Best Criminal Justice Schools – Top Criminal Justice Colleges

If you are looking for the best criminal justice schools – top criminal justice colleges, universities, and institutes then you are at the right place. This page is dedicated to the best criminal justice degree programs online and on campus, as well as information on the best community colleges, state schools, and private schools offering courses towards a criminal justice degree.

Best Criminal Justice Schools in America

Check out the Best Criminal Justice Schools in US for 2019. You’ll be surprised which schools made the list.

Best criminal justice schools by state:

Best PhD Criminal Justice Schools

What makes a criminal justice school “BEST” is:

  • its accreditation
  • its brand power (school name)
  • its departmental and programmatic ranking & strength
  • its potential for career placement right after graduation
  • its ranking in U.S. News and The Princeton Review, amongst others
  • my experience and opinion will play a role in picking out the best from the rest
  • and last, but not least, your expert input

I need your help. To make this resource the best for every state in the Union I would like your input. If you live in any of the states not mentioned below and know of great criminal justice schools please feel free to leave a comment with your list, and if you can, the reasons these schools would be best. I am hoping that I can get around to researching and writing the blog posts about all the states, but I can’t do it all by myself. Thanks.

– Radek

P.S. if you have ideas for CJ colleges and universities for the states that have been listed, please follow the link and leave your comments there. Any constructive input is much appreciated and it will benefit the many users of this site.

72 comments… add one
  • Maggie

    i would like to know if you know the Best schools for North Carolina. I am a 10th grader in high school and i would like to be a special or undercover agent in the FBI. Any suggestions would be nice. Thank You


    • Radek M. Gadek

      I am working with some professors around the U.S. in helping me supplement this list. I hope to have this list up in several months (it’s very hard to get in touch with some of them). As for NC, I can only tell you to try and . Hope this will hold you off for now. I’ll keep on working to get this list up.

      • Wesley Geiger

        ive seen u on the internet alot on the topic of helping people lol, im in the army right now and i want to pursue a career in the dea. right now im looking to start college but dont know which one to pick ive been looking at Penn State, i just need some guidance on trying to set myself up on the right path, any information that u could spare would be very appreciative, thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

        • Radek Gadek

          Penn State is a great school. I have a few articles on DEA Special Agent position, but do check out DEA’s website for current requirements. Besides CJ, I would look into a Business degree or one that pertains to financial side of crime (Economics, Finance and Accounting to name a few).

  • Judith Williams

    Found your blog and am working as a Training Manager who handles Education Tuition Assistance for our agency that is primarily law enforcement. Would like to get more input about online law enforcement programs that accept law enforcement training as credit hours – do you know some good ones???? Thanks!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I know that there are some schools that offer credit in place of training, however these schools are very rare and for a good reason. Schools that mainly existed few years ago, and some that exist now, don’t/will not exist anymore. That is mainly due to the practice of taking world experience and generating a 4-year degree with months of study time. The states said ENOUGH! and decommissioned their money generating scams. Don’t get me started on accreditation, either. Most schools that offer life experience credit are not properly accredited. If they are either Nationally accredited (okay) or Regionally accredited (best) they are very scrutinized by any academic institutions accepting their credit or through farther academic advancement.

      In short, there aren’t any good ones I would stand behind. My reasoning is that when taking a criminal justice course it encompasses more than the student may have experienced in the scope of their current or past career. New techniques, theories, and applications are constantly evolving and are taught with newer, better, more applicable means in mind. You don’t see average schools, state universities, and top colleges using this model mainly in part due to this reasoning. Although I personally wanted my life experience / training to count for my credits, I am happy I didn’t attend a school that accepted such modes of life education. I wouldn’t have learned as much if I have skipped courses that would “qualify” as life experience. Sorry to disappoint, but I hope it helps.

      • Judith Williams

        I am 100% behind you. I got no life experience for my bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees and I also learned a lot from all classes – the good ones and bad ones! :-) I would like to know some good colleges though that I could have come for an education fair that would give the officers the best education. Can you provide me some names in that area! Thanks for being honest also – a rarity these days!

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Some of the best colleges out there are Michigan State University, University of Cincinnati, Northeastern University, Penn State University, I also enjoyed Boston Unviersity’s program. The reason I list these is because they are available online (some with 12 month degree options), they’re regionally accredited (A MUST), and coincidentally they are really some of the BEST Criminal Justice universities. I still would not recommend sending anyone to a life experience based criminal justice degree program as graduating from one may hinder chances of promotion, change of career, or start of a new career. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable listing a college or university that facilitates faster graduation through life experience, at least not yet.

          • Amy

            How bout….Everest University? I have been attending for over a year….online that is

            • Radek Gadek

              This school would probably fall in to the “Worst” section. For one it’s for-profit, and two, it’s not regionally accredited.

              Your money would be much better invested if you attended a non-profit/not-for-profit college or university with regional accreditation. Check out for more on the difference between for-profit and non-profit schools and accreditation matters.

  • badvegan

    Online diplomas and transcripts are not worth the paper that they are written on. They will never help you get rank, and will get you passed up for promotion because you are being fake and trying to represent yourself as having something that you dont.

    If you are a line officer my best advice is to talk to your cont ed officer about what real universities are in your area. You might have to switch shifts but you will be very glad that you earned a real degree (it might also help you move toward your goals eventually.)

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I highly disagree with your assertion. I would state it perhaps a little differently:

      “Online diplomas and transcripts are not worth the paper that they are written on IF you attended less than reputable college or university”

      Going to schools that are degree mills, or schools that are perceived to be as such (despite their proper accreditation), can hinder your rank advancement and promotions. So, I can partially agree with that statement. Recruiters DO look what school you went to (ie. would you feel more comfortable saying: “I went to Kaplan University” or “I went to Boston University / Michigan State University / Northeastern University / John J College of Criminal Justice / University of Cincinnati / Pennsylvania State University / University of Texas / Washington State University / and on and on and on… There’s something to think about here.

      There are many Tier 1 Universities that provide both online and on-campus Criminal Justice / Criminology degree options that are highly respected in academia (ie. in case you want to go to grad school) and the work force.

      For the most part, online degrees and transcripts do not differ from those from the campus location. I am both for online and on-campus learning. It’s just a matter of preference, ability to attend, and maybe venturing into the unknowns (ie. campus life or asynchronous online learning).

      BadVegan, I’ve read your comments on this and other posts and I thank you for presenting this side to the readers of the blog. Thanks for stopping by and contributing.

  • amadden

    I am a Junior in high school and want to become a special agent for the FBI. I would like to know if Harding University would be a good school to attend for this career. I also would like to know if there are any things that I could do to improve my chances in being accepted into the FBI.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Harding University in Arkansas is a Tier 1 academic institution – that’s very good! Is it a good school to attend for this specific career (FBI Special Agent)? That depends more than on the school itself. Check out some articles on that by typing “FBI” and “Federal” (both without quotes / two separate searches) in the search tool. Make sure to read some of the comments, as they may hold many of the answers you seek.

  • Darubio