2019 Best Master's in Criminal Justice Online Programs

Criminal Justice-Top Online Colleges-2019-Badge

The best online criminal justice master's degrees are offered by these seven universities. All ranked schools have annual tuitions under $22,000. Top-ranked CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice has a variety of criminal justice programs including an MA in Criminal Justice with specializations available in criminal law and procedure, policing, terrorism studies, and criminology and deviance. Graduates of these programs report earning a median salary of $78,300, making them a strong option for prospective students.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about Guide to Online Schools.

Find an Online Degree:
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 $11,130 $78,300
#2 #2 $11,610 $73,100
#3 #3 $21,120 $73,600
#4 #4 $8,842 $71,400
#5 #5 $13,050 $63,800
#6 #6 $21,000 $52,700
#7 #7 $14,820 $48,000
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo.

2019 Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Ranking Details

  • Annual Tuition: $11,130
  • Median Salary: $78,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice enjoys a solid reputation as a law school with an international reach via its John Jay online school. At $11,130 per year, its tuition is competitive. It offers six different online master's degrees in subjects ranging from criminology & deviance, to policing, to terrorism studies. Online students receive career, financial aid, and technical support, as well as full library access, academic advising, and career counseling. They can also apply online. A sample course video, tips, and technical and time requirements are all available online to help potential distance students decide if the school is a good fit for them.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,610
  • Median Salary: $73,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
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Private, non-profit National University was founded by veterans in 1971 and has offered online degree programs for over 20 years. It is one of the best colleges of its kind. Its 100% online Master of Criminal Justice program costs $11,610 per year and yields a median income of $73,100. It is taught in 4-week classes that have monthly start dates. Online students receive access to the college library system, as well as writing and math centers and Student Concierge Services. National University is a Yellow Ribbon school, and accepts the post-9/11 GI Bill. Military personnel and their families also receive tuition discounts.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $21,120
  • Median Salary: $73,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Boston University has been offering online classes, degrees, and certificates since 2002. Its current online catalog includes a Master of Criminal Justice degree with options for specialization in cybercrime investigation & cybersecurity, and strategic management. Its online programs are co-designed by faculty and a dedicated distance education team, and are taught by the same faculty that teach on-campus classes. Online students receive 24/7 access to course material and lectures, as well as access to additional recorded content by BU and visiting professors. An online course tour allows prospective students to preview online classes so they can decide if online learning is a good fit for their educational needs.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,842
  • Median Salary: $71,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Among other incentives, Sam Houston State University offers $1,000 scholarships to new, fully-online students. These scholarships can be applied towards its online M.S. in Criminal Justice and its online M.S. in Criminal Justice Leadership & Management programs. SHSU's online degrees are identical to its on-campus degrees and are geared towards working professionals. Online students have greater flexibility in their class schedules, access to a wider variety of educational material, and opportunities for advanced, worldwide networking.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,050
  • Median Salary: $63,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Working adults interested in earning online degrees will find that Saint Joseph's University's online master's degree program in criminal justice offers exceptional value. The program offers five concentrations (including behavior analysis, federal law enforcement, and intelligence & crime) that are designed to provide comprehensive foundations for students seeking to enter the professional world as federal law enforcement officers, criminal investigators, customs or border officers, and private investigators. The various tracks require 30-36 credit hours in core courses and electives for completion. Graduates can expect to receive high median salaries upon employment.

  • Annual Tuition: $21,000
  • Median Salary: $52,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Regionally-accredited Tiffin University allows distance learners to further their education and reach their career goals with their flexible, online programs. There are no application fees and they offer start dates in January, March, May, July, August or October. Tiffin also accepts transfer credits, and its courses usually have just 10-15 students. The faculty for its master's of science programs all have real-world, professional experience. Furthermore, students can take two classes at a time in order to obtain their degrees faster. And, military discounts are offered.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,820
  • Median Salary: $48,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Troy University's online degree programs are designed for busy adults who are balancing other commitments. They are affordable, but also flexible. Scholarships and financial aid are available to eligible distance learners. Military students receive a special tuition rate of only $250 per credit hour, and their families receive tuition discounts of between 25 and 50 percent. Troy's criminal justice programs are one of its largest, and graduates of the master’s program in criminal justice will be prepared to enter the workforce as teachers, profilers, probation officers, or investigators.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

Online Master's in Criminal Justice Overview

The master’s curriculum allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of criminal justice foundations and criminology theory. Students also learn about advanced techniques in applied criminal justice research. Areas covered by the curriculum include contemporary issues in policing, correctional administration, crime and punishment, criminal justice administration, ethical issues in criminal justice administration, forensic behavioral analysis, juvenile justice administration, law enforcement, leadership applications in criminal justice, legal issues in criminal justice administration, terrorism, victimology, and white collar crime.

Specialization areas for master's degree students include corrections, cyber crime, homeland security, and public administration. In most cases, students are required to complete a comprehensive project or write a thesis, which they must defend in front of a panel.

Master's programs prepare students for careers in corrections, judiciary, law enforcement, politics, public safety management, and social services. Others opt to pursue careers in administration, management, policy making, research, and teaching. Work settings for graduates include correction facilities, domestic violence agencies, government agencies, law enforcement agencies, legal institutions, and non-profit organizations.

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