Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice of 2023

The cheapest online bachelor's in criminal justice degrees can save you money while preparing you for careers in fields like policing and forensic science.
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Updated September 7, 2023

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The most affordable online bachelor's degree in criminal justice allows you to earn your criminal justice degree in a convenient, cost-effective way.

When choosing a school, be sure to take into account all relevant costs, including tuition, fees, books, and program length.

You'll also want to consider how you can pay for your bachelor's in criminal justice online and the popular careers you can pursue afterward, from private investigator to forensic science technician.

Featured Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Degrees

10 Best Affordable Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Programs

#1 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Utah Valley University

  • Orem, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In-State | $442

Out-of-State | $260

Credits to Graduate: 120

In UVU's online criminal justice program, you'll study criminal law, victimization, corrections, and police-community relations. Online students can benefit from support resources like tutorials and online academic advising.

You must submit your high school transcripts to apply to the program. UVU also recommends that you submit your ACT or SAT scores to see if you qualify for any merit-based scholarships.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,192
Out-of-state
$16,092
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,541
Out-of-state
$25,977
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
40,936
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Excelsior College

  • Albany, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per Credit: $510

Credits to Graduate: 120

Excelsior's BS in criminal justice program examines crime-fighting, policing, and legal processes. You'll also learn how to manage criminal justice agencies. The program offers a homeland security concentration for those pursuing national security roles.

To apply, you'll need information about any colleges you've attended, plus any exams, training, or certification programs that could apply toward your degree.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
21,974
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Colorado State University-Global Campus

  • Aurora, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per Credit: $350

Credits to Graduate: 120

CSU-Global's online bachelor's in criminal justice program uses an asynchronous format so that you can complete coursework at any time and from any place.

As a criminal justice major, you'll study law enforcement and the legal system. You'll then graduate with the skills needed to work in federal law enforcement, corrections, or security.

The online admission requirements include high school transcripts and two years of work experience. Transfer students with at least 24 credits do not need to submit high school transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,400
Out-of-state
$8,400
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$9,000
Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
12,578
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

  • Fayette, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $270

Credits to Graduate: 120

At CMU, criminal justice majors explore investigation methods, criminal behavior, and social deviance. In the online criminal justice program, you'll build hands-on skills while studying the legal system and law enforcement.

Choose between a BA and a BS for your criminal justice degree. CMU offers unconditional admission to applicants who have a minimum 2.5 GPA and qualifying ACT or SAT scores, as well as to those who have a minimum 2.75 GPA with specific high school courses.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,950
Out-of-state
$5,950
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,075
Out-of-state
$6,075
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
3,429
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Arizona State University Digital Immersion

  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per Credit: $641

Credits to Graduate: 120

Examine the socioeconomic and psychological dimensions of crime as a criminal justice major at ASU. This online criminology and criminal justice program emphasizes crime prevention and response. You'll learn from experienced research faculty and criminal justice professionals. ASU also encourages distance learners to complete an internship.

You'll need to meet all admission requirements for first-year or transfer students, depending on your student status. ASU also offers a pathway for Arizona transfer students.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$10,820
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,516
Out-of-state
$6,516
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
53,993
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Georgia Highlands College

  • Rome, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $199

Credits to Graduate: 120

Earn your criminal justice degree in an affordable, flexible format with GHC's online bachelor's in criminal justice program. The school charges less than $200 per credit in tuition and includes support from student success coaches. You can also transfer credits from a peace officer standards and training program toward your degree.

Apply to the program by submitting an online application and official transcripts. Applicants with a minimum 2.0 GPA do not need to submit test scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$2,280
Out-of-state
$8,632
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,680
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In-State | $465

Out-of-State | $558

Credits to Graduate: 120

CU Denver offers three tracks to specialize your online criminal justice degree: general track, law enforcement, and victim services. In all tracks, you'll examine the criminal justice system while strengthening your critical thinking and analytical skills. CU Denver also offers scholarships to qualifying students.

The program sets different admission requirements based on your prior college experience. You can contact the university's online enrollment team for more info on specific admission requirements and deadlines.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,920
Out-of-state
$24,408
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,786
Out-of-state
$22,590
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
24,723
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Charter Oak State College

  • New Britain, CT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In-State | $319

Out-of-State | $419

Credits to Graduate: 120

Connecticut's Charter Oak State College offers an affordable online criminal justice degree with an interdisciplinary curriculum. Courses cover criminology, behavioral science, and criminal justice ethics. In addition to the general criminal justice option, you can specialize in victim advocacy.

Apply to the program online by submitting transcripts and test scores. The program offers six start dates each year. What's more, the school's in-state tuition discount extends to residents from New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,656
Out-of-state
$10,056
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,288
Out-of-state
$9,720
Retention Rate
50%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,634
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#9 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Dalton State College

  • Dalton, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit: $107

Credits to Graduate: 120

A public college in Georgia, Dalton State offers low tuition rates. You can earn a bachelor's in criminal justice degree online for around just $100 per credit, even as a fully online out-of-state student.

In this program, you'll study corrections, law enforcement, and juvenile justice. The curriculum builds analytical, research, and communication skills. You can also choose a concentration in law enforcement or social justice.

Submit an application online and provide transcripts to enroll. Dalton State has test-optional admissions, so you don't need to submit SAT or ACT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$2,563
Out-of-state
$9,469
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,794
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
75% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice of 2023

Indiana University-East

  • Richmond, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In-State | $239

Out-of-State | $347

Credits to Graduate: 120

Explore the causes and prevention of crime through IUE's online criminal justice degree. This program takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on legal studies, sociology, political science, and other fields. You'll learn about the courts, public policy, policing, and corrections. You can even customize your major with nine credits of criminal justice electives.

