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50 Best Online Master of Criminal Justice Degree Programs 2018


online masters degree programs in criminal justiceWe can enjoy relative safety because of those who make the choice to both fight crime and work to prevent it. Law enforcement officials, those who work at the state and federal level in criminal justice and criminology–these are just a few of the individuals that protect us on a daily basis. For professionals in the criminal justice field and those who aspire to it, moving up into positions of leadership or seeking out specialized field placements, an online Master’s degree in criminal justice is a strategic choice. Understandably one of the most popular online master’s degrees, the online Master of Criminal Justice is ideal for prospective students who are already working in the field and cannot uproot themselves (or the people who depend on them) to go to the school of their choice. That’s why an online degree is the perfect fit–all of the convenience of participating in classes on your schedule, but all of the benefits of a well-respected degree. It’s important to pick an accredited, reputable school to achieve the degree that will open doors for you in the criminal justice arena–that’s why we’ve put in the time to pick some of the best of the best. Read below to investigate how we picked the schools that landed on our list, and read further to pick the program that is right for you.

Quick Links to Our Top 10

  1. Michigan State University
  2. Florida State University
  3. Sam Houston State University
  4. Arizona State University
  5. Boston University
  6. University of Nebraska Omaha
  7. Nova Southeastern University
  8. Regis University
  9. University of Cincinnati
  10. University of Colorado Denver

Our methodology: To determine the best online Master in Criminal Justice degree programs for our ranking, we looked only at schools with regional accreditation. With that as our starting point, we gathered information to examine from publicly available sources such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. News and World Report, and the school websites. From there, four points served as our guidelines for determining the best programs. In random order, the four guiding points were:

  • Affordability
  • School reputation
  • Availability of focus areas, concentrations or specializations
  • Program flexibility and accommodation

#50. Indiana State University

Founded by the Indiana General Assembly as the Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1865, a century later the school would become Indiana State University. Twenty-three students and three faculty members began class in 1870, five years after the school’s establishment. The school would grow and change names multiple times to reflect the expansion of both the academic programs and student enrollment–becoming Indiana State Teachers College in 1929, Indiana State College in 1961, and finally becoming Indiana State University (ISU or Indiana State) in 1965. Dedicated “to teaching and the creation of knowledge while maintaining its longstanding commitment to inclusiveness, community and public service, and access to higher education,” Indiana State is committed to an inclusive and diverse campus and multicultural expression and safety. The 435-acre campus houses seven colleges, which provide over 150 academic degree programs for the more than 13,500 enrolled students. ISU has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1915.

Program Details: Offered through the Indiana State College of Graduate and Professional Studies, the 36-credit hour MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice is provided entirely online for “academic criminologists and criminal justice professionals” (and for those desiring to be) and effortlessly lands in our #50 spot. (For students who plan to pursue a doctorate degree in the subject, there is also an entirely online 33-credit hour MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice). All students start with criminology research seminar and go on to choose both a major and a concentration in either Law Enforcement or Corrections. Students must also complete either a comprehensive written exam or a research project in culmination of the program. This MS program is open to residents of the United States and Canada, as well as U.S. Territories and military and state department members and their families if residing at an army base. Online learning tuition for 2017-2018 is listed as $513 per credit hour for eligible out-of-state residents and $404 for Indiana residents.

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#49. Kent State University

The Lowry Normal School Bill of 1910 was passed in Ohio to assure two teacher training schools in the state. Guaranteeing a school to train elementary school educators in both the northeastern and northwestern part of the state, the residents of Kent desperately wanted one of the schools to be in their town. Now known as a positive outcome of the celebrated “blue-gill dinner,” through a series of miscommunication and misadventures, the state commission members were not impressed until the Kent Board of Trade reception committee convinced them to have dinner along the way to the next town they were to examine as a possible site. That dinner secured Kent as the location of the new normal school on the 53-acre Kent farm. Because of the vision of founding president John Edward McGilvrey, the school aimed to bypass being a normal school to achieve becoming first a college and ultimately a university. His dream became a reality, and now Kent State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The fully online Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice program at Kent State’s Department of Sociology offers four concentration options to customize the degree. Concentrations in Corrections, Global Security, Policing or Victimology are available in this thirty-three credit hour program that can be completed in two years. Students take seven required courses and choose one course from each of the concentration selections. The remaining classes are made up of a capstone and the chosen concentration area. Multiple sections of each course are offered each seven-week session–class topics include “Emerging Trends and Issues in Corrections,” “Law, Justice, and Society,” and “Theories of Crime and Delinquency.” All students are assigned an Admission Advisor once admitted to the program to help them design a personal degree plan and “a clear course sequence and path to graduation.” Tuition per credit is $676 for Ohio residents and $686 for residents of other states–all online students also must pay a $15.00 per credit hour distance learning fee.

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#48. Saint Leo University

Claiming the distinction of being the first Roman Catholic university in Florida as well as one of the five largest Catholic universities in the U.S., Saint Leo University began in earnest in 1889 when Abbot Leo Haid, The Order of Saint Benedict, was given a gift by former chief justice of the Arizona Territory, Edmund F. Dunne, of 36 acres in what is now St. Leo, Florida. The intent was to establish a Benedictine university. The school was called St. Leo’s College to honor several prominent Leo’s–Pope Leo the Great (bishop of Rome from 440 to 461), Pope at the time Leo XIII, and Leo Haid, who was Abbot of Maryhelp Abbey in North Carolina prior to coming to Florida to establish the college. Now renamed Saint Leo University after many name changes and differing visions, this private, coeducational liberal arts institution had only seven students in the first year of operation but has now grown to over 16,000 enrolled students. Regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice through Saint Leo’s School of Education & Social Services is led by program director Dr. Robert J. Diemer, a well-known and revered name in the criminal justice field with almost 30 years of professional investigative experience. As a Catholic university, Saint Leo infuses the degree with a “steadfast moral consciousness that recognizes the dignity, value, and gifts of all people” and prepares students to gain employment in advanced positions in law enforcement. The criminal justice degree has been offered at Saint Leo for over thirty years, so students can be confident they are getting an exceptional program that has stood the test of time. Eighteen credit hours of core courses and eighteen credits of electives make up the required 36 credit hours. Core course cover ethics and legal issues, and elective course topics include options like “Preventing Terrorist Attacks,” “Correctional Leadership,” and “Introduction to Forensic Science.” Tuition is $555 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#47. Armstrong State University

Armstrong Junior College was founded in Savannah, Georgia by mayor Thomas Gamble in 1935 with 175 students in the Armstrong House, a gift to the city of the historic family mansion of the George F. Armstrong family. By 1959 the school joined the University System of Georgia as a two-year institution and was renamed Armstrong College of Savannah. Another gift of a location, this time 250 acres, was given by the Mills B. Lane Foundation and Donald Livingston in 1962, and two years later the school became a four-year degree-granting institution named Armstrong State College. For over thirty years this served as the name, but in 1996 the school changed again to become Armstrong Atlantic State University. Because of confusion with the word “Atlantic” in the name, the school was renamed once again in 2014 to Armstrong State University. In 2017 it was announced that the school would be consolidating with Georgia Southern University. Armstrong State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The MS in Criminal Justice offered completely online through the Department of Criminal Justice, Social & Political Science at Armstrong is crafted to give students a ” deeper understanding of the administration of individual criminal agencies, along with the advanced research in methodology to collect, analyze, synthesize and report information and empirical data.” A 36 credit hour program, students have the option of culminating the degree with a thesis (which students must defend), a field practicum, or taking two additional electives (both of which require a comprehensive exam). Students have up to seven years to complete the degree, and coursework covers topics such as “Criminological Theory,” “Institutional Incarceration/Treatment,” and “First Responder Tools and Application.” Also offered online is the graduate Certificate in Cyber Crime, a six course certificate program “to conduct research and to study cyber crime issues with staff and faculty in this professional setting.” Estimated tuition and fees per online credit hour is $710.

Admissions website

#46. Fayetteville State University

In 1865 Phillips and Sumner Schools were established for the African-American communities in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Just two years later the schools would combine to become the Howard School on a donated plot of land that was purchased by seven African-American businessmen who would become the school’s Board of Trustees. Ten years later the state of North Carolina desired to establish a teacher training school for black students, and due to the Howard School’s success. it was chosen to become the State Colored Normal School (which was the first state-sponsored institution to educate black teachers in the South). The school reached a different level by 1939 to become Fayetteville State Teachers College but continued to grow to become Fayetteville State College in 1963 and then Fayetteville State University (FSU) in 1969. This historically-black public university is part of the University of North Carolina System and regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ ) at FSU’s Department of Criminal Justice can be completed totally online and has both a thesis and a non-thesis option. The degree program is comprehensive and unique, with a relevant and “theory in action” approach with the intentional goal of improving the world. Four specific groups of potential students will benefit from the FSU MSCJ–students who have earned their bachelor’s degree and want to further their education in the criminal justice field; professionals who want to advance beyond their current criminal justice job; advocates who desire to improve the justice system in their communities; and members of the military. Thirty-three credits–twelve core courses and twenty-one electives–make up the program. The twenty-one credit hours of electives can form a specialization area, or thesis area–those who opt out of the thesis option are required to take a comprehensive exam. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year per credit hour is $168.53 for in-state students and $421.33 for out-of-state.

