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50 Great Value Colleges for Criminology

Great Value Colleges - Criminology Degrees

Criminology is arguably one of the most fascinating subjects one can study. Different than the study of criminal justice, a criminology degree program focuses less on the punitive aspect of crime and more on motive and societal impact. Criminology degree holders may go on to work in a variety of different fields including corrections, psychology, social work, and even teaching. Because of this career diversity, salaries for criminology graduates will vary widely. Even so, it is wise to choose an affordable criminology degree program that offers the most educational bang for your buck. In order to help students find such a program, we’ve compiled a list of the 50 best value colleges and universities for this captivating major. For information regarding career potential for criminology degree holders, check out our article on the Highest Paying Criminal Justice Careers.

Types of degree programs covered in this ranking include the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology (BS)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (BA)
  • Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)
  • Executive Master of Science in Justice Administration (EMS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology (PhD)

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Graduate Degree Opportunities in Criminology
• Presence of Master’s Degree Program – 1 point
• Presence of Doctoral Degree Program – 1 point
Awards and Recognition (Related to Criminology)
• National Level – 2 points
• Regional Level – 1 point
20-Year Net ROI
• Above 700,000 – 6 points
• Above 600,000 – 5 points
• Above 500,000 – 4 points
• Above 400,000 – 3 points
• Above 300,000 –2 points
• Above 200,000 – 1 point
Criminology Research Opportunities – 1 point
Innovative Programs and/or Teaching Methods in Criminology – 1 point
Study Abroad Opportunities in Criminology – 1 point
Criminology Internship Opportunities – 1 point
Criminology Scholarship Opportunities – 1 point
Affiliated Centers and Institutes on Campus – 1 point
Related Student Organizations and Societies – 1 point
Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Great Value Colleges for Criminology

The following list is a result of extensive research probing the quality and value of criminology degree programs across the country. After searching College Navigator for colleges and universities offering a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in criminology, we investigated further by visiting the websites of each school to gather more information. The net cost is the median average net cost by income. We then combined the data regarding the academic offerings of each program along with the school’s 20-year ROI (according to PayScale). After identifying the best value schools, we applied the rating and ranking methodology above to create the final list. In cases where two or more schools received the same number of points, we used the school’s net price to break the tie, presenting the most affordable criminology degree programs higher in the rankings.

#50 – Framingham State University

Framingham, Massachusetts


Points: 4
Net Price: $19,570

Housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Framingham State University’s Criminology degree program trains its students to approach criminal justice issues from a research-based perspective. While this program prepares students for careers in the criminal justice system, it is designed for students looking for a broader range of career opportunities than those typically available to criminal justice majors. FSU also offers its students a wide range of experiential learning opportunities through study abroad programs, community service projects, and internships.

#49 – Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania


Points: 5
Net Price: $22,453

Elizabethtown College offers a Sociology–Anthropology program with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice. This unique combined major prepares students for a wide variety of careers. Students in this criminology degree program have opportunities to participate in internships and research, as well as events held by the department and its clubs. One of the most exciting events hosted by the department is the Annual Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference. This conference is open to all criminology degree students and faculty, whether they’re presenting or are just interested their peers’ work.

#48 – The University of Tampa

Tampa, Florida


Points: 5
Net Price: $29,312

Criminology degree students at the University of Tampa enjoy an interdisciplinary environment, a diverse array of courses, and opportunities to gain real-world experience. Faculty members are trained in multiple fields, allowing them to offer more high-quality, interdisciplinary courses than many other programs provide. Outside of the traditional classes for this bachelor’s in criminology, students conduct mock trials, go on field trips, participate in internships, and travel abroad. The Criminology Scholars Program is also available to exceptional students interested in a course taught by highly-regarded criminal justice professionals from outside the university.

#47 – State University of New York – Cortland

Cortland, New York


Points: 5
Net Price: $18,053

State University of New York–Cortland offers a BA in Criminology and a BA in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology. Students in this program are prepared for both graduate study and employment in the criminal justice system. Students can also prepare for a certain type of work or graduate study by taking classes from related disciplines, such as forensics and social work. Outside of classroom instruction, criminology degree students have opportunities to complete internships and join student organizations.

#46 – North Carolina State University – Raleigh

Raleigh, North Carolina


Points: 5
Net Price: $15,084

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North Carolina State University–Raleigh offers a BA in Criminology that aims to not only produce criminal justice professionals, but also good citizens. Students who complete this program are expected to appreciate cultural diversity, analyze and produce research, and effectively apply concepts to real-world situations. While only one criminology degree program is offered, NCSU gives criminology majors the flexibility to choose courses that are relevant to their career paths. Opportunities for field experience within the criminal justice system are also available.

