Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

An online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is a great choice for students who are interested in learning about the judicial system, law enforcement, court procedures, intelligence, and more.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Justice Degrees

What courses will I be taking?

Many colleges and universities offer online and on-campus courses related to criminal justice, including studies about corrections, criminal investigations, administrative operations, ethics, and restorative justice.

Back to top.

How long does it take to get a bachelor’s in criminal justice?

Students typically take about 120 credits over the course of four to five years.

Some programs may also grant credits toward a degree to those with field experience in law enforcement or the military.

Back to top.

What can I do with a bachelor’s in criminal justice?

Those who graduate with a bachelor’s in criminal justice can typically enter the workforce as law enforcement, community specialists, court administrators, and other related areas. This degree can also be a good starting point for those who intend to pursue a graduate degree in law, homeland security, or intelligence.

Back to top.

Learn more about how to major in criminal justice.

Best Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

How do we determine the best online criminal justice bachelor's degree programs?

Pursing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for a inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our methodology here.

25 Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs

  1. #1

    Florida State University

    #155 institution's historical influence
    #174 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    39K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    Tallahassee, FL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    Sam Houston State University

    #826 institution's historical influence
    #1048 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    Huntsville, TX

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA/BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    University of Cincinnati

    #152 institution's historical influence
    #1179 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Cincinnati, OH

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BBS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Portland State University

    #522 institution's historical influence
    #448 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/21

    Portland, OR

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminology And Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminology And Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    University of Central Florida

    #478 institution's historical influence
    #181 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    59K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Orlando, FL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    University of Alaska Fairbanks

    #777 institution's historical influence
    #235 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/21

    Fairbanks, AK

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    University of South Carolina

    #286 institution's historical influence
    #1388 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    32K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/28

    Columbia, SC

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  8. #8

    University of Alabama

    #184 institution's historical influence
    #94 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    36K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/27

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #9

    Florida International University

    #498 institution's historical influence
    #215 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Miami, FL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    University of Baltimore

    #1060 institution's historical influence
    #1281 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1052/20

    Baltimore, MD

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  11. #11

    University of North Texas

    #423 institution's historical influence
    #1391 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Denton, TX

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  12. #12

    University of Massachusetts Lowell

    #924 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Lowell, MA

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  13. #13

    San Diego State University

    #323 institution's historical influence
    #189 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1215/25

    San Diego, CA

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 51-60
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #14

    Roger Williams University

    #1987 institution's historical influence
    #741 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    69%

    Student body

    5K

    Bristol, RI

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  15. #15

    Eastern Kentucky University

    #1572 institution's historical influence
    #888 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Richmond, KY

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  16. #16

    Chaminade University of Honolulu

    #3233 institution's historical influence
    #872 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    Honolulu, HI

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminology And Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Charleston Southern University

    #3990 institution's historical influence
    #1142 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    54%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/25

    Charleston, SC

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  18. #18

    University of Louisville

    #302 institution's historical influence
    #1277 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Louisville, KY

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  19. #19

    Wichita State University

    #843 institution's historical influence
    #407 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    Wichita, KS

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  20. #20

    Nova Southeastern University

    #990 institution's historical influence
    #678 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  21. #21

    Lander University

    #3902 institution's historical influence
    #913 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    Greenwood, SC

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  22. #22

    Baker University

    #1595 institution's historical influence
    #947 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Baldwin City, KS

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  23. #23

    Florida Atlantic University

    #654 institution's historical influence
    #1363 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Boca Raton, FL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  24. #24

    University of Memphis

    #505 institution's historical influence
    #787 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    Memphis, TN

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  25. #25

    Benedictine University

    #2384 institution's historical influence
    #672 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1076/22

    Lisle, IL

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Hybrid

Back to top.

Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students