Top Criminal Justice Schools in America for 2019

What are the top criminal justice schools in America? It’s a question I get in my mailbox at least once a week. The truth is, it’s not University of Phoenix, Everest College, or Westwood College as you probably found other sites claiming a list of “10 Best Criminal Justice Schools” to be. Come on! Here’s the real deal.

In my opinion, some of the best criminal justice colleges in the US include:

Top Criminal Justice Schools in the USThese are just my recommendations, and rightfully so, as has it’s own list of Top Criminal Justice Schools in America. Many of the schools I had in mind they listed, too.

Best Criminal Justice Schools in America for 2019

sources: US News and Criminal Justice Degree, College, and Career Blog

This is a list of the Top Criminal Justice Schools in America without the fluff.

More than half of these best Criminal Justice universities have online Criminal Justice degree programs – a great alternative to on-campus education.

No matter what you’ve heard before, be aware that the name of the school and/or program ranking matters; it can make a big difference between being accepted for a career position or getting promoted. We, as society, have preconceived notions, expectations for high standards, and the understanding of what’s real and what’s not – the people and organizations that will be hiring you or looking over your grad school application will look at the program and the school your graduated from.

And one more thing… your college grades and GPA matter, especially when applying for highly sought after career positions, and of course, graduate study. Just thought you should know.

Wait… When picking schools that have multiple locations be aware that a program from one campus location – for example – may be OR may not be better than the program from the other campuses. Take University of California (a.k.a. UC). This educational system has quite a few university campuses, but UC Irvine reigns supreme in Criminal Justice/Criminology over UC Davis (example).

Even if you can’t get into a great college or university, which doesn’t hurt to apply, remember that when researching your criminal justice schools make sure to take the accreditation, tuition, and time investment into consideration. Now, go share this great resource with someone! Thanks for reading.

Do you think there are criminal justice schools that should make the list, but didn’t? Share them with us and tell us why your picks should belong among the best criminal justice schools in the United States.

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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.

115 comments… add one
  • Yasamine M

    Hi. I wanted to know which universities in California offer a Masters degree in Forensic science?not online. (I want to be a criminalist). I currently have a Bachelors degree in Cellular/Molecular Genetics. Would i have to take additional courses since i have a BS in a different field? and how much is the difference of salary between someone who has a Masters degree and a person with a PhD in this field (Criminalist) ?
    Thanks in advance. :)

  • Amy

    there’s this university called Olivet Nazarene University, its in Illinois, i don’t know if your familiar with it, but I’m really interested in going there but I’m afraid that it might be looked down upon in the hiring process… Is the school you go to really that big of a deal in getting hired in a law enforcement position after college?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      For the most part, any good and properly accredited school will do for most law enforcement careers. However, there may be instances where the person(s) deciding your career faith may have a specific liking to a school – University of Illinois, Chicago — for example — UIC is actually one of the better schools for criminal justice in Illinois. – It’s the whole local vs national vs no-name school fiasco. I think that quality schools will always prevail, the name of a school is an added bonus. Those hiring you will either sympathize with your school choice or condemn it. This is even true for those career hopefuls who graduated from prestigious schools. Insecure recruiters might worry about a Harvard grad replacing them, thus not considering his/her application.

      In all, it’s not that big of a deal when looking at it broadly, but on a case-by-case basis, the humans deciding your career faith will make their assumptions. Good or bad? I don’t know. What I do know is that most people are drawn to “the best” or they think through associations; college sports fanatics will love a candidate who came from the NCAA school like UCLA & University of Florida.. and the intellectual type will prefer those who graduated from schools like NYU or George Washington University.

      The main premise of my statement was to make you aware that for highly competitive spots in the work-force and academia the school name/quality of the program matters. To what extent? It all depends..

  • Cathey

    My son is currently a high school junior and we are investigating colleges with criminal science programs. We live in Texas and I’m curious why Texas A&M didn’t make the list? They have one of two FBI intern programs and seem to have a robust and well-thought of criminal justice program. We are checking out Sam Houston State later this month.

    I appreciate your insight.


    • Radek M. Gadek

      .. because, like Texas A&M, there is a ton of other great schools that I would have to mention. The list is meant to highlight The Best Schools in the Nation.

      I’m going to tackle the “best criminal justice schools in Texas” list in one of my blog posts.. coming soon.

  • shauna

    what do you think about the Walden University.. they have a bachelors in psychology with a concentration in criminal justice, then also have a fast track through that to their masters in forensic psychology? I hate going to school everyday and being 30 this year with 3 children, there has to be a decently cheap “good” online school. Question.. do you have to obtain licensing in any your state to be a forensic psychologist, like you do for lets say family counseling? I am all over the fence with my education, i know what I want to do, for the most part, although do not have anyone to academically guide me to through the process, and what would be a good decision. Walden university does have CACREP accreditation for their mental health masters degree through the nation, so that has to be good, right? Please help me, the only ones that want to help are the enrollment counselors at these schools and I know you cannot always believe everything they say.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Walden is definitely far from being a top school. I would s