Welcome to our ranking of the top 30 best online master’s in criminal justice degrees for 2017.

An advanced degree is required to work as a criminologist, criminal profiler, or senior level manager in the criminal justice field. Interrupting your current career to return to school may not be an option. Today, some of the nation’s top-ranked colleges and universities offer online master’s in criminal justice degree programs.

This ranking was created to identify the 30 top colleges and universities offering online master’s in criminal justice or criminology degrees.

Methodology

Data collected for this list was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. From our list of 145 schools, we applied the following ranking criteria: available concentrations or focus areas, rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report, and affordability. Institutions with the lowest in-state graduate tuition/fees were awarded a higher ranking.

Below are the resulting selections for the top master’s in criminal justice online degree programs in order of affordability.

#30 – Boston University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

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Specialize in cybersecurity or strategic management with Boston University’s online master’s in criminal justice.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $48,082

The online master’s in criminal justice program from Boston University is designed to prepare individuals who seek career advancement in the field of criminal justice. The 40-credit program offers two concentrations so that students may tailor their degree towards career goals and personal interests. These concentrations include cybercrime investigation and cybersecurity, and strategic management. Several graduate certificates are also available. Completion time for the degree is approximately 18-24 months, and no thesis is required. Some of the online courses offered by the program include analytical methods, criminal justice administration, research methods, victimology, and white-collar crime. Boston University is a top-ranked institution by major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 39th best national university. Also, the online graduate criminal justice program ranks #1 in the nation.

#29 – Northeastern University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

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Six concentrations are available in Northeastern’s online master’s in criminal justice program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,061

Northeastern University’s online criminal justice master’s degree has been ranked among the top programs in recent years by U.S. News and World Report. The institution is a top-ranked university by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. The online master’s in criminal justice is offered in a fully distance learning format designed to fit the pace and demands of busy and working students. Six concentrations are available so that students may tailor their degree to better suit career goals and personal interests. Some of the concentrations include community and family justice, corrections, global criminal justice, and policing.

#28 – Nova Southeastern University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Website

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Nova Southeastern University’s online master’s in criminal justice is top-ranked.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,454

One of the best online criminal justice programs on our list is offered by Nova Southeastern University. This top-ranked institution offers a master’s in criminal justice that may be completed entirely online. Various concentrations allow students to tailor their degree to suit career goals and areas of interest. Concentration areas include child protection and juvenile justice, legal perspectives in criminal justice, public administration, and strategic community planning. Some of the courses required by the program include advanced criminal procedure, criminal evidence, criminal law, and legal research and writing for non-lawyers. Nova is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. Also, the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs rank #24 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#27 – Michigan State University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

East Lansing, Michigan

Website

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Specializations in Michigan State University’s online master’s in criminal justice include judicial admin and security management.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,122

Michigan State University’s online criminal justice programs include the master’s in criminal justice. This program was Michigan State’s first online degree offering, which started in 1998. Students enrolled in the online program may select from two specializations: judicial administration and security management. All courses are delivered online and include design and analysis in criminal justice research, policy analysis under conditions of change, and quantitative methods in criminal justice research. Michigan State is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs rank 16th out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed for Best Colleges.

#26 – Saint Joseph’s University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

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Saint Joseph’s University’s online master’s in criminal justice program is accredited and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,840

The accredited online master’s in criminal justice program from Saint Joseph’s University is affordable and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school is ranked in the most recent edition of Best Colleges as the 11th best regional university in the North. The graduate program is offered entirely online and includes courses such as criminological theory, ethics and criminal justice, professional writing for law enforcement, and research methods and analysis. In addition to the broad scope of curriculum topics, several career-building concentrations are available. These include behavior analysis, federal law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence and crime analysis.

