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Are you a work­ing pro­fes­sion­al in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem? Is not hav­ing a bach­e­lor’s degree might be hold­ing you back? Check out Bach­e­lor Degree Cen­ter’s top 10 accel­er­at­ed crim­i­nal jus­tice degree online programs! 

Our edi­tors first ranked accel­er­at­ed online crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­grams in Novem­ber 2019. This rank­ing was updat­ed in Jan­u­ary 2024.

Some of the best col­leges for crim­i­nal jus­tice and law enforce­ment have sev­er­al spe­cif­ic options. Some pro­grams let you count work expe­ri­ence toward your degree. If you already have a crim­i­nal jus­tice job, look for schools that will count your expe­ri­ence as cred­it hours. This way, you can take few­er class­es and get your degree sooner.

Relat­ed:

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Work­ing adults who want to enhance their careers want to do it quick­ly, but that doesn’t mean sac­ri­fic­ing qual­i­ty for speed. Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter’s ana­lyt­ics team knows that, and that’s why the BDC rank­ing of the fastest online crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­grams just starts with speed. Pro­grams are also ranked accord­ing to five key factors:

Only trust­ed, accred­it­ed pro­grams qualify.

1. University of Oklahoma

When you’re plan­ning to obtain a bach­e­lor’s degree in crim­i­nal jus­tice online, you may want to con­sid­er the pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa. The accel­er­at­ed crim­i­nal jus­tice degree online from the uni­ver­si­ty allows stu­dents to fin­ish their degree in 18 months or at a pace that fits their goals. 

The pro­gram offers eight-week cours­es that give stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fin­ish a bach­e­lor’s degree at a fast pace. Stu­dents can also trans­fer cred­its to speed up the process.

A key way the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa stands apart from oth­er pro­grams is the focus on law enforce­ment and relat­ed skills. The pro­gram teach­es stu­dents the basics of foren­sic sci­ence as it applies to inves­ti­ga­tions, as well as the way the jus­tice sys­tem works and dif­fer­ent types of crimes. 

By pro­vid­ing stu­dents with a strong foun­da­tion, it pre­pares stu­dents for the chal­lenges of work­ing in law enforce­ment careers.

What We Like: The Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa is one of the top ten online pro­grams for crim­i­nal jus­tice accord­ing to U.S. News and World Reports.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

2. Ball State University

When you are look­ing for an accel­er­at­ed online crim­i­nal jus­tice degree that fits your per­son­al sched­ule, the BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice and Crim­i­nol­o­gy at Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty may help with your goals. The accel­er­at­ed pro­gram allows you to trans­fer the major­i­ty of your cred­its and still com­plete the online degree program. 

You only need to fin­ish the last 30 cred­its at the uni­ver­si­ty to obtain your bach­e­lor’s degree. As an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, it also offers fast-paced classes.

Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty is rec­og­nized by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the best schools for its online crim­i­nal jus­tice degree pro­gram. The pro­gram pro­vides stu­dents with the strong foun­da­tion they need to take on a career in law enforce­ment or a relat­ed career path. 

It also ensures that stu­dents are pre­pared for the rig­ors of their careers and have the abil­i­ty to keep up in a fast-paced work environment.

What We Like: Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty offers cred­it for mil­i­tary ser­vice and allows stu­dents to get cred­it for class­es by tak­ing appro­pri­ate exams.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice and Criminology

3. Norwich University

Nor­wich Uni­ver­si­ty offers an accel­er­at­ed crim­i­nal jus­tice degree online that allows stu­dents to focus on their career objec­tives. The online degree pro­gram pro­vides a robust cur­ricu­lum that teach­es lead­er­ship skills, ethics, and data analy­sis as it applies to the crim­i­nal jus­tice field. It also pre­pares stu­dents to under­stand dif­fer­ent aspects of the law to han­dle the chal­lenges of work­ing in law enforce­ment or a sim­i­lar role.

Nor­wich Uni­ver­si­ty allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its into the online degree pro­gram. That allows stu­dents to fin­ish up their degrees at a fast pace and con­tin­ue into a long-term career. Stu­dents can fin­ish the degree pro­gram in 18 months or as it fits their sched­ule. The flex­i­ble pro­gram ensures that stu­dents are able to focus on their goals.

What We Like: Nor­wich Uni­ver­si­ty offers mul­ti­ple start dates for the online crim­i­nal jus­tice degree pro­gram to fit the needs of work­ing adults.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

4. DeSales University

DeSales Uni­ver­si­ty offers an accel­er­at­ed online crim­i­nal jus­tice degree pro­gram that fits the needs of work­ing adults. The pro­gram offers dif­fer­ent tracks to help stu­dents focus on a spe­cif­ic career objec­tive. That allows stu­dents to gain the spe­cial­ized skills that fit their indus­tries and the sit­u­a­tion at their jobs. It also gives stu­dents a chance to adjust to a new job.

