Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 9/7/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Average Tuition: $22,532
Alumni Salary: $36,630

Earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice can open many doors. While some criminal justice majors find rewarding careers in law enforcement and corrections, others may choose to go into politics or law or work with people who have previously been incarcerated. Those passionate about criminal justice reform may want to pursue a career in policy advocacy or the non-profit sector. These career options typically involve respectable salaries. For example, police officers and detectives earn median annual salaries of $67,290, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Below is our ranked list of the best colleges offering online criminal justice degrees. We also provide a detailed look at online programs, including common courses and specializations. Finally, we offer some insights to help students decide whether earning a bachelor's in criminal justice is worth it, choose an accredited program, determine if this degree fits their career goals, and obtain financial aid.

Start Your Online College Search:
OnlineU has over 200 partner colleges that advertise on our site. Search results include only our partner colleges, which are marked with the word "Ad." Learn more about how we make money.

Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Criminal Justice Badge

We ranked the top schools with online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice based on return on investment (ROI). Our ROI shows a graduate's earnings in 10 years according to salary and debt data reported by the US Department of Education (and accounting for salary growth and loan interest). We hope our rankings will help prospective students understand whether the cost of a program may be worth the benefit in future earnings. All of the online programs on this list have higher-than-average ROIs compared to all bachelor's degrees in criminal justice (online or not) in the United States, which average $337,500. The ROI for the top-ranked school, Union Institute & University, is three times the national average.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 Union Institute & University $16,350 $112,028 $17,750 $1,131,200
# 2 #2 Fisher College $14,400 $60,161 $26,000 $587,000
# 3 #3 Oakland City University $10,950 $56,641 $20,477 $557,600
# 4 #4 Waldorf University $9,150 $56,415 $24,145 $550,700
# 5 #5 Herzing University $17,940 $55,693 $20,358 $548,000
# 6 #6 Lynn University $9,000 $53,358 $15,250 $530,300
# 7 #7 Central Christian College of Kansas $12,750 $54,053 $25,000 $525,300
# 8 #8 Columbia Southern University $7,050 $53,647 $22,192 $524,700
# 9 #9 American Public University System $8,550 $53,436 $25,746 $518,100
# 10 #10 National University $16,650 $52,464 $25,000 $509,000
# 11 #11 Excelsior College $15,300 $50,231 $13,710 $500,100
# 12 #12 Reinhardt University $13,950 $50,856 $27,800 $488,900
# 13 #13 Columbia College - SC $11,850 $47,729 $17,482 $469,600
# 14 #14 Wayland Baptist University $13,206 $46,087 $15,625 $455,000
# 15 #15 University of Maryland Global Campus $14,970 $46,726 $22,000 $453,600
# 16 #16 Concordia University - Saint Paul $12,600 $46,478 $22,515 $450,500
# 17 #17 Colorado State University Global $10,500 $46,673 $25,000 $449,400
# 18 #18 Bethel University - TN $11,936 $47,260 $30,917 $448,000
# 19 #19 Franklin Pierce University $12,000 $46,478 $27,000 $444,900
# 20 #20 Utah Valley University $16,092 $45,037 $18,250 $440,900
# 21 #21 University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus $21,369 $45,383 $25,000 $436,100
# 22 #22 Thomas University $15,940 $46,087 $32,525 $434,000
# 23 #23 University of Alaska Anchorage $25,440 $44,933 $24,193 $432,500
# 24 #24 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh $10,800 $44,276 $23,000 $427,200
# 25 #25 Ashland University $10,950 $43,674 $22,372 $421,800

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Criminal Justice Rankings Details

#1

Union Institute & University

Cincinnati (OH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $1,131,200
  • Median Salary: $112,028
  • Annual Tuition: $16,350
  • Median Debt: $17,750

Union Institute & University offers two options to undergraduates interested in criminal justice: The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management and the Bachelor of Science in Emergency Services Management with a criminal justice management concentration. The criminal justice management program was created for law enforcement and corrections officers. The curriculum focuses... on supervision and administration in a criminal justice agency. The emergency services management degree is ideal for those who want to lead crisis-management organizations. Both 120-credit programs allow full-time and part-time enrollment.

Both programs are also offered in an asynchronous online format, so working adults can balance their coursework around other responsibilities. Students with relevant work or military experience may earn credit for their training, shortening their time to complete the degree. Students can also transfer up to 90 credits from another school.

Classes begin every eight weeks. To apply, prospective students must submit an online application and their transcripts. Available resources include academic support, disability assistance, and career development guidance.

Cost per Credit: $545
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 58%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 507

#2

Fisher College

Boston (MA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $587,000
  • Median Salary: $60,161
  • Annual Tuition: $14,400
  • Median Debt: $26,000

Fisher College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice to prepare students for careers in law enforcement, courts, corrections, or government policy. This 120-credit program includes courses such as Corrections in America, Principles of Investigations, Criminal Justice Statistics, and Deviance and Social Control. Fisher reports an average length of 40 months to... complete this degree for students taking two eight-week courses per term.

Students learn via the Blackboard system, where they can read and submit assignments, watch recorded lectures, and collaborate with classmates. Fisher provides need-based scholarships and grants to help students fund their education, along with a few merit-based options. The Career Services office offers virtual counseling sessions for online students to pursue job and internship opportunities.

Prospective students fill out an online application and submit high school (or equivalent) transcripts. Transfer students also submit transcripts for any accredited postsecondary schools they’ve attended — Fisher allows up to 90 transfer credits. Enrollees can take advantage of the Writing and Academic Support Center, virtual library access, and accessibility accommodations.