#25 – University of New Haven

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

West Haven, Connecticut

Website

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University of New Haven offers an affordable online master’s in criminal justice.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,432

The accredited online criminal justice master’s degree from University of New Haven is one of the most respected and top-ranked criminal justice programs in the United States. Classes are delivered 100% online and taught by faculty members who are experts in the field. In fact, many of the professors include former FBI agents, law enforcement officers, and Secret Service agents. Required courses include criminal justice management, criminal procedure, leadership issues in policing, quantitative applications in criminal justice, research methods in criminal justice, and theories of criminal behavior. Each term offers quick and effective learning times of six to seven weeks and the entire program may be completed in just two years. University of New Haven is a regionally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the graduate criminal justice programs rank #14 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#24 – University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

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Admission to the University of Cincinnati online master’s in criminal justice program has no GRE requirement.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,468

University of Cincinnati offers affordable online criminal justice programs that include the master’s in criminal justice. The program is offered entirely online and has no GRE requirements for qualified students. Three optional concentrations allow students to tailor their degree to better suit career goals and personal interests. These concentrations include analysis of criminal behavior, corrections and offender rehabilitation, law enforcement and crime prevention, and the general track. Courses are delivered online and include applied statistics in criminal justice, basic research methods in criminal justice, demonstration research project, and theory and practice of crime prevention. University of Cincinnati is a nationally ranked institution. Major publications like U.S News and World Report recognize the school. Also, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the university’s online graduate criminal justice programs #14 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#23 – University of Massachusetts

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Lowell, Massachusetts

Website

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UMASS offers an online master’s in criminal justice that’s ranked with major publications.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,799

The University of Massachusetts offers one of the best online master’s in criminal justice programs on our list. The program is entirely online and designed for working students or those balancing obligations and responsibilities at various stages of life. A total of 11 courses are required, including five required courses and six electives. Online courses include administration of justice, criminological theory and foundations, descriptive and inferential statistics, law and public policy, managing justice organizations, and research design. University of Massachusetts is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university and top public institution.

#22 – Washington State University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Pullman, Washington

Website

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WSU offers an online master’s in criminal justice program that is highly affordable for in-state residents.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,745

Washington State University’s online master’s in criminal justice degree program is a top-ranked degree that is designed for busy and working students. All online courses are taught by the same award-winning criminal justice faculty who teach on the physical campus. These courses include criminal justice processes and institutions, criminal justice research and evaluation, introductory quantitative methods in criminal justice, and research methods in criminal justice. A total of 27 credits and 4 directed study credits related to the creation and defense of the writing portfolio are required for completion of the degree. WSU is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 143rd best national university in the country.

#21 – Tiffin University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Tiffin, Ohio

Website

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Tiffin University offers one of the most affordable online master’s in criminal justice programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,600

One of the best online master’s in criminal justice programs on our list is offered by Tiffin University. Five available concentrations allow students to tailor their degree to suit career goals and interests. These concentrations include crime analysis, criminal behavior, forensic psychology, homeland security, and justice administration. Classes are taught by university professors with academic, executive, and research experience in criminal justice. Courses include contemporary criminal justice issues and trends, legal and ethical issues in criminal justice, statistical applications in criminal justice, and theories of crime analysis. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report have ranked Tiffin as a best regional university in the Midwest. The school is accredited and affordable to in- and out-of-state residents.

#20 – California University of Pennsylvania

Online Master’s in Social Science Applied Criminology

California, Pennsylvania

Website

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California University of Pennsylvania’s online master’s in criminology is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,707

California University of Pennsylvania offers an online master’s degree in criminology program designed for working students. The online graduate criminal justice and criminology programs have earned rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online programs rank #37 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed in the most recent edition of Best Colleges. All classes are delivered online and taught by experienced faculty members. These courses include advanced behavioral crime analysis theory, advanced criminological theories, criminal investigative analysis, ethical and legal aspects of criminology, geographical crime analysis, research methods in criminology, and special topics in criminology. The program and school are accredited.

