In this ranking, we examine the best value colleges for online criminal justice programs in 2016.
You might think that criminal justice is a very specific college major, granting students only limited flexibility to work in careers related to law enforcement and security. But you would be mistaken! Online criminal justice degrees tend to be especially broad in scope. Relevant coursework that is also geared for virtual delivery must focus on the many theories and concepts of criminology. This often means that the curriculum includes classes in psychology, sociology, culture, community relationships, law, terrorism, homeland security, emergency management, and plenty of others! While we focused on net price and graduation rate in this online criminal justice program ranking, these schools qualify as “best value” for many more reasons as well. Read below to see how earning your B.S. or B.A. in Criminal Justice could also mean learning a new language, studying real-world cases, or even testing your skills in a high-profile internship assignment.
See Related Article: Online Master’s in Criminal Justice: Top 20 Values 2016-2017
10. Sam Houston State University
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University is one of the oldest of its kind in the country–and has all the resources to show for it! Students can select from two online criminal justice degrees–a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice/Criminology. The former requires additional hours of social science (psychology, sociology, political science, etc.) and the latter includes more foreign language classes (Spanish, French, ASL, etc.). Sam Houston is also highly regarded for its prestigious internships for seniors. Participating organizations include INTERPOL, the FBI, and local police departments.
Net Price: $11,260/yr
9. Florida International University
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
The online criminal justice degree program at Florida International University offers a comprehensive course of study in the discipline in a fully digital format. Featuring coursework as diverse and extensive as Terrorism and Homeland Security, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Criminological Theory, and Criminal Justice and Public Policy, FIU prepares students for a range of careers and challenges that await them after graduation. This program is ideal for students who have already earned an Associate of Arts degree at a Florida Community College and are able to forego general education prerequisites and begin their higher-level professional coursework immediately.
Net Price: $11,552/yr
8. Westfield State University
Criminal Justice (B.S.), Online Completion
Designed for graduates of Massachusetts Community Colleges, the online completion B.S. in Criminal Justice is a great opportunity to earn your qualifications in a high-demand field on your own time. Students who have fulfilled all the requirements for the “Mass transfer compact” can finish the junior and senior years of their bachelor’s degree entirely online, while non-graduates have the option to take online criminal justice classes at WSU while simultaneously completing their remaining coursework at another institution. In addition to traditional 15-week fall and summer semesters, two accelerated 6-week summer semesters and a 2-week winter semester actually make it possible to complete the required courses in fewer than two years!
Net Price: $15,498/yr
7. SUNY College at Oswego
Public Justice: Online Degree
Whether you’re already working in the human services industry or are aiming to begin a career in the field, an online public justice degree from SUNY College at Oswego makes it easy to accomplish your goals. Combining coursework in the public justice system with complementary research in sociology, anthropology, and psychology, SUNY Oswego prepares students for a career in anything from law and courts to counseling and corrections. The program is particularly advantageous for veterans, who benefit not only from the convenience of flexible online scheduling and coursework but also from a military-friendly credit policy that will grant up to 30 hours of course credit for past experience in the armed services.
Net Price: $15,784/yr
6. Washington State University
Online Criminal Justice Undergraduate Degree
Founded in 1943, Washington State University’s criminal justice department is the second oldest in the nation – and it is clear that the program has aged well! WSU also just earned the highest online criminal justice degree ranking in the nation from Criminal Justice Degree Online, owing to their graduation rate (9th highest), retention rate (12th highest), and comprehensive range of student services. Students of this reputable program also enjoy access to distinguished faculty – many of them highly respected in their field – and an impressive alumni network. Graduates can feel proud to count themselves among national leaders in law enforcement as well as successful judges and attorneys working across the country.
Net Price: $16,427/yr
5. University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
At the University of Oklahoma-Norman, students have the rare opportunity to complete all 120 credit hours of their criminal justice degree online. This comprehensive program prepares students for the multitude of roles that criminal justice specialists must play in their careers: community-builder, analytical thinker, public relations expert, and – above all – problem solver. Accelerated, 8-week courses will allow you to complete the entire program in as few as 18 months (if you’re the ambitious, impatient type), but most students have other obligations, like work and family, to keep them busy. Thankfully, the program’s flexibility also enables students to take four, five, or more years to earn their degree, while experienced academic advisors can assist in creating a customized academic plan that suits your specific needs.
Net Price: $16,813/yr
4. Western Carolina University
Criminal Justice Online Program
With the #1 online criminal justice programs ranking (“Best Buy”) from GetEducated.com, Western Carolina University is a leader in providing affordable education in an intuitive and convenient digital format. But the benefits of attending WCU reach far beyond the ability to save time and money; through student organizations like Alpha Phi Sigma (the National Criminal Justice Honor Society) and the Student Association of Criminal Justice Affairs (SACJA), online learners have the unique opportunity to network with classmates, alumni, and professionals and even acquire internship opportunities. WCU will grant up to 12 hours of course credit for these internships, making it possible for you to earn new skills, boost your resume, and gain ground on your graduation date all at the same time.
Net Price: $12,916/yr
3. United Tribes Technical College
Online Criminal Justice AAS
In the field of criminal justice, it takes more than a handshake to get your foot in the door. From law enforcement to private security, most positions require employment experience, background checks, and of course a college degree. At United Tribes Technical College, working and/or geographically remote students can easily earn all the qualifications they need to start a career in this challenging field. As an institutional participant in the North Dakota Interactive Video Network (IVN), UTTC provides state-of-the-art video conferencing services that allow students and professors to interact in real-time for class discussions and lectures, providing an important level of engagement that is missing in many online criminal justice programs.
Net Price: $4,507/yr
2. Humphreys College
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
Humphreys College regularly tops our lists for the best online bachelor programs, and their affordable online criminal justice degree is no exception. What makes it so great? Along with affordable tuition and strong graduation rates, Humphreys earns accolades for its highly regarded professional faculty, many of whom are either working in the field or are recently retired; an impressive array of professional concentrations that hone in on essential industry subfields like corrections, probation, leadership, and human resources; and its commitment to providing students with coveted internships at the local, state, and federal levels of law enforcement. Taken together, all of these elements make Humphreys a top choice for distance learners looking to enter law enforcement or the private security sector.
Net Price: $14,712/yr
1. University of Central Florida
Online Criminal Justice B.A./B.S.
At the University of Central Florida, criminal justice students don’t have to choose whether they want to go into law enforcement or pursue graduate education—at least not right away. Featuring required coursework such as Data Analysis for Criminal Justice, Crime in America, Police and Society, and Corrections and Penology, this comprehensive program covers everything from the most theoretical and abstract conceptual topics to the most practical and tangible aspects of the field. UCF also provides academic advisors who can help develop personalized curriculum and graduation plans for each student. This ensures that online learners have every opportunity to find the right career in any number of criminal justice occupations and institutions – and ultimately, to find success, too!
Net Price: $14,745/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best value colleges for online criminal justice programs – but be sure to see Criminal Justice Programs Online: Continued for more of the best online criminal justice degrees.
See our methodology page for more information about how we calculated this ranking.
By CVO Staff
Published April 2016