Cost per Credit: $400
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 144
Graduation Rate: 33%
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 881

#3

Oakland City University

Oakland City (IN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $557,600
  • Median Salary: $56,641
  • Annual Tuition: $10,950
  • Median Debt: $20,477

Students can pursue Oakland City University’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice as a general degree or with a concentration in investigative forensics. This 120-credit program includes 45 credits of core classes such as Statistics in Criminal Justice, Basics of Crime Scene Investigation, and Conflict Management in Criminal Justice, and Offender Assessment System. Both... programs culminate in either a field internship or research practicum course. Oakland City has crime-scene replica and evidence-processing studios to add a flavor of real-world experience to these programs.

Online classes in this program last are five weeks long and run year-round, so full-time students can potentially finish their degrees in under four years. Oakland City only provides institutional scholarships for students at its main campus, so online students will need to explore their federal financial aid options. However, online students can access the Career Services office for help with creating a job search plan and preparing resumes.

Prospective students can submit their applications online or in paper form. They must also submit a high school or GED transcript, plus transcripts for any postsecondary institutions they’ve attended.

Cost per Credit: $365
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 52%
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 920 - 1130
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 19

#4

Waldorf University

Forest City (IA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $550,700
  • Median Salary: $56,415
  • Annual Tuition: $9,150
  • Median Debt: $24,145

Waldorf University offers a number of online bachelor’s degrees for students who want to work in law enforcement, courts, or corrections. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice features four possible concentrations. Waldorf’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Administration and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration are both for future criminal... justice managers and feature most of the same course requirements, but the B.A.S. ends with a liberal arts capstone in which students analyze their potential careers. The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a criminal justice concentration teaches students to apply psychology theories and practices to the criminal justice field. Finally, two Bachelor of Arts degrees help prepare students for careers in large-scale security management and disaster response: The B.A. in Homeland Security (with two available concentrations) and the B.A. in Emergency Management (also with two concentrations). All 120-credit programs average four years to complete.

Students abide by the Term Enrollment System, logging in at the beginning of each week to view assignments and then working on their own schedules. Waldorf provides scholarships for online students, including several sponsored by first-responder organizations.

Prospective students must apply online and submit transcripts for high school or a GED, plus any postsecondary schools they’ve attended. Enrollees can access student services that include advising and virtual library resources.

Cost per Credit: $305
School Type: For-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 29%
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 920 - 1110
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,950

#5

Herzing University

Multiple Locations
  • 10-Year ROI: $548,000
  • Median Salary: $55,693
  • Annual Tuition: $17,940
  • Median Debt: $20,358

Herzing University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, with an optional concentration in either Homeland Security and Counterterrorism or Management and Leadership. This 120-credit degree includes a common core of classes such as Criminal Law, Juvenile Justice, and Civil Liability in Public Safety. Each concentration contains six required courses, and each... track culminates in either a capstone project or internship. Another option is Herzing’s online Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Criminal Justice (plus one other required concentration in Business, IT Network Security, or Healthcare Administration). Students have the freedom to design a course of study as long as they take six required criminal justice courses.

Herzing’s online classes are asynchronous and accessible 24/7. Students can pursue a variety of scholarships and grants to help fund their degrees, and can transfer up to 90 credits toward this program. This includes approved nonacademic credits for law enforcement experience.

Applicants must first schedule a virtual meeting with an admissions advisor, who reviews a prospective student’s education and experience for any potential sources of transfer credit. Then applicants submit their online application, transcripts, and exam results. Herzing students can receive personalized student services that include help with time management, stress and anxiety counseling, and academic advising.

Cost per Credit: $390
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 184
Graduation Rate: 31%
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,229

#6

Lynn University

Boca Raton (FL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $530,300
  • Median Salary: $53,358
  • Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • Median Debt: $15,250

Lynn University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Students in this 120-credit program learn the organization of the U.S. justice system alongside theories of criminal behavior and social problems. The program’s 48-credit core includes courses such as Abnormal Psychology, Issues in Corrections, Global Human Rights, and Introduction to Forensic Science. Interested full-time... students can register for an in-person internship in Washington, D.C.

Lynn’s online curriculum is designed to be mobile-friendly so students can learn on university-issued iPads. Professors deliver course textbooks through these iPads at a reduced cost. Students can apply for scholarships and grants, including the Undergraduate Criminal Justice grant that provides 5% off tuition. The office of Career and Alumni Connections offers a full range of assistance with a job or internship search, including an alumni-shadowing program.

All prospective students complete an online application and submit a personal statement and relevant transcripts. Lynn provides academic support for all students and will work to accommodate those with learning differences.

Cost per Credit: $300
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 51%
Acceptance Rate: 85%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 980 - 1170
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 231

#7

Central Christian College of Kansas

McPherson (KS)
  • 10-Year ROI: $525,300
  • Median Salary: $54,053
  • Annual Tuition: $12,750
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice for students interested in a law enforcement, court, or corrections career. This degree requires courses such as Criminology, Comparative Justice, and Terrorism and Counterterrorism, many of which are taught by real-world practitioners. Another option is CCCK’s Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services... with a correctional/justice concentration. This degree helps prepare students to serve and treat incarcerated and at-risk populations through courses that include Victimology and Juvenile Justice.