#19 – Florida State University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Tallahassee, Florida

Website

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The GRE may be required for admission to FSU’s online master’s in criminal justice program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,543

Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers affordable online criminal justice programs that include the master’s in criminal justice. Admission to the program requires proof of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, proof of academic achievement (solid GPA), and a GRE score. The GRE requirement may be waived if the applicant can show five or more years of related professional experience. All classes are delivered online and taught by university professors. These courses include applied statistics in criminology, computer applications in criminal justice, research methods in criminology, survey of criminal justice theory and research, and survey of criminological theories. Florida State is ranked as a top public school and best national university by U.S. News and World Report. Also, the online graduate criminal justice programs rank #5 in the country.

#18 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Tempe, Arizona

Website

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Arizona State University offers an online master’s in criminal justice degree with full-time and part-time options.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304

Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers an accredited and affordable online criminal justice master’s degree program designed for working students. The program is offered to both full-time and part-time students. Full-time enrollment can speed up the completion time while part-time students enjoy a work-at-your-own pace flexibility. Most full-time students complete the program within 18 months, while part-time students have up to six years to complete their degree. Courses are delivered online and include applied data analysis in criminal justice, criminal justice planning and program evaluation, and theory and practice in criminal justice. ASU is a nationally ranked institution by major publications. Also, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs #2 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed for the most recent edition of Best Colleges.

#17 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Online Master’s in Criminology

Indiana, Pennsylvania

Website

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Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s online master’s in criminology program is highly flexible.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,174

One of the more affordable online master’s degree in criminology programs on our list is offered by Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The program was created with the working student in mind and offers flexible completion and the same academic benefits of the on-campus degree program. Also, students can expect a solid foundation for those interested in pursuing doctoral studies or advancing current careers. All courses are delivered online and include criminological theory, ethical and philosophical issues in criminology, legal issues in criminology, organizational dynamics with the criminal justice system, quantitative strategies for analysis in criminology, and research methods. Indiana University of Pennsylvania is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. Also, the online graduate criminal justice programs rank #8 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#16 – Xavier University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

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Xavier University’s online master’s in criminal justice degree program offers six start dates per year.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,920

The accredited online master’s in criminal justice program from Xavier University is designed for busy students interested in the practice of criminal justice in corrections, courts, law enforcement, and the private sector. Courses are delivered entirely online, and the program offers six start dates per year. Full and part time options are also available. Full-time students can complete their degree in one year, while part-time students may take up to two years. Also, the program is suitable for those interested in pursuing doctoral studies or law school. Xavier is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as the 4th best regional university in the Midwest.

#15 – Kent State University

Online Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Kent, Ohio

Website

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Kent State University offers one of the most affordable online master’s in criminal justice programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,864

The online master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from Kent State University is designed to challenge both experienced and aspiring professionals as they move into career and leadership positions. The program is offered entirely online and with the working student in mind. Flexible courses and electives allow students to tailor their degree to suit career aspirations and personal interests. These courses include emerging trends and issues in corrections, human service agencies and the law, legal perspectives and rights in victimization, restorative justice and victim assistance, and treatment methods. Kent State is ranked and accredited. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the institution as a best national university and top public school.

#14 – Western Kentucky University

Online Master’s in Criminology

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Website

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Western Kentucky University’s online master’s in criminology program is accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,860

One of the most affordable online criminal justice programs on our list is offered by Western Kentucky University. The 30-credit hour online graduate degree is open to in- and out-of-state residents with no out-of-state tuition ever charged. On-demand courses are available to provide flexible scheduling for working students. Online courses include advanced social statistics, applied research, criminology, quantitative research methods, and survey of criminal justice studies. Western Kentucky University is a regionally ranked institution and top public school. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs #12 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#13 – Regis University

Online Master’s in Criminology

Denver, Colorado

Website

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The online master’s in criminology from Regis University offers concentrations like cybercrime.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,800

