A highly challenging and interdisciplinary field, an online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice combines the theories and principles of psychology, law, and sociology as dominant courses. The focus of this program is to help professionals navigate the complexities of the Criminal Justice system. Criminal Justice as a degree seeks to equip students with the knowledge and the skills to manage the several aspects of incidents of crime and ultimately, prevent them.
It is important to note that while a closely related discipline, Criminology is different from Criminal Justice as a bachelor’s degree. The former highlights the study of crimes as they are committed; the latter deals with responding to such incidents.
Holders of an online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice work in the public and private sectors. They are responsible for upholding the laws and principles pertaining to Criminal Justice in diverse workplace settings. Many also opt to advance academically and take up law school.
METHODOLOGY: Our 20 Best Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice for 2020 lists the academic institutions across America that offer the degree program. We consider these colleges and universities highly ideal for students and adult learners interested in earning the degree without committing to regular attendance to classes in brick-and-mortar schools.
Our profiled list highlights the top features of the Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice programs. We believe that each of these program’s coursework, student immersion or internship opportunities, program duration, and the cost is worth exploring for individuals seeking to carve out their careers in this field. Here, we have listed the schools in random order so you may locate a program specific to your needs, based on the following components:
- Designed to expand the student’s knowledge in law enforcement through psychological and cultural understanding of the Criminal Justice system,
- Focuses on all aspects of Criminal Justice, such as corrections, probation, criminology, laws and ethics, as well as, crime prevention and advocacy, and many other pertinent topics,
- Financial Aid opportunities,
- 100% Online or Hybrid availability,
- Properly regionally accredited with easy transfer credit options,
- Provides career counseling, online student help support, networking opportunities, as well as, expert instruction from qualified and experienced instructors,
- Prepares students for numerous career opportunities within the field of Criminal Justice, such as Correctional Officer, Law Enforcement Officer, Federal Service Agents, Investigator, Probation Officer, among many other important positions,
- May require a field placement or internship to graduate, depending on the program,
- Provides the necessary knowledge and skills needed to enter a graduate degree program in Criminal Justice.
- Positive reviews from students, as well as, other reliable academic resources.
If you would like to learn more, please see our Methodology page.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts’ University Without Walls system has been recognized as one of the finest purveyors of distance education in the United States for more than forty years. The Amherst campus supplies an excellent online Bachelor in Criminal Justice degree completion program that is focused around success in the job market and career advancement. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in corrections, public safety, policing, the judiciary, homeland security, social services, and more. The curriculum can be personalized through course concentrations, allowing students to pursue individual career pursuits alongside the major coursework. This program is well-suited to both newcomers to the field of criminal justice, as well as working professionals.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
The Colorado State University-Global Campus is another of the country’s most popular online schools. It provides an outstanding online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in which students learn to make difficult and informed decisions while involved in immersive, real-world projects. The core curriculum includes all of the most crucial practices and theories in law enforcement, as well as controversial policies and ethical issues. It also offers six exciting concentration options in Organizational Leadership, Project Management, Human Resources and Organizational Development, Marketing, Emergency Management, or Healthcare Management.
Peirce College has an affordable online bachelor’s in criminal justice that provides a tuition rate for all distance education students of $600 per credit hour. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies curriculum can be completed 100% online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format for students who require some in-person learning experiences. This fantastic online school also has an exciting opportunity to earn a doctorate through the Bachelor-to-Juris Doctor program in collaboration with the Rutgers University Law School. This program is incredibly thorough and includes all of the most critical topics, such as ethics, juvenile justice, victims and victimization, the correctional system, and more.
Florida State University
Florida State University online students can major in a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice that is designed to enhance problem-solving and critical thinking at the law enforcement level. It is a highly flexible degree program that can be completed entirely at a distance, yet still provides the use of state-of-the-art academic and criminal justice technologies. Students have the ability to tailor the program to meet their scheduling needs and career goals. The same outstanding professors who instruct the on-campus courses are in charge of the online criminology program so that students are guaranteed an education of the same high quality. This curriculum is perfect for students pursuing careers as detectives, crime intelligence analysts, child welfare caseworkers, victim advocates, private investigators, and more.
Indiana State University
Indiana State University offers more than 70 online programs including a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. This 100% online degree not only focuses on liberal arts education but also equips students with critical thinking abilities, effective communication skills, and state-of-the-art facilities to be successful in the profession. Required criminology courses include Victimology, Introduction to Corrections, Juvenile Delinquency, Introduction to Law Enforcement, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Introduction to Court Systems, and Criminal Justice Report Writing. An internship in Criminology is required upon completion of this online program.
