Criminal Justice

An online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice may seem like a degree that isn’t necessary for those in law enforcement or the intelligence community, but it can actually boost a professional’s ability to advance in their field. In fact, many workplaces are actively pursuing candidates who have earned a master’s degree in the subject. Whether they are looking for work in the intelligence sector or interested in working in local law enforcement, employers are demanding higher-educated workers to help keep the country safe.

However, with so many of these professionals already working full-time in their current career, it is hard to find a traditional program that will give them everything that they need in a program. Online programs, however, provide both the affordability and flexibility that most professionals are looking for; this goes double for accelerated programs, which see professionals complete a two-year degree in 18 months or less. This ranking focuses on these types of degree programs, ensuring that every professional will be able to find the program that is the best fit for them.

Methodology

This ranking would not have been possible without the National Center for Education Statistics. The site provided the necessary information needed to select the top 20 most affordable programs for accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice degrees. Using the site’s College Navigator database, research was done on the initial 70 schools to find the degree completion rates and tuition rates. The top 20 schools were chosen based on their in-state graduate tuition rates. They are listed below in descending order.

Ranking Low-cost Accelerated Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

20. Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Online Master of Arts in Criminology

Western Kentucky University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MA in Criminology from WKU can be completed in 18 months of full-time study.

Website

Tuition: $16,968

Western Kentucky University offers an online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice that is designed to be completed 100 percent online. Students will find a non-thesis program that is dedicated to empirical study and a curriculum dedicated to utilizing a social scientific perspective. This is a great accelerated degree program for students because the school’s virtual portal provides its courses in the asynchronous format, meaning students can move through their coursework at a pace that works for them. It’s also possible to transfer in up to 12 credit hours of coursework, minimizing the time a student spends in school. Most students complete this degree in around 18 months with full-time study. This curriculum is divided up into core courses as well as free electives; this structure provides students with the chance to specialize in the field. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, an applied research project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Advanced Social Statistics, Survey of Criminal Justice Studies, and Law and Ethics in Corrections and Juvenile Justice.

19. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, Florida

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Saint Leo University -Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from SLU requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,000

Students at Saint Leo University will find an accelerated master’s online in criminal justice that can be taken as an online or hybrid program. The degree usually takes about two years to complete for a student who takes the maximum amount of classes every traditional academic term; however, it is possible to accelerate the degree program upon approval of the department. The plan of study is flexible, meaning that more than half of the credit hours requirement comes from free electives. This gives students the chance to create their own specialty within the degree and can prepare them for specialized jobs once they graduate. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, an applied project in criminal justice administration, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Behavioral Science in Criminal Justice, Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice, and Forensic and Medicolegal Death Investigation.

18. The University of Memphis — Global

Memphis, Tennessee

Online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

University of Memphis - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MA in Criminal Justice from University of Memphis offers classes in a 10-week format.

Website

Tuition: $14,472

The University of Memphis Global is the home base for the school’s online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice. This program was built for pre-service and in-service professionals who are interested in various aspects of the field. The curriculum was built with a significant focus on developing relationships with partners in the field, such as program developers and policymakers; research also plays a large role in the plan of study. Students will find that this degree is delivered 100 percent online through both asynchronous and synchronous courses and are offered in the 10-week format. Degree requirements include 33 credit hours of coursework, an applied project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Comparative Criminal Justice, Law and Ethics in the Criminal Justice System, and Research Methods and Statistics.

17. Faulkner University

Montgomery, Alabama

Online Master of Justice Administration

Faulkner University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online Master of Justice Administration from Faulkner University is available 100 percent online.

Website

Tuition: $14,280

Criminal Justice professionals at Faulkner University will find an exceptional accelerated online master’s degree in this field. Students will find that the degree provided by this school is held 100 percent online, is delivered as a cohort, and courses are completed one at a time and in five-week terms. Year-round enrollment is also possible, with cohorts beginning every six weeks. Students will find that this program is generally completed in 14 months, providing them with a graduate education in about half the time as it would take in a traditional campus program. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Administration of Justice, Policing in America, and Law and Justice.

