this accelerated program, students must first complete 60-75 undergraduate college credits and hold a cumulative GPA of 3.2. Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and course transcripts to be considered for admission.
Rowan is the home to five different criminal justice student organizations, including the Victim Awareness Club, the Alpha Phi Sigma honors society and the Gamma Chi Sigma criminal justice club. Possible internship sites include state probation departments, public defender offices and municipal police departments.
36. Indiana Wesleyan University – Marion, IN
This private Christian institution provides undergraduates with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program that can be earned on campuses in Indiana or Kentucky. The program is designed for students who have already earned an associate’s degree, however, incoming freshmen may take the IWU bridge program to gain the necessary credits instead.
To enter this program, students must hold 60 transferable credits from an accredited institution and take a prerequisite course, Introduction to Criminal Justice. Those who graduate from this program earn a total of 124 semester credits. The major requirements cover topics like Ethics in Criminal Justice, Probation and Cybercrime.
Each course is delivered on an accelerated eight-week schedule, and students must hold a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher to graduate.
37. Miami University – Oxford, OH
The Department of Justice and Community Studies at Miami U prepare undergraduates for specialized disciplines and professional skill sets with the BS in Forensic Science and Investigation (BSFSI). This program is a double major program, with curricula unique to the fields of Forensic Science and Forensic Investigation separately. Students may also earn a traditional Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, which covers a range of liberal arts, mathematics and core criminal justice requirements.
Miami U has an open enrollment policy for all students who have a high school diploma or GED. Students who have graduated from high school within a year of applying to Miami U must supply ACT or SAT scores.
Undergraduates who have completed 15-30 hours of study may be eligible for criminal justice scholarships. The Criminal Justice Society is a campus-based student organization dedicated to professional training opportunities and guest speaker events.
38. University of Dayton – Dayton, OH
This private, Catholic school provides students with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with two enrollment options. Option A accommodates incoming freshmen who have no previous college experience. Option B is designed for students who already hold an associate degree and wish to transfer into the program.
In total, students earn 124 credits from this undergraduate program. The 37 credits of major requirements cover topics like Criminological Theory, Criminal Justice Institutions and Social Structures. Students may take an optional internship within the disciplines of sociology, criminal justice or politics.
Undergraduates who maintain a high level of academic performance may be eligible to participate in a research assistantship during their senior year, and those with good academic standing may be invited to join the campus’ chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honors society.
To apply to Dayton, prospective students submit a Common Application form along with official transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, an a recommendation letter from a school counselor.
39. University of Nebraska at Kearney – Kearney, NE
UNK provides criminal justice undergraduates with two Bachelor of Science degree tracks: a Criminal Justice Comprehensive option that heavily emphasizes criminal justice courses or a Criminal Justice Major option that requires students to make a minor or secondary major selection.
Incoming freshmen are expected to have completed required foreign language, natural science, English, math and social science high school courses. Standardized test score minimums are 950 for the SAT (composite) or 20 for the ACT.
Criminal justice students are required to complete an internship with a local, state or national agency before graduation, and those who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher may be eligible to join Iota Xi, this school’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honors society.
40. SUNY College at Plattsburgh – Plattsburgh, NY
The interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at SUNY Plattsburgh prepares students for federal employment at the GS 7-8 levels. Undergraduates earn a total of 120 course credits, with 57 credits obtained through major requirements such as Punishment and Society, Victimology and the War on Drugs.
Both freshmen and transfers students who have already completed their associate degree are invited to apply. SUNY Plattsburgh’s admissions process is strict, with inbound freshmen selected based on academic performance recommendations. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA during high school and test score minimums of 1000 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT.
Students who complete this bachelor’s degree program meet the entry requirements for Plattsburgh graduate studies.
41. SUNY College at Oswego – Oswego, NY
Students may explore a Bachelor of Arts in Public Justice that is based in liberal arts and social science curricula. This interdisciplinary program is comprised of 15 core requirement credits and 21 elective requirements, which cover subjects like American Criminal Courts and Organizational Structures. Students must also complete a practicum at partnering government or private institutions. Undergraduates also have the option of taking a Forensic Science minor through the Department of Public Justice.