A key way DeSales Uni­ver­si­ty dif­fers from oth­er pro­grams is the flex­i­bil­i­ty of the online degree pro­gram. Stu­dents can work around their sched­ules while com­plet­ing a degree. It also offers accel­er­at­ed cours­es on-cam­pus through a night and week­end pro­gram. The options allow stu­dents to find a strat­e­gy that works for their long-term goals and situation.

What We Like: DeSales Uni­ver­si­ty offers per­son­al advis­ing to stu­dents in the online crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­gram to help stu­dents nar­row down their options and select the right cours­es for their goals.

Degree: BA in Crim­i­nal Justice

5. King University (TN)

King Uni­ver­si­ty offers an online BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree pro­gram with an accel­er­at­ed for­mat that helps stu­dents reach their goals. The online degree pro­gram allows stu­dents to fin­ish the degree with­in 16 months due to the short five-week cours­es. When stu­dents are tak­ing full-time cours­es, they are able to fin­ish their degrees at a fast pace and move for­ward with long-term plans for a career.

The way King Uni­ver­si­ty stands apart from oth­er pro­grams is the focus on a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of the Amer­i­can jus­tice sys­tem. The pro­gram gives stu­dents a strong foun­da­tion in crim­i­nal pro­ce­dures and crim­i­nal law to pre­pare stu­dents for the chal­lenges of work­ing in law enforce­ment, parole offi­cers, or oth­er civ­il ser­vant roles.

What We Like: King Uni­ver­si­ty in Ten­nessee is a Yel­low Rib­bon School and is a mil­i­tary-friend­ly school that works with the GI Bill to help vet­er­ans, active-duty mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, and their fam­i­ly members.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

6. Troy University

The accel­er­at­ed online crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­gram at Troy Uni­ver­si­ty is a good option for stu­dents who want to com­plete their degree at a fast pace. The online pro­gram allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 75 per­cent of their cred­its. That allows stu­dents to fin­ish their degrees at a fast pace and move for­ward into a new career.

Troy Uni­ver­si­ty dif­fers from oth­er pro­grams by focus­ing on flex­i­bil­i­ty and access to edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties. The online degree pro­gram allows stu­dents to work at their own pace. It gives stu­dents the abil­i­ty to work from any loca­tion and ensures that stu­dents are able to access course mate­ri­als when they are ready for the class­es. It also focus­es on pro­vid­ing a strong foun­da­tion in crim­i­nal pro­ce­dures to give stu­dents the skills they need to work in law enforcement.

What We Like: Stu­dents in the crim­i­nal jus­tice degree pro­gram at Troy Uni­ver­si­ty can com­plete a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in cyber­se­cu­ri­ty to enhance their skills and options for a career.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

7. University of West Georgia

When you’re look­ing for an accel­er­at­ed online pro­gram in crim­i­nal jus­tice, you want to con­sid­er the BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice from the Uni­ver­si­ty of West Geor­gia. The online degree pro­gram allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its, which reduces the time you spend work­ing on your class­es. It allows stu­dents to work at their own pace and is designed around the needs of work­ing adults.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of West Geor­gia offers a flex­i­ble solu­tion for stu­dents who want to study crim­i­nal jus­tice. The degree pro­gram allows stu­dents to work online or on-cam­pus. That means stu­dents can work at their own pace and com­plete their degree when it fits their situation. 

When stu­dents do not trans­fer cred­its, it is pos­si­ble to fin­ish the degree with­in three years when tak­ing a full-time sched­ule. Trans­fer­ring cred­its may cut back on the time required to fin­ish the degree.

What We Like: The Uni­ver­si­ty of West Geor­gia is accred­it­ed by The South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools Com­mis­sion of Col­leges for its online degree programs.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

8. Southern New Hampshire University

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty offers an accel­er­at­ed bach­e­lor’s degree pro­gram in crim­i­nal jus­tice. The online degree pro­gram allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its into the pro­gram to cut back on the amount of time required to fin­ish a degree. 

The school also offers a sim­ple appli­ca­tion process that allows stu­dents to com­plete the appli­ca­tion online and then the school obtains records of a stu­den­t’s tran­scripts from oth­er insti­tu­tions in the Unit­ed States for trans­fer credits.

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty stands apart by focus­ing on a user-friend­ly expe­ri­ence for stu­dents. It makes the appli­ca­tion process and trans­fer process sim­ple by focus­ing on a sin­gle appli­ca­tion. It does not require the com­plex­i­ty of pro­vid­ing a vari­ety of doc­u­ments to the school. That allows stu­dents to eas­i­ly start work­ing on their degrees.