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#45. Southeast Missouri State University

In 1873 businessmen and local politicians from the town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri successfully petitioned to have a normal school (a school to train teachers) chartered in their town. Opened as Southeast Missouri State Normal School, classes were held at a nearby school until 1875, when the first building on campus had completed construction. Located close to the banks of the Mississippi River, the school would grow in size and academic scope and go through four name changes before becoming Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO or simply “Southeast”) in 1973, a hundred years after its founding. With a 328-acre main campus, online programs, and several extension campuses, Southeast currently enrolls almost 12,000 students in more than 200 academic degree programs in nine colleges and schools. Southeast is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (formerly the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges).

Program Details: Offered jointly by Southeast Missouri State University and Missouri Southern State University, the online MS in Criminal Justice is primarily for current law enforcement personnel and others in law enforcement who want to advance in their careers. Each student begins by completing an Initial Study Plan with their advisor, and faculty from both schools offer expertise and and guidance through the program. Coursework is offered in a fixed rotation over six academic sessions, and students must complete 36 credit hours to graduate. Classes such as “Civil Law and Liability” and “Criminal Justice Theory” make up the eighteen hours of core coursework, and students choose twelve electives from offerings such as “Death Penalty in America,” “Restorative Justice,” and “Comparative Criminal Justice Systems.” A page devoted to helping online students succeed is available through the Advising Center of Southeast Online, so students can easily access services they need. Tuition for all Southeast Online programs is $334 per credit hour regardless of residency.

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#44. Monroe College

The Monroe School of Business, named after America’s fifth President, James Monroe, was started in 1933 with instructor Mildred King teaching the seven female students who enrolled at this four-room school located in the Bronx. Three years later the school was joined by educator Harry Jerome and enrollment increased to 145 students. The Fordham Campus opened in 1967 and a decade later the original campus closed. The school became a junior college in 1972 and the name was changed to Monroe Business Institute. When the school became accredited in 1990, the name was changed to Monroe College. With campuses in the Bronx, New Rochelle, New York and Saint Lucia, and extension campuses in Manhattan and Queens, this for-profit institution has regional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: Students are able to complete the 36-credit hour online MS in Criminal Justice offered through Monroe College’s King Graduate School in only four semesters. Providing a “broad global perspective on terrorism and other forms of transnational crimes” to students through flexible programming, students take eight core courses and can opt to complete specializations in Human Services or Urban Crime Policy. Core course include topics like “Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism” and “The Supreme Court, U.S. Constitution, and Criminal Law,” and all students must complete the capstone course “Public Policy Issues in Criminal Justice.” Promising to “help students with any issues,” Monroe offers many student support resources and services to the online student, such as a Personal Admissions Counselor assigned as soon as a prospective student applies, a 24/7 online tutoring service, writing labs, and career services. Tuition and fees for the entire program are listed as $27,504 for all students regardless of state of residency.

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#43. Colorado Technical University

Two military men determined to create a school that would benefit other members of the military as they returned to civilian life. Colonel Richard Davis and Major Robert Turkisher organized the Colorado Electronic Training Center in 1965 and the first classes were held in an old roller-skating rink in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The intent of the school was to provide degree programs that were meaningful and industry-based. The school expanded as technology improved through the years, and by 1995 it became a degree-granting, four-year school. Colorado Technical University (CTU) became the new name with this new status, and five years later the online learning program—called the Virtual Campus—was instituted. CTU also developed a specialized learning system that benefits individuals and their different learning styles with personalized course material. Intellipath™ has proven a success for the almost 25,000 students enrolled at CTU. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits CTU.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree at CTU is a fully-online, 48-credit hour program for professionals who want to hone their skills and move into leadership and policy-making roles in law enforcement. For students who haven’t extensively studied criminal justice in their undergraduate work, a foundation criminal justice course is required. Two concentrations are available–a General track and a concentration in Homeland Security. Both concentrations focus on public policy with 28 credit hours of core courses such as “Criminology and Public Policy,” “Issues of Diversity in Criminal Justice,” and “Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making.” The General track goes on to require twenty  credit hours of concentration courses such as “Operational Human Resource Management” and “Court Services Management.” CTU offers discounts to military and various grants and scholarships to help students afford their education, and tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $585 per credit hour regardless of residency.

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#42. Texas A&M University-Commerce

The East Texas Normal College was founded as a private teachers college in Cooper, Texas in 1889 by William Leonidas Mayo (who was also the school’s first president). In 1894 the school was devastated by a fire, so the whole institution moved to its current location in Commerce. The school was successful, and in 1917 the State of Texas gained control and renamed it East Texas State Normal College. As the school grew and broadened the curriculum beyond just teacher education, the name changed several more times before consolidating with the Texas A&M University System in 1996 and becoming Texas A&M University-Commerce (“A&M-Commerce”). The fifth oldest state university in Texas and the second largest in the Texas A&M University System, A&M-Commerce has satellite campuses in several other Texas cities and serves as a Hispanic Serving Institution. With over 12,000 enrolled students, this public research university has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since 1925.

Program Details: Only offered as an online program, the Master of Science in Applied Criminology (MS-ACRM) degree offered by the College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts at A&M-Commerce is ideal for students who are interested in entering more administrative roles in the field of criminal justice or who have a general interest in it. This 36-credit hour, twelve course program is comprised of four core courses, three classes in one of the three possible tracks, additional electives and a three-course capstone project. The available tracks are General Criminology, Criminal Justice Administration & Management, and Homeland Security. Students can complete the program in as little as eighteen months. All courses run in five-week increments, and classes cover topics such as “White-Collar Crime,” “Juvenile Delinquency,” “US-Drugs & Society,” and “Courts and Criminal Procedure.” Tuition for the 2017 fall semester are listed as $597.46 plus fees for Texas residents and $1,012.46 for all others.

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#41. Missouri State University

The Fourth District Normal School was established Southwest Missouri State Teachers College Springfield, Missouri in 1905 primarily as a school for teacher education. A large class of 543 students started their education in 1906, but in off-campus classrooms. It would not be until 1907 that the first cornerstone was laid and not until 1909 that the first on-campus building would finish construction. The school would become Southwest Missouri State Teachers College a decade later, but change names again–dropping the word “Teacher”–in 1945 because of the curricular expansion beyond a focus primarily on teacher training. Additional campuses and name changes happen through the years, and by 2005 the current name of Missouri State University is chosen–Missouri State for short. Almost 200 academic degree programs are offered to more than 26,000 students at this public, space-grant institution, and regional accreditation is provided through the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Criminology Graduate Program through Missouri State’s Criminology and Criminal Justice Department offers a fully online MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree. Students can choose between a thesis (requiring 30-credit hours) and a capstone project (requiring 36-credit hours) option, and both require core coursework in classes like “Crime Theory and Policy” and “Leadership and Management in Criminal Justice.” All students must devise a “projected program of study” to map out their courses in conjunction with the three-year course offerings, and it needs to be approved by the graduate director. Online students are not solitary however–Missouri State Outreach provides resources and support services to students both on and off-campus. Students can start the program in the fall, spring or summer, and online tuition varies for the thesis and the non-thesis options; the estimate cost for the entire thesis program  option is $8,550 and for the non-thesis it is $10,260.

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#40. Wayne State University

With the founding of various institutions of education in the Detroit, Michigan area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the establishment of Wayne State University was secured. The Detroit Medical College in 1868, the Detroit Normal Training School in 1881, and the Detroit Junior College in 1917–these were all predecessors to Wayne State University. By 1933 the schools became united and were renamed together as Wayne University–partially due to being located in Wayne County, and partially after United States Officer and Statesmen Major General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. A Michigan Public Act in 1956 then caused the name of the school to be renamed Wayne State University (“Wayne State” or WSU). Now with thirteen colleges and schools, over 380 academic degree programs, more than 27,000 students, and a campus of 203 acres, this public research university is the third largest in the state of Michigan and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The fully online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program through the Department of Criminal Justice at Wayne State’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences can be completed–even part-time–in less than two years. This fast-paced degree program mirrors the on-campus program and places a focus on understanding the “problem of crime and the criminal justice system’s response to it.” Thirty-two credit hours are required, and students can opt between three degree completion options: Thesis, Master’s Essay, or Capstone Project, and students are given academic resources to help they with whichever option they choose. Core classes offer compelling topics like “The Nature of Crime” and “Contemporary Criminal Justice,” and elective topics include courses such as “Delinquency and Justice” and “Policing and Society.” Tuition for the 2017 fall semester in $638.98 per credit hour for all students regardless of residency.

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#39. California State University, San Bernardino

Legislation was passed in 1960 in California to establish the San Bernardino-Riverside State College. Three years later the Board of Trustees for the California State College system chose 430 acres near San Bernardino to serve as the campus, and the name of the school officially became California State College at San Bernardino. In 1965 three buildings served as the campus facilities to the 293 students who began classes. The California State College system became the California State University and Colleges system in 1972, and through this system’s new organizing structure the California State College at San Bernardino became California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) by 1984, joining twenty-two other schools in the system. Over 20,000 students now study at CSUSB and the 40-acre branch campus in Palm Desert, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges provides the regional accreditation.