Regis University, a top-ranked regional institution, offers an accredited online master’s degree in criminology designed for working students with busy daytime schedules. Three distinct areas of concentration allow students to target specific career tracks. These concentrations include cybercrime and terrorism focus, human behavior, and leadership. All courses are delivered online and include contemporary issues in criminology, criminal psychopathology, ethical conduct and positions of power, and leadership principles in criminology. Regis is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs rank #28 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#12 – University of Central Florida

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Orlando, Florida

Website

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University of Central Florida’s online master’s in criminal justice program is designed for working students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

University of Central Florida’s College of Health and Public Affairs offers an online master’s in criminal justice degree program designed for busy and working students. Flexible online classes make it possible for students to complete a master’s degree without disrupting outside responsibilities like work and family. Courses include criminal justice organizations, policy analysis in criminal justice, professionalism in criminal justice, research methods in criminal justice, the administration of justice, and the nature of crime. The institution is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and public school. Also, the online graduate criminal justice programs rank #21 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#11 – Saint Leo University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Saint Leo, Florida

Website

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Saint Leo University’s online master’s in criminal justice program helps prepare students for law school.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,730

Saint Leo University’s online criminal justice master’s degree program is designed to prepare both current and aspiring criminal justice professionals for advanced positions in law enforcement and related fields. Experienced faculty members deliver online courses to busy and working students who do not have the time to attend traditional classes. Online courses include ethical issues in criminal justice administration, leadership applications in criminal justice, legal issues in criminal justice administration, public policy making in criminal justice, and research methods in criminal justice. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as a best regional university in the South and a top value institution.

#10 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

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Liberty University offers an affordable online master’s in criminal justice degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,000

The 36-hour online criminal justice master’s degree program from Liberty University is designed to prepare individuals with advanced training in professional administration and criminal justice. Adhering to a biblical worldview, professors deliver online instruction that emphasizes best practices and trends in the industry. All courses are delivered online and include administration of justice organizations, criminal justice integration, criminal justice program evaluation, leadership and ethics in policing, and topics and trends in criminal justice. A thesis is required for completion of the degree. Liberty is a nationally ranked and accredited institution. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs #35 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#9 – University of Colorado

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Denver, Colorado

Website

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The online master’s in criminal justice program from University of Colorado is ranked #12 in the country.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,804

The School of Public Affairs at University of Colorado offers one of the best online criminal justice programs on our list. For those interested in an advanced degree, the school offers a master’s in criminal justice that may be completed with a mix of online or on-campus courses. The program focuses on five area of criminal justice to give degree candidates a broad scope and understanding. These areas include correctional systems, formulation of laws and codes, judiciary, juvenile justice, and law enforcement. University of Colorado is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the school’s online graduate criminal justice programs rank #12 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#8 – University of Central Missouri

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Warrensburg, Missouri

Website

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University of Central Missouri’s online master’s in criminal justice is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,384

One of the most affordable online criminal justice programs on our list includes the master’s in criminal justice from University of Central Missouri. The program is designed to equip graduate students with advanced knowledge and skills to work in leadership, research, or teaching roles in criminal justice. Coursework is delivered entirely online and taught by the same university professors who regularly teach on campus. These courses include administration of criminal justice, comparative criminal justice systems, legal aspects of criminal justice, methods of criminal justice research, and the criminal justice system. University of Central Missouri is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 86th best regional university in the Midwest and the 21st top public school.