#45 – Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, Michigan


Points: 5
Net Price: $16,042

Eastern Michigan University’s Criminology degree program prides itself in its exceptional faculty, rigorous graduate programs, and research productivity. All full-time faculty have PhD’s and consistently secure external funding for research that both graduate and undergraduate students are regularly involved with. Students also enjoy opportunities for hands-on learning through internships. All criminology degree programs are multidisciplinary and built on a strong liberal arts foundation. This provides students with the broad knowledge required for both employment and further study.

#44 – Hofstra University

Hempstead, New York


Points: 6
Net Price: $32,962

Criminology majors at Hofstra University are offered a wide variety of courses from different disciplines and opportunities to apply those courses to real-world situations. Students study topics such as sociology, forensics, linguistics, and philosophy. Students are also able to participate in internships at nearby specialized programs and courts, including mental health and drug courts, the Department of Probation, and rehabilitation programs. Students who complete this criminology degree program are prepared for leadership positions in the justice system and graduate-level study.

#43 – University of North Carolina – Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina


Points: 6
Net Price: $19,592


The University of North Carolina–Wilmington offers a BA in Criminology and an MA in Sociology and Criminology. The Sociology and Criminology program offers more than five criminology-focused areas of concentration, including victimology, substance abuse, and public/applied criminology. Undergraduate criminology majors can also explore these topics through electives. All students are encouraged to complete internships starting their junior year. Active student organizations are also available to students interested in the meetings and events these organizations host.

#42 – University of Maryland – Eastern Shore

Princess Anne, Maryland


Points: 6
Net Price: $19,076

The University of Maryland–Eastern Shore’s Criminal Justice program incorporates several different disciplines into its courses to give its students a more complete understanding of the criminal justice system. Criminology degree students can augment this broad education with electives that focus on a more specific area within the justice system. The Department’s MS in Criminal Justice offers three concentrations, one of which is the Criminology and Research concentration. Field experience and seminar and laboratory work during the junior and senior years are highly encouraged.

#41 – Mount St. Mary’s University

Emmitsburg, Maryland


Points: 7
Net Price: $25,090

Mount St. Mary’s University offers several options for undergraduate students interested in criminology from its department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Students may choose to minor in Criminal Justice, pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, or declare a double major in Sociology/Criminal Justice. Those who wish to connect with other criminology degree students, alumni, and future employers have the opportunity to join the school’s Criminal Justice Student Association as well as Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society.

#40 – Florida Southern College

Lakeland, Florida


Points: 7
Net Price: $24,097

Criminology degree students at Florida Southern College enjoy accessible faculty, discussion-based classes, and flexibility in choosing courses. All students are able to participate in research alongside faculty, and faculty research is brought into the classroom. Outside of some required courses, students can choose classes that fit their career goals and specialize in what they’re interested in. Florida Southern College only offers a bachelor’s in criminology, but this makes it a wonderful program for undergraduates as the school offers an exceptional amount of resources and opportunities usually only available to a department’s graduate students.

#39 – California State University – San Marcos

San Marcos, California


Points: 7
Net Price: $14,582

The Criminology and Justice Studies program at California State University–San Marcos educates its students thoroughly in both the practical and theoretical aspects of the field. One of the most exciting opportunities available to students that incorporates both aspects is the annual Sociology/Criminology and Justice Studies Student Research Symposium. This symposium encourages students to emphasize social justice in panel, poster, or spoken word sessions. It is an excellent opportunity for criminology degree students to practice working together in teams and presenting in the same way they would at larger and more formal conferences as professionals.

#38 – Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Points: 8
Net Price: $33,324


Drexel University offers a BS in Criminology and Justice Studies with concentrations in Criminal Justice, Criminology and Justice Policy, and Justice Informatics. This program is available in both traditional and online formats. It is also available as an Accelerated BS and JD in Criminology and Justice Studies and Law. Drexel is especially well-known for its cooperative education program, which allows students to receive credit for six months of full-time employment in their field. Students are also able to participate in research alongside faculty. Both of these opportunities give students valuable hands on experience that will help them find employment or enter a graduate program after completing their bachelor’s degree in criminology.