Established in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with eight specializations to choose from, namely Strategic Intelligence, Business Administration and Management, Public Administration, Crime Scene Investigation, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Psychology, Homeland Security, and General. LU’s Criminal Justice online program helps students build strong managerial and leadership skills that allow them to become successful professionals. In addition, this online program will equip the students with in-depth fundamentals of the procedures of criminal law, policies, and corrections. The 120-credit hour program consists of core criminal justice courses such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Ethics, Terrorism, Administration of Justice Organizations, and Judicial Process.
Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that helps prepare graduates with strong fundamental principles pertaining to criminal justice fields in forensics, law enforcement administration, national security, and law. Lamar University’s online program in criminal justice offers an accelerated format to aid law enforcement professionals in earning their degree faster. Required courses for criminal justice majors include Criminal Behavior, Police Problems, Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice, Organized Crime, Correctional Administration, and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice, to name a few. Students need to have 120-credit hours to earn this degree.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is a private, not-for-profit educational institution that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice in two (2) concentrations to choose namely Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice – Criminalistics, and Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security. These online programs will equip students with highly specialized leadership skills and knowledge that are essential with law enforcement agencies, criminal studies, and investigative methodologies that solves crimes in the United States, and the world. This 120-credit program includes mandatory core criminal justice courses such as Introduction to Law & Legal Systems, Theories of Criminal Behavior, Substantive Criminal Law, Survey of the Criminal Justice System, Criminal Justice Ethics, and Law of Criminal Procedures.
Tiffin, Ohio is home to Tiffin University that offers an online Bachelor of Criminal Justice in two concentrations, namely Criminal Behavior and Criminalistics. These 121-credit-hour online programs require core courses such as Criminal Law, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Research Design, Criminology, and Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice, among others. The university’s criminal justice program equips students with expert knowledge, ethical backgrounds, and theoretical principles in the field toward professional practice in criminal justice careers.
University of the Cumberlands
Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands has an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that prepares students for a promising career in the fields of criminal justice and corrections. This online degree program enables students to become effective communicators so they can collaborate with clients and colleagues with the aim to pursue responsible stewardship and leadership in the criminal justice system. The completion of this program requires 128-credit hours. Students need to enroll in the university’s core criminal justice courses including Administrative Law & Management, Foundations in Justice Administration, Human Resource Management, Criminological Theories in Justice Administration, and Legal & Ethical Issues in Justice Administration.
Washington State University
Washington State University in Pullman, Washington is a non-profit public research university that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. This online program delivers a policy-focused curriculum providing students with a wealth of knowledge of and broad exposure to the social sciences to ready them for careers in the private and government sectors. The B.A. in Criminal Justice at WSU molds students into becoming successful and world-class creative evaluators, critical thinkers, ethical actors, and effective responders during incidents of crime. The coursework also highlights adherence to the principles of justice in the local, national, and international arenas. This 120-credit hour program includes core criminal justice courses such as Introduction to Criminological Theory, Introduction to Administration & Criminal Justice, Criminal Law & Criminal Procedure, and a Senior Seminar in Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice.
A private, non-profit university in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. The university has designed this online program to be innovative and non-traditional that exposes students to the realities of society. The coursework prepares them for social issues, violence, and crime in an in-context format. Students need to take mandatory core criminal justice courses such as Crime and Justice in America, Family Crime & Victimization, Policing America, Punishment & Criminal Sanctions, Crime Theory & Causes, and Criminal Law, and Evidence & Constitutional Procedure. In addition, they must complete 9-credit hours of the Kirkpatrick Signature Series Requirements that are mandatory in all undergraduate courses at the university. Students must also complete at least 127-credit hours to earn this degree.
University of Louisville
Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, the University of Louisville offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that is designed to prepare students in a career in the criminal justice system. This 121-credit hour program provides students with a working knowledge of the entire criminal justice process. U of L produces topnotch, and skilled graduates with the ability to make connections between theoretical principles, and policy developments in the criminal justice system. Core criminal justice courses include Crime and Justice in the United States, Criminal Procedure, Law Enforcement in the United States, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Law & Evidence, and Research Design to name a few.