Students in both programs take one fully online course at a time for six weeks before moving to the next. The university allows up to 90 transfer credits toward a bachelor’s degree, which can save students money by allowing them to complete their programs faster. This includes credit for qualifying military training.

CCCK provides a simple online application form and covers the cost of requesting and submitting transcripts. Online students pair up with a Student Success Advisor who helps them for the entirety of their degree program, providing academic and career resources when needed.

Cost per Credit: $425
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 32%
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 348

#8

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach (AL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $524,700
  • Median Salary: $53,647
  • Annual Tuition: $7,050
  • Median Debt: $22,192

Columbia Southern University (CSU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, with optional concentrations in arson investigation and forensics. This 120-credit program includes 36 credits in core class requirements, such as Police and Community Relations, Criminal Justice Organization and Administration, and Victimology. Each of the concentrations... also requires 12 credits of specialized courses. All students choose from electives that describe the balance among law enforcement, courts, and corrections in the U.S. justice system.

CSU provides working adults with several asynchronous learning options. Students can start classes anytime with work at their own pace with LifePace Learning, which has no set due dates for assignments. Term enrollment features 11 start dates a year and weekly assignments for students who want more structure, and Veterans Flexible Enrollment (for students using VA benefits) has structured nine-week courses but self-paced assignments. Students can pursue four scholarships specific to online criminal justice students, and employees at CSU’s partner organizations can receive 10% tuition discounts.

All applicants fill out an online form and submit transcripts. A prospective student’s start date will depend on which flexible learning option they choose. Online students can contact the Academic Advising & Student Support Center for help with coursework and to ask questions about their degree path.

Cost per Credit: $235
School Type: For-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 22%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Accreditation: DEAC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 14,364

#9

American Public University System

Charles Town (WV)
  • 10-Year ROI: $518,100
  • Median Salary: $53,436
  • Annual Tuition: $8,550
  • Median Debt: $25,746

The American Public University System offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. The B.S. emphasizes a hard-science approach to the subject, including an optional 27-credit concentration in digital forensics and a required Criminal Justice Capstone - Digital Forensics (which even non-concentration students take). The B.A. degree focuses on social... science research, including the psychology and sociology behind incarceration, juvenile justice, and race and policing. B.A. students can choose a general course of study or a concentration in entrepreneurship, maritime law enforcement, or organizational law enforcement leadership, each of which culminates in the Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice. Both degrees are 120 credits.

Online classes are asynchronous, and students can use the APUS app to learn on their mobile devices. The university’s Freedom Grant caps the tuition rate for military students and spouses and waives several fees for these students. Students can contact the Career Services office for resources to help them secure and successfully pass job interviews.

Prospective students apply online and submit high school or GED transcripts. Transfer students also submit transcripts from any college-level institutions, including official military transcripts if applicable. APUS’s academic advisors help with questions or concerns about their degree.

Cost per Credit: $285
School Type: For-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 40%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,335

#10

National University

La Jolla (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $509,000
  • Median Salary: $52,464
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Median Debt: $25,000

National University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration. This degree requires 180 quarter units to complete and includes eight core classes and a capstone with a senior project. Students also choose seven upper-level electives such as Criminal Intelligence, Organized & White Collar Crime, and Survey of Forensic Sciences. Students who want to pursue... a higher degree after their B.S. can choose one of four transition paths leading to a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Public Administration, or Juvenile Justice.

National classes are fully online and asynchronous. Students take one four-week class at a time, which they can access any time of day or night. The university provides both need- and merit-based scholarships, and its status as a military-friendly Yellow Ribbon school means that active-duty and retired service members receive generous tuition assistance.

To apply, prospective students fill out an online form and submit any relevant transcripts. Classes start every month, so National admits students year-round. Enrolled students can access a host of services using the NUton chatbot, which answers questions about course offerings, financial aid, tutoring, and more.

Cost per Credit: $370
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 180
Graduation Rate: 29%
Financial Aid Recipients: 33%
Average SAT Scores: 750 - 1170
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,849

#11

Excelsior College

Albany (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $500,100
  • Median Salary: $50,231
  • Annual Tuition: $15,300
  • Median Debt: $13,710

The fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Excelsior College teaches students the skills to enter careers in law enforcement, probation, parole, investigation, security analysis, victim advocacy, and crime scene investigation. The program focuses on practical procedures and theories in psychology, sociology, and criminology related to criminal procedural laws. Students... can choose an optional concentration in homeland security covering topics in domestic terrorism, emergency management, international terrorism, counterterrorism, and infrastructure security and policy.

Online coursework is delivered in an asynchronous format. Students can transfer up to 113 credits and receive credit for military training, potentially shortening the time needed to complete the degree.

To apply to this online criminal justice degree program, students must complete their application online and submit transcripts and evidence of training and certification (if applicable). Active-duty military students and veterans must apply through the Center for Military and Veteran Education. Distance learners have access to various online resources, including the library, writing and reading lab, tech support, and accessibility services.

Cost per Credit: $510
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 22,674

#12

Reinhardt University

Waleska (GA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $488,900
  • Median Salary: $50,856
  • Annual Tuition: $13,950
  • Median Debt: $27,800

Reinhardt University offers an online Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree. This program requires 120 credit hours and includes courses such as Managing Criminal Justice Organizations, Fraud Investigation, Incident Command Paradigms, and Survey of Correctional Thought and Practices. Reinhardt has a long-standing relationship with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council,... giving students access to a network of law enforcement professionals in Georgia. Full-time students take two eight-week courses at a time, which makes for four each semester.

