Best PhD & Doctorate Criminal Justice Schools & Programs

If you are looking for the best PhD & Doctorate Criminal Justice Schools and Programs then the Criminal Justice Online Blog is the best place to find them. Doctoral degrees in Criminal Justice & Criminology are available both online and off.

Even though I tend to focus on online programs, I strongly feel that a proper PhD / doctorate education is in order for the aspiring Law Enforcement administrators and academicians. To me, it’s just a matter of perspective.

Top PhD & Doctorate Criminal Justice / Criminology Schools for 2019

1. University of Maryland – (College Park): College Park, MD

2. SUNY – (Albany): Albany, NY

3. University of Cincinnati: Cincinnati, OH

4. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey – (Newark): Newark, NJ

4. University of California – (Irvine): Irvine, CA

4. University of Missouri – (St. Louis): St. Louis, MO

7. Michigan State University: East Lansing, MI

7. Pennsylvania State University – (University Park): PA

9. University of Nebraska – (Omaha): Omaha, NE

9. University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, PA

11. CUNY, John Jay College: New York, NY

11. Florida State University: Tallahassee, FL

11. University of Florida: Gainesville, FL

14. Northeastern University: Boston, MA

14. University of Delaware: Newark, DE

16. American University: DC

16. Arizona State University: AZ

18. Temple University: Philadelphia, PA

18. Washington State University: WA

20. Indiana University: Bloomington, IN

20. University of Illinois – (Chicago): Chicago, IL

22. Sam Houston State University: Huntsville, TX

These ratings are not arbitrary, but rather compiled by U.S. News & World Reports. U.S. News is a very popular and trusted resource  for students and parents looking for the best colleges & universities in the country and the world. You’ll often see their magazine on store shelves. It is filled with ratings, statistics, and other useful info, however it doesn’t get published often. I highly recommend picking it up next time you see it, or even better, you can see the ratings for yourself, online – there may be a nominal fee for this service.

Top Online PhD / Doctorate Criminal Justice Schools for 2019

At present, the online doctorate level education in Criminology and related fields is not up to my standards (read : Online PhD in Criminal Justice – it’ll explain a lot). Therefore you don’t see me endorsing too many universities and colleges of that kind.

Just added…

Nova Southeastern University is offering potentially one of the first Criminal Justice PhD degree programs that is online and perhaps right on the money. Regardless, I still think you should consider your doctorate studies at a traditional setting (read the other article + comments at Online PhD in Criminal Justice for more on that). I hope that in the near future this will change and that both the traditional and online mode of learning will have the same “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” (aka career opportunities).

In the end I am looking for a Doctoral program which will serve me well in my profession and in the academic field. Thus, it is my recommendation that you consider the traditional PhD schools, before you venture out online.

The only exception to this would be a national or private college / university offering an online Criminal Justice / Criminology program. Schools like University of Maryland, Rutgers, SUNY, University of Cincinnati, Michigan State University, and an ivy league favorite, University of Pennsylvania, would be just outstanding for my online doctorate needs. For now, we’ll  just have to wait.

If you’re a quality, regionally accredited, academic institution offering or soon to be offering a PhD in Criminal Justice, please get in touch with me / participate in the discussion.

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Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

90 comments… add one
  • Matt Retterer

    What factors are taken into consideration when determining which school has the best doctorate program for criminal justice??

    • Radek M. Gadek


      Each organization that examines doctorate programs has their own criteria for determining which criminal justice school has precedence over another. For example, U.S. News may use statistical data and peer reviewed sources from academic institutions, non-profits, private companies, and field experts. Factors like the length of accreditation and the length of the program are considered. I’m sure additional certifications, successful student graduation rates, employment rates after obtaining a degree, and diversity of student population play a role. When I was searching for law schools I also noticed that a school had a better ranking based on the number of scholarly works each professor or instructor published.

    • Martin Duffy

      I don’t know if this helps, but I know in the case of SUNY Albany, there is — on top of very widely published faculty — a great variety and diversity of law enforcement and legal experts involved with the program as students, so grad classes really aren’t just about the professors, the seminars are very, very interesting. I’ve only been in the graduate school one year but I’ve already met police officers from the State Police, NYPD, Buffalo (a smaller city in NY), Japanese National Police, Anakara (Turkey), London metro police, and a girl who’s a crime analyst in China. Assistant Attorneys General and a local assistant DA were even enrolled in the program. It’s a very odd thing because SUNY Albany itself is a pretty mediocre university, but for some reason the Criminal Justice school is very professional and intensive. I love SUNY though, I live in New York so the tuition and fees are under $5k for me and I can commute there because I live pretty close to it.

      • Martin Duffy

        p.s. if you have any questions about Albany or graduate school in CJ in general, feel free to shoot me an email if you want! duffym at gmail

      • Radek M. Gadek

        University of Albany – SUNY (Albany) is one of the best criminal justice destinations for anyone who can get in. It is a tier 3 school, but is well regarded in fields of Business and Education, amongst others.

        I heard that the lectures and seminars are some of the best in the world, and that’s no understatement. You are a lucky guy, Martin. Thanks for the input. I’m sure many readers can benefit from it.

  • Kenzie McDowell

    I am very pleased to find this page. I work for a company in close relations with Capella University however, my specialization is in teacher education. I have recently enrolled a PhD- Criminal Justice student and I was doing research to find funding and literature for him. I’m glad to see that Capella was a suitable choice for him to pursue his educational goals. Thanks for all the information! I will be referring him to this page to do some browsing of his own.

  • Fs=-kx

    Does it strike anyone else as odd that there are only three doctoral programs in criminal justice (Arizona State, Washington State, UC – Irvine) in the western U.S.?

  • jwuticgwid

    It doesn’t strike me as odd because criminology/criminal justice is a major that schools use to make money. Meaning, they offer a semi bogus degree and reap the rewards while the students get shafted upon graduation. (I know this as I have a BS in criminology and I currently make 8.50 an hour in a part time non CJ job.) The western US schools are either smart for not offering it and allowing students to major in engineering or medicine or dumb for losing out on more money they could be making for themselves.

    • drewd

      jwuticgwid, I somewhat agree with you. As a former detective, schools that offer criminal justice degrees/training don’t offer much after a B.S. None of these credits can be applied towards police officer certification. However, if you go on for your masters you w