To apply, submit transcripts and an application. IUE offers scholarships for online students, including transfer scholarships. You can qualify for multiple scholarships with a single application.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,067
Out-of-state
$19,926
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,482
Out-of-state
$17,627
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
3,434
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Bachelor's in Criminal Justice: Program Expectations

A bachelor's in criminal justice provides a general overview of the criminal justice system. The program also prepares you for careers in areas like policing, corrections, security, and forensic investigation.

Here's an overview of what you can expect in a criminal justice bachelor's program:

While criminal justice programs can vary, coursework typically includes fundamentals of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal investigations.

You'll study law, psychology, and sociology while honing your critical thinking, analytical, and research skills.

Additionally, some online criminal justice bachelor's degrees provide opportunities to take specialized coursework.

Common Concentrations in a Criminal Justice Degree

Here are some of the most common concentrations you can pursue in a criminal justice degree program:

  • Criminal Forensics: This concentration emphasizes crime, criminal behavior, and forensic investigations. Forensic concentrations often include coursework in chemistry and information technology.
  • Juvenile Justice: Juvenile justice coursework focuses on prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation for youth offenders. You'll learn about laws and policies that apply to juveniles and the psychology of juvenile behavior.
  • Homeland Security: This concentration emphasizes theories and practices of preventing, detecting, and managing national security threats. Coursework includes border safety, transportation security, and infrastructure protection.
  • Administration: Criminal justice administration coursework emphasizes function and leadership in the criminal justice field. You'll study interagency communication, court systems and processes, and politics and government.

Funding Your Degree in Criminal Justice

You have many options when it comes to funding your online criminal justice degree.

You can start your financial aid journey by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Submitting the FAFSA may let you qualify for student loans and can lead to additional funding opportunities like scholarships and work-study. Members of specific communities may have even more financial aid options.

Military service personnel and veterans can apply for additional aid, along with members of specific communities. Women, students of color, and learners in certain disciplines can pursue private scholarships to help pay for college as well. Additionally, some scholarships are awarded based on academic merit.

Here are some examples of popular criminal justice scholarships you can apply for.

Women in Federal Law Enforcement Annual Scholarship

Award Amount: $1,500

The WIFLE Scholarship supports students majoring in criminal justice and related fields. To be eligible, you must enroll full time, earn a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit an essay and letter of support.

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Scholarship

Award Amount: $1,000-$2,500

Through the NOBLE Awards program, you can apply for several scholarships, including national scholarships and local chapter scholarships. Scholarship recipients will be recognized at NOBLE's Annual Training Conference.

Brian Terry Scholar Program

Award Amount: Full Tuition, Books, and Living Expenses

To become a Brian Terry scholar, you must make a positive impact on your community, demonstrate a commitment to criminal justice, and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. The application requires two letters of recommendation, an essay, and transcripts.

My Alarm Center Student Scholarship

Award Amount: $1,000

A leader in home security, My Alarm Center provides annual funding to students pursuing degrees in public safety, law enforcement, criminal justice, and related fields. To apply, you must submit a security-focused essay.

Melissa Linville Criminal Justice Scholarship

Award Amount: $500

Honoring its namesake, the Melissa Linville Criminal Justice Scholarship supports students pursuing careers in criminal justice. To apply, you must submit an essay and transcripts and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Popular Careers in Criminal Justice

The versatility of a criminal justice degree can lead to many career opportunities. You can pursue entry-level roles like police officer, corrections specialist, and criminal investigator.

Some positions for criminal justice graduates may require additional certification, training, or licensure. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can also lead to continued criminal justice study at the master's and doctoral levels.

Salaries for those professionals with criminal justice degrees< vary by position, location, and experience.

Two common roles for criminal justice grads are probation officers and police officers. Both jobs have modest employment projections for 2021-2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Emergency management directors, who must possess advanced degrees, rank among the top-paying positions for criminal justice professionals.

Popular Criminal Justice Careers
Job Median Annual Salary (May 2021) Projected Job Growth (2021-2031)
Emergency Management Directors $76,730 3%
Forensic Science Technicians $61,930 11%
Police and Detectives $66,020 3%
Private Detectives and Investigators $59,380 6%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $60,250 0%

Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Justice Degrees

Is an online criminal justice degree more affordable than an in-person degree?

An online criminal justice degree program can cost the same as an on-campus program. If you want to save on your degree, choose a public in-state college or university instead of a private or out-of-state school.

To determine the total cost of your program, consider everything — tuition, fees, books, and so on.

Online students can benefit from not having to pay for things like transportation to and from campus and on-campus housing.

What's the highest-paying job in criminal justice?

Emergency management director is one of the highest-paying jobs you can get with a criminal justice degree. This job currently boasts a median annual salary of $76,730, according to the BLS.

Other well-paying criminal justice jobs include forensic science technician (median salary: $61,930) and police and detective (median salary: $66,020).

Most criminal justice jobs offer opportunities for advancement, which can increase your earnings as you progress in your career.

Is a criminal justice degree worth it?

A criminal justice degree can be worth it if you're passionate about serving and protecting your community, helping victims, and ensuring justice.

What's more, criminal justice jobs will always experience some demand. For example, jobs for police officers and lawyers are projected to grow by 4% and 10%, respectively, between 2021 and 2031, according to the BLS.

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