This program uses the Canvas learning management system, where students can complete assignments and interact with classmates on their own schedules. Reinhardt doesn’t provide institutional scholarships for online students but may grant tuition discounts to law enforcement officers — students need to call to inquire. Textbooks are included in the cost of tuition, but not any necessary software.

Online classes have multiple start dates throughout the year, so students are accepted on a rolling basis. As a courtesy to criminal justice applicants, Reinhardt will request and pay for their transcripts after they apply online. Enrolled students can access technical support, virtual library resources, and tutoring.

Cost per Credit: $465
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 38%
Acceptance Rate: 89%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 970 - 1180
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 207

#13

Columbia College - SC

Columbia (SC)
  • 10-Year ROI: $469,600
  • Median Salary: $47,729
  • Annual Tuition: $11,850
  • Median Debt: $17,482

Columbia College in South Carolina offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with either a general or forensic concentration. Students take a core of classes to satisfy major requirements, including Corrections, Criminal Procedure, Research Methods in Criminal Justice, and the Leadership Seminar capstone. The general track requires 12 credits of criminal justice electives,... and the forensic track includes four required courses in forensic science and crime scene investigation. Full-time students can earn their degree faster than the traditional four years, because there are three online terms within each 15-week campus semester.

Classes are fully online in the Canvas learning management system. Students can pursue a range of scholarships and grants based on merit, need, and residency. Textbooks are free for online students.

Online classes start every five weeks and students are admitted on a rolling basis. Applicants submit their application and transcripts online, along with a personal statement for applicants without prior college credits to transfer. Once enrolled, students can access virtual tutoring, library resources, and disability accommodation information.

Cost per Credit: $395
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 60%
Acceptance Rate: 87%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 332

#14

Wayland Baptist University

Plainview (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $455,000
  • Median Salary: $46,087
  • Annual Tuition: $13,206
  • Median Debt: $15,625

Wayland Baptist University (WBU) offers three options for prospective students in criminal justice: a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Justice Administration. The B.S. and B.A. are 124-credit programs with most of the same core requirements, including a final practicum and courses titled Administration... of Justice, Criminal Procedures, and Criminal Law. The B.A.S. is a degree-completion program for current practitioners that features a mix of online and on-campus courses.

WBU uses the Blackboard learning management system, where students can easily access course schedules and syllabuses, complete assignments, and watch recorded lectures. Most students take two courses per eight-week term. Qualifying law enforcement or corrections officers can apply for scholarships based on their work experience, and the awards also cover their spouses and dependent children.

Applicants must fill out an online form, submit high school or GED transcripts and SAT or ACT scores, and (if applicable) send proof of work experience or postsecondary transcripts. Current students can access academic advising, personal counseling, career services, and tutoring.

Cost per Credit: $426
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 23%
Acceptance Rate: 99%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Average SAT Scores: 880 - 1060
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 670

#15

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi (MD)
  • 10-Year ROI: $453,600
  • Median Salary: $46,726
  • Annual Tuition: $14,970
  • Median Debt: $22,000

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program through the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) teaches criminological theory applicable to the private and public sectors. The program includes 41 credits of general education coursework, 33 credits of major coursework, and 46 credits of electives. The program provides an accelerated path for a master’s degree in... criminal management.

Online coursework is asynchronous and hosted on the Learning Experience Online platform, which students can access via smartphone, computer, or tablet. Each class lasts eight weeks, and most contain digital course materials at no cost. UMGC provides scholarship opportunities for online students, including the Completion Scholarship for Maryland community college graduates. Enrollees in this program can access the Office of Career Services, where they can schedule appointments with counselors, take self-guided assessments, and browse upcoming career fairs.

Students interested in applying should complete the online application (fee required) and provide a transcript and/or military service information. Enrollees can use services that include tutoring and mentoring programs, specialized services for military and veterans, online student clubs, and a writing center.

Cost per Credit: $499
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 15%
Financial Aid Recipients: 46%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 35,971

#16

Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul (MN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $450,500
  • Median Salary: $46,478
  • Annual Tuition: $12,600
  • Median Debt: $22,515

Concordia University - St. Paul (CSP) offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree aimed at working practitioners in the field. This 120-credit program features 44 credits in the criminal justice major, including required courses such as Cultural Considerations in Criminal Justice Systems, Delinquent and Criminal Behaviors Across the Life Course, Research Methods... in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Constitutional and Criminal Law and Justice. Students can choose an optional track that leads to licensure under the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, the board that certifies law enforcement officers in Minnesota.

Online courses at CSP are asynchronous for maximum student flexibility. Online students aren’t eligible for the university’s institutional scholarships because they pay less tuition than on-campus students. However, military service members and veterans may qualify for further tuition assistance.

Prospective students apply and submit their relevant transcripts online. Applications are free and CSP pays any transcript-procurement fees. Once enrolled, students will take an orientation to online learning and will meet with their faculty mentor, who will guide them throughout the duration of the degree program.

Cost per Credit: $420
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 51%
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,159

#17

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $449,400
  • Median Salary: $46,673
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Colorado State University Global (CSUG) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Each student in this 120-credit program takes 30 credits of core classes, including Criminology, Ethics for the Criminal Justice Professional, and the capstone Application of Criminal Justice Knowledge and Skills. Students can also chart a unique degree path by putting 15 credits toward... one of 21 available specializations, including emergency management, organizational leadership, and public relations. Students already working in a criminal justice environment can take the optional Criminal Justice Practicum, which may not be available in all states.