#37 – Marquette University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Points: 8
Net Price: $25,492

Marquette University’s Criminology and Law Studies program is known for its flexibility. It can easily be combined with other majors to prepare students for more specialized work or graduate study. Students from other majors also take criminology courses, creating a more interdisciplinary environment. These courses are taught by some of the most highly-regarded scholars and professionals in the country. The bachelor’s degree in criminology program also offers several opportunities for professional networking and hands-on experience through internships, study abroad, research and department-sponsored events.

#36 – Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania


Points: 8
Net Price: $30,371

The Department of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University boasts an impressive amount of opportunities for its undergraduate students. Students are able to intern at a wide variety of government agencies and nonprofits, including the New York State Supreme Court and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Students also have opportunities to conduct independent research under faculty supervision. Many students go on to present their research at events such as the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference. The hands-on experience and professional development aspect of this bachelor’s degree in criminology make students appealing to potential employers and prepare them thoroughly for work after graduation.

#35 – Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio


Points: 8
Net Price: $13,982

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The Criminology and Criminal Justice program at Ohio State University works alongside the university’s Sociology program to improve the criminal justice system and provide students with the information and resources necessary to be successful in the field. OSU prides itself in its expert faculty and experiential learning opportunities. Faculty members are knowledgeable in a wide variety of topics and regularly mentor students in research and independent study. The bachelor’s degree in criminology program also facilitates internships, an honors program, and a unique proseminar course that allows qualified students to work in small teams on a service project.

#34 – Central Connecticut State University

New Britain, Connecticut


Points: 8
Net Price: $15,860

Central Connecticut State University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice prioritizes critical thinking, diversity, and the use of technology in the classroom. It offers a BA degree program and an MS degree program. Both graduate and undergraduate students may participate in all aspects of research, including the design and approval stages. Students can also complete internships at a wide variety of locations, including local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, state agencies, and victim services. These opportunities and others made available throughout this affordable criminology degree program make graduates appealing to employers and graduate programs alike.

#33 – University of Missouri – Saint Louis

Saint Louis, Missouri


Points: 8
Net Price: $7,894

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The University of Missouri–Saint Louis’s Criminology and Criminal Justice program is highly regarded for its research, community service, and excellent teaching. Faculty are always conducting research and generating external funding from private foundations and government agencies. Faculty members are also active in service projects locally and internationally. Both research and service projects contribute to student education by creating new knowledge and providing opportunities for hands-on experience. Students in the bachelor’s degree in criminology program also have opportunities to attend events hosted by the department and its active student organizations.

#32 – St. John’s University

Queens, New York

Points: 9
Net Price: $26,661

St. John’s University equips its criminology students with the knowledge and skills needed to advance in a wide variety of criminal justice and criminology careers. The university’s MA degree in Criminology and Justice can be completed in as few as three semesters, though part-time students may need up to five semesters. Classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate working students. Internships and a limited number of research assistantships are available to students looking for opportunities to gain work experience before completing their criminology degree.

#31 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana, Pennsylvania


Points: 9
Net Price: $22,689

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Indiana University of Pennsylvania works to prepare its criminology students for careers in the criminal justice system through a thorough education, hands-on experience, and events. Teaching is the top priority at IUP. All faculty members are expected to teach multiple courses each semester and respond to students’ needs. This criminology degree program also offers internships for qualified students interested in experiential learning. Common internship locations include prisons, security firms, and mental health facilities. Students looking for opportunities to connect to potential employers can also attend the school’s annual career fair.

#30 – University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Minneapolis, Minnesota


Points: 9
Net Price: $12,556

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The University of Minnesota–Twin Cities offers both a BS and a BA degree in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance. These criminology degree programs examine the social processes involved in the criminal justice system through research. Students pursuing a BS in criminology degree can choose to specialize in one of four areas, including Policy Analysis and Quantitative Emphasis. Both degree programs require students to complete the Major Project or the Honors Proseminar Sequence, which gives students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained over the previous years to an original research project.

#29 – University of Delaware

Newark, Delaware


Points: 9
Net Price: $14,622


The Criminal Justice and Criminology programs at the University of Delaware produce well-rounded, thoroughly prepared graduates who can enter a variety of positions in the criminal justice system. This is primarily due to the interdisciplinary approach that the criminology degree programs take. The department’s faculty is made up of experts in not only criminology and other strictly criminal justice-related areas, but also health, environment, gender, and race. Students also enjoy a diverse array of opportunities to learn through research, study abroad, internships, and seminars.

