Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

by Melissa Sartore

Updated September 27, 2022

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An online bachelor's degree in criminal justice explores law enforcement, legal studies, and social services. Finding an affordable online criminal justice degree can set you up for success in the field.

Earning an online degree in criminal justice from the top criminology colleges in the country can provide the knowledge and skills to thrive in entry-level law enforcement, corrections, social services, and public safety positions.

As essential workers, criminal justice professionals remain in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong employment growth from 2020-2030 for police officers, detectives, and crime investigators. Criminal justice positions, like probation officers and correctional treatment specialists, received similar job projections.

Criminal justice professionals provide overall safety to individuals and communities. In criminology colleges, students may explore law and investigation fundamentals, along with core psychology and sociology concepts.

To find out more about the most affordable online bachelor's in criminal justice degrees, common coursework, and available career pathways, check out the rankings below.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Programs

#1

California State University, San Bernardino

School Information
Location San Bernardino, California
Admission Rate 69%
Graduation Rate 55%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students seeking advanced online study should consider one of California State University, San Bernardino's six online programs. Undergraduate degree-seekers can enroll in the bachelor of arts in criminal justice. It's a wise choice for individuals seeking competitive, flexible study applicable to a career in public safety administration. Participants in the criminal justice program can complete classes at their own pace, with the option for part-time study.

Learners complete industry-relevant classes throughout their studies, gaining broad and specific knowledge of the public safety administration field. Enrollees also attend general education classes, to gain a well-rounded education. Degree-seekers can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree through electives, minors, and concentrations.

After earning their degree, graduates benefit from greater access to employment opportunities and higher earning potential. The college notes a median salary of $37,400 for alumni six years after finishing their studies. Undergraduate students at the college can expect to pay an average of $7,876 in tuition and fees yearly. Prospective applicants can meet with the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements.

California State University, San Bernardino at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 6,901

Total Online Programs: 6

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Admission Rate: 69%

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#2

Colorado State University Global

School Information
Location Aurora, Colorado
Admission Rate 99%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

Undergraduates from across the globe can connect with Colorado State University Global through one of its 15 fully online bachelor's programs. Students seeking advanced online study in criminal justice can enroll in the school's online bachelor of science in criminal justice. The criminal justice program offers flexible study options, where learners can pursue full- or part-time study while modifying classes as they see fit.

Throughout their coursework, degree-seekers gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced classes. Program participants also complete general education requirements, gaining a well-rounded education during their studies. Enrollees can customize their degree by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

Graduates easily grow their earning potential with a bachelor's degree. Prospective students can meet with the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements. The school admits 99% of all applicants.

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#3

California State University, Sacramento

School Information
Location Sacramento, California
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 55%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students looking for a flexible bachelor's-level education should consider California State University, Sacramento. The public college supports distance learners across two online bachelor's degree options. The bachelor of science in criminal justice supports flexible, rigorous study.

The criminal justice program supports flexible study, meeting the needs of every degree-seeker. Enrollees can collaborate with their academic advisor to find classes that complement their career interests. Online program participants also choose minors and electives to individualize the degree.

Undergraduates can expect to pay an average of $17,622 in tuition. Criminal justice students can access scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities while enrolled. On average, degree-seekers are awarded $9,709 in financial aid.

California State University, Sacramento at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 12,301

Total Online Programs: 4

Online Bachelor's Programs: 2

Admission Rate: 82%

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#4

The University of Houston-Downtown

School Information
Location Houston, Texas
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 29%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students looking for a flexible bachelor's-level education should consider the University of Houston-Downtown. The public school supports 7,744 distance learners across 13 online bachelor's programs. Degree-seekers hoping to advance in the public safety administration field will benefit from the college's bachelor of science in criminal justice.

Criminal justice majors can modify their coursework to suit their interests and accommodate their schedule. Participants can also customize their studies, in consultation with an academic advisor. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to modify coursework, choose electives, and pursue other educational opportunities relevant to their career goals.

Undergraduate tuition at the institution is $15,408. Criminal Justice students gain access to internal and external funding opportunities, such as scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid, through the college. The average financial aid award per learner at this college is $9,677.