CSUG delivers courses through the Canvas learning system, where students read and watch lectures, submit assignments, and collaborate with classmates. Eligible students can apply for need- and merit-based CSUG scholarships. Students who received an associate degree at a CSUG affiliate school can also receive a tuition discount, and students with law enforcement or other justice experience may qualify for nonacademic transfer credit.

Prospective students fill out an online application and provide high school or GED transcripts showing a GPA or 2.8 or higher, along with an ACT score of 18 or above or SAT score of 980 or above. Enrolled students can access services that include a writing center, library resources, and technical support.

Cost per Credit: $350
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Average SAT Scores: 950 - 1140
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,114

#18

Bethel University - TN

McKenzie (TN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $448,000
  • Median Salary: $47,260
  • Annual Tuition: $11,936
  • Median Debt: $30,917

Bethel University’s College of Professional Studies offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice for working practitioners in law enforcement. This program features a required major core of 45 credits, including classes such as Criminal Procedure: Adjudication, Statistics in Criminal Justice, Community Based Corrections, and Review of Forensic Science. Applicants must have 30... or more prior college credits.

Bethel delivers courses through Virtual Campus (V-Camp), where students sign in to complete assignments, review lectures, and post to discussion boards. Only on-campus students can apply for scholarships, but Bethel does provide military tuition discounts to eligible service members or veterans and their spouses. Bethel also covers the cost of prior-learning assessments for students seeking credit for previous military training. The College of Professional Studies has its own career center, where distance learners can make counseling appointments and review upcoming career fairs and online workshops.

Prospective students must fill out an online application, after which a recruiter will contact them about next steps. Once admitted, students have access to a range of services, including clinical counseling, academic advising, and tutoring.

Cost per Credit: $373
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 32%
Acceptance Rate: 94%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 945 - 1103
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,189

#19

Franklin Pierce University

Rindge (NH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $444,900
  • Median Salary: $46,478
  • Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Median Debt: $27,000

Franklin Pierce University (FPU) offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. This 120-credit program emphasizes the sociology behind crime and enforcement in order to make students into data-literate criminal justice practitioners. Coursework includes Courts and Criminal Procedure, Race and Ethnicity in Society, Victimology, and Social Science Research Methods.

FPU delivers... courses through Canvas, where students can view and submit assignments, watch recorded lectures, and participate in asynchronous discussions. To help online students fund their degrees, the Franklin Pierce Alumni Association offers two scholarships per year. Criminal justice students can earn up to 45 credits for prior work in law enforcement — a prior learning assessment can take into account their licenses, certifications, and relevant job training and experience. These credits can save students money by shortening the time needed to complete the degree.

Prospective students fill out an online application and request any necessary transcripts (high school, GED, or postsecondary). Applicants seeking credit for law enforcement experience must provide a resume and proof of any certifications, licenses, and completed training courses. Once enrolled, students can access the Center for Academic Excellence for tutoring and writing help.

Cost per Credit: $400
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 49%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 180

#20

Utah Valley University

Orem (UT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $440,900
  • Median Salary: $45,037
  • Annual Tuition: $16,092
  • Median Debt: $18,250

Utah Valley University’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice aims to prepare students for careers in courts, corrections, or law enforcement. The program requires 120 credits, including 74 in core courses such as Laws of Evidence, Writing for Criminal Justice Professionals, Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice, and Corrections in the Community. To graduate, students must... take a capstone seminar and either an internship in the field or an upper-level elective (subject to approval).

Students access asynchronous courses in the Canvas system, and faculty encourage interaction among classmates in discussion forums. Students can pursue scholarships that are categorized for first-year, continuing, and transfer students. The Career Development Center helps students find jobs and internships by linking to job boards, holding career fairs for employers to recruit, and proving personalized counseling.

Prospective students apply with an online form and submit their official transcripts. They may need to send ACT or SAT scores for scholarship consideration, but these scores aren’t necessary for admission. Once enrolled, students can use online tutoring and advising resources and can receive accessibility accommodations.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 28%
Financial Aid Recipients: 74%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,217

#21

University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

Norman (OK)
  • 10-Year ROI: $436,100
  • Median Salary: $45,383
  • Annual Tuition: $21,369
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The University of Oklahoma Extended Campus offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with four available concentrations: homeland security, restorative justice, administrative leadership, and investigations and intelligence analysis. This is an accelerated program for students who are already working in the field — most students finish in two or three years. Of the... 120 required credits, students put 30 toward the major core, which includes courses on theories of criminal behavior, the U.S. correctional system, and a senior capstone. Students also take nine credits of courses in the chosen concentration. Students may be able to receive credit for military or law enforcement training, subject to an evaluation.

Students take courses in the Canvas system, where they can review and submit assignments, watch recorded lectures, and debate topics in discussion forums. Students can seek scholarships to help fund their degrees.

Applicants must complete the online admittance form and pay a nonrefundable $40 fee, then request transcripts to be sent to the university. Oklahoma requires applicants to have at least 24 hours of prior college credit with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Extended Campus students partner with an advisor who helps them find resources and chart their degree path from admission to graduation.

