2019 Best Online Colleges for Criminology Degrees
Online criminology degrees are available at 66 accredited online colleges and universities at a variety of degree levels. Students can pursue online associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, or certificate degrees in criminology. In addition to a comprehensive list of all available accredited online criminology degrees, we provide a list of the best online colleges for criminology degrees based on affordability and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
Accreditation is an important factor to take into account when selecting an online criminology degree. There is no predominant accrediting agency for criminology programs. Therefore, students should prioritize regional accreditation when pursuing online degrees. This will help to ensure the quality of the education as well as the students' eligibility for federal financial aid.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Criminology Degrees (66)
Annual Tuition: $11,581 - $16,246
176 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|Full List||Accreditation||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|Full List (64)|
|HLC||$20,456||50% (2 reviews)|
29 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|HLC||$14,778||50% (4 reviews)|
61 Programs, 2 in Criminology
|WASC WSCUC||$10,632 - $13,400||67% (644 reviews)|
213 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|HLC||$25,942||100% (4 reviews)|
160 Programs, 2 in Criminology
|HLC||$32,854||100% (2 reviews)|
34 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|MSCHE||$15,326||80% (15 reviews)|
105 Programs, 4 in Criminology
|WASC WSCUC||$24,514||100% (1 review)|
32 Programs, 2 in Criminology
|HLC||$13,530||0% (3 reviews)|
46 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|HLC||$30,370||60% (10 reviews)|
104 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|HLC||$9,000||55% (58 reviews)|
219 Programs, 2 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$30,600||100% (1 review)|
40 Programs, 3 in Criminology
25 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$6,859||0% (2 reviews)|
36 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|MSCHE||$52,002||60% (5 reviews)|
320 Programs, 1 in Criminology
29 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$18,786||100% (3 reviews)|
57 Programs, 2 in Criminology
14 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|MSCHE||$53,518||75% (4 reviews)|
131 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|HLC||$19,452||88% (8 reviews)|
83 Programs, 8 in Criminology
|HLC||$18,544||100% (1 review)|
102 Programs, 5 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$25,070||100% (1 review)|
6 Programs, 1 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$16,730||100% (1 review)|
43 Programs, 2 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$39,492||Add Review|
54 Programs, 2 in Criminology
|HLC||$39,406||100% (3 reviews)|
110 Programs, 3 in Criminology
|SACS COC||$13,426||Add Review|
51 Programs, 1 in Criminology
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Criminology Degrees
This list has the best colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in criminology, with Chaminade University of Honolulu topping the list with a tuition of $25,374 and an average alumni mid-career salary of $96,000. University of Missouri at Saint Louis ranks #2, costing $29,769 per year and with an average salary of $71,900. Southern Illinois University - Carbondale ranks 10th on the list, with an annual tuition of $11,815 and an average alumni salary of $52,100.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Salary|
- Annual Tuition: $25,374
- Median Salary: $96,000
Chaminade University of Honolulu offers an online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree. Students in this program can take courses in Criminal Justice Systems, Foundations in Criminology, Behavioral Sciences Statistics, Seminar in Criminal Justice Agencies, Juvenile Deviancy and Juvenile Justice, and more. Graduates from this program transition into careers as FBI Agents, INS Agents, Secret Service Members, Corrections Officers, and Crime Scene Investigators. In order to graduate, students need to complete 120 credit hours and maintain a 2.0 GPA throughout their academic career.
- Annual Tuition: $29,769
- Median Salary: $71,900
The University of Missouri at Saint Louis currently offers distance learners a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Graduates from this program must complete 121 credit hours and the current rate of tuition is $349.70 per credit for in-state tuition and $930.00 per credit for out-of-state tuition. Courses in this major include Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice, Gender, Crime, and Justice, Violence Against Women, and Race, Crime, and Justice, along with many other interesting courses.
- Annual Tuition: $19,383
- Median Salary: $66,700
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Bachelor of Arts in Criminology degree can be taken entirely online by interested distance learners who are accepted into the program. Some electives included in this degree are Collective Violence, Victimology, White Collar Crime, Police in Society, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure. Students have three options when choosing their major within the Criminology degree: Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Public Criminology, allowing students to find a concentration that best suits their interests and career path.
- Annual Tuition: $23,580
- Median Salary: $63,300
Portland State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Criminal Justice. This degree can be taken 75% or 100% online and requires that students must complete 68 total credit hours, which usually takes students two years to finish. Courses currently offered in this program include Policing in America, Punishment and Corrections, American Courts, Theories of Crime, and many more. In order to be accepted into the program, students must have 30 semester hours of transferable college work, a GPA of 2.25, and have completed WR 121.
