This list highlights 15 of the most affordable online criminal justice degree programs, and ranks them by the graduation rate of the university offering the course. Graduation rate is often as important as tuition, because not graduating means wasting a great deal of money.
The criminal justice system is integral to our society. Criminal justice professionals in all areas of the field contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency, or ineffectiveness and inefficiency of our criminal justice system. Education specific to criminal justice is important because it is a unique system in our country, much unlike any other field. Often, however, furthering one’s education in criminal justice required students to sacrifice valuable years working in the field. However, this is no longer the case. Online education is a burgeoning field, and many quality schools are offering fantastic online criminal justice degree programs, as well as criminology programs.
The tuition and graduation rate data presented in this article is derived from College Navigator, a free searchable database containing essential information about almost every university in the United States, a project of the National Center for Education Statistics.
This program is the most affordable criminal justice program on our list. Students may choose from three different paths: administration, counseling, or law and society. The program is designed to meet the needs of either working professionals, or those looking to go straight from their associate’s degree program into a bachelor’s program.
Graduation Rate: 35%
This online degree completion program is designed for students that have already completed half of the required credits for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The program is designed for students going into their junior year. The intent of the degree is to provide students with a strong understanding of the fundamentals of the criminal justice field, preparing them for a successful entry into a criminal justice career, or for advancement in their criminal justice career.
Graduation Rate: 37%
The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Granite State is designed to provide graduates with an entry point into one of many careers in the criminal justice system. The program is also well suited to students that already work in the field professionally, and are seeking to advance their career through higher education. The degree provides an interdisciplinary focus that provides a strong understanding of the fundamental concepts of the criminal justice system. Granite State also features one of the cheapest tuition rates among the criminal justice programs on this list.
Graduation Rate: 37%
LSSU offers two online criminal justice degree completion programs. The programs are designed for students with an associate’s level education seeking to complete their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and gain a strong fundamental understanding of the criminal justice field. The two tracks available online are Criminal Justice Generalist, and Homeland Security.
Graduation Rate: 38%
The Criminal Justice Administration program at Park also doubles as a pre-law education. The school offers three areas of concentration: Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Security. The school also offers a minor in criminal justice (though it is not clear whether the minor is available to online students) and online associate’s degree in criminal justice. Students interested in Homeland Security may be interested in the Certificate Terrorism and Homeland Security, also available online.
Graduation Rate: 41%
Wichita State University’s criminal justice program is one of the oldest in the country. The program was originally established as a police training programs, in 1934. The school continues to take pride in the quality of its criminal justice program, and is pleased to now offer a criminal justice degree that can be earned online, as a bachelor’s completion program. The school also offers an online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program.
Graduation Rate: 41%
This broad based interdisciplinary justice program is focused on helping students to acquire the fundamentals necessary for entry into and success in any area of this field. Graduates will find they meet the educational qualifications for jobs in criminal justice from Corrections to the Secret Service, from Court Administration, to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Graduation Rate: 42%
For those interested in assuming an administrative role in the criminal justice field, the administration emphasis is a perfect online criminal justice degree program. Students will learn the importance of proper organization, information storage, and other important aspects of the behind the scenes administration work that keeps the criminal justice system up and running. The administration emphasis is available fully online. Those interested in a different concentration will find most of the work at WTAMU available online, but some face to face course work will be required.
Graduation Rate: 44%
Bemidji State offers students yet another affordable bachelor’s in criminal justice. The program meets the educational requirements of the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board. As always, check your state’s requirements if you desire to become an officer there. While the program meets the requirements for the MPOSTB, the program is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in the field.
Graduation Rate: 46%
The importance of an efficient criminal justice system run by competent administrators is what drives Columbia College to offer the online B.A. or B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration. The school boasts a strong graduation rate, and is one of the cheapest online criminal justice programs available.
Graduation Rate: 46%
This program offers students a strong education in all the major areas of the criminal justice field, including: Policing, Courts, Corrections, and Juvenile Justice. In addition to these areas, the program also offers courses on criminal investigation, criminal justice management, victimology, and more. The program is designed to offer students the fundamental knowledge required for success, and the tools they need to specialize in their target area of the field.
Graduation Rate: 49%
The online criminal justice program available from Penn State’s World Campus is designed for professionals in the criminal justice field seeking to advance their career by furthering their education. The program is designed specifically so that students can continue to work their job, gaining valuable experience in the field, while acquiring the education required by many agencies for advancement.
Graduation Rate: 50%
The program at MSU is designed to help students become leaders in the criminal justice field. They will learn to develop solutions to the kinds of issues faced by criminal justice professionals in their day to day work. The university boasts that graduates of their program consistently place high on Major Field Test for Criminal Justice, which is designed to test quality of the education prospective professionals in the field have received.
Graduation Rate: 55%
#2. University of Nebraska at Kearney: Online Bachelor of General Studies in Criminology and Criminal Justice
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers courses online through University of Nebraska Online Worldwide. Students have a choice between a BGS in Criminology and Criminal Justice, or a straight B.S. in Criminal Justice. Both programs are strong choices for students, and students should speak with an admissions counselor regarding which program is the best fit for their career goals.
Graduation Rate: 56%
Mississippi College boasts the best graduation rate on our list. The administration of justice program offered online at this school is the one with an emphasis on Homeland Security. The program is perfect for students seeking a strong understanding of the role of Homeland Security in law enforcement in preparation for a career with the agency.
Graduation Rate: 62%
For more information regarding affordable criminal justice degree programs be sure to see: Affordable Online Social Science Degree Programs.