Accredited Online Criminal Justice Schools and Degree Programs

College students who choose to earn an online criminal justice degree must first ensure that their institution has been accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency. This article will explore some of the accreditation requirements that criminal justice programs adhere to. We’ve also included some career management tips for graduates, as well as a comprehensive database of criminal justice programs.

  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Career Options
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies


Career Options

Criminal justice is a very broad field of study, and graduates go on to work in a wide range of sectors. We’ve listed five of the most popular career paths, each one accompanied by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the nationwide number of employees and their median hourly and annual wages.

Job Title National Employment Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage
Police and Detectives 794,300 $26.45 $55,010
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 256,000 $22.44 $46,680
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 93,200 $22.69 $47,200
Lawyers 581,920 $62.93 $130,880
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers (Post-Secondary) 14,020 $31.39 $62,770

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

Notable Schools

Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are across the nation. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific program. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable online and campus-based schools offering degrees in this subject to help you begin your school search.


Traditional, classroom-based education is still considered the academic norm. However, millions of Americans ― many of whom have full-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, and other major commitments ― are turning to online programs in order to reach their career goals. This section will showcase some of the most reputable online criminal justice programs in the country; please note that some of these programs may require a minimal level of on-campus course work.

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona / Online

Arizona State University may have ranked No. 9 on U.S News and World Report‘s 2014 list of best online degree programs, but it is ASU’s award winning faculty and its effort to make online learning user-friendly that sets ASU apart. ASU Online currently offers two online degree options in this field: a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. The undergraduate program focuses on fundamental areas of criminal justice, such as sociology, lab science, U.S. history, and law.

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio / Online

The University of Cincinnati is the only college ranked in the top 3 on U.S. News and World Report‘s best colleges list that offers online education in the field of criminology. In addition to being known for their innovative curriculum, the University of Cincinnati staffs some of the most influential professors in the industry; UC professors, like Michael Benson, Ph.D., have published books and articles in distinguished, peer reviewed journals. The University of Cincinnati’s Distance & Outreach Center currently offers a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree.

Portland State University

Portland, Oregon / Online

The Princeton Review continues to name Portland State University as one of the best higher education institutions in the U.S. The Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree program offered through PSU focuses on three core subjects: leadership in criminal justice, criminal behavior, and crime analysis. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for a wide range of potential career paths, including corrections, law enforcement, social services, and administration at the state or federal level. The program is 100% online, with no campus visits required.

Campus Only

Next, we’ve named the country’s three most outstanding brick-and-mortar programs in criminal justice, as ranked by the Web’s most authoritative educational resources. Unlike the degree offerings listed above, the programs listed below are exclusively campus-based.

University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

The University of Maryland-College Park offers criminology and criminal justice degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. levels. UM’s programs, which won the top spot on U.S. News and World Report‘s 2014 list of best graduate programs, are the perfect complement to UM’s accomplished faculty; UM’s faculty consists of professionals who have been published in top journals, serve as Fellows for a number of relevant organizations, and who stay up-to-date on what is current in the field of criminology.

University of Albany-SUNY

Albany, New York

The University of Albany-SUNY’s School of Criminal Justice earned 2nd place on U.S News and World Report‘s best graduate programs for criminal justice list. SUNY invites undergraduates to earn a 56-credit criminal justice major; the school offers internship opportunities for seniors in this major. Additionally, sophomores are invited to apply for the comprehensive bachelor’s-master’s degree program in criminal justice. Students are typically admitted into this 141-credit program at the beginning of their junior year. Master’s and Ph.D. programs in criminology and criminal justice are also available at this university.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, New York

Perhaps more than any other college on this list, John Jay College of Criminal Justice students learn from professors who have received awards, publishing credits, and attention for their own work in the field of criminal justice. Professors teach students a wide variety of disciplines within the field of criminal justice, and are serious about utilizing up-to-date technology to prepare students for the professional sector. In addition to criminology and criminal justice, undergraduates who attend this City of New York (CUNY) school may choose from majors like correctional studies, culture and deviance studies, and security management. Other opportunities available at JJCCJ include a certificate in Spanish Legal Translating and Interpretation; enrollment in the prestigious NYPD Leadership Program; and three hybrid B.A.-M.A. degrees: criminal justice, forensic pathology, and public administration.