The Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice

Updated November 30, 2022

Find the Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice degree programs on this top-ranked list of the best value schools. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Learn how to lead an organization to success in crime prevention, mitigation, and law enforcement with the Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice.

If you already have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, you're already familiar with the laws, policies, and theoretical knowledge behind the discipline. Continuing your education with a Master's degree can provide you with endless job prospects and advanced leadership opportunities.

In most cases, a masters level education is considered a terminal degree for criminal justice professionals. According to PayScale, students who earn a Master's degree in Criminal Justice have the capacity to earn upwards of $53,000 per year.

If you're considering a Master's degree in criminal justice, you may have found yourself at odds with the extensive hours required to commute, attend on-campus classes, and complete assignments at a physical location. An online degree can alleviate stress and expenses when it comes to your college education because you'll be studying at the times and locations most convenient to you.

Selection Criteria

We have created a list of the Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice. In doing so, we focused on private and public schools with consistent and current retention and graduation rates.

Ranking Factors

After reviewing the many available online Master's in Criminal Justice, we honed in on the characteristics that matter to you - the student - the most. Our ranking takes into consideration the following qualities of a school:

  • Affordability
  • Academic Rigor
  • Accreditation
  • Recognitions
  • Accessibility

For more information, take a look at our methodology page for a better look at how we determine each school's score.

#35 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
#34 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
#33 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
#32 Kent State University Kent, OH
#31 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
#30 Northeastern University Boston, MA
#29 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
#28 University of New Haven West Haven, CT
#27 New Mexico State University - Main Campus Las Cruces, NM
#26 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Xavier University

    Cincinnati, OH



    The Master's of Science in Criminal Justice at Xavier University places an emphasis on criminal justice administration by training students to be qualified professionals for, both, public and private sector organizations.

    Students will gain skills in areas like public relations, finance, human resources, and writing to help them become better middle, and upper level managers. All courses are offered entirely online and are tailored toward busy working professionals.

    Full-time students can complete the degree in one year or less, and with six potential start dates per year. Even better, Xavier offers quick admission for non-degree students to allow them to get started in the program more easily.

  2. Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo, FL



    Saint Leo University offers aspiring law enforcement professionals two opportunities in completing their Master's of Science in Criminal Justice. The first option is through a traditional program, which takes two years and includes a maximum of two classes per semester. SLU's second option provides an accelerated program, which allows candidates to complete their studies in less than two years.

    Either way, all MSCJ students will complete courses such as: Ethical Standards, Human Resource Management, and Computerized Databases. SLU is also unique in offering several specialized topics, like Terrorism in Israel or Criminal Advocacy.

    In addition, SLU has been ranked as one of the most military-friendly colleges by organizations like G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education.

  3. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    The Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University prepares students by providing them with the tools necessary to achieve their goals. The program is comprehensive, involving the two critical dimensions of criminal justice. Students learn how to understand and address crime, while at the same time approaching it from, both, theoretical and real world perspectives.

    The program has a special emphasis on policing, correctional systems, and juvenile justice in particular. Florida Atlantic is unique because it offers many online teaching assistantships to graduate students, providing them with tuition stipends and hands-on work experience to advance their studies.

  4. Kent State University

    Kent, OH



    If you're interested in a program delivering, both, skill and knowledge, then the MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Kent State is perfect for you. KSU's MACCJ degree offers students four different concentrations, which include: Global Security, Policing, Victimology, and Corrections.

    Each class is taught by full-time KSU faculty who are dedicated to student success. Online courses are offered in a flexible format and designed to fit the lives of busy working professionals. Most students can complete the degree in as little as two years, with no GRE required for admission.

  5. The University of West Florida

    Pensacola, FL



    The University of West Florida's MS in Criminal Justice is designed for candidates seeking a broad education in the administrative, analytic, and theoretical aspects of Criminal Justice. Many UWF students have gone on to pursue their Ph.D. after completing the 33 CJ credit needs for their MS.

    UWF's MSCJ program is designed to fit the demands of students' diverse schedules with classes offered in, both, online and blended formats. Most candidates earn their MSCJ in just four semesters by completing curriculum involving: Criminal Justice Administration, Penology; and Policing and Society.

  6. Northeastern University

    Boston, MA



    The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Northeastern University is flexible, allowing students to complete their degrees in as little as two years of full-time study. NU's MS is highly innovative and prepares students for careers in law enforcement, private security, and corrections.

    Each course emphasizes leadership and communication - along with ethics - allowing for a well-rounded degree program, and nearly applicable to any area of criminal justice. NU offers multiple elective options for integrative experiential learning, as well as six potential program concentrations to allow students to specialize their degrees toward their career goals.

    Through experiential learning opportunities at NU, students can work virtually or residentially through paid internships related to their major while completing their degrees.

  7. Rowan University

    Glassboro, NJ



    The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at Rowan University prepares students for a variety of careers, including positions in upper management, within research capacities, and graduates pursuing their doctoral studies. RU's MACJ program trains students to use research to evaluate the validity and impact of programs designed to prevent, and mitigate crime.

    30 total semester hours are required to graduate, which can be completed in as little as five full-time semesters. With tuition starting at just $756 per credit hour, RU offers students an affordable, comprehensive degree with an overview of the nuances, and demands of the criminal justice system.

  8. University of New Haven

    West Haven, CT



    The University of New Haven offers a top rated MS in Criminal Justice and can acquired entirely online. UNH's MS is highly regarded by multiple ranking affiliates for its program's tailored designation toward current professionals interested in law enforcement, victim advocacy, national security, or corrections.

    UNH is also home to one of the most well respected Criminal Justice degrees in the country, with known alumni working for agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local law enforcement agencies, and many other highly regarded organizations. Students of UNH also enjoy how their degree offers several areas of concentration, including: Crime Analysis, Leadership and Management, and Police Behavioral Studies.

    Earning your MSCJ at UNH can begin at any term during the academic year, and prospective students can apply without submitting a GRE, or GMAT.

  9. New Mexico State University - Main Campus

    Las Cruces, NM



    The online Master's of Criminal Justice at New Mexico State University Main Campus is one of many graduate programs offered through NMSU to help make education more attainable for busy students. All courses at NMSU are delivered through the user friendly Canvas platform, where each student can complete 36 credit hours entirely online.

    Graduates of NMSU's MSCJ leave prepared for their next successful endeavor. Whether it's earning their Ph.D. Criminal Justice, or working professionally within judicial administrations, or policy making positions in law enforcement related agencies.

  10. California State University - Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA



    Two colleges from California State University Long Beach have joined forces to offer one of the most highly ranked, online MSCCJ programs in the country. CSU's endorsement by U.S. News and World Report is a small testament to the university's exceptional opportunities for student engagement, technology services, and faculty training.

    Through the combined schools of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management - and the College of Continuing and Professional Education - required courses such as Law and Social Control, or Theories of Crime Causation, are taught by respected full-time faculty.

    Online students will not miss out on their extensive access to networking opportunities through their professor's experience and reputations.

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