Prospective freshmen must submit an online application, SAT or ACT scores and official high school transcripts to be considered for this program.
Oswego hosts honors ceremonies to celebrate seniors who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and who have demonstrated outstanding service to their community. The campus-based Public Justice Club organizes student field trips to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies and schedules guest speakers.
42. Springfield College – Springfield, MA
Springfield offers degree tracks that are ideal for undergraduates who wish to pursue professional or graduate education after they complete a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; the Five Year Dual Degree program combines the BS with a Master of Science in Social Work. Students pursuing a career in law should consider entering the 3+3 Program, which helps criminal justice majors fulfill their pre-law requirements.
Prospective SC freshmen must have completed four years of English, three years of mathematics, two years of social sciences and two years of science courses during high school to meet the admission requirements. Students who wish to enter the dual degree program must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their junior year of study.
43. University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH
The College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services offers an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice that can be earned at the Clermont College or Raymond Walters College locations. This degree program is designed to be completed within four years.
Prospective UC students apply by submitting a Common Application along with SAT or ACT scores, official high school transcripts and a letter of recommendation. Both freshmen and transfer students with their associate degree are welcome to apply.
To graduate, students are expected to complete required curriculum and a field placement experience that involves 112 hours of on-site work at a criminal justice agency.
44. SUNY Oneonta – Oneonta, NY
The undergraduate major in criminal justice at Oneonta is earned by completing 42 hours of required major credits, including Deviant Behavior, Literature of Imprisonment and Social Research Methods. The Department of Sociology oversees this degree program, which accommodates freshmen and transfer students who already have an associate degree. Completion of an internship is required for graduation.
Prospective students may submit a Common Application or a SUNY online form to apply for admission. Required materials include official SAT or ACT scores, a letter of recommendation and official high school transcripts or a GED score report.
Freshmen entering the Criminal Justice program generally hold a high school GPA between 2.9-3.5. Prospective students must submit their applications by February 1 to be considered for departmental scholarships.
45. Indiana University-Bloomington – Bloomington, IN
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice offered by the Department of Criminal Justice thoroughly explores both civil and criminal legal systems in the United States. After declaring this major, students complete 30 hours of required credits along with the core curriculum requirements within the College of Arts and Sciences. Students may get involved with three types of internships: teaching, research or field experience.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma and 34 credits of college preparatory courses to meet the admission requirements. The median student profile for entering freshmen includes a GPA of 3.47-4.0, along with SAT test scores of 1110-1290 and ACT scores of 25-30.
Students who pursue direct admission to the Department of Criminal Justice are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships.
46. Hampton University – Hampton, VA
The Department of Sociology provides a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology that includes a senior thesis project. The average course load is six classes per semester, culminating in a total of 130 credit hours over four years. Examples of required courses include Statistics, Corrections and Criminal Justice System.
Students are not admitted directly into this degree program; they must first earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 while completing the prerequisites courses. Prospective students who hold a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or rank within the top 10% of their class do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores with their application.
Criminal justice undergraduates may be eligible to apply for four departmental scholarships, and those in good academic standing may petition for membership in Gamma Tau, Hampton’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honors Society.
47. Cedarville University – Cedarville, OH
This private academic institution, founded by the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that is instructed from a biblical perspective. Students complete a liberal arts core curriculum, along with major degree courses in Legal Studies, Local Law Enforcement and Homeland Security.
The admissions requirements include a minimum 3.0 secondary school GPA, minimum scores of 22 on the ACT or 1020 on the combined SAT and demonstrated dedication to a Christian lifestyle. Applicants must obtain a reference letter from their church leader to be considered for admission.
Undergraduates can participate in campus activities with four different criminal justice and political science organizations, including the Legal Society, Alpha Delta Nu, Epsilon Pi Lambda and Psi Sigma Alpha.
48. Rochester Institute of Technology – Rochester, NY
RIT’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice features a careful blend of theory and practice. Students are required to take part in a field experience, prior to graduation;past internship programs have been completed with forensics, corrections, law enforcement, legal and probation agencies.