#7 – Sam Houston State University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Huntsville, Texas

Website

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Sam Houston State University’s online master’s in criminal justice program is ranked #3 in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,213

Sam Houston State University offers an accredited online criminal justice master’s degree program specifically designed to prepare students for success in various careers like corrections, law enforcement, securities, and social services. All courses are delivered online and sequenced so that students may complete their degree within a two-year timeframe. Some of the courses required by the program include community theory and the administration of justice, emergent issues in criminal justice leadership, program evaluation in criminal justice, research methods and quantitative analysis in criminal justice, and seminar in organization and administration. Sam Houston is a nationally ranked and accredited institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report recognize the school as a best national university. Also, the online graduate criminal justice programs are ranked #3 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#6 – Indiana State University

Online Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Terre Haute, Indiana

Website

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Indiana State University’s online master’s in criminology and criminal justice is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,184

Indiana State University’s accredited online criminal justice master’s degree is a 36-credit hour program designed for those who seek advanced positions in criminal justice or plan to attend law school. All courses are offered online and with no campus visits required. These courses include criminological theories, ethics in criminal justice, and law and society. Two concentrations are available so that students may tailor their degree to suit interests and career goals. These concentrations include corrections and law enforcement. Indiana State is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school among the top public institutions.

#5 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

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East Carolina University’s online master’s in criminal justice is one of the most affordable programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,857

One of the best online master’s in criminal justice degree programs on our list is offered by East Carolina University. The program may be completed entirely online and as a non-thesis option. All courses are delivered online and include criminal justice principles, diversity issues in criminal justice, principles of criminal justice administration and management, and statistics in criminal justice. The program is designed to equip students with advanced skill and knowledge needed to obtain leadership roles within criminal justice organizations. East Carolina is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as the 210th best national university and 118th top public institution. Also, the online graduate criminal justice programs rank #30 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#4 – University of the Cumberlands

Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Website

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University of the Cumberlands offers an online master’s in criminal justice administration.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,970

University of the Cumberlands offers an accredited and affordable online master’s degree in criminal justice administration designed to accommodate individuals already working in criminal justice and pre-professional students. Online courses and electives make the degree flexible and customizable. Students are able to choose courses that suit their personal interests and career goals. Some of the online classes include criminological theories in justice administration, critical issues in law enforcement, leadership fundamentals, legal and ethical issues in homeland security, and violent offenders–crimes and psychology. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as having the 17th best online graduate criminal justice programs in the country.

#3 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

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Major publications like U.S. News rank University of Nebraska’s online master’s in criminology and criminal justice degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,836

One of the best online master’s in criminal justice programs on our list is the master’s in criminology and criminal justice degree offered by the University of Nebraska. This advanced online program is designed to help students advance their careers in areas of criminology and criminal justice by delivering rigorous coursework that improves competency and skill. The program requires 36 credit hours with courses delivered entirely online. Courses include criminal justice research and theory, statistical applications in criminal justice, and the nature of crime. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as a best national university. Also, the online graduate criminal justice programs rank #18 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#2 – Texas A&M University

Online Master’s in Applied Criminology

Commerce, Texas

Website

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The online master’s in criminology degree from Texas A&M University offers a non-thesis track.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,500

One of the best online master’s in criminal justice programs on our list is the master’s in applied criminology offered by Texas A&M University. This 36-hour graduate non-thesis program has three available concentration tracks so that students may tailor their degree to suit personal interests and career goals. Concentrations include criminal justice administration, general criminology, and homeland security. Classes are delivered online and taught by university professors. Courses include issues in criminal law and the courts as well as seminars in corrections, criminology, and policing and law enforcement. Texas A&M is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school as a best national university.

#1 – Missouri State University

Online Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Springfield, Missouri

Website

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Missouri State University offers the most affordable online master’s in criminal justice program on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,500

Missouri State University offers our most affordable pick for online master’s in criminal justice and criminology degree programs. The program is offered entirely online with classes taught by the same professors who teach on the Springfield campus. Courses include applied research in criminal justice, crime theory and policy, criminal justice policy, justice administration, law enforcement and community, and special topics and issues in criminal justice. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. Missouri State is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 71st regional university in the Midwest and 16th top public school. Due to affordability, Missouri State is our top pick for online master’s in criminal justice degrees.

This concludes our ranking of the top 30 best online master’s in criminal justice degrees for 2017.

BMD Staff
January 2017