The University of Houston-Downtown at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 7,744

Total Online Programs: 18

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: 89%

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#5

The University of South Florida-Main Campus

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 75%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of South Florida provides flexible study opportunities to distance learners across 34 programs. Of these, five programs offer an undergraduate-level education. From its campus in Tampa, the school offers an online bachelor of general studies in criminal justice degree. The program allows for full- or part-time study, making it a flexible choice for working professionals and busy students.

Degree-seekers complete industry-relevant classes throughout their studies, gaining broad and specific knowledge of the field. These classes equip participants with knowledge and skills applicable to a post-graduate career. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their studies through modified courses, electives, minors, and concentrations.

With a bachelor's degree, graduates increase their job opportunities and earning potential. The school reports a median salary of $39,400 for alumni six years after completing a bachelor's degree. Students can expect to pay an average of $9,787 per year for tuition and fees. Prospective learners can explore funding opportunities, eligibility requirements, and other opportunities by connecting with the financial aid office.

The University of South Florida at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 24,241

Total Online Programs: 34

Online Bachelor's Programs: 5

Admission Rate: 48%

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#6

The University of Nebraska at Omaha

School Information
Location Omaha, Nebraska
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha enables online learning across 24 virtual programs. Undergraduates can choose from eight remote bachelor degree options. The bachelor of science in criminology and criminal justice is a wise choice for individuals seeking competitive, flexible study applicable to a career in public safety administration. Participants in the criminal justice program benefit from flexible study, with the option to enroll full or part time.

During the criminal justice program, students complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the public safety administration field. Degree-seekers complete general education and advanced coursework, gaining broad and specific skills. Enrollees can modify their degree by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

A bachelor's degree enables graduates to access higher-paying jobs and more employment opportunities. According to the college, alumni earn a median salary of $38,600 six years after completing their degree. Criminal justice students can expect to pay $12,899 in tuition and fees per year, on average. Before applying, prospective applicants should connect with the criminal justice department to learn more about admission requirements and application materials.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 7,996

Total Online Programs: 24

Online Bachelor's Programs: 8

Admission Rate: 83%

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#7

Bellevue University

School Information
Location Bellevue, Nebraska
Graduation Rate 24%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University offers many top-ranked bachelor's programs. The college's 11,008 distance learners choose from 54 fully online bachelor's degree options. The bachelor of science in criminal justice is one of the school's 79 total virtual programs providing a premier education.

The program curriculum enables flexible study. Students complete coursework relevant to the criminal justice field, with the option to choose electives and modify coursework. Enrollees can benefit from elective classes, minors, and other modifications.

At present, undergraduates pay $7,176 in tuition. The accredited institution connects learners with internal and external funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships. Prospective applicants should contact the financial aid office to what funding options they qualify for.

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#8

Indiana University East

School Information
Location Richmond, Indiana
Admission Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 40%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 79% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Indiana University East supports 2,989 distance learners across 19 fully online programs. Of these virtual offerings, 13 provide an undergraduate-level education. From its campus in Richmond, Indiana, the school supports an online bachelor of science in criminal justice. Students in the criminal justice program can complete classes at their own pace, with the option for part-time study.

During the criminal justice program, participants complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the criminal justice field. These classes equip students with criminal justice-specific and broad knowledge and skills. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree, choose electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations.

After earning their degree, graduates benefit from greater access to employment opportunities and higher earning potential. The college boasts a median salary of $32,400 for alumni six years after completing their studies. Criminal justice degree-seekers can expect to pay an average of $7,110 per year for tuition and fees. Prospective enrollees can meet with the criminal justice department directly to discuss admission requirements, application materials, and other relevant information.

Indiana University East at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 2,989

Total Online Programs: 19

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: 63%

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#9

Central Methodist University

School Information
Location Fayette, Missouri
Admission Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners seeking competitive online study should consider Central Methodist University, located in Fayette, Missouri. The institution supports 21 remote bachelor's programs. The online bachelor of arts or science in criminal justice is an attractive option for individuals seeking to secure a career in criminal justice.