Undergraduates complete a minimum of 120 credit hours while obtaining this degree, which is designed to take four years to complete. Examples of required courses include Quantitative Methods for Criminal Justice, Writing Seminar and Theories of Crime and Criminality. In order to graduate, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 throughout the duration of this program.
Prospective students must submit an online application, official transcripts, a midyear report and SAT I or ACT scores. Undergraduates can find support from one of the four criminal justice student organizations on campus: RIT Pre-law Association, The Journal of Social and Legal Research at RIT, Phi Alpha Delta and the Criminal Justice Student Association.
“One of my favorite experiences was the Criminal Justice Student Association field trip to Attica Correctional Facility. It was a unique opportunity to have a tour of a maximum-security prison and learn more about prisons. We were able to see what the cells at Attica looked like, what kinds of jobs were available at the prison and what kinds of activities the prisoners had.” – Stephanie Mackowski, BSCJ Graduate
49. University of Arizona – Tucson, AZ
The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies is provided in collaboration with the Rombach Institute of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections. This degree is meant to be completed within four years of study, covering course requirements on Public Policy, Statistics for Social Sciences and Criminal Justice Administration.
Prospective freshmen must meet subject and grade requirements for high school coursework to be considered for admission.
Students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 throughout the degree program, and criminal justice undergraduates in good academic standing may qualify for several scholarship opportunities provided by the School of Governance and Public Policy.
50. Washington State University – Pullman, Washington
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program is offered through WSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. The policy-focused curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in the criminal justice system, governmental agencies or the private sector.
Successful applicants have completed the state’s minimum college admission requirements, submitted the WSU application and sent the school their official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.
The BACJ program is designed to be completed within four years. Students who follow the degree plan take 14-17 credits per semester, for a total of 120 credits to fulfill graduation requirements. Fifteen credits are earned in the major’s core courses; topics include Intro to the Administration of Criminal Justice, Criminal Law and Crime Control Policies.
Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs
1. University of Central Florida - Orlando, Florida
The University of Central Florida’s (UFC) online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice prepares students to work in local, county, state and federal agencies, organizations or private security firms.
The program totals 120 credit hours and permits students to choose between a BA or a BS; the BA requires 1 year of college level foreign language study. For those seeking professional experience, an option is available to apply 6 internship credit hours towards their higher level electives. 12 hours of criminal justice coursework can be transferred from another accredited institution.
UCF is not yet authorized to deliver online education in Minnesota; six of the online programs have additional state restrictions.
Web CT Vista hosts UFC’s online courses, having migrated from Blackboard in 2013. Prospective students can take a tour, preview an online course and/or watch five informational videos about Webcourses@UFC through Knights Online.
2. SUNY College at Oswego - Oswego, New York
The online bachelor’s in public justice offered through SUNY College at Oswego requires no campus visits. Students garner a well-rounded knowledge base from supporting courses in anthropology, counseling, psychology and sociology.
The program totals 36 to 39 credit hours depending on the number of required courses needed. Graduates tend to pursue careers in the fields of juvenile justice, human services, administration of justice, corrections and law enforcement.
Online courses are delivered through the Angel learning management system, accessed through a Laker NetID. Courses are asynchronous, but typically require students to log in at least 3 times a week.
Most classes are 15 weeks long, except summer classes which can run 3, 6 or 12 weeks in length. Students participate through class discussion boards and posted assignments.
An online orientation guide is available to learn more about Oswego’s services, policies, offerings and procedures.
3. Washington State University - Pullman, Washington
The online bachelor’s of criminal justice at Washington State University can be completed in just 49 credit hours, with core credits transferred from an accredited community college.
The program electives include a criminal justice internship, juvenile justice & corrections, criminal law and issues in the administration of criminal justice. Courses follow a semester schedule; however, WSU offers two 3-week sessions per year as well. Courses are asynchronous, but require students meet assignment deadlines.
To apply for financial aid students must be enrolled at least half time. Washington state employees and veterans are eligible for additional benefits.