Program Details: Taking on average between two to five years to complete, the MA in Criminal Justice degree program through the Department of Criminal Justice supplies students with a Graduate Coordinator to help them plot out their coursework, academic and career goals, and timeline. Students can opt to participate solely online, but classes are also offered on-campus. The program requires 45 credit hours to graduate, and it has been constructed to allow students from undergraduate fields other than criminal justice (but related, such as anthropology, social sciences, and psychology for example) to seamlessly apply and enroll. Students can choose between the thesis option and the comprehensive exam, and both options allow students to choose from electives such as “Crime, Criminals and Victims,” “Crime in Public Spaces,” and “Juvenile Justice System.” CSUSB wants students to be able to afford the degree by offering financial help and assistantships, and tuition is charged based on how many credits (or “units”) students are taking. Students taking less than six units are charged $1,388 and those taking more than six credits pay $2,392.

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#38. Lamar University

A thriving school on 292 acres in Beaumont, Texas—just under 100 miles east of Houston and near the Louisiana border—Lamar University (LU) claims to be one of the fastest growing schools in the state. Starting out much more humbly in 1923, the school originated as South Park Junior College. With classes first held on the third floor of South Park High School, the junior college had fourteen teachers for the 125 first students. Students were coming from a wider range within the state, so a contest was held to rename the school in 1932. The winning name was in honor of Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second President of the Republic of Texas—Lamar College. A decade later the school moved to a new site, and by 1983 had grown and merged with other institutions to create the Lamar University System. Becoming part of the Texas State University System in 1995, this public research institution is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: LU Online’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program focuses on theory, application, and practical skills. Requiring 36 hours of coursework, which is 100% online, students must take a comprehensive exam (rather than a being required to construct a thesis) after completing at least eighteen hours of coursework and before they have completed twenty-seven hours. Designed with current law enforcement and criminal justice professionals in mind, the program is ideal for those wishing to move into positions of management or research, or for professional who want to pursue an agency career in the FBI or CIA. Courses include topics such as “Theoretical Foundations of Crime Control,” “Quantitative Methods in Criminology,” and “Criminal Justice System and Policy.” Students have three start dates from which to choose–fall, winter and spring–so students have the convenience of starting at the time when it best fits their schedule, and the program can be completed in as little as eighteen months. Tuition, including the distance learning fee, is $275 per credit hour.

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#37. Florida International University

In 1965 Senate Bill 711 was presented as an impetus to develop a state university in Miami, Florida.  By 1969 Chuck Perry, who would be Florida International University’s (FIU) founding president, brought together three other visionaries–Butler Waugh, Donald McDowell and Nick Sileo–to begin planning the school. Abandoned airfield Tamiami Airport’s air traffic control tower (with no phone lines or potable water) would be the headquarters of development, and it remains on campus today ( called the Ivory Tower) as a symbol of FIU’s entrepreneurial spirit. Opening day for the 5,667 enrolled students would be historic as the largest opening enrollment in U.S. college history. An additional campus opened in 1977, and now this research-intensive public university has over 54,000 students studying in the twenty-three colleges and schools. Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides FIU with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: The Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Department of Criminal Justice at FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Educations offers an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree program that is intensified by the level of research prominent at the university. The same on-campus faculty provide the asynchronous online classwork, and FIU Online makes every effort to ensure online students have the support and resources they need to have a successful academic journey–from practice courses and readiness quizzes to see if online learning is a good fit to “course enhancement technologies” to strengthen the online learning experience. With 36 credit hours made up of four courses of criminal justice electives and three general electives, students take core classes like “Transnational Crime and National Security,” “Criminal Justice Policy Analysis,” and “Criminological Theory.” Tuition is estimated to be $16,281 for in-state students and $35,939 for out-of-state.

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#36. Jacksonville State University

The State Normal School at Jacksonville was founded to train teachers in Jacksonville, Alabama in 1883. Three educators were available to those first students, and the teacher preparatory curriculum was part of a junior college program. The school grew to become a full four-year degree-granting institution as the State Teachers College in 1929, and it kept growing and adding more programs. The institution became Jacksonville State College in 1957 with the addition of a graduate program, and gained university status and was renamed one last time in 1966–Jacksonville State University (JSU). Now this public coeducational school with a motto claiming to be the “friendliest campus in the South,” serves over 8,500 students on the over 450-acre main campus, campus centers, and many online programs. Jacksonville State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The College of Graduate Studies at JSU offers an entirely online Master of Science with a major in Criminal Justice degree program through the School of Human Services and Social Sciences’ Criminal Justice Department. Students with any undergraduate background are welcome to apply, but those who did not major in criminal justice may be required to take additional courses. Both the thesis and non-thesis options require thirty-credit hours, and courses cover topics like “Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues,” “Applied Ethics,” “Victimology,” and “Forensic Investigation.” Students benefit from an advisory committee and experienced, seasoned faculty members to help guide them in constructing a degree plan to cover all of the program requirements as well as to achieve the student’s own personal academic goals. Online tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is listed as $382 per credit hour for all students regardless of state-of-residency.

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#35. College of Saint Elizabeth

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth (named for Elizabeth Ann Seton) was established in Newark, New Jersey in 1859. Forty years later the Sisters would open the College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE or “the College”) with six students and Sister Mary Pauline Kelligar as the first president. Located on the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth’s 200-acre campus, the address was originally the town of Convent Station, NJ due to it being a stop on the railroad. Since 1995 the address has been 2 Convent Road, Morristown, NJ. The college was founded with a “strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.”  Since 2015 the decision to go coed has allowed men to be admitted as day-students, and now this private Catholic liberal arts college educates 1,200 students. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides CSE with regional accreditation.

Program Details: The MA in Justice Administration and Public Service degree program at CSE is a principled, quality program. With the mindset that public servants must practice “responsible decision-making consistent with democratic societies,” the program is unique in its “development of exceptional professionals and ethical leaders in the areas of justice administration, community safety, law enforcement, social justice, and public service.” Once accepted, each student is paired with a graduate advisor to design a course of study–students are required to take a total of thirty credit hours. Six foundation courses are required, covering topics like “Ethical Issues” and “Victimization and Justice.” Students choose four electives, and options include classes such as “Cyber Crime, Security and the Law,” “Community Policing,” and “Homeland Security.” Up to nine credit hours can be transferred into the program upon approval by the department head, and tuition for 2017-2018 is $1,001 per credit hour with a 50% discount for sworn-in law enforcement personnel.

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#34. Tiffin University

Established in 1888, Tiffin University of Tiffin, Ohio has a 130-acre main campus and several off-campus centers throughout Ohio, including a program at the University of Bucharest Romania. With a vision of being known as a “premier university for challenging students to enhance their global competencies and 21st century skills, for success in a diverse world,” Tiffin has transitioned from a predominantly traditional on-campus structure to a school with both an on-campus focus and an online presence. Tiffin University’s three academic schools– the School of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, and School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences–serve the over 4,000 enrolled students. This private, coeducational school has its own record label, a theatre that premieres important new works, and a new initiative called “Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness” to encourage diversity and originality. Tiffin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The MS in Criminal Justice degree program offered online through Tiffin University’s School of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences offers students multiple concentrations to customize their degree in order to pursue the specific area of criminal justice that interests them the most. Students can choose between Crime Analysis, Criminal Behavior, Homeland Security Administration, and Justice Administration. All concentration options are thirty credit hours and delivered in two seven-week terms, and students can start the program at six different times a year for incredible convenience. Examples of classes that have been offered in the different concentrations in the past include topics like “Strategic Planning, Cooperation & Coordination” (Justice Administration), “Theories of Crime Analysis” (Crime Analysis) “Criminogenic Psychopathology” (Criminal Behavior), and “The Intelligence Community” (Homeland Security Administration). Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $700 per credit hour for all online graduate criminal justice students regardless of residency.

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#33. Concordia University, St. Paul

Concordia University, St. Paul (Concordia) began as Concordia High School in 1893. Located at a temporary site next to Saint Paul, Minnesota’s Zion Lutheran Church, it was originally a training school for male high school students who wanted to become ministers within the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod denomination. The school quickly purchased five acres for a permanent campus and grew to include a junior college program. nearly collapsing due to the financial instability caused by the Great Depression, the school survived through student and local congregation support. The institution thrived once again after World War II, and the following decades saw big changes–females were admitted for the first time in 1950, and the school grew to a full four-year institution in 1962. Five years later the school was accredited as a liberal arts school, and the high school portion separated from the university to form Concordia Academy. Now serving over 4,000 students, Concordia is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: Concordia’s completely online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Leadership degree is a “challenging, self-directed and creative” program requiring 36 credit hours. Each class in the curriculum is four credit hours and is presented in seven-week class sessions. Starting with the course “Reflective Adult Learner & Leader,” students go on to take coursework in topics like “Correctional Design,” “Applied Ethics in Criminal Justice Leadership,” and “Legal and Legislative Issues.” The faculty members are practitioners as well as professors, and in addition to the dedicated staff being at the top of their field, they are also completely invested in the success of each student. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year per credit hour is $350 for eligible military and $475 for all others regardless of residency, and Concordia University, St. Paul promises each student that “tuition will not change as long as you remain continuously enrolled in the program.”