Criminal justice students can maximize flexibility through modified coursework and the option to pursue part-time study. Program participants complete general and advanced coursework, with the opportunity to modify their coursework. Enrollees also have the option to choose a minor and select electives as part of their curriculum.

Undergraduate tuition at the institution is $6,070. While at the college, degree-seekers can explore funding opportunities to apply towards their studies.

Central Methodist University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 2,181

Total Online Programs: 30

Online Bachelor's Programs: 21

Admission Rate: 100%

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#10

The University of Texas at El Paso

School Information
Location El Paso, Texas
Admission Rate 100%
Graduation Rate 37%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Texas at El Paso enables online learning across 21 online programs. Of these virtual programs, seven offer an undergraduate-level education. Individuals looking to advance in the public safety administration field will find the school's bachelor of arts in criminal justice an attractive option. Participants in the criminal justice program benefit from flexible study, with the option to enroll full or part time.

Throughout their coursework, students gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced classes. Learners also gain industry-relevant and broader knowledge and skills, preparing them for life after their degree. Degree-seekers choose electives, minors, and concentrations to customize their course of study.

With a bachelor's degree, graduates increase their job opportunities and earning potential. The institution reports a median salary of $35,300 earned by alumni six years after completing their studies. The college reports that the average undergraduate pays $8,414 in tuition and fees yearly, after aid. To learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements, applicants should contact the financial aid office.

The University of Texas at El Paso at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 10,039

Total Online Programs: 21

Online Bachelor's Programs: 7

Admission Rate: 100%

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#11

Dalton State College

School Information
Location Dalton, Georgia
Graduation Rate 25%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

People looking for competitive online learning opportunities should consider Dalton State College's online programs. The public school supports distance learners across three virtual bachelor's degree options. The online bachelor of science in criminal justice is an attractive option for individuals seeking to secure a career in criminal justice.

The online criminal justice degree places flexibility at the forefront. Students can work with their academic advisor to modify their coursework to meet academic and career goals. Enrollees can choose electives and minors to supplement their learning.

Criminal justice degree-seekers can expect to pay $9,469 in tuition. The accredited institution connects students with internal and external funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships. The institution averages financial aid packages of $5,517 per enrollee.

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#12

The University of Louisiana Monroe

School Information
Location Monroe, Louisiana
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

People looking for competitive online learning opportunities should consider the University of Louisiana Monroe's online programs. The public school offers 14 virtual bachelor's degree options from its main campus in Monroe, Louisiana. The bachelor of arts in criminal justice prepares remote learners for the demands of the public safety administration field.

The program prepares criminal justice students for the demands of the public safety administration field. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to adjustments to their plan of study that suit their interests and career goals. Degree-seekers also have the option to choose a minor and select electives as part of their curriculum.

Undergraduates can expect to pay $17,888 in tuition. Enrollees can access internal and external funding opportunities to defray the costs of their studies. The school reports an average financial aid award of $10,649 per student.

The University of Louisiana Monroe at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 3,756

Total Online Programs: 34

Online Bachelor's Programs: 14

Admission Rate: 80%

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#13

Amridge University

School Information
Location Montgomery, Alabama
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Amridge University is a private four-year institution providing competitive study across 28 online programs. The private college supports distance learners across nine virtual bachelor's degree options. Of these, the bachelor of science in criminal justice stands out as a competitive option for students interested in the public safety administration field.

The online criminal justice degree prioritizes flexibility. Participants work with academic advisors to create a course schedule meeting career and academic goals. Enrollees can explore other educational opportunities, such as minors and elective courses, to customize their studies.

Undergraduates pay around $9,000 in tuition at the school. The institution's accreditation status enables students to benefit from financial aid during their studies. Prospective applicants should contact the financial aid office to learn about what funding opportunities are available and the eligibility requirements for them.

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#14

The University of Houston-Victoria

School Information
Location Victoria, Texas
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 19%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Houston-Victoria, a public four-year school in Victoria, Texas, boasts a robust online learning community. Undergraduate degree-seekers can choose from two bachelor's degrees offered remotely. Students seeking competitive study in in a flexible modality can enroll in the college's online bachelor of science in criminal justice. The program prioritizes flexibility through full- or part-time study options.