Cost per Credit: $712
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 70%
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 1110 - 1310
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 868

#22

Thomas University

Thomasville (GA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $434,000
  • Median Salary: $46,087
  • Annual Tuition: $15,940
  • Median Debt: $32,525

Thomas University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. This 120-credit program includes required courses such as Crime Prevention, Research and Analysis, Criminology, Community Policing, and Evidence. Students who want to lead justice organizations may opt for the online Bachelor of Arts in Justice Administration, which blends criminal justice requirements with... business courses such as Principles of Finance, Professional Communication, and Organizational Behavior. Students in either degree program can transfer up to 40 credits hours of eligible basic law enforcement training or up to 27 hours for eligible basic corrections officer training.

Thomas’s online classes are asynchronous and last eight weeks. Students can pursue a number of scholarship opportunities, and employees of select Georgia law enforcement agencies may be eligible for tuition discounts.

Prospective students apply to Thomas and submit transcripts online. Enrollees can access academic advisors, tutors, and library resources virtually. Thomas also provides an orientation for online students to get acquainted with distance learning.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 47%
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 333

#23

University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage (AK)
  • 10-Year ROI: $432,500
  • Median Salary: $44,933
  • Annual Tuition: $25,440
  • Median Debt: $24,193

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Justice. This 120-credit program requires at least 42 upper-level credits in addition to core classes such as Introduction to Research Methods in Justice, Crime Prevention, and Crime Victimization and Justice. This program is affiliated with the UAA Justice Center, which publishes research on crime and... justice issues and helps place undergraduates in internships. To graduate, all students take the Justice Exit Examination to test their learning.

UAA delivers online classes through Blackboard. Students can review assignments, watch lectures, and post discussion boards at their convenience, but not all Blackboard features are compatible with mobile devices. To help fund their degrees, students can pursue a Justice Center UAA Administration Scholarship or the Anchorage Police Citizen Academy Alumni Association Scholarship.

Prospective students apply online and submit all relevant transcripts (first-year students must have earned a minimum 2.5 GPA in high school). Standardized test scores aren’t needed for admission but can help students test out of certain math and writing courses. Once enrolled, students in this program are assigned a faculty mentor to advise them on the degree path.

Cost per Credit: $848
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 29%
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Financial Aid Recipients: 82%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,401

#24

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Oshkosh (WI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $427,200
  • Median Salary: $44,276
  • Annual Tuition: $10,800
  • Median Debt: $23,000

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) offers a Bachelor of Applied Studies, Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Faculty in these programs aim to improve students’ critical thinking and data analysis around criminological theories and policies. Students can complete an internship, independent study, or honors thesis to graduate. The B.A. and B.S. require... two years of relevant work experience to enroll. Students in both degrees take the same core classes but must satisfy different natural science and foreign language requirements. The B.A.S. is designed for students who already have an associate degree and wish to complete their bachelor’s degree.

All programs are offered in an online asynchronous format. Enrollees with high GPAs can apply for Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice student honor association. UWO offers several scholarships and grants to help students fund their education.

Most applicants are transfer students with about 60 college credits. To apply, prospective students must submit an online application and transcripts. Distance learners at UWO can access various services and resources, including academic and career advising, counseling, and IT support.

Cost per Credit: $360
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 61%
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Financial Aid Recipients: 75%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 632

#25

Ashland University

Ashland (OH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $421,800
  • Median Salary: $43,674
  • Annual Tuition: $10,950
  • Median Debt: $22,372

Ashland University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, either as a general degree or with one of four concentrations: correctional administration, criminology and research, law enforcement administration, and legal studies. All tracks require 120 credits and share a common core of major classes, including Ethics in Criminal Justice, Victimology, and Restorative... Justice. Ashland allows qualifying law enforcement and corrections training to transfer as academic credit.

Courses are fully online and last seven weeks. Students can access their courses anytime in the Blackboard learning management system. Ashland is a Yellow Ribbon partner with the U.S. Veterans Administration, so qualifying veterans may be eligible to receive up to $5,500 in tuition assistance from the university. Students can access the Career Center for Life Calling for resources and counseling on pursuing internships, jobs, and or graduate studies.

Applicants first register a profile on Ashland’s application management system, then fill out the online forms and submit any necessary transcripts. Enrollees can contact an academic advisor for help understanding degree requirements and course registration, and they can also find virtual library resources and an IT help desk.

Cost per Credit: $365
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 65%
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1000 - 1190
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 484

Online Criminal Justice Degree Overview

A bachelor's degree in criminal justice prepares graduates for an array of jobs in this field. Many become police officers, detectives, FBI agents, or correctional treatment specialists for detention facilities. By taking specific courses, some graduates may become cybersecurity analysts, homeland security specialists, or emergency managers. Others continue their education and earn master's degrees in criminal justice to become criminologists or to pursue leadership positions in criminal justice organizations.

The curriculum for an online program in criminal justice features both broad and focused topics in the field. Students gain a general overview of police procedures and the techniques for collecting evidence at a crime scene. Classes in criminology and human behavior provide a background in the psychology of criminal behavior. More focused courses such as criminal law, psychology of policing, comparative criminal justice systems, cybercrime, juvenile delinquency, justice studies, and history of law may also be included.

Students can choose from a wide range of criminal justice programs to suit their interests and career goals, and many are opting to pursue their degrees entirely online. Applicants to an online bachelor's degree program in criminal justice must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and meet other admission requirements, such as a minimum GPA. Students with an associate degree from a community college may be able to transfer credits into their program. It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete the 120-128 credit hours required to earn the degree.

Students can choose from a wide range of criminal justice programs to suit their interests and career goals, and many are opting to pursue their degrees entirely online.