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#32. Faulkner University

With the motto “For God and For You,” Faulkner University began as Montgomery Bible College in Montgomery, Alabama in 1942. Aligned with the Churches of Christ denomination, the school was started as a place to train preachers and provide an education grounded in Christianity. By 1953 the school had outgrown its initial origins and grew into Alabama Christian College in 1953, and eleven years later it outgrew the campus and moved to the current site. The year 1975 saw the development of satellite campuses in Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile, and a law school– Thomas Goode Jones School of Law—joined the school in 1983. A year after the law school became a part of the programs, the school became a fully accredited, four-year degree-granting institution. Board Chairman and Trustee Dr. James Faulkner became the school’s namesake in 1985, and Faulkner University now has a student body of over 3,500 students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides regional accreditation.

Program Details: The fully online Master of Criminal Justice degree program at Faulkner is now called the Master of Justice Administration degree, and it can be completed in just fourteen months. Ten courses are presented one at a time in five-week terms, and a unit of students moves together through them. Enrollment can happen throughout the year, and start times occur every six weeks. The required courses include topics in the curriculum such as “Policing in America,” “Comparative Criminal Justice,” and “Administration of Justice.” As a private, Christian liberal arts institution, Faulkner prides itself on providing a criminal justice degree program that is “founded in Christian principles and ethics,” and offers a degree program in which students are “more than a number” with plenty of support services and resources to make their time a Faulkner enjoyable and informative. Tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 academic year is $515 per semester hour for all students, whether an Alabama resident or a resident of another state.

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#31. National University

With headquarters in La Jolla, California, National University was established in 1971 by retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander David Chigos. Also serving as the university’s founding president, Chigos conceived of a non-traditional university system that would appeal and cater to working adults by offering relevant and popular degree programs mostly in the evening and on weekends (and eventually online). The first class of twenty-seven students started classes in 1972, and within just a few years facilities were being opened in other parts of California (and even Nevada) due to the university’s success. Now with four schools and two colleges, National University serves almost 24,000 students. National University is a private, non-profit school with regional accreditation provided by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges continuously since 1977.

Program Details: Integrating theoretical methods with practical applications, the Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) degree program at Faulkner University’s Department of Professional Studies Programs at the School of Professional Studies prepares students to examine and address the “complex issues and challenges of criminal justice in the 21st century.” Students must complete 54 quarter units (up to thirteen can be transferred from another institution); eight courses make up the required core courses, and students select four elective classes. Core requirement classes include topics such as “Professional Ethics in Criminal Justice” and “Criminal Justice Theory, Practice & Policy.” Elective choices include such class possibilities as “Drugs, Alcohol & Public Policy,” “Major Case Investigation,” and “Forensic Psychology.” For students who have questions or need advice, Student Concierge Services is available 24/7 by phone for assistance. Tuition is listed as $416 per quarter unit for all students, plus fees.

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#30. Troy University

Troy State Normal School began as a legislative act in Troy, Alabama in 1887. Part of the Alabama State University System, the school would grow to become Troy University and the flagship institution of the Troy University System. As a state university, there are four campuses throughout Alabama (in Troy, Montgomery, Phenix City, and Dothan) and several international campuses. Before this growth and international reach, the school went through several name changes: Troy State Teachers College in 1929, Troy State College in 1957, and Troy State University in 1967. In 2005, all of the Troy State Universities in the four Alabama towns were combined under one accreditation and renamed Troy University–thereby signifying the international focus of the university. All four campuses are regionally accredited as one by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: One of the most extensive degree programs available through Troy University’s College of Arts & Sciences and TROY Online, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice provides both a thesis and a non-thesis option. The non-thesis option requires thirty credit hours and the thesis option requires thirty-six, but for students who do not have undergraduate degrees in with majors in criminal justice, law enforcement, police administration or corrections there may be additional course requirements. The curriculum for both options require between eighteen and twenty-one credit hours of core coursework and elective choices such as “Emergency and Crisis Management,” “Cyber and Information Threat Management,” and “Terrorism and Political Violence.” An added benefit of TROY Online is the prospective student “PREPARE Assessment” tool to make sure online learning is a good fit. Tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 academic year per credit hour is $250 for military members and their families and $494 for all others.

Admissions website

#29. University of North Texas

Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute opened in 1890 in a rented hardware store in Denton, Texas. Downtown B.J. Wilson Hardware Store was the classroom for 70 coeducational students who enrolled in the teacher school and music conservatory to be trained as teachers and in music. The institution was renamed seven times before becoming the University of North Texas (UNT) in 1988, and this public research university is a state school with satellite campuses in Dallas, Fort Worth and Frisco. More than 220 academic degree programs are available in the thirteen schools and colleges for the over 37,000 enrolled students. As a part of its mission, the university has a deep commitment “to advancing educational excellence and preparing students to become thoughtful, engaged citizens of the world.” The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides UNT with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: For students who take three courses a session, the completely online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree program offered through UNT’s Department of Criminal Justice (Department of CJUS) can be completed in just two years. Requiring thirty-six credit hours, the curriculum that students take includes twelve hours of core courses, twenty-one hours of electives, and a three-hour capstone course (although additional foundational courses may be required for students who don’t have a background in criminal justice). Faculty members in the Department of CJUS are dedicated instructors “committed to inquiry and shared discovery, best professional practices, active participation in professional and scholarly organizations, the effective use of technology, and the value of intellectual and human diversity.” Tuition is listed as $1,421.45 for a full, three-credit hour course for all Texas residents.

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#28. University of New Haven

Started as an offshoot program of Northeastern University, New Haven YMCA Junior College opened its doors in space shared with Yale university in 1920. Only six years later the school became New Haven College by state charter. By 1948 the school had achieved accreditation. In 1960 a campus move was initiated to a former orphanage in West Haven, Connecticut, and a decade later officially became University of New Haven. Proud of its “multicultural campus community,” this private, nonsectarian, coeducational university that started as a branch campus has satellite campuses of its own in the Connecticut towns of New London, Waterbury, Shelton, Newington, and also in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Prato, Italy. Almost 6,500 students are enrolled in six colleges in pursuit of one of the 150 academic degrees offered, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges awards full regional accreditation to the University of New Haven.

Program Details: With six potential start dates, students do not have to wait before pursuing their Masters in Criminal Justice degree in the fully online program at University of New Haven. Housed at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences and requiring 36 credit hours, the program has been designed for people who are currently working in criminal justice or other similar fields. Terms are six to seven-and-a-half weeks, and students can easily move through the entire program in two years. Core courses make up twelve of the credit hours, and electives make up the remaining twenty-four credits. Student can choose electives from relevant, topical classes such as “Advanced Victimology,” “Problem Oriented Policing,” “Network Security, Data Protection And Telecommunications,” and “Computer Crime: Legal Issues & Investigative Procedures.” Tuition is $890 per credit hour for all graduate online classes for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Admissions website

#27. Liberty University

Pastor Jerry Falwell and his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia were instrumental in the beginning of Liberty University (originally named Lynchburg Bible College). Opening in 1971 with a tuition of $200 and 154 students, the school on Liberty Mountain was created to provide a place of influential morals and ethics to guide America. The name changed in 1976 to Liberty Baptist College, but changed again in 1985 to Liberty University. The year 1985 was also the beginnings of Liberty’s distance education program—which has grown to be Liberty University Online. The largest Christian-based university across the globe, Liberty University is a private, coeducational doctoral research institution of higher learning with a 7,000-acre campus, sixteen schools and colleges, and over 550 academic degree programs for the 15,000 residential students and almost 100,000 online students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits Liberty.

Program Details: The Helms School of Government at Liberty University offers a completely online, 36-credit hour Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree. This award-winning, thesis-optional degree program also offers four cognate customizations–General, Forensic Psychology, Homeland Security, and Public Administration. Featured classes for the cognates include “Rehabilitation & Reintegration of Offenders,” “Leadership, Ethics & Policing,” “Homeland Security Organization & Administration,” and “Politics, Strategies & Initiatives of Com. Econ. Development.” The online MSCJ at Liberty is founded on focusing on “best practices and trends,” so graduates come out equipped with the most recent data and most effective methods to help them both achieve their careers goals but also be extremely successful. Liberty ensures student support with an array program of services and resources specifically for online students. From online writing resources to study aids and all supports in between, online students do not have to worry about not getting the attention they need. Tuition is $615 per credit hour.

 Admissions website

#26. Xavier University

Xavier University began as the Athenaeum in 1831 in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio adjacent to the St. Francis Xavier Church. A men’s college in the Jesuit tradition, it was the oldest Catholic university in both Ohio and the Northwest Territory. The school also holds the distinction of being one of the ten oldest Catholic (and specifically Jesuit) universities in the United States. The Jesuits (Society of Jesus) took over in 1840, and the name was changed to St. Xavier College after 16th century Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier. The campus was moved when 26 acres were purchased in 1911, and women were allowed to start attending classes in 1914 (they would be allowed full admission to the undergraduate day school in 1969). In 1930 the name was changed to Xavier University, and this private Jesuit research university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Xavier provides a focus on administration in the justice system through a curriculum based on “theory and practice of criminal justice in law enforcement, courts, corrections, and the private sector.” Offering six start dates a year, students can finish the program in one to two years. Students can even begin the program before they are formally admitted–once they have submitted an application, they can be a “non-degree seeking graduate student” and take up to six credits. The classes are flexible and are not required to be taken in a specific order, and they are taught by the high-accomplished and renowned faculty. Topics covered in the thirty-credit hour program include classes such as “Sociology of Crime & Delinquency,” “Forensics & White Collar Crime,” and “Human Resources for Criminal Justice Administrators.” Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $610 per credit hour for all students regardless of residency.