Throughout their coursework, learners gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced courses. These classes equip participants with knowledge and skills applicable to a post-graduate career. Enrollees can individualize their studies by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

The benefits of a bachelor's degree are varied, from increased job opportunities to higher earning potential. The college boasts a median salary of $43,800 for graduates six years after earning their degree. The average undergraduate pays $10,063 in tuition and fees every year, after aid. To learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements, students should contact the financial aid office.

The University of Houston-Victoria at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 3,753

Total Online Programs: 11

Online Bachelor's Programs: 2

Admission Rate: 56%

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#15

Excelsior College

School Information
Location Albany, New York
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Excelsior College, a private four-year school in Albany, New York, boasts a robust online learning community. Undergraduates from across the globe can connect with Excelsior College through one of its 54 fully online bachelor's programs. Individuals looking for an individualized education relevant to the criminal justice field can enroll in the online bachelor of science in criminal justice. The criminal justice program allows for full- or part-time study, making it a flexible choice for working professionals and busy degree-seekers.

Students complete industry-relevant classes throughout their studies, gaining broad and specific knowledge of the criminal justice field. The program curriculum prepares participants for the demands they'll face in the criminal justice field after graduation. Enrollees can individualize their studies by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

The benefits of a bachelor's degree are varied, from increased job opportunities to higher earning potential. According to the institution, graduates can earn a median salary of $60,200 six years after finishing their degree. Prospective students can meet with the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements.

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#16

Northern Kentucky University

School Information
Location Highland Heights, Kentucky
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Northern Kentucky University enrolls distance learners in 35 remote programs. Of these virtual options, 16 offer an undergraduate-level education. For individuals looking to advance in the public safety administration field, the school's online bachelor of arts in criminal justice is a wise choice. The criminal justice program allows for full- or part-time study, making it a flexible choice for working professionals and busy students.

During the criminal justice program, participants complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the public safety administration field. Throughout their studies, enrollees gain knowledge and skills applicable to a criminal justice career. In consultation with their academic advisor, degree-seekers can modify their course load, choose electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations.

Graduates possessing a bachelor's degree can access more job opportunities, and grow their earning potential over time. The school reports a median salary of $35,200 for alumni six years after completing a bachelor's degree. Criminal justice students can expect to pay $9,412 in tuition and fees per year, on average. Prospective learners can meet with the criminal justice department directly to inquire about admission requirements, application materials, and more.

Northern Kentucky University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 5,071

Total Online Programs: 35

Online Bachelor's Programs: 16

Admission Rate: 90%

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#17

The University of Colorado Denver

School Information
Location Denver, Colorado
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students seeking advanced online study should consider one of the University of Colorado Denver's 34 online programs. Undergraduates can choose from 12 remote bachelor's degree options. The bachelor of arts in criminal justice is a wise choice for individuals seeking competitive, flexible study applicable to a career in criminal justice. The criminal justice program accommodates flexible study, so degree-seekers can learn at their own pace.

Enrollees complete both foundational and advanced coursework, granting them the knowledge and skills needed to advance in the criminal justice field. The program curriculum also prepares participants for the demands of life post-graduation, imparting broad general skills like communication and problem-solving. In consultation with their academic advisor, degree-seekers can modify their course load, choose electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations.

The value of a bachelor's degree is clear: graduates increase their job opportunities and earning potential. The institution reports a median salary of $48,700 earned by alumni six years after completing their studies. Criminal justice students typically pay $15,865 for tuition and fees, on average, per year. Prospective applicants can contact the criminal justice program to learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities.

The University of Colorado Denver at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 7,637

Total Online Programs: 34

Online Bachelor's Programs: 12

Admission Rate: 67%

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#18

Arizona State University

School Information
Location Scottsdale, Arizona
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 4%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Arizona State University, a public four-year school in Scottsdale, boasts a robust remote learning community. Of its virtual programs, 54 offer an undergraduate-level education. Students looking for an individualized education relevant to the criminal justice field can enroll in the online bachelor of science in criminology and criminal justice. This program offers customization to help participants earn a degree that meets their needs.

