Top 10 Fastest Accelerated Online PhD in Criminal Justice (Doctorates)

Top 10 Fastest Accelerated Online PhD in Criminal Justice (Doctorates)

Are you a busy professional who wants a doctorate degree fast? We rank the fastest accelerated programs for a PhD in criminal justice doctorate degrees.

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional online doctoral programs in criminal justice last three to five years.

  • Fast and accelerated online doctoral programs in criminal justice require students to enroll in more credit hours per semester, allowing them to graduate in two to three years.

  • While fast and accelerated online PhD program in criminal justice allow you to graduate in less time, they may restrict you from working full-time.

Criminal justice professionals are dedicated to upholding public safety and a just society. Graduates with online doctoral degree programs in criminal justice have several career opportunities that focus on crime prevention strategies, such as:

  • Detective
  • Federal agent
  • Police officer
  • Forensic science expert
  • Juvenile justice research

However, to reach the top of the employment and earnings ladders, you need to earn advanced degrees to enhance your skills, knowledge, and competency.

The job market today is more competitive more. As a result, more and more criminal justice professionals are pursuing online PhD programs to qualify for these higher-level roles.

However, busy professionals employed in the field of criminal justice may find it difficult to find the time to complete a traditional doctorate program. Identifying the shortest doctoral program online in criminal justice allows these degree-seekers to earn that coveted degree.

Despite the fact that accelerated criminal justice doctoral programs online are rare, we have found ten online programs that allow graduate students to transfer more credits and enroll in more courses than traditional doctoral programs.

Featured Programs

Benefits and Drawbacks of the Fastest Accelerated Online PhD Programs in Criminal Justice

While the shortest doctoral program online is suitable for anyone interested, students who will benefit the most are those with previous work experience in the field of criminal justice, military history, or volunteer experience in the field. Interestingly, several schools, such as Liberty University, honor prior life and work experience and allow students to reduce their course load using these experiences.

Additionally, an accelerated doctoral degree is typically designed for applicants who have completed a master’s degree. Graduate coursework can be used as credit toward their doctoral degree program, allowing students to reduce the required credit hours and, subsequently, the duration of the program.

Accelerated PhD programs appeal to students who want to graduate and compete in the workforce sooner than those who want to take their time and appreciate the regular college experience.

Compared to a typical doctoral programs online, students in accelerated PhD programs should be prepared to spend more time on their studies each week.


  • Faster graduation time.
  • Less educational costs.


  • Heavy workload in a strict time frame.
  • It may restrict you from working full-time.

Bottom Line: Despite the heavy courseload, accelerated doctoral programs in criminal justice all graduates to see the career benefits of a doctorate degree more quickly.

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Online Doctoral Programs in Criminal Justice: Accelerated Degree Programs vs. Traditional Doctoral Programs

Nationally and regionally accredited colleges that offer the fastest online accelerated doctorate degree programs often uphold the same status and credibility as traditional universities and degrees. Although few employers inquire whether job prospects obtained their degrees online, graduates of accelerated programs should feel free to conceal their accomplishments.

A potential employer might see an accelerated online program favorably, given that obtaining such a degree frequently indicates dedication and a strong work ethic for students.

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10 Fastest Accelerated Online Criminal Justice Doctorate Degree Programs

  1. #1

    Walden University

    Minneapolis , MN

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    Undoubtedly, Walden University is among the best and most trusted universities for online and accelerated learning because it’s a pioneering institution. Walden offers students comprehensive academics and a dedicated and established faculty. Although the backgrounds of Walden’s leaders are varied, their objectives are the same—give students the education that today’s employers want.

    Walden offers a fast-track option for their Online PhD in Criminal Justice degree program. On top of being able to transfer up to 38 credits from their master’s degree, eligible students can take on more courses per term. Doing so will shorten the time spent on the degree program.

    In addition to a General Program, students in the accelerated criminal justice doctorate degree program can choose one of several specializations: Homeland Security Policy and Coordination, Emergency Management, Global Leadership, Criminal Justice Administration, Online Teaching in Higher Education, Law and Public Policy, or Public Management and Leadership.

    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Walden University

    Walden is regarded for offering accessible and comprehensive online programs at a very affordable cost.

    Walden University is great for students who:

    Have excellent time management skills and can study independently.

    Walden University might not be best for students who:

    Want to experience a traditional college.

  2. Tuition + fees






    Student body


    Median SAT/ACT


    The University of North Georgia is a top senior military college and a renowned regional, multi-campus university. UNG offers broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular activities to raise the percentage of college completion throughout the region. It offers over 100 diverse majors that lead to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree.