- Annual Tuition: $14,070
- Median Salary: $60,600
Potential criminal justice majors should consider Ball State University's Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, which can be earned completely online. Courses in this major include Decision Making and Ethics in Criminal Justice, Elementary Macroeconomics, Family Relations, and Introduction to Geographical Information Systems. Graduates from this program have gone on to careers in a number of fields, including probation officers, institutional counselors, correctional officers, and victim or witness advocates, along with a number of other jobs.
- Annual Tuition: $29,348
- Median Salary: $61,600
The University of Texas at Arlington is currently offering an online Bachelor of Criminal Justice in Criminology and Criminal Justice that might interest many online learners. Students in this program can take courses in Juvenile Delinquency and Justice, Correctional Casework and Counseling, Ethics in Criminal Justice, and Legal Aspects of Evidence. This degree requires that students complete a total of 79 credits; 42 from general course requirements and 10 credits from electives, among other required courses.
- Annual Tuition: $17,324
- Median Salary: $56,500
The University of South Florida-Main Campus offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology that can be completed entirely online. Some courses in this degree are Patterns of Criminal Behavior, Miscarriages of Justice, Forensic Psychology, and Abnormal Behavior. Currently, tuition rates are set at $211.19 per credit hour for in-state residents and $585.01 per credit hour for out-of-state residents. In order for students to graduate, they must complete 120 credit hours and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.
- Annual Tuition: $12,900
- Median Salary: $55,200
The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers two degrees in criminology: a Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies - Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice. In order to graduate from these programs, students must complete 120 credit hours. Required courses in the programs include Police and Society, Criminal Court System, Survey of Corrections, and Survey of Criminal Justice, among others. Many graduates go on to work in agencies like the U.S. Secret Service, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, and the Omaha Police Department.
- Annual Tuition: $14,080
- Median Salary: $54,200
The University of Mount Olive, located in Mount Olive, NC, offers online learners a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology degree. Courses included in this major include Constitutional Law & Criminal Procedure, Juvenile Justice & Delinquency, Law Enforcement, Court Systems and Process, and Punishment & Corrections. To graduate with this degree students must complete 126 total credit hours; 46 from general education credit hours and 41 from general elective credit hours, among other courses.
- Annual Tuition: $11,815
- Median Salary: $52,100
The University of Memphis currently offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice that can be taken completely online. Students must complete 120 credit hours in order to graduate, with 36 hours coming from courses within the major. Courses in this degree include Introduction to Police, Introduction to Courts, Criminology, Oral Communication, and Ethical Dilemmas, among many other interesting courses. There is also an honors program available to students who have completed at least 55 credit hours with a 3.25 GPA or higher.
Online Criminology Degree Overview & Career Information
Online criminology degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Earning an online associate degree will take students approximately two years to complete, after which they can then apply for some entry-level positions or move on to further their education by seeking a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum amount of education required by most employers. This level of degree can be completed in four years of study. Graduate degrees are also available in the field of criminology. Individuals can graduate with their master's degree in just two years. Upon graduation they will be prepared to hold senior positions. Seeking a doctorate degree is the best route for professionals who wish to teach criminology at the college level, and will typically take students five to seven years to complete. Lastly, there are also certificate programs for those who don't want or need to commit to earning a full degree. This will open the doors for entry-level positions in criminology. It is also a way for already working professionals to seek further knowledge in the industry. Certificate degrees can be earned in a year or less.
Students can earn their online associate degrees in criminology in two years at a community college or university. The program usually consists of 60 credit hours of study. This level of program will equip students with the knowledge and skills that will allow them to pursue some jobs within the criminal justice field, such as a police or correctional officer, or other entry-level work. An online associate degree typically consists of general education courses and major-specific courses, such as criminology, classical social theory, introduction to crime analysis, introduction to constitutional law, social problems, and fundamentals of psychological profiling. Admission requirements for first time students include a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Applicants who have received prior education at the post-secondary level will need to submit their college transcripts.
Individuals who seek an online bachelor's degree in criminology may find work in a variety of careers, including as a detective, police officer, caseworker, crime intelligence analyst, and corrections officer. An online bachelor's degree can be completed in four years and typically consists of 120 credit hours. Courses that students will take include criminal law, abnormal psychology, introduction to corrections, sociology of crime and violence, research methods for criminal justice, legal traditions, and data analysis in criminal justice. Some programs also offer internship opportunities for interested students. Applicants who are applying for a bachelor's program as a first time student will need to present their high school transcripts or GED certificates. Individuals interested in pursuing their bachelor's degrees online can find programs at various universities and colleges around the country.
Students enrolled in online master's degree programs in criminology will further develop their industry skills and understanding that will allow them to move into higher positions within the field. Depending on the student's academic schedule a master's degree program can be completed in two years or less and consists of 30 to 36 credit hours of coursework. The criminology curriculum is made up of classes like quantitative research methods, advanced social statistics, evidence-based crime prevention, family violence, criminology in practice, crime and popular culture, and adult corrections. Some programs will also require that participating students complete a thesis prior to graduation. Upon graduation, individuals may find work in a variety of settings, such as with law enforcement at all levels of government, consulting agencies, research organizations, investigation groups, and more. They will also be prepared for doctoral studies. In order to be admitted to an online master's program, an applicant will need to have a bachelor's degree, letters of reference, and GRE test scores.