Admissions website

#25. Columbia College

In 1851 the Christian Female College, an all-women junior college, was established in Columbia, Missouri by the State Legislature. Enjoying a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, students began their day with a six o’clock pre-dawn walk and then chapel attendance. Even through the Civil War the school flourished, and enjoyed its largest enrollment up to that point in 1866 with 182 students. By 1970 the school became a full four-year institution and allowed men to be admitted. The newly coeducational school became Columbia College (CC), and within the next five years extended its academic programming onto satellite campuses on military bases and through the Evening Campus for working adults. In 2000 the Online Campus was started, and now over 29,000 students are enrolled at the main campus, satellite campuses, and online at this private, nonsectarian liberal arts and sciences college. Columbia College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: With a goal of examining and learning from the “critical issues confronting the contemporary criminal justice administrator,” the fully online Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration (MSCJ) degree program through Columbia College’s Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department is ideal for the criminal justice professional who wants to move into more administrative roles. The degree focuses on four specific areas–trends in criminal justice, policy development and analysis, research design, and ethics in criminal justice–and students are given the option of pursuing management tracks in Law Enforcement Administration or Corrections Administration. Requiring 36 credit hours to graduate, the coursework is broken down into twelve hours of foundational courses, fifteen hours of core courses, and nine hours of electives. General electives include topics like “Comparative Criminal Justice Systems” and “Seminar in Juvenile Justice,” while the two optional tracks offer elective classes such as “Law Enforcement and the Community” and “Community Corrections.” Tuition is $415 per credit hour.

Admissions website

#24. University of Wisconsin–Platteville

The need for trained teachers in and around Platteville, Wisconsin in the mid-1800s led to the establishment of the Platteville Normal School in 1866—the first of its kind in the state. The school was popular as a way to train educators, and was joined at the Rountree Hall in downtown Platteville by the Wisconsin Mining Trade School in 1907. The two schools grew independently of each other, both going through several name changes, but merged in 1959 to become the Wisconsin State College and Institute of Technology at Platteville. In 1966 the school became to Wisconsin State University-Platteville, but when the Wisconsin State University System joined the University of Wisconsin in 1971 the final name became University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UW-Platteville). This public university has a 800 acre main campus and 400 additional acres used as a research farm, and regional accreditation is provided by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) online degree program at UW-Platteville gives students three different emphasis areas to customize their degree. The specializations from which students can choose are Criminal Justice Theory, Criminal Justice Management, and Victim and Offender Services, and the program and emphases are designed to benefit professionals who want to move to higher-level positions in the criminal justice field or who want to go onto to teach. A thirty-credit hour program, there is an additional nine-credit hour certificate in Child Advocacy Studies available for practitioners who want to be able to better serve and protect some of the youngest victims. Some of the classes offered include “Perspectives on Child Maltreatment and Child Advocacy, “Law as Social Control,” “Juvenile Delinquency & Justice: Race, Class, Gender, and Youth,” and “Policing in a Democratic Society.” Tuition is $665 per credit hour for all students regardless of residency.

Admissions website

#23. California University of Pennsylvania

In 1852 locals of the nascent community of California, Pennsylvania raised money to create an Academy that would provide education for early elementary students all the way through college. The school grew, and in 1864 ten acres were purchased to be the new (and current) site. The following year brought an official charter to become a normal school. Two name changes occurred in the following decades–first to the SouthWestern Normal School in 1874 and then California State Normal School in 1914 when the state purchased the school and made it into a two-year program to train teachers. When the four-year program was brought back in 1928 the school was renamed once again to California State Teachers College. Due to the curricular expansion, in 1959 “Teacher” was dropped from the name as the school became California State College. One last time, in 1983, the name was changed to California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) as part of the State System of Higher Education. Regional accreditation is granted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: Offered fully online, the Master of Science in Legal Studies with a Criminal Justice Concentration degree program at Cal U focuses on both an examination of the “functions and processes of the American justice system” and the goal of preparing “students for career advancement in the justice system, whether in policing, law, corrections, investigations or human service positions.” A program of dedicated probity and authenticity, only serious prospects need apply. Twelve credit hours of required courses are coupled with fifteen hours covering the criminal justice concentration, and then the remaining nine to ten hours are made up of student-chosen electives and a thesis. Classes in the concentration core include “Financial Investigations” and “Law and Police Process,” and the electives range from topics like “Polygraph and Lie Detection” to “Intelligence Practice in Homeland Security.” Tuition per credit hour is $500 for Pennsylvania residents and $510 for residents of other states, plus fees.

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#22. Western Kentucky University

Two normal schools were the outcome of a decision by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1906. Bowling Green would be the home of one—the Western Kentucky State Normal School. (The school’s earliest vision goes back to 1876 and the Glasgow Normal School and Business College of Glasgow, Kentucky. That institution moved to Bowling Green almost a decade later and transitioned to become Southern Normal School and Business College. The Southern Normal School was sold by Henry Harden Cherry, who became the founding president of the new normal school in 1906.) Classes began the following year in 1907, and the school would continue to grow and expand, merge with other schools, change names, and move to a permanent location. The year 1966 saw the school officially become Western Kentucky University (WKU), and now this public, coeducational university has over 21,000 students enrolled in the programs at the main campus, satellite campus, regional campuses or online. WKU has regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

Program Details: WKU Online offers a thirty-credit hour Master of Arts in Criminology degree program that is fully online and does not require a thesis. The program requires fifteen hours of core courses covering topics like “Advanced Social Statistics” and “Survey of Criminal Justice Studies.” The remaining fifteen credit hours are chosen from electives, and students must select at least two classes from within WKU’s Department of Sociology (possible topics include “Neighborhoods and Crime” and “Family Violence”). The other electives can be selected, with advisor approval, from a list of electives at other departments or even through Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and the Department of Criminal Justice. A whole host of support services are offered to WKU Online students to provide them the tools to be successful, from tech services to tips on online studying to a test anxiety management app. Tuition per credit hour for 2017-2018 is $250 for military online students and $707 for all others.

Admissions website

#21. University of Louisville

Soon after the town of Louisville, Kentucky was established, Jefferson Seminary was conceived of and promoted in 1798. The school floundered–classes didn’t begin until 1813, and within sixteen years it closed. Four years later, the Louisville Collegiate Institute (LCI) was established. It was quickly renamed Louisville College and in 1844 some of the campus from Jefferson Seminary became part of the college. While LCI was chartered, the Louisville Medical Institute (LMI) was also begun. In 1846 the Kentucky legislature moved to combine Louisville College, LMI, and a new law school into the University of Louisville (U of L). The school did not prosper and was closed–however, a half a century later in 1907, the school was revived. In 1970 U of L joined Kentucky’s system of higher education, and now this public university has 22,000 students enrolled in over 200 academic degree programs in the twelve schools and colleges. Regional accreditation is granted by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: U of L’s fully online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Justice Administration) (MSCJ) degree program claims a unique program with an “innovative curriculum and award-winning faculty” ideal for those who want to advance in their careers. Supported by many networks and partnerships, this program is both rigorous and renowned. Offered with six start dates a year in an accelerated six-week format, students participate in a 36-credit hour curriculum made up of core courses, electives, and a master’s thesis paper. Core coursework focuses on legal theory, statistics and research methods, and students can choose from elective classes such as “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design,” “Serial Murder,” and “Personnel Management in Criminal Justice System.” Students can complete the program in under two years, and are provided support through “professional student advisors.” Tuition per credit hour is $250 for active military and $714 for all others (Kentucky National Guard may also be eligible for a reduced tuition rate).

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#20. University of California, Irvine

In 1959 a 650-acre plot of land known as the San Joaquin foothills was sold by the Irvine Corporation to the University of California for a mere $1, and three years later Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. agreed to be the founding Chancellor for a brand-new university: the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Unlike the nine other campuses in the University of California system, UCI was not named for the town in which it was located. The name came from James Irvine, the rancher who originally owned the land that the school purchased for its campus. The city of Irvine would be incorporated six years after the university land was dedicated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, and a year after that dedication classes began for 1,589 enrolled students. This public research university now serves over 33,000 students by offering a smoke-free campus. UCI is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: UCI’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society offers two distinct online degree programs for professionals who are interested in criminal justice and the psychology behind crime. For students who would like to focus on “theoretical and practical applications central to crime and its control, social policy, and the law,” the Master of Advanced Study (MAS) in Criminology, Law and Society is a thirteen-course degree program that can be completed in two years. Course topics that have been offered in the past include “Hate Crimes,” “Crime Hotspots,” and “Preventing Errors of Justice.” (The classes are all delivered online, but there is one introductory accelerated five-day on-campus residency course required). The Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology (MLFP) degree program (offered in conjunction with the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior) is for students who desire to examine the “intersection of psychology and legal issues, with an emphasis on the use of psychological principles, theories, and research to better understand legal processes and systems.” The estimated cost of one year of tuition and fees is listed as $13,172 (subject to change).