WSU uses the popular learning management system Blackboard in conjunction with Angel to deliver its online courses. Training tutorial videos and a demo online course are available to explore the virtual classroom; some of the features include assignment drop boxes, discussion forums, online assessments and grade books. WSU has a Streaming Media Center for students to view class materials at their convenience.
4. Sam Houston State University - Huntsville, Texas
SHSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers a 120 credit hour Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice completely online. The program features internship placement, agency tours and conferences to provide networking opportunities and hands-on experience.
Courses include cybercrime, global terrorism, victimology and white collar crime; one required English course must be taken in residence.
Blackboard hosts the online, distance and web-based courses. Via this platform, students view class Wikis, blogs and assignments, as well as participate in group projects, assessments and discussion boards. A tutorial of the recently update system is available to view.
In the spring, criminal justice majors are awarded scholarships for the following year at the College of Criminal Justice Honors Convocation.
5. Central Washington University - Ellensburg, Washington
CWU’s online Bachelor of Arts in Law and Justice prepares students to enter graduate school or to pursue a criminal justice career. The program totals 180 quarter credits and allows students to transfer in up to 135 quarter credits from an accredited four-year institution. Students typically spend 12 hours per week per three credit course.
Program electives and core requirements include classes such as criminal procedure, research methods in criminal justice, family law and corrections counseling.
As of spring 2015, CWU has migrated its online learning environment from Blackboard to Canvas. Informational videos, guides, orientation and technical support are provided to help students navigate the course management system’s features, including email, discussion boards, journals and live conferencing.
Students not residing in Washington state should refer to this list of states to ensure CWU is authorized to provide education in their state of residence.
6. Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, Illinois
Loyola Online offers a BA in Criminal Justice through its Continuing and Professional Studies program in either a 100% online or hybrid format. Available concentrations include business communication, organizational psychology, paralegal studies and pastoral studies.
Sakai is the open-source learning management system hosting Loyola Online’s virtual learning environment. This platform allows students to view syllabi, research tools, notes, assignments, class discussions, tests and more. Lessons are conducted using Wikis, Dropbox, blogs, Turnitin® and discussion forums.
Prospective students residing outside of Illinois should check LUC’s State Authorization page.
Online students may apply for grants and scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition. Individuals and professionals returning to school may earn college credits through the CLEP and Prior Learning Assessment.
7. Eastern Kentucky University - Richmond, Kentucky
EKU Online offers a BA in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies with no on-campus requirements. A sample course from the program is available to view. The program totals 120 credit hours and explores subjects such as the death penalty, female offenders, diversity in corrections and criminal justice ethics.
Since courses are taught at an accelerated pace, organized into two 8-week long spring and fall terms or two 6-week summer terms, students can concentrate on just 2 classes at a time while still maintaining a full course load.
All coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. This interface hosts assignments, chat rooms, discussion boards, video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, reading materials, projects, quizzes and grades. Interested applicants can take a tour of the virtual classroom.
8. University of Colorado Denver - Denver, Colorado
CU Online offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program with the option to earn both a BA and an MA in Criminal Justice within 5 years. An internship experience is incorporated into the curriculum.
Through their eCollege login, students gain access to the Blackboard LMS, where all online course materials and activities are located. Communication occurs through chat rooms, videos, journals, threaded discussions, an assignment Drop Box and email. Tests and quizzes are also conducted on this platform.
CU Online offers financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, student loans and work study programs.
9. Drexel University - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Designed for working professionals, Drexel Online offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Justice Studies that prepares students to advance in the fields of law, private security and criminal justice, or for graduate level studies.
This 183 credit hour program is only available on a part-time basis, and can be completed at your own pace. The core curriculum provides a fundamental understanding of criminal behavior and criminology, followed by a survey of criminal administration, crime control, corrections, criminal justice, law enforcement and procedures.
Online learning is conducted through Blackboard Learn. This platform enables instructors to upload PowerPoints, multimedia lectures and assignments. They may host live classroom events using collaborative software, or assign collaborative group projects that require students to communicate with each other through forums, email and conferencing. Assignments are submitted via a drop box and have deadlines just like exams and quizzes; all other course work is asynchronous.