Criminal Justice Courses

The courses required to earn an online criminal justice degree prepare students to work in law enforcement, court systems, corrections facilities, and more. Many online courses touch on management and administrative aspects, and students learn relevant skills, such as analysis, decision making, problem solving, and communication. Among the most common courses are:

  • Criminal Law: Through this course, students gain a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system. By reviewing court cases, students learn the stages of a criminal trial from defense to sentencing and appeals. Additional topics may include elements of a crime, court structures, victims' rights, and offenders' rights.
  • Criminology: A course in criminology offers a deeper understanding of two broad themes: the psychological and sociological factors that motivate offenders to commit crimes, and society's response to criminal behavior. Coursework will cover a number of criminological theories, social policy, criminal institutions, and technological innovations.
  • Ethics in the Criminal Justice System: Students learn several analytic frameworks and ethical theories in this course, as well as the concepts of morality, justice, and duty. To prepare for ethical dilemmas they may face in the criminal justice field, students are introduced to a variety of scenarios and presented with opportunities to practice ethical decision making.
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice: Typically the first course in any criminal justice program, this class explains the fundamental philosophies underpinning the U.S. law enforcement system. Students also learn about the structure of the criminal justice system. Coursework may provide a detailed look at the court system, including corrections, sentencing, and juvenile justice.
  • Investigative Procedures: In an introductory course on crime investigation, students learn how to interview potential witnesses and suspects, gather evidence, process crime scenes, and examine collected evidence. Students also gain an understanding of how investigative evidence is used in court, and how evidence must be protected.
  • Law Enforcement and Community Policing: This course provides students with a broad overview of the history, current state, and emerging issues of law enforcement in the U.S. Coursework includes wide-ranging topics, from theories and strategies to public safety, media relations, and excessive force.

Criminal Justice Specializations

While many schools offer general programs in criminal justice, some online criminal justice degrees offer a specialization in a particular aspect of the criminal justice system. These specializations enable students to customize their online programs in criminal justice to align with their career goals. Some of the specializations available include:

  • Criminology: Criminologists work with law enforcement agencies, and their work is research driven with a focus on statistics and crime pattern identification. A specialization in criminology teaches students about compiling data, analyzing all aspects of criminal investigation, and finding methods of prevention. Many of the required courses involve hands-on training under the supervision of an experienced professional. To become a criminologist, either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree is required, along with proper licensing in some states.
  • Cybersecurity: For those with an interest in both criminal justice and information technology, opting for a specialization in cybersecurity might be a smart choice. This specialization prepares graduates for a number of occupations related to protecting information systems. Cybersecurity courses may include network security, ethics and privacy, digital forensics, and cyber law. Many of these classes involve application-oriented projects.
  • Emergency Management: Emergency management professionals are trained to safeguard the public and handle natural and manmade disasters when they occur. To complete a specialization in emergency or security management, students take courses in emergency planning, hazard risk assessment, crisis communication strategies, security breach management, mitigation tactics, and allocation of resources. In some courses, students may have the opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios.
  • Homeland Security: Online homeland security programs prepare students to protect communities by filling public safety roles in corporate, military, and governmental environments throughout the country. The curriculum for a specialization in homeland security explores fundamental topics such as the intelligence community, counterintelligence, terrorism, infrastructure protection, surveillance, and privacy.
  • Law Enforcement: Graduates are prepared for careers as police officers, sheriffs, park rangers, or corrections officers. This specialization includes courses in community policing, investigative principles, criminology, victimology, and criminal law.

Accreditation for Online Criminal Justice Degrees

Students who plan to pursue an online degree in criminal justice should only enroll in accredited programs. For a college or university to earn accreditation, an independent agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education must determine that all of the school's programs, facilities, faculty, and student services meet high standards for quality and academic rigor. For a list of accredited online criminal justice programs, students can visit the CHEA or USDE websites.

Individual programs within a college or university can also be accredited by other USDE- or CHEA-approved agencies. There is no programmatic-level accrediting body for criminal justice programs, however, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences has certified 15 bachelor's and master's programs in the U.S. According to the ACJS, their certification standards are similar to accreditation standards.

Enrollment in an accredited program is important for several reasons. It is a requirement to qualify for financial aid, transfer college credits, and for acceptance into most graduate programs. Depending on a student's career path, it may also be needed for future licensure. Finally, attendance at an accredited school assures students that they've enrolled in a respected, credible online degree program.

Enrollment in an accredited program is ... a requirement to qualify for financial aid, transfer college credits, and for acceptance into most graduate programs. Depending on a student's career path, it may also be needed for future licensure

How to Choose an Online Criminal Justice Degree

Selecting one of the best online criminal justice programs is a complex and personal decision based on an individual's resources, preferences, and goals. Many factors need to be taken into account, some of which are related to the colleges or universities themselves. Perhaps most important is the tuition cost of a school's online programs, which may be lower than or at least comparable to in-state resident tuition rates. It's also essential to choose a school that is accredited, especially for students planning to transfer credits from an associate degree. Student services and financial aid options may also be significant factors.

Prospective criminology and criminal justice students also need to evaluate whether individual programs meet their needs. For example, students should explore the focus of each program's curriculum, the online format, the availability of specializations, faculty members' relevant work experience, and opportunities to gain real-world experience through fieldwork. Students also need to decide between a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree, which is often more theoretical in nature, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree, which is typically more technically oriented.

Students should explore the focus of each program's curriculum, the online format, the availability of specializations, faculty members' relevant work experience, and opportunities to gain real-world experience through fieldwork.