#28 – CUNY – John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, New York


Points: 9
Net Price: $7,751

The City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a liberal arts institution that integrates justice into all of its programs, even the arts and sciences. This school-wide focus offers students a unique atmosphere in which to study criminology. Criminology is one of the most popular majors at John Jay, and as a result, students enrolled in a criminology degree program enjoy an especially supportive community of peers. Criminology students also have the option to enroll in the program’s Honors track, which includes internships and research opportunities.

#27 – University of South Carolina – Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina


Points: 10
Net Price: $20,783


The University of South Carolina–Columbia’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is home to an advanced program  based on research and criminological theory. This program is consistently engaged in research, policy analysis, and program evaluation. The department also hosts several events and large projects, including a lecture series, career fairs, and the annual South Carolina Law Enforcement Census. This affordable criminology degree program’s high volume of activity gives students several opportunities for enrichment and creates new knowledge that can be integrated into coursework.

#26 – University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Little Rock, Arkansas


Points: 10
Net Price: $14,482

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers the only Criminal Justice doctoral program in Arkansas, as well as two other Criminal Justice degree programs that are available in both traditional and online formats. All of the programs balance classroom education with hands-on learning. Experiential learning opportunities include internships and research. The Department of Criminal Justice has three centers, including the Juvenile Justice Center and the Center for the Study of Environmental Criminology. These centers improve the criminal justice system and the community through research while also training UALR students for work in the field.

#25 – University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi


Points: 10
Net Price: $18,285

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Criminal Justice produces graduates who are  employed at government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service, as well as organizations in the private sector. The university offers two criminal justice BA programs, a BS in Forensics with an emphasis in Criminal Justice, and three criminal justice graduate degree programs. This wide variety of options helps provide some flexibility to students interested in a particular aspect of the criminal justice system. The School of Criminal Justice also facilitates internships, research, and student organization activities.

#24 – Indiana University- Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana


Points: 10
Net Price: $12,060

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The Department of Criminal Justice at Indiana University – Bloomington has a history of innovation, which explains its exceedingly interdisciplinary department that is always looking for a new approach to challenges in the field. Students majoring in Criminal Justice receive a broad education that draws information and techniques from the social sciences, the humanities, and other fields. A wide variety of elective courses allow students to apply this foundation to their personal interests such as journalism, research, and social work. Students in this affordable criminology degree program also have several opportunities for research internships, experience, teaching internships, and volunteer work.

#23 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago, Illinois


Points: 10
Net Price: $13,683

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The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Criminology, Law, and Justice programs are designed to prepare students for a wide variety of roles in the justice system. While this broad approach allows for less specialization, UIC still offers its students many exciting opportunities as criminology degree majors. Students can pursue enrichment opportunities through the UIC Honors College, which offers special courses and facilities. Internships are also available, enabling   students to gain practical experience in the specific setting they are interested in working in.

#22 – University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida


Points: 10
Net Price: $9,809

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The University of South Florida’s Criminology program is unique in that it approaches criminology not only from the perspective of a criminal justice professional, but also from the perspectives of society and offenders. The bachelor’s degree in criminology approaches criminology from the perspective of other academic disciplines. This well-rounded education prepares students for a variety of positions in the private and public sectors, as well as graduate studies. Both graduate and undergraduate students have opportunities for enrichment and experiential learning, including honors programs, internships, and research.

#21 – California State University – Fresno

Fresno, California


Points: 10
Net Price: $7,549

California State University–Fresno’s Department of Criminology is dedicated to diversity, excellence in education, and bettering the local and global community. Because of this, Fresno State maintains partnerships with several organizations. These partnerships facilitate research, internships, and other projects that benefit both criminology degree students and the community. Students have many unique extracurricular actives available to them, one of which  is the Mock Trial Program. This program serves both as a fun extracurricular activity and a three-unit criminology course. Other criminology-related opportunities include academic field trips and student organizations.

#20 – American University

Washington, D.C.


Points: 11
Net Price: $33,158

The Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University boasts expert faculty, a successful mock trial program, and exciting research opportunities. The department offers multiple criminology degree programs, including a combined JD/MS program and a combined BA/MS program. Most of these programs allow students to choose a specialization such as Justice and Public Policy or Jurisprudence and Social Thought. The programs are interdisciplinary, and all graduate students are required to participate in research. This gives them the experience required to be competitive in the field.