10. Fort Hays State University - Hays, Kansas
The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies at FHSU are interdisciplinary programs that prepare students for careers in the legal field, law enforcement or corrections.
A variety of hands-on experiential learning opportunities define this program including defense tactics, study abroad trips, advanced seminars and internships.
FHSU proudly offers Online Degree and Distance Learning Scholarships through GetEducated.com, in addition to school-affiliated scholarships, grants, loans and veteran benefits.
FHSU’s Virtual College uses Blackboard as its primary delivery vehicle for online learning; occasionally a course incorporates a DVD or CD. A Virtual College orientation, including a demo course, helps prepare prospective students for online classes.
11. Fayetteville State University - Fayetteville, North Carolina
FSU offers a BS in Criminal Justice that encourages students to ask the question, “What ought to be?,” without assuming there is one correct answer. Designed as a degree completion program, with only the upper-level courses being offered online, students must complete their general education requirements on-campus or at another online school. Courses follow semester scheduling, lasting either 8 or 16 weeks long, and include criminological theory, criminal justice statistics and comparative criminal justice.
FSU uses Blackboard to conduct its online courses, enabling students to work asynchronously while meeting deadlines for assignments, quizzes, exams and discussion posting. An orientation, online assessment, tutorial and sample online course are available for prospective students to peruse.
Students residing outside the state of North Carolina should refer to the list of states in which FSU is authorized to deliver distance and online education.
12. University of Houston-Downtown - Houston, Texas
The College of Public Service at the University of Houston offers a BS and a BAAS in Criminal Justice for online completion. Both require a minimum of 120 credit hours, however at least 25% of these credit hours must be earned through UHD. BS students can select a minor in criminology, criminal court system, police system, correctional system or crime, law & society.
UHD employs the Blackboard learning management system for its online courses, creating a virtual classroom in which students and instructors convene on a regular basis. Uonline provides students with necessary services, resources and access to the UHD online community.
13. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus - College, Pennsylvania
Penn State Online has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 online criminal justice bachelor’s program in the nation. Over the duration of the 120-credit program, students explore ethics in criminal justice, security and police administration, criminology, alternatives to incarceration and more.
Both full- and part-time degree-seeking students are eligible for financial aid through Penn State’s World Campus or one of the various payment plan options.
Using Blackboard Collaborate, students stay connected to their classmates and instructors by chat, bulletin boards, email, Skype, Wikis, blogs or journals. All weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group projects, along with exams and other activities, are completed asynchronously with designated due dates. Typically students devote eight to twelve hours per week per three credit course.
This program was also the first online BS in Criminal Justice to be awarded certification by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
14. Colorado State University-Global Campus - Greenwood Village, Colorado
As a proud member of the Colorado State University System, CSU Global offers an online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration. Degree specializations include criminal forensics, cyber security, healthcare management and public administration. Courses begin every four weeks throughout the year and last eight weeks.
Transfer students can earn up to 90 credits towards their degree by taking a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) or Competency Based Exam (CBE). Financial aid options, including grants and loans, are available.
CSU Global uses the Schoology learning management system, accessed through the student portal. This classroom management and social networking platform organizes course content and allows for asynchronous or synchronous interaction between students and instructors.
15. Texas A&M University-Central Texas - Killeen, Texas
This Texas-based university offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice totaling 120 credit hours. Upper-division courses are offered online. Students explore police and court systems, ethics, criminology and the fundamentals of criminal law. At least 30 of the total credit hours must be completed at Texas A&M, in addition to two writing intensive advanced courses.
Graduates of the program pursue careers in community supervision, law enforcement, institutional corrections, investigations and other related fields. Program faculty members have practical experience as well as instructional/research experience.
Once registered, students receive a myCT username and password that enables them to log in to Blackboard 9.1, the platform Texas A&M uses to conduct online instruction. A “Blackboard on-demand center” is available 24/7 to help students navigate through any issues they may encounter. The online library housing 81,726 electronic journals and 55,000 eBooks, maps and more is yet another resource made available to online students.