Financial Aid for Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Students who are enrolled in accredited, online criminal justice degree programs may be eligible for several types of financial aid. Scholarships or grants are the best types of aid because they do not have to be paid back. There are also student loans available, but these have to be repaid with interest. Federal and state student loans typically have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than private student loans.

To apply for financial aid, students should begin by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once their applications have been reviewed, students will be notified of their eligibility for aid, as well as the amount and types of aid they're being offered. If students have any questions about their financial aid packages, they should contact the financial aid officers at the college they would like to attend.

Online criminal justice students may also be eligible for private scholarships. The following scholarships, which require separate applications from the FAFSA, are examples of the private scholarships available to criminal justice and criminology students:

WIFLE Scholarship Program

The Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation awards a total of $10,000 annually to students enrolled in criminal justice programs.

ISF National Scholarships

The Islamic Scholarship Fund provides funding for Islamic American students enrolled in fields that impact public policy, including criminal justice.

Brian Terry Scholars Program

This scholarship program provides varying awards for high school seniors planning to enroll in criminal justice programs.


What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice?

Online criminal justice programs introduce undergraduates to the three arms of criminal justice in the U.S.: the courts, the corrections system, and law enforcement. This foundation prepares students for criminal justice careers, such as police or sheriff’s patrol officers, private security specialists, probation officers, and correctional officers, among other career opportunities. With additional education and training, criminal justice graduates can also assume advanced administrative or supervisory roles in law enforcement or become lawyers and criminologists.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides additional information on these possibilities.

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers
Median Annual Salary: $70,000

Police officers and sheriffs are tasked with protecting lives and property. Among many other duties, they respond to emergency and nonemergency calls for assistance, patrol designated areas, arrest people who are suspected of committing crimes, write crime reports, and testify in court. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for police officers and sheriff's patrol officers is $70,000, and demand for law enforcement officers is expected to increase slightly over the next decade. Although it's possible to obtain a position in law enforcement with a high school diploma or some college coursework, some police departments and federal agencies require individuals to have a bachelor’s degree.

Detectives and Criminal Investigators
Median Annual Salary: $89,300

Detectives and criminal investigators are both specialty careers within law enforcement. Criminal investigators are charged with investigating crime scenes, collecting evidence, and examining evidence in crime scene laboratories. Detectives work with crime scene investigators, gathering information and evidence, interviewing witnesses, and examining records. Because of the advanced knowledge needed to perform these jobs, professionals earn a median annual salary of $89,300.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Median Annual Salary: $55,690

Correctional treatment specialists create treatment plans for convicted offenders who have been put on probation or who have served their prison sentence and been released. Probation officers and parole officers work with these individuals on an ongoing basis, implementing the treatment plans and monitoring progress. Jobs can be found both at rehabilitation facilities and in criminal justice agencies, and the work can be stressful and possibly dangerous. The BLS reports that correctional officers and other rehabilitation professionals earn median annual wages of $55,690.

Information Security Analysts
Median Annual Salary:$103,590

Undergraduates who specialize in cybersecurity can become information security analysts, who plan and execute IT security measures designed to protect organizations' systems, networks, and data. Most information security analyst jobs are found in the private sector at large companies and consulting firms, but there are also positions available in governmental agencies. The BLS states that bachelor's degree holders with cybersecurity skills earn median annual salaries of $103,590, and the need for professionals is expected to increase dramatically—by 33%—through 2030.

Private Detectives and Investigators
Median Annual Salary:$53,320

Private detectives and investigators are often hired to collect evidence and search for information about people, finances, and other matters on behalf of individuals, law firms, or other businesses. Although some positions are available to those with only a high school diploma, other jobs require a bachelor's degree. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for investigators is $53,320, and the need for detectives is expected to grow by 13% over the next 10 years.


Is an Online Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice Worth It?

Those who aspire to a career in the criminal justice system might wonder if it's necessary to earn a bachelor's degree. Although a bachelor's degree is not required to become a law enforcement officer in many states, it can be a valuable asset in that career path. A degree is also a requirement for other criminal justice occupations. Before enrolling in an online criminal justice program, students need to carefully consider a number of factors and weigh some pros and cons.

Potential Benefits

  • Criminal justice is a flexible major that can lead to a range of occupations with above-average salaries.
  • Prospective students who consider studying criminal justice online can select from a wider pool of schools and programs without changing locations. They may also enjoy lower tuition rates and more flexible school schedules that work around other obligations.
  • Criminal justice has been described as an easy major, but this may not be true for all programs. Many require a lot of reading and writing, and some science is involved. However, advanced math courses are not typically required, which may make this an easier degree for some online students.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Some occupations in criminal justice are projected to decline or grow at a slower rate than the national average of 8%. For example, job opportunities for correctional officers and bailiffs are expected to decline by 7% through 2030.
  • Many criminal justice graduates go into law enforcement, becoming patrol officers, detectives, corrections officers, and parole officers. These jobs can involve a significant amount of personal risk.
  • Some online students dislike the distance learning environment because it makes them feel disconnected from classmates and instructors. They may have to devote more effort to connecting with others through discussion forums.

Students also need to examine the value of a degree in light of their own personal circumstances, such as financial responsibilities and family and work obligations. As with all bachelor's programs, earning an online criminal justice bachelor's degree requires a significant investment of time, money, and energy. Individuals must decide for themselves whether the benefits they expect to receive are worth it.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.