The Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

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Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice

The job market for forensic science technicians is growing faster than average. Get a job by finishing one of the 35 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice!

Criminal justice is a field in which people can come to better understand the role that justice plays in our society. It considers everything from the law to the correctional system to public policy, and studying criminal justice can provide a springboard for students into a variety of careers, including social workers, police officers, forensic science technicians, and lawyers. The job outlook for these careers is steadily growing, with an expected seven percent growth and a median salary of $62,960 per year for police officers and detectives. For forensic science technicians, there is a projected growth of 17 percent between by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the median pay in this field is $57,850 per year.

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For students looking into studying criminal justice, they should consider what interests them about the field. Is it the law? Is it the corrections part? Is it the justice system as a whole? Many programs also integrate sociology and psychology courses into the curriculum, and some programs are more research heavy than others. For students who think that they might want to go on to graduate school, they should look at programs that require at least a research methods course if not also a thesis. Several colleges and universities on this list also have an accelerated program where students can earn both an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in five years. Find out which program fits best for you with the 35 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice.


#1 UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND-COLLEGE PARK

COLLEGE PARK, MD

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Score: 100.0

At the top of our list is the University of Maryland at College Park’s Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. This program requires 39 credits in criminal justice courses, including a required course in theory and one in research methods. Students can also do an independent study or complete an internship for credit. Other courses include Criminal Law in Action, Treatment of Criminals and Delinquents, and Contemporary Criminological Theory. The University of Maryland also regularly posts internship opportunities for students as well as jobs for students as they approach graduation. Finally, students can get involved with the Criminal Justice Student Association and Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society, the national criminal justice honor society.

Net Price: $17,241


#2 NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

BOSTON, MA

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PSYCHOLOGY

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Score: 99.9

Students who are interested in criminal justice and psychology would greatly benefit from Northeastern University’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology. The program gives students a basis in both fields as well as experience with who they intersect and inform one another. In total, 128 semester hours are completed for the degree. Some of the courses students take include Gender, Crime, and Justice, Policing a Democratic Society, Corporate Security: Securing the Private Sector, and Law and Psychology. Outside of the classroom, students can engage with experiential learning opportunities and Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society. Additionally, undergraduate research opportunities exist within the Undergraduate Research Initiative and the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict.

Net Price: $30,784


#3 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE

IRVINE, CA

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN CRIMINOLOGY, LAW & SOCIETY

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Score: 96.5

The University of California-Irvine offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law & Society. This degree program has a foundation in law, crime and criminology, and formal institutions of social control. Students take a total of 44 units that are degree-specific in addition to the generation education requirements mandated by the university, and they are also required to take one class in each of the areas mentioned above, as well as a course Injustice and Inequalities. To graduate, students take a total of 180 units divided over three terms each year for four years. It is also possible to finish this degree in three years. Additionally, students benefit from the expertise of faculty members who specialize in Psychology and Law, Race and Justice, Spatial Patterns Of Crime, Social Networks and Crime, and a variety of other subsets within the field.

Net Price: $13,944


#4 FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

TALLAHASSEE, FL

BACHELOR OF ARTS/SCIENCE IN CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Score: 92.2

Florida State University has a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program. This program requires 36 semester hours in criminology. Courses in this program include The Individual and Society, Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice, Crime Victimization and the Media, and Women, Crime and Justice. Students can choose between the two degrees based on the university’s requirements for each type of degree. Additionally, FSU allows students to either begin work on a master’s degree in the field as an undergraduate or to take part in a 3+3 program with the University’s law school.

Net Price: $16,450


#5 MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

LANSING, MI

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Score: 90.7

Michigan State University awards a 120-credit Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. There is also the option to minor in Security Management by completing 18 additional credits of coursework, some of which would also count toward the major in criminal justice. Outside of the classroom, MSU annual hosts a Criminal Justice Career Fair, which brings between 70 and 90 criminal justice agencies to campus to talk about opportunities after graduation. Furthermore, the School of Criminal Justice at MSU has a number of scholarships for criminal justice students. Finally, students can get involved with undergraduate research opportunities, internships, service learning, and the Inside-Out program, in which MSU students take courses with inmate students at Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.

Net Price: $16,684

Methodology

Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the 35 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice 2020, from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees:

  • 25% Student Satisfaction  
  • 30% Earning Potential
  • 15% Retention Data
  • 20% Affordability
  • 10% Acceptance Rates

For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.  

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