    Because this is a military college, it emphasizes degrees that offer a fast-paced and accelerated curriculum. UNG’s PhD in Criminal Justice Degree in Intelligence is a fully online doctorate degree that allows students to transfer credit from their master’s degree with grades not bellowing “C.” Students will be prepared to become skilled and competent criminologists, criminal justice professionals, researchers, and teachers.

    UNG is a very strict school and does not allow students to repeat a course to improve their grades.

    • Required Credits: 54
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we all love about the University of North Georgia

    UNG is loved for offering a smaller campus’s strong relationships combined with a big university’s resources and opportunities.

    The University of North Georgia is the best option for students who:

    Are looking for top-rated military colleges.

    The University of North Georgia may not be the ideal choice for students who:

    Do not want to attend college in a small town.

  3. #3

    Nova Southeastern University

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

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    Nova Southeastern University is a large private university offering over 280 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs that provide students with everything they need to become self-assured, competent, and compassionate professionals.

    Additionally, NSU is one of just 50 institutions nationwide to get Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, in addition to being classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with “high research activity.” However, this university is best for students who can pay high educational costs.

    NSU’s PhD in Criminal Justice doctorate degree is one of the fastest criminal justice degree programs, with an average completion time of 2.5 years. This criminal justice program is designed for working professionals with basic skills and knowledge. Students will receive a curriculum that builds on their master’s degree, helping them develop a better sense of spotting criminal behavior trends, creating social solutions to reduce crime, and handling issues with the criminal justice system.

    Furthermore, NSU’s criminal justice PhD program has three specialization courses: Organizational Leadership, Behavioral Science, and Juvenile Science. With help from an academic advisor, students will carefully choose a specialization that aligns with their career goals.

    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2.5 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Nova Southeastern University

    The personalized learning experience.

    Nova Southeastern University is the best choice for students who:

    Are interested in doing research.

    Nova Southeastern University might not be ideal for students who:

    Dislike writing. NSU emphasizes insightful writing and critical thinking in its curriculum.

  4. #4

    Keiser University

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

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    What is Keiser University known for?

    Keiser University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Keiser University has grown to be the largest private, not-for-profit institution in Florida during the past 44 years. Keiser employs over 4,000 staff members for their 21 campuses in Florida. Employers, the community, and students serious about their education and careers continue to regard Keiser University as a partner in success.

    Keiser’s online Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and Criminology allows students to transfer up to 18 credits from their graduate work and enroll in eight-week courses to graduate in two years. There’s also an accelerated baccalaureate degree option that allows students with only a BS in criminal justice degree to enroll and complete the program in less than four years. Whether entering with a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree, you’ll get a full review of criminal justice and criminological theory.

    • Required Credits: 54
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Keiser University

    Keiser is loved for having a student-friendly environment that emphasizes an individualized learning experience.

    Keiser University is great for students who:

    Are very career-oriented.

    Keiser University might not be the ideal option for students who:

    Are easily intimidated by the competition.

  5. #5

    Liberty University

    Lynchburg , VA
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    Liberty University is not a new name in online learning. Liberty is a pioneer institution for online education, offering over 700 academic programs online, cutting-edge technology, and talented staff that prepares students for a competitive employment market. Despite being a prominent Christian-based university, Liberty accepts non-Christian students as long as they are open to gaining a little knowledge about Christianity.

    Liberty is known to offer fast and accelerated degree programs designed with busy working adult students in mind. Liberty’s PhD in Criminal Justice doctorate degree is one of the top choices of working professionals who have already earned their master’s degree in criminal justice. This degree program allows students to transfer up to 50% of the degree total, which helps them graduate in less than three years.

    Students with specific goals can choose between Homeland Security and Leadership specializations.

    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Liberty University

    Online students receive the same academic rigor as their on-campus counterparts because the same on-campus advisors teach online programs.

    Liberty University is great for students who:

    Identify as a Christian and seek a positive environment to grow personally and spiritually.

    Liberty University may not be the best choice for students who:

    Aren’t willing to attend a Christian university.

  6. #6

    National University

    La Jolla , CA

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    Despite being a small institution, National University competes in offering students the possibilities for higher education that are accessible, affordable, and attainable. To help students balance their busy lives and their academic aspirations, NU provides more than 75 programs with four-week sessions. NU is a leader in online education and has been providing online courses for more than 20 years.

    NU’s Doctorate in Criminal Justice degree is a 3-year online program designed for students who want an easier route to a doctorate degree. Because most doctoral applicants are busy working adults, this online doctorate does not require group work or residency requirements. Students with master’s degrees in criminal justice can complete the program in three years or less.

    Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Organizational Leadership, and Public Administration are available as specializations in this program. Regardless of specialization, students will develop the capacity to research, create budgets, set up work schedules, and oversee criminal law enforcement and community organizations’ operations.