An online doctoral degree in criminology allows students to take part in independent research, and prepares them to enter senior positions within the field, teach at the university level, or enter a research-based career upon graduating. The number of credit hours needed to graduate will differ depending on the program and the applicant's educational background but typically, a doctoral program will take five to seven years to complete. Students will participate in courses such as research methods in criminology, survey of criminological theories, data analysis in criminology, prospectus development, and professional development in criminology. All students must also complete a dissertation and successfully defend it. This is usually the last step students will take before graduation. PhD admission requirements include a bachelor's degree, a letter of intent, and three letters of recommendation. To remain competitive among other applicants individuals should also have high GRE scores. Online PhD programs can be found at the university level.
Online certificate degrees are available for individuals who wish to seek an education in criminology but don't want to commit to a full degree program. This level of online degree may prepare graduates for entry-level positions in criminal justice, and may help current professionals find more job opportunities. Students can graduate with their certificates often in just a year or less. Admission to an online undergraduate certificate program usually only requires a high school diploma or GED. There are also online graduate certificates available for students who have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in a different area and want to enter the criminology field, or who have a degree in a related field but need to add to their education. Throughout their year of study, students will participate in coursework including introduction to criminal justice, the victim and the justice system, the American legal tradition, forensic psychology, and sociology of crime and violence. Online certificate programs in criminology are available at colleges and universities.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Criminology Degree
Accreditation is an important aspect of postsecondary education, and students should take the accreditation status of the school they wish to attend into consideration. If a school is regionally accredited, it means that an independent, outside organization has evaluated the school and determined that it meets certain quality standards in the areas of academics, teacher quality, and more. Attending an accredited institution gives students the confidence that they are receiving an education that is going to adequately prepare them for their future career upon graduation. Accreditation also plays a role in the hiring process, as many employers prefer to hire candidates who have accredited educational backgrounds. Also, most colleges and universities will only accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. Thus, students who may transfer their credits or attend graduate school in the future will need to consider this. Lastly, students who are in need of federal financial assistance will not have the option of attending a non-accredited program because only accredited institutions have access to federal aid.
Careers in Criminology
There are several different career options within the field of criminology. One career choice for individuals with online criminology degrees is to work as a criminologist. Criminologists research crimes, study criminals, and try to figure out reasons why people commit crimes and how to prevent them in the future. They also work on trying to come up with ways to rehabilitate criminals back into society. On a daily basis a criminologist will conduct research and draw up reports that will aid in analyzing research. Individuals who are interested in this career path should pursue a bachelor's degree in order to adequately prepare themselves for the position. A master's degree can help them advance in their career.
There are other career options available to those with an online degree in criminology as well. They may also find jobs in social work, as correctional officers, in teaching, or in research. Individuals who wish to teach at the university level or conduct independent research may need to earn a master's or doctoral degree. Jobs can also be found as a police officer, medical examiner, FBI agent, or other law enforcement official. Another area prospective criminologists might find interesting is forensic criminology, which involves using scientific methods and principles and applying them to the study of crimes, criminals, and the criminal justice system as a whole.
- Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Kaplan University. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/criminal-justice/criminal-justice-criminology-associate-degree.aspx.
- Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Ball State University. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/online/academic-programs/bachelors/cjc.
- Course Requirements: MS Degree. University of Pennsylvania. Accessed March 4, 2018. https://crim.sas.upenn.edu/graduate/master-science-criminology/course-requirements-ms-degree.
- Criminology Certificate Online. Southern New Hampshire University. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/certificates/justice-studies-crime-and-criminology.
- Criminology Degree Online. Southern New Hampshire University. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/bs-in-criminal-justice/criminology.
- Criminology Graduate Certificate. Regis University. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://www.regis.edu/CCLS/Academics/Degrees-and-Programs/Certificates/GC-Criminology.aspx.
- Doctoral Degree. Florida State College of Criminology & Criminal Justice. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://criminology.fsu.edu/degrees/graduate-programs/doctoral-program/.
- Forensic Criminology. Anna Maria College. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://www.annamaria.edu/sjss-majors/80-forensic-criminology.
- Online Bachelor's Program. Florida State University. Accessed March 4, 2018. http://criminology.fsu.edu/degrees/online-degree-programs/online-bachelors-program/.
- Online M.A. in Criminology. WKU. Accessed March 4, 2018. https://www.wku.edu/online/grad-programs/ma-crim/index.php.
- The Value of Accreditation. Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accessed March 4, 2018. https://www.chea.org/userfiles/CHEAkry224/Value%20of%20US%20Accreditation%2006.29.2010_buttons.pdf.