16. Missouri Baptist University

Saint Louis, Missouri

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Missouri Baptist University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from MBU requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $14,112

Missouri Baptist University offers students a 12-month master’s online in criminal justice degree that requires no residency on campus. This program focuses on the leadership and administrative skills necessary to become a professional in the criminal justice field and is designed for in-service professionals. The degree is conferred 100 percent online with asynchronous and synchronous courses on a 10-week term schedule. While most students can complete the degree in 24 months with part-time study, ambitious students who pursue the degree full-time can complete the requirements in just one year. Courses online are taught by current and former law enforcement professionals, ensuring that every student learns from someone who has had experience in criminal justice. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include The Criminal Court System, Foundations of Criminological Theory, and Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice.

15. California State University at Long Beach

Long Beach, California

Online Accelerated Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice Program

California State University Long Beach - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminology from CSU Long Beach can be completed in 16 months of study.

Website

Tuition: $13,800

Students at California State University at Long Beach will be treated to an online accelerated master’s in criminal justice from one of the largest schools dedicated to this field in the state. The programs are delivered 100 percent online using asynchronous and synchronous courses. Students can complete their degree in as little as 16 months with full-time study or two years with part-time study. The program allows students to choose between completing a thesis or taking on additional coursework and taking a comprehensive exam prior to graduation. All courses are taught by the same faculty and professors who teach the courses on campus, enabling students to earn an education from professionals who have worked in the field. Degree requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and a thesis or comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Advanced Criminal Justice Research Methods, Criminal Justice Ethics, Values, and Diversity, and Substantive Criminal Law.

14. The University of Antelope Valley

Lancaster, California

Online Master of Criminal Justice

University of Antelope Valley - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online Master of Criminal Justice from the University of Antelope Valley requires 34 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $13,608

The University of Antelope Valley offers students a one-year online Master’s in Criminal Justice degree that focuses on reviewing the totality of the criminal justice system, including its administrative and public safety management aspects. Students will learn how the system works, how the various agencies and departments relate to each other int he field, and how theory and practical application may be similar or differ from the classroom into the real world. Students who graduate from this program will be in a great position to move into mid-level administrative positions in the public or government sectors. The curriculum is delivered entirely through the school’s virtual portal and in eight-week terms. Students can comfortably complete the necessary requirements for this degree while studying part-time. This degree requires 34 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Police Administration and Management, Technology in Law Enforcement, and Crime Scene Investigation.

13. Trine University

Angola, Indiana

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Trine University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The MS in Criminal Justice from Trine University is available 100 percent online.

Website

Tuition: $12,360

Professionals interested in a one year Master’s in Criminal Justice online need to look no further than Trine University. This school provides working and pre-service professionals with a degree that that will help them advance to mid-level or senior-level leadership and administrative roles in the criminal justice field. This is a 100 percent online degree that is delivered asynchronously and on an eight-week term schedule; this makes it possible for students who take just two courses every term to complete the requirements in under a year. Students will also note that just under half of all the credit hour requirements for the degree are free electives, allowing them to choose to specialize in one particular field of interest. Capstone projects for this degree include demonstrations of understanding in forensic psychology, law enforcement leadership, and law. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Criminal Justice Policy Formation and Analysis, Theory and Practice of Forensic Psychology, and Budget and Finance for Law Enforcement Leadership.

12. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Arts in Criminology

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MA in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania can be completed in one year of study.

Website

Tuition: $12,000

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania confers a 12-month online Master’s in Criminal Justice program that has been highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report. This degree can be completed 100 percent online or can be taken as a hybrid program. Students will find that this is an academically-based degree, meaning that it was designed students who are interested in pursuing doctoral study. The program can be completed in as little as one year with full-time study; students will complete asynchronous courses on a 10-week term schedule. All courses are taught by the same renown professors and faculty that teach the program on campus. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a synthesis project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Legal Issues in Criminology, Research Methods, and Organizational Dynamics Within the Criminal Justice System.

11. National University

San Diego, California

Online Master of Criminal Justice

National University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online Master of Criminal Justice from National Univeristy is delivered through asynchronous and synchronous courses.

Website

Tuition: $9,984

The online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice degree from National University is designed for students interested in pursuing mid-level career positions in the field. This degree focuses on administration, research, and development, ensuring that students who complete the degree will not only be able to analyze certain issues within the field, they will also be able to provide solutions based on research that they have completed. The degree is available 100 percent online and is delivered through asynchronous and synchronous courses. Students will find that the online courses are taught by the same professors who teach the degree on campus, ensuring that regardless of the delivery method for the degree, each student earns a high-quality education. This degree requires 54 quarter credit hours of coursework, a research project thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Professional Ethics in Criminal Justice, Security Management and Planning, and Law and Criminal Procedure.

10. Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana

Online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Indiana State University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MA in Criminal Justice from ISU is a research-based degree.

Website

Tuition: $9,696

Indiana State University confers an online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice that is designed for students who are pursuing doctoral study in the field. This is a research-based degree with a curriculum focus on the analytical and research skills necessary to work in the field. The degree is based 100 percent online with no campus residencies required at any time. Courses are delivered asynchronously and synchronously, enabling students to choose when and how they study. As a research-based degree, this program’s culminating experience is a thesis that requires a substantial amount of time and effort on the part of the student. Other degree requirements include 33 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Correctional Counseling, Criminal Justice Organization and Management, and Organizational Behavior in Public Agencies.

9. Arizona State University

Phoenix, Arizona

Online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Arizona State University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MA in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University can be completed in 18 months of full-time study.

Website

Tuition: $9,216

Students who participate in the accelerated online Master’s in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University will find themselves earning a professional degree that is designed to help professionals advance their career in the criminal justice field. Working professionals will learn from renown experts in the field, including both working professionals and researchers, and build an incredible foundation of advanced knowledge in criminal justice. This is a 100 percent online program that delivers asynchronous courses on a seven-and-a-half week schedule. Students will find that it is possible to complete all the requirements for this degree in as little as 18 months with full-time study; part-time students can complete all the requirements in three years but have up to six years to complete all of the requirements. This program requires the successful completion of 33 credit hours of coursework, a capstone research project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Criminal Justice Planning and Program Evaluation, Applied Data Analysis in Criminal Justice, and Theory and Practice in Criminal Justice.

8. The University of North Alabama

Una, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

University of North Alabama - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from UNA requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $9,024

The University of North Alabama offers students the chance to earn an online accelerated online Master’s in Criminal Justice. This is a great program for professionals who are looking for a flexible curriculum; there are only three core courses necessary for the program. Students will be able to specialize in a specific field of focus within this degree based on free electives; however, it is important to keep in mind that the school currently does not offer set concentrations for this degree. Students will have access to a 100 percent online degree that is delivered in asynchronous and synchronous courses on a 10-week term schedule. It is possible to complete the degree in as little as 16 months with full-time study. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or an independent research project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Contemporary Issues in Juvenile Justice, Psychological Dimensions of Criminal Justice Practice, and Victimology.

7. Angelo State University

San Angelo, Texas

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Angelo State University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from Angelo State University is offered 100 percent online.

Website

Tuition: $8,573

The online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice at Angelo State University is offered to pre-service and in-service professionals who are interested in advancing their careers within the field. This program is only offered 100 percent online; students will not be expected to take up residence on campus. The program focuses on the theory and concepts that make up the field, with students spending the majority of their curriculum learning about the laws and ethics that inform the professionals in the field. Courses are delivered both asynchronously and synchronously; courses range from eight to 16-week terms, depending on the content of the course. The entire degree can be completed in 18 months with full-time and year-round study. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Critical Analysis of Justice Administration, Research Methods in Security Studies, and Legal Aspects of the Criminal Justice System.

6. Missouri State University

Columbia, Missouri

Online Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Missouri State University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $8,550

Missouri State University confers an online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice that is perfect for students who are inclined towards research and policy matters within the field. This degree can be completed in three years with part-time study, but it is also possible to earn the degree in two years of full-time study. Courses are delivered asynchronously through the school’s virtual portal on the traditional academic term schedule. The program is also set up to give students a variety of final project choices, including a thesis, a practicum, an internship, a research paper, or a policy analysis paper. These options enable students to choose the right final project that will help them with their career goals. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, a final project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Leadership and Management in Criminal Justice, Applied Research in Criminal Justice, and Legal Issues in Criminal Justice.

5. Texas A&M University at Commerce

Commerce, Texas

Online Master of Science in Applied Criminology

Texas A&M University Commerce - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Applied Criminology can be completed in 18 months of study.

Website

Tuition: $8,012

Texas A&M University at Commerce provides students with a 100 percent online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice that requires no residency n campus. Students will find that the program comes with three concentrations, including the General Criminology track, the Homeland Security track, and the Criminal Justice Administration and Management track. Students will find that courses are delivered asynchronously and in the five-week term format. It is possible to complete this degree in 18 months just by taking one course at a time. This is also a non-thesis program which can make it easier for students to focus just on coursework instead of a massive final project. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Issues in Criminal Law and the Courts, Research Methods in Criminal Justice, and Research Literature and Techniques.