#19 – Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida


Points: 11
Net Price: $10,583

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Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice prides itself on its facilities, online programs, and research. FSU’s facilities, including the Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research and the newly-renovated Eppes Hall, provide students and faculty the best possible environment for learning and collaboration. Research conducted in these facilities has made an impact  on students,  public policy and people around the world. Most of the department’s criminology degree programs are offered online, giving busy students more flexibility.  FSU’s online programs are consistently ranked among the best in the nation.

#18 – University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota


Points: 11
Net Price: $15,686

The University of North Dakota’s Criminal Justice program draws from several departments, including the departments of Philosophy, Anthropology, and Sociology. This partnership among these departments and the Department of Criminal Justice provides students with the resources and alternative perspectives not available at many other universities. UND offers one of very few doctoral programs in the U.S. recognized by the American Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice, as well as the only specialized doctoral program for students with a JD degree. UND is also home to four criminal justice student groups, which host trips, events, and volunteer projects for criminology degree hopefuls.

#17 – University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida


Points: 11
Net Price: $11,161

The Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida prides itself in its online courses, experiential learning opportunities, and technologically advanced facilities. Both the undergraduate and graduate Criminal Justice programs can be completed online, and online students can still take advantage of internship opportunities. The department also operates a crime-mapping lab with the most up-to-date software. Criminology degree students can participate in extra service projects and professional development opportunities through the department’s active student organizations.

#16 – University of California – Irvine

Irvine, California


Points: 11
Net Price: $13,648

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The University of California–Irvine is home to the only criminology department in the University of California system. The department integrates criminology with socio-legal studies to give students a unique perspective of the justice system. Experiential learning is a priority. All students have opportunities to participate in field study in settings such as private legal firms, juvenile shelters, and the Orange County Victim/Witness Assistance Program. The department also hosts several events, including speaker series and research symposiums for criminology degree students.

#15 – Florida International University

Miami, Florida


Points: 11
Net Price: $10,298

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Florida International University’s Department of Criminal Justice offers both its graduate and undergraduate degree programs traditionally and online. It also offers multiple joint and combined degrees. This wide variety of program options provides FIU students some flexibility to choose a criminology degree program that is most beneficial to them. Students also have opportunities for enrichment through internships as well as international study through the school’s CJ Study Abroad in England program. Students who graduate from this program are prepared for a wide variety of careers in local, state, and federal agencies.

#14 – University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio


Points: 12
Net Price: $20,312

The University of Cincinnati’s Criminal Justice program is committed to research, community partnerships, and experiential learning. The university is highly regarded for its faculty research and state-of-the-art facilities. The program’s on-campus research centers provide an ideal setting for student training and spreading of information to organizations outside of the university. The School of Criminal Justice has partnered with several local police departments, correctional centers, and businesses for research and internships. Completion of an internship or other field experience is required in all criminology degree programs.

#13 – George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia


Points: 12
Net Price: $20,468

George Mason University offers an interdisciplinary Criminology, Law, and Society program. This criminology degree program provides students with a broad knowledge of the justice system while still giving them room for specialization through concentrations in areas such as Law and Society and Criminal Justice. The Department of Criminology, Law, and Society is home to three research facilities. These centers not only conduct research, but also provide information and training to professionals outside of the university. This gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in an environment similar to the one they will work in after graduation.

#12 – Washington State University

Pullman, Washington


Points: 12
Net Price: $15,548

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University is the oldest department of its kind in the nation. Its criminology degree program has a history of producing effective and ethical criminal justice professionals who can address pressing issues facing the U.S. and the world. Real-world experience is prioritized. Graduate students are given ample opportunities to participate in research, and faculty lead an annual study-abroad program where both undergraduate and graduate students can visit criminal justice agencies in places such as London and Amsterdam.

#11 – University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida


Points: 12
Net Price: $8,528

The Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law offers several stand-out degree programs in the school’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The BA degree program is the largest interdisciplinary program at the school, and the criminology PhD program was recently ranked 5th in the country for its research productivity. Faculty members collaborate with departments across the university to conduct meaningful research on topics such as gender and sexuality, health and aging, and race and ethnicity. This ongoing research contributes to the criminology degree programs’ robust curriculum and gives students the opportunity to work alongside professors in a hands-on way.

#10 – Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas


Points: 12
Net Price: $14,832

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Sam Houston State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology is highly regarded for its training institutes, active student groups, and research productivity. The department offers a large course selection and online courses, giving its students some flexibility to pursue their own interests. Several undergraduate and graduate criminology degree programs are offered both online and traditionally. The department also offers many professional development opportunities through its institutes and honor societies. Facilities include the Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom, the Conference Center, and forensic labs with specialized equipment.