Enrollees complete both foundational and advanced coursework, granting them the knowledge and skills needed to advance in the criminal justice field. The program curriculum also prepares learners for the demands of life after graduation, giving them broad general skills like communication and problem-solving. While enrolled, students can customize their education by choosing electives, minors, and degree concentrations.

A bachelor's degree connects graduates with numerous job opportunities and a higher earning potential. The median salary for alumni six years after their degree completion is $42,200, according to the college. Criminal justice degree-seekers can expect to pay an average of $14,568 per year for tuition and fees. Prospective enrollees can meet with the criminal justice department directly to discuss admission requirements, application materials, and other relevant information.

Arizona State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 44,167

Total Online Programs: 126

Online Bachelor's Programs: 54

Admission Rate: 64%

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#19

Polk State College

School Information
Location Winter Haven, Florida
Graduation Rate 28%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Polk State College, a public four-year college, enables remote study across 13 online programs. Undergraduate degree-seekers can choose from four virtual bachelor's degree options. For students looking to advance in the public safety administration field, the school's online bachelor of science in criminal justice is a wise choice. The criminal justice program prioritizes flexibility through full- or part-time study options.

Throughout their coursework, learners gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced classes. This curriculum consists of general education and criminal justice-specific coursework. Enrollees can explore electives, minors, and degree consultations, with their academic advisor to individualize their degree.

The benefits of a bachelor's degree are varied, from increased job opportunities to higher earning potential. According to the institution, graduates can earn a median salary of $29,400 six years after finishing their degree. Undergraduates eligible for financial aid can expect to pay $9,483 in tuition and fees, on average. Prospective students should contact the criminal justice department directly before applying to discuss admission requirements, application materials, and other information.

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#20

The University of Alaska Fairbanks

School Information
Location Fairbanks, Alaska
Admission Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks facilitates distance learning throughout 54 online programs. The criminal justice program is one of 13 virtual bachelor's degrees available through the college. Students looking to advance in the corrections field will find the school's bachelor of arts in justice an attractive option. Working professionals and busy learners will benefit from the program's flexible study options and class customization.

Degree-seekers complete industry-relevant classes throughout their studies, gaining broad and specific knowledge of the corrections field. This curriculum consists of general education and advanced coursework. In consultation with their academic advisor, enrollees can modify their course load, choose electives, and declare minors and degree concentrations.

Graduates easily grow their earning potential with a bachelor's degree. The institution reports a median salary of $36,500 earned by alumni six years after completing their studies. When preparing for the costs of education, students should know that the average cost of tuition and fees after aid is $9,643. Degree-seekers interested in learning more about admission requirements and their eligibility for financial aid should connect with the justice department.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 4,867

Total Online Programs: 54

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: 76%

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Affordable Online Bachelor's

Affordable Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Top Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Programs

Choosing an Online Criminal Justice Program

Finding the right online criminal justice program requires students to research many factors, including cost, resident tuition eligibility, and potential degree length.

Program length and structure, course delivery format, specializations, and accreditation status all weigh heavily into the choice of the criminal justice program that meets your personal and professional goals. You can find out more about each of these considerations at the links below.

How Much Does Online College Cost?

The cost of earning a degree online varies by institution, discipline, and program type. When exploring the best fit for an online bachelor's degree, students should research whether a school charges non-resident tuition for online learners. Many institutions offer the same tuition rates to all online students, regardless of location.

Students researching online degree costs should consider the savings that accompany online learning. Distance learning allows degree-seekers to avoid room and board costs, commuting expenses, and additional fees charged to on-campus learners.

Funding a Degree in Criminal Justice

Students have numerous options to fund their online criminal justice. Each online or on-campus learner can start their financial aid journey by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Submitting the FAFSA form provides applicants with student loan information and can lead to additional funding opportunities through scholarships and work-study options.

Members of specific communities may have additional financial aid options. Military service personnel and veterans can apply for additional aid, along with members of specific communities. Women, individuals in minority groups, and learners in certain disciplines can pursue private scholarships to help pay for college degrees.