    • Required Credits: 54
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about National University

    NU offers slower-paced degree courses to help students who are busy with their careers.

    National University is great for students who:

    Thrive in a small and quiet campus community.

    National University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Want to become a part of a big crowd.

  7. Tuition + fees






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    What is Texas A&M International University known for?

    Texas A&M International University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Texas A&M International University is one of the best global institutions of higher learning. It’s strategically located at the border between Mexico and the US and acts as the intellectual hub of a thriving bilingual and bicultural (English/Spanish) community. The university provides various bachelor’s and master’s programs and a doctor of philosophy in criminal justice and international business.

    TAMIU’s Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice is a short two-year doctorate program that requires a whole semester of traditional learning. Upon completion of the first semester, doctoral students can choose to take courses online in the comfort of their homes. Students will have an advanced, supervised course of study in criminology, crime, and the criminal justice system.

    • Required Credits: 49-52
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Hybrid/Online

    What’s to love about Texas A&M International

    TAMIU raises the standard of living for residents, Texans, and people worldwide through instruction, staff and student research, and community service.

    Texas A&M International University is the best option for students who:

    Thrive without individualized attention from advisors.

    Texas A&M International University may not be the ideal option for students who:

    Are used to small intimate campuses.

  8. What is Pennsylvania Western University known for?

    Pennsylvania Western University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Pennsylvania Western University is an up-and-coming economic powerhouse with more than two centuries of history. PennWest, a unique institution, is a result of a successful merger of three universities in California, Clarion and Edinboro. PennWest’s influence is immediate and lasting because it combines outstanding faculty, a wide choice of degree options in in-demand professions, and a sizable, active alum network.

    The Online Doctorate in Criminal Justice degree at PennWest can be completed in two years while studying part-time, making this one of the top choices for students who don’t want to study full-time and leave their current positions. Before starting the two-year criminal justice coursework, students must fulfill a five-day summer residency on-campus or virtually. During your studies, you’ll improve your ability to conduct in-depth analyses, evaluate policies, put them into practice, and gain a deeper comprehension of issues affecting real-world situations.

    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online

    What we love about Pennsylvania Western University

    PennWest gives every student a greater experience while keeping tuition costs low. It builds on the assets of each university.

    PennWest is great for students who:

    Have strong work ethics

    PennWest might not be the best fit for students who:

    Are unsure of what they want and are not driven enough to succeed.

  9. Other Rankings

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    With over 400 esteemed faculty and over 85 comprehensive programs, Arizona State University gains national recognition as a prominent and diverse university. ASU’s educational programs immerse students in a living-learning academic environment emphasizing innovation and entrepreneurship and a strong commitment to serving the public good in an era of fast-paced, intricate social change. ASU is also a top contributor to the state’s economy, contributing over $4.48 billion to the state’s GDP.

    ASU’s PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree is an on-campus accelerated program that allows students to earn their degree faster than the average completion time. Students must enroll full-time to complete the degree faster and take more than the suggested credit hours per semester. Students will undergo comprehensive theory, research, and policy topics and obtain the necessary skills and information to work in academics, research, and administration.

    • Required Credits: 84
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: On-campus

    What we love about Arizona State University

    ASU students have the best of both worlds. ASU has achieved the ideal fusion of a small-town feel and big-city amenities.

    Arizona State University is great for students who:

    Thrive in a diverse environment and want to enroll in courses beyond their majors.

    Arizona State University might not be the best fit for students who:

    Prefer a close-knit environment where advisors offer one-on-one instruction.

  10. #10

    University of Mississippi

    University , MS
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    The University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, is the largest public research university in the state. Ole Miss offers more than 90 majors across 15 schools and colleges to transform communities through inquiry and learning. In addition to being a shining example of Southern hospitality and grandeur potential, Ole Miss offers undergraduates the chance to participate in faculty-led research projects in various fields.

    The PhD in Criminal Justice Policy Studies at Ole Miss is one of the fastest and shortest criminal justice doctorate degree programs that prioritize both research and practice. This program prepares students for academic careers, research, and policy creation. This full-time program typically takes students two years to complete.

    Courses of this PhD in criminal justice degree program prepare students to write academic research articles, produce technical reports fit for policy consumption, and develop feasible research topics through qualitative and quantitative analysis.

    • Required Credits: 45
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: On-campus

    What we love about The University of Mississippi

    Ole Miss provides numerous scholarships and other financial aid options worth up to $40,000 for residents who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement.

    The University of Mississippi is great for students who:

    Thrive in a competitive environment.

    The University of Mississippi might not be the best fit for students who:

    Are reclusive and unprepared for demanding academic conditions.