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2023 Most Affordable Master's in Criminal Justice Online

By the OnlineU team | Updated 1/11/2023
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An online master's degree in criminal justice might be a step toward a number of career options in law enforcement, courts, or corrections. Master's in criminal justice program faculty typically cover sociology and criminology, the branches of the justice system, and social science research methods. Some programs have optional concentrations that allow students to focus on a specialized area of criminal justice, such as criminology or criminal justice leadership. Graduates might be qualified to pursue jobs as police officers, corrections administrators, managers at security firms, or insurance investigators.

Security-minded candidates might consider an online master's degree in homeland security or cybersecurity instead.

View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us. You can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees for some inspiration.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Fort Hays State University Hays (KS) $4,478
# 2 #2 Salem State University Salem (MA) $4,600
# 3 #3 Wichita State University Wichita (KS) $4,620
# 4 #4 California Coast University Santa Ana (CA) $4,875
# 5 #5 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg (MA) $4,934
# 6 #6 Northeastern State University Tahlequah (OK) $5,000
# 7 #7 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau (MO) $5,171
# 8 #8 Missouri State University Springfield (MO) $5,415
# 9 #9 Columbus State University Columbus (GA) $5,418
# 10 #10 University of North Georgia Dahlonega (GA) $5,454
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public school that offers an online Master of Professional Studies - Criminal Justice degree containing 30 credit hours of courses. This degree program is designed to take two years at a full-time pace.

FHSU's online students use the Blackboard learning management system (LMS) to access coursework, including lecture recordings and discussion forums. Professors seek to train ethical, thoughtful professionals who can navigate any part of the criminal justice system. The three-class core consists of Advanced Criminological Theory, Advanced Criminal Justice Research Methods, and Advanced Sociological Research. Students can choose between an independent study course or a capstone seminar that makes use of everything they've learned.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,411
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,453
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $4,600
Annual Tuition: $4,600
Annual Tuition: $4,600

Salem State University, a private school, provides an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice with two possible concentrations. This program requires 36 credit hours, which might take as little as 18 months for full-time students who opt to take a summer term.

Online learners at Salem State sign in to the Canvas LMS to work on courses. The criminal justice master's curriculum has a general core in addition to electives and courses in one of two concentrations: criminology or administration of criminal justice. The core includes courses such as Theories of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis. Both concentrations share some courses, including Drugs and Crime and White Collar Crime.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Average SATs: 1010 -1160
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 168
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 103
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620

Wichita State University (WSU) is a public institution featuring an online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree with 36 credit hours of coursework. Full-time enrollees might finish in 18 months, though they can also choose a part-time schedule.

WSU uses the Blackboard LMS to host online courses. All criminal justice master's students take a general core of four classes, including Quantitative Methods for Public Sector Professionals and Advanced Research Methods. They also select a thesis or non-thesis track, with thesis students writing an original research paper and taking a six-credit thesis seminar series in addition to 18 credit hours of electives. Non-thesis students simply take 24 hours of elective courses.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1270
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,272
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 632
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $4,875
Annual Tuition: $4,875
Annual Tuition: $4,875

California Coast University (CCU) is a private for-profit university that offers a fully online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree. This program requires 39 units, which are CCU's equivalent to credit hours. The time needed to graduate varies by student because each of the 13 required courses is self-paced.

The curriculum for this master's degree is the same for every student; there are no electives or optional concentrations. Some of the required courses are Organizational Behavior, Criminal Justice Administration, and Deviant Behavior. Students can start any self-paced course at any time of the year. At the end of the program, they must pass a comprehensive online examination covering everything they've learned.

  • School Accreditation: DEAC
#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $4,934
Annual Tuition: $4,934
Annual Tuition: $4,934

The public Fitchburg State University has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a professional studies concentration that requires 36 credit hours of coursework. Students might complete this program in 12 months if they take a full-time course schedule.

Fitchburg's online learners work on courses in the Blackboard learning platform, whether it's watching asynchronous lectures, chatting with classmates in forums, or submitting assignments. This program's faculty aim to teach important concepts such as data analysis, the causes of criminality, and how criminal justice professionals can respond to cultural and diversity challenges. The required core includes the courses Criminal Justice Process and Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 385
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,402
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE

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