Sam Houston State University
Established in Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston State University offers a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. This online program provides an intensive learning environment with state-of-the-art facilities such as a full-service courtroom and expert faculty. The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree requires additional hours of a social science field such as political science, psychology, and sociology. The core criminal justice courses include Victimology, Cyber Crime, Criminal Investigation, White Collar Crime, Global Terrorism, and Violent Offenders. B.A. in Criminal Justice students at Sam Houston State University needs to earn at least 121 credit hours and added credits in Foreign Language.
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that provides students with knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. This online program integrates an interdisciplinary approach to cover ethical concepts and academic liberal arts with an emphasis on theoretical and policy background needed for professions relating to criminal justice. The 100% online 120-credit hour program helps students understand how perceptions of the criminal justice system vary across the local and international courts. It features a comprehensive study of criminal justice work and ethical issues and helps develop the students’ critical thinking and communication skills. Core criminal justice courses include Crime Theory & Cases, Violence in Society, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Research Methods, Courts & Judicial Process, and Law Enforcement.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona houses the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions that offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. This online degree program engages students in the practice and policies of the criminal justice system, such that they develop skills in communication, research, and analysis. Students are required to take core criminal justice courses such as Introduction to Corrections, White Collar Crime, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Gangs, and Domestic Violence. Students must have at least 120-credit hours to earn this degree.
Montgomery, Alabama is where Faulkner University is located. This school offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. The program is designed for professionals who are looking to excel in their career by enhancing their knowledge of several criminal justice areas including private security, law enforcement, legal-ethical concerns, and corrections. This 120-credit hour program consists of core criminal justice courses such as Criminal Law, Community Relations, Criminology, Research Methods for Criminal Justice, Ethics & the Criminal Justice System, and Courts & Courtroom Procedure. Faulkner University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BCJ) offers a faith-based educational experience with accelerated schedules and affordable tuition rates.
Old Dominion University
Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University has an online Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice that helps students explore and understand the criminal justice system. This online program exposes them to a variety of legal, social, and technological principles of the criminal justice fields. This online degree requires 120 total credit hours and a Capstone Research Project. Old Dominion University’s criminal justice degree has core courses such as Upper-Level Law Component, Criminological Theory, Introduction to Criminology, Law and the Criminal Justice System, and The Criminal Justice System.
Ohio University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (B.C.J.) that provides students with the technical and theoretical background in the area of criminal justice. This program broadens their exposure to a liberal arts curriculum while gaining the knowledge to qualify and excel in careers involving criminal justice such as police administration, parole and probation, and juvenile and adult corrections. It consists of a wide range of topics such as professional disciplines, humanities, behavioral and social science, and natural sciences that are integral to the field. Core courses include Criminal Justice, Civil Liberties, Criminology, Punishment & Society, American Constitutional Law, and Social Psychology of Justice. The required number of credit hours for degree completion is 120.
Florida International University
Headquartered in University Park, Florida, Florida International University has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice offered by the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. This online program provides students key crime and justice background. Students need to take core criminal justice classes such as Introduction to Criminal Justice, Research Methods in Criminal Justice, Terrorism & Homeland Security, Criminological Theory, and Comparative Criminal Justice System to name a few. This 120-credit hour program delivers the training every student needs to become reputable and highly-skilled professionals in a variety of government and private agencies such as the FBI, Homeland Security, CIA, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, and Border Patrol.
What are the core courses in an online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?
An online degree program in criminal justice provides students with a solid background in the field. Students learn the fundamentals and theories that are applicable to law enforcement and legal practice. Generally, an online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice covers forensic science, criminology, criminal law, legal research, criminal procedures, and ethical laws. The Bachelor of Arts program integrates Liberal Arts courses such as Foreign Language, College Algebra, Speech Communication, American National Government, History of Civilization, and English Composition. In contrast, the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program include General Education courses such as Microeconomics, Global Business, U.S. History, Geology, and Management.
What jobs await holders of a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?
There are several job opportunities and career pathways for graduates who want to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Majority of these jobs find fulfilling careers in court systems, law enforcement, and corrections system. They become police officers, forensic scientists, corrections officers, forensic psychologists, intelligence analysts, private investigators, immigration officers, homeland security deputies, insurance fraud investigators, criminal profilers, and university professors.
How much does an online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice costs?
An online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice degree program generally costs less than the on-campus format. The cost of each of the courses under the online criminal justice degree range from $100 to $500 per credit, depending on the university or college. Many schools and universities provide in-state tuition aids, financial assistance, and scholarships. Eligibility Requirements of the financial assistance and tuition aids vary per school or university.