The WIFLE Scholarship supports students majoring in criminal justice or other related fields. Each applicant must enroll full time, demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit an essay and letter of support for consideration. Scholarship recipients receive $1,500 annually. NOBLE provides several scholarships. Through the NOBLE Awards program, students may qualify for nine scholarships. Candidates can pursue additional funding opportunities through the National Scholarship program and the Rafaela A. Valdez Memorial Scholarship. Awards vary among these scholarships. Brian Terry Scholars receive funding based on their positive impact upon their communities, commitment to criminal justice, and prior academic success. Each candidate must provide two letters of recommendation, an essay, and transcripts for consideration. The Brian Terry Foundation delivers awards to learners in criminal justice and other related majors based on individual need. My Alarm Center, a leader in home security and safety monitoring, provides annual funding to students entering degrees in public safety, law enforcement, criminal justice, and other related fields. Applicants submit essays describing their community involvement, goals, and futures in the public safety profession. Honoring the memory of its namesake, the Melissa Linville Criminal Justice Scholarship supports students pursuing careers in criminal justice. Each candidate must submit an essay, transcripts, and contact information to be considered for this $500 award

What to Expect From a Criminal Justice Major

Criminal justice programs vary among institutions and departments, but core coursework across the discipline includes fundamentals of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal investigations. Learners study law, psychology, and sociology while fostering critical thinking, analytical, and research skills. Additionally, some online criminal justice bachelor's degrees provide opportunities to take specialized coursework in subsets of the field.

Criminal Justice Concentrations

  • Criminal Forensics: A concentration in criminal forensics emphasizes crime, criminal behavior, and forensics investigations. Forensics concentrations often incorporate coursework in chemistry, information technology, and biology. It is ideal for students who want to pursue careers as laboratory technicians, digital forensics investigators, and crime scene specialists.
  • Juvenile Justice: Juvenile justice coursework focuses on prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation for youth and adolescent offenders. Enrollees explore laws and policies that apply to juveniles, along with the psychology and sociology of juvenile behavior. This concentration benefits individuals who want to work as social workers, juvenile corrections officers, or mentors.
  • Homeland Security Concentration: A homeland security concentration emphasizes theories and practices of preventing, detecting, and managing possible threats to national security. Coursework includes border and transportation security, infrastructure protection, and emergency preparedness and response. Graduates can pursue career opportunities in federal and state law enforcement, along with the private security sector.
  • Administration: Criminal justice administration coursework emphasizes function and leadership in the criminal justice field. Degree-seekers study interagency communication, court systems and processes, and politics and government to gain a holistic understanding of the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice Careers

The versatility of a criminal justice degree opens many career opportunities. Individuals can pursue entry-level roles as police officers, corrections specialists, and criminal investigators. Some positions for criminal justice students may require additional certification, training, or licensure. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can also lead to continued study at the master's and doctoral levels.

How Much Can You Earn in Criminal Justice?

Salaries for individuals working in criminal justice vary by position, location, and experience. Common roles for criminal justice students include probation and police officers — which both received strong employment projections for 2020-2030. Emergency management directors, who must possess advanced degrees, rank among the top-paying positions for criminal justice professionals.

Criminal Justice Salary Info
Career Median Annual Wage (2020) Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)
Emergency Management Directors $76,250 6%
Fish and Game Wardens $58,040 0%
Detectives and Criminal Investigators $86,940 2%
Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers $65,540 7%
Private Detectives and Investigators $53,320 13%
Probation Officers $55,690 4%
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminology Colleges

Is an Online Criminal Justice Degree More Affordable?

An online criminal justice degree compares in cost to many other college degrees. This includes online and on-campus options.

Is a Criminal Justice Degree Worth It?

An online criminal justice degree is worth it for individuals who want to help others, serve the public, and explore the criminal justice system. It also opens up many employment opportunities.

What's the Highest-Paying Job in Criminal Justice?

Detectives and criminal investigators earn one of the highest median salaries in criminal justice at $86,940 as of May 2020.

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