#9 – University of Nebraska at Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska


Points: 12
Net Price: $13,833

The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Criminology degree program offers students both flexibility and many exciting opportunities. Students can take the full degree or just a few courses online, allowing busier students to easily fit classes into their schedules. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is home to two student organizations which host small trips and events. It also sponsors the London Study Abroad Program, which gives students the opportunity to compare the U.K. justice system to the U.S. justice system.

#8 – Arizona State University- West

Glendale, Arizona


Points: 12
Net Price: $11,114


Arizona State University–West’s Criminology degree program is one of the university’s highest rated programs, and it is especially well-known for its research productivity. ASU offers multiple degree programs in criminology, including accelerated and completely online options. Criminology students at ASU have several opportunities to gain hands-on experience through the university’s many research programs, as well as through internships at nearby criminal justice agencies. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad in countries such as Israel, Australia, and Italy, each of which has its own unique, location-specific criminology programming.

#7 – Pennsylvania State University

University Park, Pennsylvania


Points: 13
Net Price: $25,704

Pennsylvania State University’s Criminology degree programs are consistently ranked as one of the best programs in the nation. This is in part due to the Criminology program’s close relationship with the university’s Sociology program. Both of these programs are housed in the same department, allowing them to easily create an interdisciplinary atmosphere for students. Students have a wide variety of enrichment opportunities, including an honors program, study abroad, professional development, and competition. Many other opportunities and events are also available through the Justice Association, the Criminology major’s undergraduate student organization.

#6 – State University of New York at Albany

Albany, New York


Points: 13
Net Price: $20,138


The Criminal Justice program at the State University of New York at Albany has a history of producing graduates who are successful in both practical and teaching positions, as well as graduate programs. This is largely due to the program’s interdisciplinary approach. Students learn about the different agencies involved in the justice system and how they interact, preparing them for the environment they will enter after graduation. The School of Criminal Justice is also home to the Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center, which not only gives graduate students opportunities to participate in research, but also sponsors events for all criminal justice students.

#5 – Northeastern University

Boston, Massachusetts


Points: 14
Net Price: $17,692

Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has the unique advantage of being a small school in a large university. This allows students to enjoy small classes while still taking advantage of the many resources usually only available at larger institutions. Northeastern University has three criminal justice and criminology degree research facilities, all of which facilitate cutting-edge research. Students have many experiential learning opportunities, including co-op, internships, and service learning. All students gain at least one year of work experience before graduation.

#4 – Rutgers University – Newark

Newark, New Jersey


Points: 14
Net Price: $15,144

The School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University–Newark is home to one of the most popular programs on campus. The university’s diverse student population and location in one of the country’s leading business centers creates a unique learning environment and provides myriad resources for criminology degree students. There are several affiliated centers and institutes available to criminal justice students and faculty for research, as well as community outreach. The Center for Law and Justice is one of the best technologically equipped academic buildings in the U.S., making it an ideal environment for collaboration and learning.

#3 – University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Points: 15
Net Price: $12,752

The Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on the application of research to pressing issues in the field. As a result, all students are required to develop a research project, even undergraduate students. Penn is the only Ivy League university that offers a bachelor’s degree in criminology, and it has the longest continuous program of criminology education and research of any university in the nation. Penn also offers dual degree programs and a unique MS program that combines the theoretical and applied aspects of criminology into one program.

#2 – University of Maryland – College Park

College Park, Maryland


Points: 15
Net Price: $18,418

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland–College Park is home to the most popular major on campus and one of the most highly-ranked doctoral programs in the U.S. The Criminology and Criminal Justice program is a Limited Enrollment Program. These programs are competitive majors that only allow a certain number of students to enroll. This ensures that only the most dedicated students remain in the program. This already rigorous criminology degree program is complemented by several enrichment opportunities, including an honors program, internships, and research, and study abroad.

#1 – University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, Texas


Points: 15
Net Price: $13,797

The University of Texas at Dallas offers multiple Criminology degree programs, including a BA in Criminology, an Executive MS in Justice Administration and Leadership, and a PhD in Criminology. Undergraduate students can also take advantage of UTD’s Fast Track, which allows them to take up to 15 credit hours of graduate courses. Other opportunities for enrichment are available to both undergraduate and graduate students, such as study abroad, honors programs, internships and student organizations.

This ranking was updated in July 2020.

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