4. The University of North Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Online Master of Science with a Major in Criminal Justice

University of North Georgia - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from UNG if offered 100 percent online.

Website

Tuition: $8,012

Working professionals at the University of North Georgia will find an affordable accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice online that is dedicated to providing them with the necessary education to move forward in their careers. Students will find that the program is delivered 100 percent online and that courses are available year-round, ensuring that professionals do not have to wait for certain terms to take certain classes. The degree comes with one concentration: International Crime and Justice, which is best suited for professionals who are interested in joining the international intelligence community. Students can complete this degree in 18 months with full-time study but have six years from the start of their degree to finish all the requirements. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Legal and Ethical Issues in Homeland Security, Human Resource Management, and Statistical Applications in Justice Administration.

3. The University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration

University of the Cumberlands - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of the Cumberlands offers six degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $7,660

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice that is built for both pre-service and in-service professionals. This program is supported by a faculty that has decades of experience in the field and have worked in various capacities within the intelligence and criminal justice systems. This program comes with six concentrations, including Addiction Studies, Family Services, and Homeland Security. The curriculum is built to provide students with a strong understanding of the administrative and leadership aspects of the field prior to moving into free electives, where a student can choose to earn a specialization. Courses are delivered both asynchronously and synchronously in the eight-week format, making it possible for students to earn the degree in less than 18 months of full-time study. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, a mid-degree comprehensive exam, and a final comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Juvenile Justice Administration and Management, Leadership Fundamentals, and Criminological Theories in Justice Administration.

2. Marshall University

Huntington, West Virginia

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Marshall University - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from Marshall University can be completed in one year of study.

Website

Tuition: $7,304

The online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice provided by Marshall University was created to prepare students for academic research, training to become educators, or to become managers and leaders in the field. This program is offered 100 percent online as a synchronous degree; students will have to log in at set times in order to participate in the courses. This program can be completed in two years with part-time study and just over one year of full-time study. The curriculum provides students with the ability to craft the majority of their courses; over half of the required credit hours come from free electives. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Advanced Criminal Law and Procedure, Research Methods in Criminal Justice, and Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice.

1. Georgia College

Milledgeville, Georgia

Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Georgia College - Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online 2018
The online MS in Criminal Justice from Georgia College requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $5,870

Georgia College offers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Criminal Justice degree for students interested in becoming mid-level managers in the field. This program was created to help professionals find work in the public and private sectors. Students will find that this degree is delivered 100 percent online and through asynchronous courses, allowing them to study when it is most convenient for them. The program has been designed to be completed in four semesters with full-time study; however, ambitious students can take courses year-round and complete the requirements in 18 months. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice, Law and Ethics in the Criminal Justice System, and Research Methods in Criminal Justice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree?

  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Police Detective
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Correctional Officer Supervisor
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Security Manager
  • Special Agent
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Criminal Investigator

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

The current salary range for those who work in criminal justice is quite large; estimates have the most recent data showing a range of $45,000 to $115,000. The reason for the wide range can be attributed to the fact that many careers in criminal justice are government-held jobs, meaning that professionals often make a low wage at the beginning of their career prior to moving up through the pay-grade ranks. This range also accounts for positions that require additional work or educational training, public sector jobs, private sector jobs, and more.

What are the Various Disciplines of Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice is a field that encompasses all aspects of security, crime, law, ethics, the correctional system, the justice system, and government. Therefore, it makes sense that the above disciplines would play a large role in the field. Several other disciplines play a large role, however, and these include psychology, sociology, economics, education, leadership, management, administration, conflict resolution, negotiation, terrorism, computer science, and more. Depending on a professional’s chosen specialization, they may deal with one or more of the described disciplines in their day-to-day job responsibilities.

Criminal justice is a serious issue that demands educated and ethical leaders. Between domestic and foreign threats, as well as the need to ensure that communities feel as though they are safe, it is critical to ensure that every professional in the field earns the best possible education available. An online accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice degree is an excellent alternative to a traditional program for every professional and offers them the chance to follow their career goals while providing for themselves and their families.

FOM Staff
April 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Criminal Justice Online for 2018.