Admissions website

#19. Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) was begun to offer adult learners an online way to meet their educational needs. Started in 2007 with a $12 million loan from the CSU Board of Governors, the school was originally named CSU-Colorado but that name was quickly changed to CSU-Global. Classes began in 2008, and by 2009 the governor of Colorado signed a bill that established the school as an official online member university of the Colorado State University System. The first, unique school with a defined online focus, CSU-Global is headquartered in the Greenwood Village suburb of Denver. With a mission of “advancing student success in a global society . . . and enhancing the quality of life for citizens in the state of Colorado and beyond by providing access to dynamic degree programs characterized by academic excellence, innovative delivery technologies, and strong stakeholder engagement,” CSU-Global has an enrolled student body of 15,000. CSU-Global is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The online Master of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration degree through CSU-Global is a practical, foundational 36-credit hour program (39 credit hours for students whose undergraduate GPA was less than 3.00. These students must take the graduate-basics “Fundamentals of Research and Writing” course). Two specialization options await the CSU-Global Criminal Justice student–Criminal Justice Leadership and Fraud Management. The Criminal Justice Leadership specialization requires twelve credits of classes like “Criminological Theory” and “Ethics, Justice, and Social Control” and other classes covering policy analysis and administration. CSU-Global gives prospective students a chance to experience online classes prior to enrolling to make sure online learning is a good fit–since the focus of the school is online learning, students can be assured that the online experience at CSU-Global is top-notch. Cost per unit is $500 for all graduate students regardless of state residency.

Admissions website

#18. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

The Indiana Normal School was initiated in 1871 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania by local investors. Thanks to Pennsylvania’s Normal School Act in 1875, the school was chartered as a corporation and not to be financially dependent upon the state. Classes began that year with 225 students. Almost a half a century later the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania did gain control of the school, and soon thereafter the name was changed to State Teachers College at Indiana in 1927. By 1959 the school transformed to become Indiana State College, and then again in 1965 to become Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). One of the two largest universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education with a 374-acre main campus in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and satellite campuses in Northpointe, Pittsburgh East, and Punxsutawney, IUP educates over 12,000 students. This comprehensive public research university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: Taking only a year full-time or two years part-time, the online MA in Criminology through IUP’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is highly sought after by students who want to obtain research or administrative positions in the field of criminal justice or who plan to pursue doctoral studies. With the same experienced on-campus faculty members teaching the online courses and many of the campus resources available, this online degree program offers plenty of benefits with incredible convenience. Through this thirty-credit hour curriculum focusing on course topics such as “Criminological Theory,” “Ethical and Philosophical Issues in Criminology,” and “Crime and Delinquency Prevention Strategies,” students get both a practical and stimulating education. A final synthesis project culminates the degree. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic calendar per credit hour is $500 for Pennsylvania residents and $575 for out-of-state residents, plus fees.

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#17. University of Massachusetts Lowell

Two early schools in Lowell, Massachusetts were the foundation of what would become the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell). Lowell State College started as the tenth Normal School (and the final one) in the state of Massachusetts—chartered in 1894, it welcomed 108 students to the first class in 1898. The school expanded its programs and became a college in 1960. At the time of the charter, another school was in development. The Lowell Technological Institute started in 1895 as the Lowell Textile School. Offering three-year programs in textile design and construction, it was in 1953 that the curriculum grew and the school was renamed. The merger occurred in 1975, and the two schools became the University of Lowell. The UMass system brought the college into its fold in 1991, and the current name was bestowed upon the school at that time. Regional accreditation is provided by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: Eleven three-credit hour courses construct the curriculum for UMass Lowell’s fully online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology. The “integrated, academically rigorous, and empirically oriented curriculum” begins with five required core courses which cover topics like “Managing Justice Organizations” and “Law and Public Policy.” Students are then free to pick the remaining six courses to customize their degree from a selection of electives (some of the many options include classes like “Crime Analysis and Mapping,” “Responding to Child Maltreatment,” “Violence in America,” and “Mental Health & Criminal Justice”). UMass Lowell has a long history of providing solid online programs, and the student support reflects that quality. Always-available tech support, advisors, program coordinators and expert faculty are just a few of the dedicated services and resources that online students can enjoy. Online graduate tuition is $575 per credit hour for the fall 2017 semester.

Admissions website

#16. Rowan University

The Glassboro Normal School opened in Glassboro, New Jersey in 1923 for 236 students who had arrived that morning by train (the school had been planned for years, and the Glassboro residents had secured the location in their town by raising the money to purchase twenty-five acres to gift to the school if it were located in their town). Even through the Great Depression the school thrived and expanded its two-year program to be a full four-years in 1934, and three years later was renamed New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro. One point of pride for the school is its status as a forerunner in the special education movement, first opening a clinic in 1935 to assist children with learning disabilities and then in 1944 adding physical therapy. By 1958 Glassboro State College became the new name as the school transitioned to liberal arts. A gift in 1992 of $1 million from Henry and Betty Rowan caused the name to change again to Rowan College of New Jersey, and five years later the school became Rowan University. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation.

Program Details: For criminal justice professionals who want to hold leadership roles or go on to doctoral studies, the online MA in Criminal Justice through Rowan University’s Rowan Global Learning & Partnerships is a good choice. Offered as an accelerated program, the thirty-credit hour program is designed to be completed in just five consecutive semesters. With a goal of helping students “develop their skills to use research to evaluate the effectiveness of programs aimed at preventing and controlling crime,” the ten required courses cover research, policy and analysis with classes like “Management Of Criminal Justice Organizations,” “Contemporary Developments In Theory,” and “Law And Society.” Three start dates a year are provided, and each course is presented in eight-week modules. Tuition is $745 per credit hour regardless of residency, and there are no additional fees.

Admissions website

#15. University of Central Florida

Founded in 1963 as the Florida Technological University, the University of Central Florida (UCF) was created as a visionary response to President Kennedy’s man on the moon speech in 1962. In 1964 the Florida Board of Regents purchased 1,000 acres (which was supplemented by almost 300 more acres donated from locals) near Orlando to be the site of the school. Intentionally integrated and coeducational, the school was from its beginnings an inclusive environment for students to prepare for careers in technology and space-related fields. The first group of students numbered just under 2,000, but now with many regional campuses and online programs in addition to the 1,415-acre main campus, this space-grant, public metropolitan research university boasts the largest enrollment at a single campus in the United States with over 66,000 students. Thirteen colleges offer over 200 academic degree programs, and UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: Through the College of Health and Public Affairs’ Department of Criminal Justice, the online MS in Criminal Justice degree program at UCF “pushes boundaries and shifts paradigms” to create the criminal justice force of tomorrow. By studying all aspects of how people come to commit crimes and how punishment and retribution is shaped by the history of the U.S. criminal justice system, students must take 36 credit hours to graduate. Twenty-one hours are dedicated to required core courses like “The Nature of Crime” and “Criminal Justice Organizations.” Six credits of restricted electives are supplemented by nine hours of general electives, and students either participate in a Capstone or a thesis. The list of services and resources available to UCF Online students is a long one, and students are well-supported even though not on campus. Graduate tuition and fees per credit hour are $327.32 for Florida residents and $694.82 for nonresidents.

Admissions website

#14. University of Oklahoma

In 1890 George Steele, the first governor of the Oklahoma territory, approved the founding of three schools—a normal school to train teachers, an A&M (agricultural and mechanics) college, and a state university. Norman Territorial University was designated as the state university, and it would be in the town of Norman—where residents had donated more than 400 acres to be used as the school’s campus. The land was harsh, and the university’s first president wanted the site to be beautified with landscaping before any buildings were constructed. Because of this priority, the first classes were held in a downtown building in 1892. When the territory of Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the school was renamed University of Oklahoma (OU). The flagship university of Oklahoma, OU is a coeducational public research university with a student enrollment of 31,000 students. The Higher Learning Commission provides OU with regional accreditation.

Program Details: As soon as a student is admitted into the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program at OU through the College of Professional and Continuing Studies, he or she is assigned an advisor to help construct a customized degree plan to best fits the student’s needs. Requiring thirty-three credit hours to graduate, each course is delivered in asynchronous sixteen-week sessions. Three tracks are available online–Corrections Management, Restorative Justice, and Administration and Leadership–and students can opt to take six additional credit hours to focus on whichever area they choose. Eighteen hours of core courses cover the basics of research methods and theory, and nine hours of elective course topics can be chosen from classes that include “Restorative Justice Programs for Drug Offenders,” “Penology,” and “Global Drug Trafficking.” The program is completed with either a six credit hour thesis, or one of the track areas with a comprehensive exam. Tuition per credit hour is $213.30 for residents and $824.10 for non-residents, plus fees.

