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The Best Colleges to Go for a Criminal Justice Degree- Become a Criminology Expert

Updated on August 13, 2014

The Best Colleges to Attend for a Criminal Justice Degree

Criminal justice programs prepare students for careers in crime prevention and law enforcement. These specialized degree programs encompass aspects not only from legal studies, but also from crime prevention and rehabilitation as well as community organization. There are many colleges across the nation which offer degrees in criminal justice however, choosing the one that best suits your needs can be a daunting task. It does not matter if you are a new student seeking your Bachelor’s Degree in the field or if you are continuing your education and are pursuing your Master’s, it is important to research which schools offer the best criminal justice programs prior to your choosing to enroll in them. In doing so, you are sure to find the college that best meets your specifications.


When choosing a college to attend, one of the most important steps in the process is researching where the college ranks based upon your degree program of choice. There are many search engines online that can be utilized during this step of the process. Some of the highest-ranking criminal justice programs in the nation can be found at Drury University, Syracuse University and the University of Louisville. Not only do these schools have an exceptional freshman retention rate, they also are highly selective in the students that they admit into their programs. Students with the highest grade point averages and standardized test scores are regularly accepted into these programs and because of this, the standard of education at these schools is extremely high. Apart from offering a prestigious criminal justice program, the University of Louisville’s program of study is one of the oldest in the United States and was founded in 1798. Other top-ranked schools include the State University of New York, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Maryland College Park and the University Missouri St. Louis. The programs at these schools are attractive in the fact that they provide internship opportunities for prospective graduates and small class sizes for personalized learning environments. Undoubtedly, all of the schools listed above will provide the prospective student with practical experience in the world of criminal justice.


The criteria used to rank criminal justice colleges is established by students and faculty of those programs. On top of this, outside groups also observe the graduate and undergraduate programs offered by these schools and they also create an evaluation. These evaluations are strenuous in the level of quality that is expected to be maintained by each school. The ranking criteria include everything from faculty reputation to freshman retention rates. Not only this, but evaluators also observe the grades and quality of the students that are being accepted into these programs. However, one of the most important facets of this evaluation includes job placement of students following their graduation from the criminal justice program. All of this data is combined and analyzed to determine where the programs rank in respect to other similar programs offered by other colleges. The final rankings that are calculated give prospective students a clear look at what these schools have to offer and how they compare to schools offering similar degree programs.

Curriculum and Careers

Before deciding which school to attend, it is highly important to observe and review the courses and curriculum offered by each program. The top-ranked criminal justice schools will provide students an educational foundation in multiple aspects of criminal justice. It is critical that there are a wide range of courses available that provide insight into multiple aspects of criminology. Upon graduation, the student who has attended one of these schools will be well prepared for careers in multiple fields of criminal justice. The best criminal justice programs will offer courses in drug education, offender rehabilitation, crime prevention as well as juvenile crime. All of these courses provide insightful knowledge into the criminal justice system that will be critical in the field. Many of the highest-ranking schools offer internships for which their students will receive academic credit. These internships also help to boost the school’s credibility and national ranking. Most graduates of these programs obtain careers in law enforcement, the FBI, narcotics bureaus and the Department of Homeland Security as well as a multitude of other fields.


It is important to remember that the national ranking of criminal justice colleges are simply meant to be a guide on your journey to choosing the school that is right for you. It is vital to have clear goals and requirements in mind when deciding which programs to apply to. There are many factors that will determine which schools you ultimately choose, but it is critical that you are objective when selecting your program. Narrow down which colleges will best meet your needs to help you achieve your goals. This will help to aid in your success in the program. If you wish to specialize in a specific field of criminal justice, research schools that offer concentrations in that field. Other factors to keep in mind when looking for a criminal justice program to attend include tuition and fees, availability of financial aid, location of the program and the faculty employed by that program.


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