What We Like: Stu­dents with expe­ri­ence in law enforce­ment may qual­i­fy for cred­its based on their expe­ri­ence and work.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

9. Monroe College

The online crim­i­nal jus­tice degree pro­gram from Mon­roe Col­lege offers accel­er­at­ed options to move for­ward with a career. The degree pro­gram ensures that stu­dents are able to focus on their long-term goals and move into an excit­ing career in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. It gives stu­dents a strong foun­da­tion to help build on their career and devel­op the skills they need for their goals.

Mon­roe Col­lege allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its into the online degree pro­gram. That allows stu­dents to fin­ish their degree in a short amount of time and start work­ing in their careers. The abil­i­ty to trans­fer cred­its into the pro­gram ensures that stu­dents do not waste time when they have already fin­ished some edu­ca­tion in oth­er programs.

What We Like: Mon­roe Col­lege offers a Police Acad­e­my Schol­ars pro­gram, or PASS pro­gram, that pre­pares stu­dents study­ing in crim­i­nal jus­tice for the chal­lenges of the police academy.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice

10. Louisiana State University — Alexandria

Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty — Alexan­dria offers an accel­er­at­ed crim­i­nal jus­tice degree online that allows stu­dents to trans­fer cred­its into the pro­gram with ease. The pro­gram allows stu­dents to trans­fer a vari­ety of cred­its, so the exact amount of time required to com­plete the pro­gram may vary. Stu­dents can trans­fer the major­i­ty of their cred­its into the pro­gram and still fin­ish a degree at the university.

LSU Alexan­dria stands out from oth­er pro­grams by offer­ing mul­ti­ple start dates for the online degree pro­gram in crim­i­nal jus­tice. Stu­dents can start work­ing on their degree at mul­ti­ple times through­out the year, which gives stu­dents greater flex­i­bil­i­ty to work around a job or per­son­al oblig­a­tions. The start dates for the degree pro­gram occur at dif­fer­ent points through­out the year, so stu­dents can select a date that works around their needs.

What We Like: Stu­dents can get up to 15 cred­its for the degree when they have com­plet­ed the 320-hour basic train­ing course through the Police Academy.

Degree: BS in Crim­i­nal Justice


Data Sources:

  • Cost — cur­rent IPEDS data
  • Employ­ment — cur­rent IPEDS data
  • Grad­u­a­tion Rate — cur­rent IPEDS data
  • Rep­u­ta­tion — Niche Score
  • Salary Poten­tial — Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics (BLS) data, Payscale data

Frequently Asked Questions

How Fast Can I Earn a Degree in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice?

You can earn a bachelor’s degree in crim­i­nal jus­tice in two years depend­ing on the trans­fer cred­it pro­gram for pri­or learn­ing assess­ments, cred­it-for-exam­i­na­tions, mil­i­tary train­ing, pro­fes­sion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and work expe­ri­ence. You can also choose accel­er­at­ed pro­grams, degree com­ple­tion pro­grams, and com­pe­ten­cy-based pro­grams to earn a Crim­i­nal Jus­tice degree in under four years.

Do I Need a Four-Year Degree to Work in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice?

No, a bachelor’s degree is not required for employ­ment in the crim­i­nal jus­tice indus­try. You can become a police offi­cer, a cor­rec­tion offi­cer, and a bailiff with only a high school diplo­ma, plus addi­tion­al for­mal train­ing and on-the-job train­ing. How­ev­er, a bachelor’s degree gives you exclu­sive access to career advance­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties in crim­i­nal justice.

Should I Choose an Accel­er­at­ed Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Degree for Law Enforce­ment Work?

When decid­ing, remem­ber that the accel­er­at­ed pro­gram of study demands that you keep up with the fast learn­ing pace. If you have excel­lent time and stress man­age­ment skills, effec­tive study habits, and moti­va­tion to keep up with these chal­lenges, then go for it.

Should I Get A BA or BS in Crim­i­nal Jus­tice?

In terms of focus, bach­e­lor of arts (BA) pro­grams empha­size the lib­er­al arts, includ­ing psy­chol­o­gy and soci­ol­o­gy, while the bach­e­lor of sci­ence (BS) pro­grams focus on the sci­en­tif­ic aspects, such as foren­sic sci­ence and research meth­ods. So, if you’re more inter­est­ed in the admin­is­tra­tive side of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, your best bet is the BA degree. If you’re into the spe­cial­ist side, your best choice is the BS degree.

Are Fast-Track Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Degrees Cheap?

You can save mon­ey because of the short pro­gram dura­tion and trans­fer cred­its. How­ev­er, be aware of the tuition, oth­er costs, and finan­cial aid options before mak­ing your choice. Gen­er­al­ly, how­ev­er, bachelor’s degrees in crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­grams charge between $330 and $715 per cred­it.