The 5 Best Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

The best online criminal justice degree programs provide students with a broad understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system and a solid background in the different theories of criminal behavior. As you search for the ideal criminal justice degree online, you’ll find that some programs stick to this broad perspective while others offer you the opportunity to spend more time focusing narrowly on a specific area within the field. Broad-based online criminal justice degree programs are ideal for students who plan to work in law enforcement at the federal, state, or local level, or who want to pursue graduate training in law or another professional specialty. On the other hand, students preparing for careers as corrections officers or victim advocates, for instance, may find that a specialized program better fits their needs. Wherever your interests lie, you’re sure to find a great opportunity among the best online criminal justice degree programs below.

Brandman University is home to the one of the best online criminal justice degrees in the country primarily due to their excellent selection of study options. As a Brandman student, you can choose to follow a broad-based curriculum that covers all areas of the field or focus on one of five concentration areas, including corrections, homeland security, leadership, victim advocacy, and forensics. The corrections concentration, for example, provides you with in-depth training in applied criminology, gang behavior, mental health issues in society, and sentencing procedures, all crucial topics to those who work in prisons and jails. Admission to this online criminal justice degree program requires at least 12 transferable undergraduate credits earned at an accredited college or university.

The Pennsylvania State University-World Campus online criminal justice degree is a solid option for students who want to prepare for a career in law enforcement or homeland security. Although this bachelor’s program is designed as a generalist degree covering all aspects of the field, you can choose to add a minor in homeland security to get advanced training in security policy, emergency management, and security operations. This is excellent training for students who want to become police officers or homeland security agents. Unlike the Brandman University program, prior undergraduate coursework is not required to be admitted to the Pennsylvania State University-World Campus program.

The Bellevue University online criminal justice degree is a top choice for students interested in a comprehensive criminal justice curriculum. As a Bellevue student, you’ll study the various parts of the U.S. criminal justice system, including the police, the courts, and corrections. You’ll also study the sociology of crime and learn to analyze criminal behavior. Students also spend time thinking and writing about criminal justice policy and important legal and ethical principles. Bellevue University criminal justice graduates go on to careers in law enforcement and private security, and many pursue advanced degrees in law, the social sciences, or behavioral health. If low cost is an important factor in your search for a program, Bellevue University is among the most affordable online bachelor’s providers in the country.

Westfield State University’s criminal justice degree program provides broad-based training to prepare students for further graduate study or for professional career development. As a Westfield State University online student, you’re sure to appreciate the school’s flexible scheduling policy, which offers two 15-week semesters, two 6-week semesters, and one accelerated two-week semester spaced throughout the year. In contrast to the online criminal justice degrees above, this program is designed for students who have already completed an associate’s degree. Note that this criminal justice degree online program is designed for graduates of the Massachusetts community college system. If you hold an associate’s degree from another state, you need to make sure your coursework fulfills all Westfield State University requirements before committing to the program.

St. John’s University is another good option for both comprehensive and specialized training in criminal justice. After completing the foundational sequence of required courses, you can move on to select from around three dozen elective courses, one of the most extensive collections of criminal justice courses online. In effect, you can then create your own special area of focus or design a wide-ranging curriculum according to your interests and career goals. This program is specifically designed to meet the educational requirements of the New York Police Department, which are based on the same national standards many other police departments adhere to.