#13. Bowling Green State University

In 1910 the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill to establish two normal schools for the state–one in the northwestern portion and one in the northeastern portion. The town of Bowling Green was chosen for the northwestern school–it, unlike some of the other possible town locations, was in a dry county and did not have any saloons. Bowling Green State Normal School opened in 1914 in temporary quarters with just over 300 students. Despite attempts by the Ohio State Senate Welfare Commission to transform the school into a mental health facility in 1933, the school prospered and grew to become Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in 1935. Now this public research university has a main campus of over 1,300 acres, a satellite campus, and online programs for the more than 17,000 students who are enrolled. BGSU has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1916.

Program Details: Eleven courses make up the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree program through the College of Health and Human Services of the BGSU eCampus. With rolling admission, six start dates a year, and two classes offered each eight-week term, students can complete the thirty-three credit hour “high-caliber” degree program in less than two years. Classes are mostly delivered asynchronously, but there may be some requirements to logon at the same time as the professor and classmates for live discussion. Students take classes like “The Nature of Crime” and “Criminal Justice Processes & Institutions,” and can choose between a portfolio or final thesis to complete the degree. Tuition and general fees per credit hour are listed as $464 for Ohio residents and $475 for out-of-state students (subject to change).

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#12. University of the Cumberlands

In 1888 Williamsburg, Kentucky, a delegation of eighteen Baptist ministers determined to start a college to help prepare students primarily from the Appalachia region to become “servant leaders” in their lives and vocations. The ministers started the Williamsburg Institute, and after acquiring the buildings of Highland College in 1913, the school was renamed Cumberland College (being on the banks of the Cumberland River and near both Cumberland Falls and the Cumberland Gap). With a student enrollment of just over 6,000, this private, Christian university was renamed University of the Cumberlands (UC or “Cumberlands”) in 2005. Affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, University of the Cumberlands is made up of four colleges and regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The fully online Master of Science in Justice Administration degree at UC is a practical, experiential program that takes advantage of the deep ethical and community-service oriented mission of the school. For students who want to move into or move up in the criminal justice field, this is a thirty-one credit hour program that can be completed in as little as one year. The program requires a one-credit hour Capstone Course in Justice Administration, eighteen core courses, and twelve electives to graduate. Elective class topics range from “Legal and Ethical Issues in Homeland Security” to “Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Crime” to “Sex Crimes: Myths & Motives.” All classes are conscientiously taught by experienced faculty members who are “aware of the risks and pressures faced by personnel in the field.” Tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students is only $315 per credit hour, with a $50 technology fee per term.

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#11. East Carolina University

The need for a normal school to provide teacher training in eastern North Carolina was evident in the early 1900s. Two towns had already petitioned the General Assembly (unsuccessfully) in 1901 and 1905 for a school in their areas. In 1907 however, an Act was passed to allocate funding for a normal school in the eastern part of the state. Greenville put in a bid and secured itself as the site of the East Carolina Teachers Training School. Approximately 120 coeducational students started class in 1909 tuition-free under the condition that they would teach in that region for at least two years after they graduated. Several name changes occurred–becoming a four-year school in 1921 led to the name East Carolina Teachers College; in 1951 the change was to East Carolina College, and then finally in 1967 East Carolina University (ECU). The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides regional accreditation to this public, doctoral research university.

Program Details: Eighteen courses are the core of the 36-credit hour non-thesis online MS in Criminal Justice degree program at ECU. Offered through the Department of Criminal Justice, the core courses and eighteen hours of elective classes such as “Criminal Justice and Terrorism,” “Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice,” and “Civil Liability in Criminal Justice” await the student interested in furthering his or her career in the criminal justice field, go on to legal or doctoral studies, or teach. Decorated faculty members provide the stimulating curriculum, which is grounded in their own experience, for an examination of practical and practiced cutting edge methods and research to produce graduates who are “highly skilled and competent” and well-equipped to be leaders in the field. Tuition for all distance education students for the 2017-2018 academic calendar year per credit hour is $249.26 for North Carolina residents and $893.82 for out-of-state students.

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#10. University of Colorado Denver

Two campuses make up the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver)–the main campus in Denver, and the Anschutz Medical Campus in the nearby town of Aurora. The two schools have separate histories, but became combined into a single institution in 2004. In 1883 the University of Colorado, which was located in Boulder, started the Department of Medicine and Surgery, but moved classes to Denver in 1892 to attract more students. After some legal battles, mergers, and moves, the school became the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In 1912 the University of Colorado formed an Extension Center, which became University of Colorado – Denver Center in 1964. In 2011 the single school from the 2004 merger was officially and specifically renamed University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, and the Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits this public research university.

Program Details: The online Master in Criminal Justice (MCJ) degree program at CU Denver is offered through the recognized and respected School of Public Affairs. Requiring 36-credit hours, the program consists of five core courses (focusing on policy, research and theory), electives, and either a three to six-hour thesis or three credit capstone project. For students who don’t have an educational or professional background in criminal justice, an internship with a local, state, federal or juvenile justice program is also required. For prospective students who are curious about the career possibilities available after achieving a MCJ degree, CU Online provides a “law or order” quiz to discover which criminal justice jobs might be the best fit for them. Tuition for the School of Public Affairs coursework is listed per credit hour as $521 for Colorado residents and $625 for non-resident students taking online courses.

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#9. University of Cincinnati

Two colleges were established in 1819 in Cincinnati, Ohio that would later be assimilated into the University of Cincinnati (UC or Cincinnati). Cincinnati College and Law College and the Medical College of Ohio both did not survive individually—the Cincinnati College and Law College closed after just six years, and the Medical College merged with the Cincinnati Law School in 1835. In 1858 wealthy Cincinnati businessman Charles McMicken passed away, bequeathing most of his estate to the city for the purposes of starting a university. Multiple delays caused the school to open twelve years later in 1870, and it was in the 1890s that both of the 1819 schools became part of UC to form what is now one of the fifty biggest universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of over 44,000 students. Regional accreditation for this urban, public, research university is provided by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The eleven-course, thirty-three credit hour Master of Science Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree program at UC packs many valuable and applicable elements into the two years that it takes to complete the degree. Students can participate in the general criminal justice track, but they also have choices between three specific concentrations. The Analysis of Criminal Behavior concentration focuses on what makes repeat offenders tick with classes like “Biosocial Factors in Serial Offending” and “Computer Criminology: Cybercrime & Digital Security.” The Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention concentration examines “theories and practices” in such courses as “Applied Crime Prevention” and “Seminar on Police Effectiveness.” The last concentration option, Corrections & Offender Rehabilitation, offers such classes as “Correctional Theory and Policy” in order to understand the “theoretical and philosophical frameworks of corrections.” With such rigorous and comprehensive academics, UC has assembled a “multi-level support team” for online students’ academic, technical, and programmatic needs. Tuition per credit hour was $724 for Ohio residents and $739 for non-residents in 2016-2017.

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#8. Regis University

Las Vegas College was created in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1877 by Italian Society of Jesus members (Jesuits). A small school, it was merged with the Sacred Heart College (which had also been started by the Jesuits in Morrison, Colorado in 1884) in 1887 and moved to Denver on a plot of donated land. This is the current location of the school, which was renamed first Regis College in 1921 and then Regis University in 1991 (after Jesuit saint John Francis Regis). Five colleges make up the school: Regis College, The Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, the College of Contemporary Liberal Studies, the College of Computer and Information Sciences and the College of Business and Economics. Over 11,000 students are enrolled at this private, non-profit coeducational Catholic university—one of the 28-member Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Regional accreditation is granted by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: Regis University’s College of Contemporary Liberal Studies offers an online Master of Science in Criminology degree program for individuals who “are passionate about reducing criminal behavior.” Inviting students to examine and research what factors may contribute to crime and how to establish successful practices for reformation and prevention, the program requires 36 credit hours to graduate. Three focus areas are available–Leadership, Human Behavior, or Cybercrime/Terrorism. Students who opt for one of the focus areas can replace (with program director approval) nine credits of the general course with focus-specific classes. The general curriculum covers varied topics like “Ethical Conduct and Positions of Power,” “Rapid Decision Making,” “Crime Prediction and Prevention,” and “Animal Exploitation.” Through Regis’ Criminology Resource Center, faculty members detail their experience and knowledge of the field in a blog to give students a taste of criminology outside of academia. Tuition for online and on-campus students in the MS in Criminology program is listed as $575 for all students regardless of residency.

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#7. Nova Southeastern University

Establishing a university over the course of a weekly breakfast meeting may seem unusual, but that is ultimately how Nova Southeastern University (NSU) came to be. In 1965, a group of entrepreneurial Fort Lauderdale, Florida businessmen met regularly for breakfast. They determined that the area needed a college or university with a curricular focus rich in the physical and social sciences. Nova University of Advanced Technology was born, and it offered graduate-level coursework and degrees. Nova grew to include other academic programs and to include undergraduate degrees, and another school, the Southeastern University of the Health Sciences would combine with it in 1994 to officially form NSU. Multiple campuses across Florida and in Puerto Rico enroll just under 25,000 students, and this coeducational private research university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at NSU provides a fully online, interdisciplinary MS in Criminal Justice degree program through the Department of Justice and Human Services. A thirty-credit hour program, students take fifteen hours of required core coursework, twelve credit hours of a concentration, and have a choice between a practicum internship or a master’s thesis. Twelve concentration options are available to customize the degree–some are interdisciplinary and in conjunction with another College within NSU, such as the Emergency Preparedness Leadership concentration through the College of Osteopathic Medicine or the Legal Perspective in Criminal Justice concentration through the Shepard Broad College of Law. NSU enjoys a healthy relationship with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and that relationship translates into opportunities and resources for criminal justice students. Tuition for 2017-2018 is $750 per credit hour for all students, plus a student services fee of $450 per term for full-time students or $225 for part-time.

Admissions website

#6. University of Nebraska Omaha

In 1908 Nebraska, faculty from the Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary established the private University of Omaha. Even though the founders had roots in the Presbyterian denomination, they intentionally created a school “free from ecclesiastical control.” The twenty-six coeducational students who first enrolled took classes in the Redick Mansion. Land and monetary gifts enabled the school to begin and continue in the early years. By the 1930s changes were on the horizon–the school would a public state university and move to its present location (the Mansion had been sold and moved to Minnesota to become a resort). By the 1960s the school would become part of the University of Nebraska system and become known as University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO or Omaha), and now this public, research university is the metropolitan institution of the state with over 15,000 students. The Higher Learning Commission provides UNO with regional accreditation.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice at UNO’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 36-credit hour completely online degree program. Students take twelve credit hours of required courses, nine credits of criminal justice electives, a three-credit Diversity course (either a Capstone or dissertation), and twelve credits of open electives from other departments. The academics of the program are rigorous and well-respected with courses such as “Survey of Corrections,” “Sociology of Deviant Behavior,” and “Seminar in Theoretical Criminology.” The intentionality behind the programs, resources, and faculty support for online students is well-developed and extensive, so there should be no concern that students need to go through the programs unsupported. Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year for distance learning through the College of Public Affairs and Community Service is $346 per credit hour for Nebraska residents and $583 per credit for non-residents, plus fees.

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#5. Boston University

The first school to exist in Boston University was the School of Theology, which was originally the Newbury Biblical Institute. Started by Methodist Episcopal (later United Methodists) delegates from Boston in 1839 Newbury, Vermont, the school would move first to Concord, New Hampshire in 1847 and then to Boston, Massachusetts in 1867 where it was rechartered as the Boston Theological Institute. Three trustees of the Institute–Isaac Rich, Lee Claflin, and Jacob Sleeper–were instrumental in establishing Boston University (BU) in 1869, and all divisions of the school were opened to women from the onset. The Boston Theological Institute became a part of BU in 1871, but many of the departments of the school were scattered around Boston. In the 1920s fifteen acres along the Charles River was purchased to unify the school, and is known as the Charles River campus today. A private doctoral research university with more than 33,000 currently enrolled students, BU is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: With a choice of a general track or a concentration in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity or a concentration in Strategic Management, students are well equipped with a “competitive edge” when achieving a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET). Ideal for students who wish to “analyze criminal behavior, apply principles of leadership in organizational settings, learn theories of social control, and gain an informed perspective of law enforcement, the judicial system, and corrections,” the degree is 40 credit hours long and can be completed in two years. Twenty-four credit hours of core courses are followed by sixteen hours of electives. For students who opt not to participate in a concentration, elective choices include “Applied Digital Forensic Investigation,” “Trauma and Crisis Intervention,” and “Criminal Justice Policy and Planning.” Tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $860 per credit hour for all MET part-time students (less than twelve credits).

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#4. Arizona State University

The town of Tempe, Arizona received a school specifically to train teachers for the area in 1885. Thirty-three students were welcomed to class at the Territorial Normal School’s simple, four-room school in 1886. Twenty donated acres provided the campus location, and the normal school provided students with high school diplomas and teaching certificates. By 1925 the school no longer granted high school degrees but rather required students to have graduated from high school in order to enroll in the newly renamed Tempe State Teachers College. Becoming Arizona State Teachers College in 1929 was also short-lived, as the school continued to grow to the point that it was renamed one final time to Arizona State University (ASU). Six extension campuses across the state make this public, research university home to over 80,000 students, and the Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits ASU.

Program Details: The School of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the College of Public Service & Community offers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ) degree program through ASU Online that students can complete in as little as two years (and up to six years for ultimate flexibility). Eleven classes make up the thirty-three credit hour program, and each class is presented in seven-and-a-half week sessions. For the student who wants to understand what motivates people to commit crimes and how it affects the larger community, students take twelve credit hours of core courses such as “Criminal Justice Planning and Program Evaluation” and “Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice.” Eighteen hours of electives plus a three-hour Capstone course culminate the degree. And with a renowned and highly-regarded faculty and a plethora of support services, ASU Online assures that online students will succeed in the program. Estimated tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $686 per credit hour.

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#3. Sam Houston State University

Austin College of Huntsville, Texas was the original school located on what would become the campus of Sam Houston State University. Austin Hall was dedicated with the soon-to-be school’s namesake, Sam Houston, supportively standing by in 1851. The college moved to Sherman, Texas in 1876, but Austin Hall remained. The building was purchased by Huntsville locals to become the Sam Houston Normal Institute for training teachers in 1879. Over 100 students were in that first group to be educated as future teachers. In 1923 the name was changed to Sam Houston State Teachers College since it had become a four-year school several years earlier. The “Teachers” designation was dropped by 1965, and in 1969 Sam Houston State University (SHSU) became the final name. Being the third oldest university in Texas, this historic public university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: Not only do students receive a stellar education from decorated faculty members through the College of Criminal Justice at SHSU Online, but also they are eligible to be awarded a $1,000 scholarship as first-time online students. The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program is meant to be “Education Everywhere, for Everyone.” With dedicated program advisors providing assistance, students who have already worked in the criminal justice field move through the 36 required credit hours with the support they need. Twenty-one core courses cover quantitative analysis, research methods, and policy with such required classes as “Emergent Issues In Criminal Justice Leadership,” “Seminar In Organization & Administration,” and “Communication Theory & Administration Of Justice.” Students can then select fifteen hours of electives to round out the degree to best serve their academic and career goals. Tuition and distance learning fee for the 2017-2018 academic year is $579.25 per credit hour.

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#2. Florida State University

Several schools would move and merge to become the oldest member of the State University System of Florida– Florida State University (FSU) of Tallahassee, Florida. For various reasons, the Leon Academy, the Tallahassee Female Academy, the Florida Institute, and the West Florida Seminary would not survive as institutions on their own, but live on through FSU. The school that was created inclusively admitted all students—black, white, male, female. The school would become The Florida Military and Collegiate Institute to train students into soldiers in 1858 for the Civil War, and the school’s progressive nature was quelled in 1905 when it was segregated by sex and race into three separate schools. The school became coeducational once again in 1947 and integrated again in 1962. This public research university is both a space-grant and a sea-grant institution, and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: When choosing an online program, it doesn’t hurt to hear the rave reviews of students who have gone before, claiming the program was just what they were looking for and being “both challenging and rewarding.” Therefore, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Master of Criminology degree program offered online through the College Of Criminology and Criminal Justice at FSU is in our top three. A 36-credit hour program, students take fifteen required courses (“Applied Statistics in Criminology ” and “Computer Applications in Criminal Justice” for example), twelve credits of electives from within the College (such as “Prevention & Treatment Of Crime & Delinquency” and “Race, Ethnicity, Crime & Social Justice”), and up to nine credits can be selected from other disciplines for a well-rounded degree. Tuition is listed as $553.70 per credit hour for all students regardless of residency, but there are additional non-resident fees of $30.16 per credit hour.

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#1. Michigan State University

In East Lansing, Michigan in 1855 a school was founded, and although it was a humble school by modern standards, it was ambitious for the time, and it would be even more prestigious as it became the template for all institutions like it that would come after. The Morrill Act of 1862 enabled states to sell federal lands and utilize the proceeds to fund a state university providing education in agriculture and mechanics. These were the “land-grant” universities, and the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was the first. Two years after its founding, 63 students and five instructors began class in the three-building campus. From using a horse barn as a schoolroom, through five name changes, to now educating over 50,000 currently enrolled students, Michigan State University (MSU) is a public, coeducational research university that is both proud of where it’s been and excited about where it’s going. Regional accreditation is provided by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The most long-standing online offering at MSU, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice has been presented online through the School of Criminal Justice in the College of Social Science since 1998. Having been around for almost twenty years, it should be no mystery that this program has so many positive aspects that it secures the number one spot on our list. Students generally complete the required thirty credit hours in eighteen months to three years, and can opt for a general track or one of two specializations–Security Management or Judicial Administration. Some of the required courses cut across the different tracks, such as “Crime Causation, Prevention, and Control,” “Policy Analysis under Conditions of Change,” and “Proseminar in Criminal Justice.” Depending on the track, students take one to three elective classes, and those topics are wide and varied–for example, “Osteology and Forensic Anthropology,” “Essential Components of Courts,” or “Special Studies in Food Safety” are just a few of the options. Not just rich in academics, the MSU online process is laid out step-by-step starting for prospective students and all the way through until graduation to guarantee a supported, enriching online experience. Tuition for the 2017-2018 school year is $716 per credit hour for all students.

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Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor