TOP CRIMINAL JUSTICE PHD PROGRAMS (2022)

You can pursue many degrees in criminal justice with only a bachelor’s degree. But an online PH.D. in criminal justice can prepare you for advanced roles in the field. It also allows you to attend college while still maintaining your career. This article discusses all you need to know about online criminal justice doctoral programs. We’ll also feature the top schools for online PH.D. programs in criminal justice.

Featured Programs

Online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice Methodology

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For students who want to pursue a Ph.D. in criminal justice online, we have compiled a list of the top programs available. These programs have been selected for this ranking based on a scoring system that considers the cost of tuition and the length of the program.

The programs are ordered from highest to lowest scores. All have been accredited by a nationally recognized board. And each school is a verified nonprofit college or university.

Tuition information comes from the National Center for Education Statistics. Please note that fees and the costs for in-state, out-of-state, and online programs can vary. We’ve based our figures on in-state tuition rates only.

#1. University of North Georgia

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Criminal Justice Ph.D. with a Concentration in Intelligence

Dahlonega, Georgia

An online Criminal Justice Ph.D. is available at theUniversity of North Georgia. This remote Ph.D. in Criminal Justice has a concentration in intelligence. It’s a cohort program that begins in the fall semester. This is a 54-credit-hour program. And students must already hold a master’s degree. It consists of 30 hours of core courses and nine hours of electives. Elective courses include:

  • Global Crime and Justice
  • Criminal Justice Policy
  • Police and Society
  • Corrections and Penology
  • Legal Liabilities of Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Behavioral Analysis
  • Special Topics in Criminal Justice
  • Special Topics in Criminal Justice
  • Independent Study in Criminal Justice

With this criminal justice online program, students are required to complete 15 hours of dissertation credits. You will need to complete and defend your dissertation. Students are also required to complete two teaching practicums. The program is entirely online, with no campus attendance required. Students can enroll part-time or full-time. Classes are asynchronous, so you can go at your own pace and create a study schedule that works for you.

The criminal justice online program at UNG is well-designed, with plenty of resources for remote students. The school uses Brightspace by D2L as the platform for eLearning. The university provides all thetechnical informationyou need to get started and be successful online. In addition, all students have a student success advisor they can contact if they have any questions or concerns. There is also a technology services department should you run into any tech issues. It’s one of the top criminal justice phd programs online.

A unique feature of UNG’s online learning programs isremote mental health services. All UNG students have access to In-the-moment counseling and support for mental health issues.Services include:

  • Free telehealth treatment sessions.
  • Individual Therapy/Counseling.
  • Relaxation Training using natural medical aids such as the new Budpop’s turmeric gummies.
  • Problem Solving.
  • Time Management Skills Building.
  • Crisis Intervention/Stabilization.
  • Distress Tolerance Skills Building.
  • Substance Abuse Issues.

Accreditation:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition:$4,140

Score:100

#2. University of the Cumberlands

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Online PhD Criminology

Florence, Kentucky

The second school on our list is a private non-profit university. University of the Cumberlands is headquartered in the heart of Appalachia in Florence, Kentucky. Criminal Justice students will enroll in the school’s Ph.D. in Leadership Studies. Then, they will opt for a concentration in criminal justice. This criminal justice online program is designed with flexibility in mind. That way, students can complete their coursework at a pace that fits their own schedules. Some of the specialty area content for this program include:

  • Critical Issues in Law Enforcement: Race & Gender
  • Recovery and Relapse
  • Legal Research and Analysis
  • Drugs and Crime
  • Violent Offenders: Crimes & Psychology
  • Juvenile Justice Administration and Management
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Homeland Security


Online students have access to the same excellent perks as those attending in person. For example, students can take advantage of counseling, health, and career services. Additionally, the school’s Learning Commons serves as a valuable resource. Students can join study groups, attend workshops, or receive online tutoring. UC’s Writing Center is also available to help students with dissertation reviews.


Over the past year, Cumberlands has earned many awards and designations. They have been named a College of Distinction for 2021-2022. And the school has been ranked in the top five online Ph.D. degree programs in the US.
It’s also among the most affordable in the nation. The phd in criminal justice online program is just $375 per credit hour. The work is divided between leadership, professional research, and specialty courses.


Students at Cumberland may also be eligible for the Prior Learning Program. This program allows students to gain credit for their professional and educational experiences. You will need to check with your student success coordinator to see if you qualify. The school offers three ways to take advantage of the program. You can take a knowledge exam or show certification documents. Or, you may also provide experiential proof.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $4,282

Score: 99.75

See also: Affordable Nonprofit Online Colleges

#3. Liberty University

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PhD Criminal Justice Online

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University is an accredited school liberal arts school. Established by Rev Jerry Falwell, it’s one of the largest non-profit colleges in the country. Liberty offers an online criminal justice Ph.D. with three specializations. Students can pursue a general specialization and customize a program to their own needs. Or they can select a specialization in homeland security or leadership.

A total of 60 credit hours are needed to complete this online Ph.D. in criminal justice. And it takes about three years to earn your degree. Graduates have entered into careers as crime scene investigators, public criminal justice policy advisors, and more. The program is offered through the Helms School of Government. And all faculty members are criminal justice experts.

Some of the topics in this program include:

  • Juvenile Justice Policies
  • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
  • Crime Causation
  • International Crime and Terrorism
  • Stress Management in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Organizational Conflict

Classes are taught in an eight-week online format through Canvas. The schedule is entirely flexible. This means students can log in and out of classes whenever they like. As long as you meet the listed deadlines, you can complete coursework around the clock.

Online students can take advantage of all the University’s state-of-the-art digital resources. These include over 750,000 peer-reviewed articles, books, and journals. In addition, students can connect with classmates all over the world. Liberty also has a popular Online Writing Center.

Online students are encouraged to explore the school’s campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. And they are welcome to participate in Commencement, Homecomecoming, and any other school events.

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Liberty’s online Ph.D. in criminal justice is also affordable. Classes are just $595 per credit hour. And if you are active-duty military, a spouse, or a veteran, you may be eligible for a tuition discount. This would bring your costs down to $300.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $7,847

Score: 99.50

#4. Florida International University

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Online PhD in Criminal Justice

Miami, Florida

Florida International University is a top-tier research institution in Miami. This non-profit college offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Plus, they have both on-campus and online PhD criminology programs. The school has a well-known Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. They offer a popular Ph.D. program in International Crime and Justice through the department.

This is a hybrid phd in criminal justice program, so students complete their assignments online and on campus. Thus, you’ll need to live nearby to complete it successfully. Admission is competitive, so not all students who meet the requirements will be accepted. The program is a total of 75 credit hours. Remote instruction takes place on the Canvas learning platform.

FIU has plenty of internship and fellowship opportunities for phd in criminal justice students. These include placements in state, federal, and local agencies. Additionally, they offer aLaw Enforcement Apprenticeship Program.LEAP combines workplace experience and specialized police training. Grants and scholarships are available. And the school provides financial travel support in certain circumstances.

Some of the courses for the Ph.D. in International Crime and Justice include:

  • Geospatial Crime Analysis
  • Applied Research in Human Rights & Rule of Law
  • Transnational Crime Immigration and Crime
  • Human Trafficking
  • Terrorism & Homeland Security

The university is one of the largest non-profit schools in the country, with a student body of over 58,000. So there are many opportunities for students to get involved. These include clubs, leadership opportunities, sports, and more.

Like most large non-profit universities, FIU has a host of resources and amenities. Students are encouraged to visit campus and take advantage of services like:

  • Wellness & Recreation Centers
  • Career Services
  • Counseling & Psychological Services
  • Advising
  • Coaching
  • Tutoring
  • Student Food Pantry
  • Student Health Clinics

FIU has been recognized among the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. It has also been ranked 1st in Florida among public universities.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $8,912

Score: 99.25

#5. California University of Pennsylvania

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Online PhD Criminal Justice

California, Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania is an accredited non-profit university near Pittsburg. Students can pursue one of the best online phd in criminal justice programs at this college. The program teaches students to analyze and install criminal justice policies. You’ll study topics including recidivism, use of force, federal consent decrees, and more. California University requires a total of 42 credit hours to earn this degree. And students can expect to complete this phd in criminal justice program in about two years by attending part-time.

Cal U is nationally ranked as one of the top colleges for an online P.h.D in criminal Justice. The program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. And it was the first regionally accredited online doctorate in criminal justice in the nation. Some of the courses in this phd criminology online program include:

  • Improving the Administration of Juvenile Justice
  • Civil Liability for Criminal Justice Professionals
  • Legal Research Methods for Criminal Justice Practitioners
  • 21st Century Policing
  • Using Theory to Improve C.J. Practice
  • Corrections: Crisis and Management

This unique D.C.J. program is for students with a master’s in criminology, criminal justice, or a related field. Students will learn from experienced Cal U instructors. And they will acquire practical skills relating to a career in criminal justice. The online program will prepare graduates for high-level positions in criminal justice organizations. Those who earn a doctorate in criminal justice can expect to fill leadership roles in:

  • Directions Departments
  • Sheriff’s Offices
  • State, Local, and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Juvenile Justice Agencies
  • District Attorney Investigative Units Offices

There are many services and resources available to Cal U students. And if you live near the campus, you can take advantage of them. The school offers clubs, organizations, athletics, wellness programs, and more. But, students who won’t use the on-campus services may be eligible for reduced tuition rates. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the school’s financial aid page for more information.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $9,288

Score: 99.00

Related: Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice

#6. Colorado Technical University

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Online Doctorate of Management – Homeland Security

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Students at Colorado Technical University can enroll in the school’s Online Doctor of Management. Then, they can opt for a concentration in Homeland Security. This Ph.D. focuses on criminal justice matters in homeland security. The program is offered online with a small residency component. There are three areas of focus:

  • Leadership and Change Management
  • Research and Writing
  • The concentration discipline

A total of 100 credit hours are needed to complete the degree. And CTU has designed the program to be completed in three years. It aligns with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Naval Postgraduate School. The school uses an “All-Hazards” method for Homeland Security training.

The curriculum encompasses Both Homeland Security and management. Some of the courses include:

  • Management and Ethics
  • Organization Innovation and Scenario Thinking
  • Principles of Research Methods and Design
  • Leadership Theory and Development
  • Homeland Security Enterprise
  • Homeland Security Strategy and Policy
  • Risk, Resilience, and Innovation in Security Policy
  • Homeland Security Professional Development
  • Issues in Public Health and Emergency Planning

The cost per credit for this criminal justice online degree is $598. But students may be eligible for one of several discounts. These may include military discounts, transferred credits, grants, scholarships, and more. For additional information, speak with the school’s financial aid office. The school also offers students many career resources, including:

  • Career Coaching
  • Resume Writing
  • Career Planning
  • Professional Networking
  • Interview Preparation

Colorado Technical University has been offering online programs since 2000. And the school strives to provide industry-relevant degree programs. This is one of the nation’s top online criminal justice phd programs. Students who complete the school’s programs will be prepared to enter the workforce with actionable skills. CTUs Criminal Justice Programs have been ranked among some of the highest in the nation by US News & World Report. And the school’s Virtual Campus has been rated “Best of the Best” in the Computerworld Honors program.

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Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $13,683

Score: 98.75

#7. New Jersey City University

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Online Doctorate in Civil Security Leadership, Management & Policy

Jersey City, New Jersey

New Jersey City University has a unique doctoral program in criminal justice. They offer an Online Doctorate in Civil Security Leadership, Management & Policy. A total of 51 credit hours are needed to complete this program. Students can select from three different concentrations:

  • National Security (Homeland Security and Intelligence)
  • Information Assurance/Cyber Security
  • Corporate Security

This program is one of the first online Doctoral degrees in Security Studies in the nation. It’s a scholar-practitioner degree. And it features a robust research and analysis component. Students prove their mastery of the topics through a dissertation.

The program is selective and offered to 15 to 20 students once a year. It begins in July and lasts three years. While the coursework is online, there are some in-person requirements. For example, you will attend a two-week residency in the summer. And there are four weekends each year where you are required to be on campus. So if you want to pursue the program, you’ll need to ensure you’re available to attend.

Completing this DSC degree prepares students for prominent security positions in several industries. It also readies them to teach security in a post-secondary institution. The school partners with the Department of Homeland Security. Through this partnership, they provide scholarships, grants, and research projects. NJCU is also designated as a center of academic excellence in intelligence and cybersecurity. Some of the required courses include:

  • Current Issues in Civil Security Leadership, Management, and Policy
  • Civil Security Policy/Budget Development and Implementation
  • Doctoral Colloquium in Emergency Operations & Management
  • Data Analysis for Civil Security Leadership, Management, and Policy

This Doctoral degree in Security Studies is $1,149.85 per credit. This applies to all students, whether they live in or out of state.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $13,938

Score: 98.50

#8. Saint Leo University

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PhD in Criminal Justice Online

St. Leo, Florida

Saint Leo University is a private Catholic liberal arts school in Florida. But this non-profit college welcomes students of all faiths. The school offers many online programs, including a phd in criminal justice. This program prepares students to pursue advanced roles in the field. This includes jobs at the state, federal, and local levels. The program will also equip students to teach criminal justice and related subjects. Some of the required courses include:

  • Transformational Leadership
  • Critical Issues in Criminal Justice
  • International Perspectives in Criminal Justice
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Criminological Theories
  • Managing Human Resources in Criminal Justice
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Societal Trends in Policing
  • Data Analytics Correctional Philosophy and Administration
  • Global Extremism and Mass Movements
  • Law, Policy, and Social Order

The Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ) is a 60-credit hour program that takes about 3.5 years to finish. There are also two specialization tracks: Education and Homeland Security. The program is highly flexible, allowing students to set their own schedules. Online students can expect the same high-level education they would get on campus. And courses are taught by the same professional instructors. Candidates are required to pay a $250 commitment deposited. But, these funds can go toward their first-term enrollment.

This program is online but requires three short residencies. You’ll want to plan for travel if you live out of the area. SLU encourages online students to get involved on campus when possible. The school has many clubs, organizations, events, and more. And remote learners can take advantage of any of the beautiful campus amenities. If you can’t make it to campus, Saint Leo has Worldwide Student Services to enrich your online experience. They include virtual advising, career services, and many other opportunities.

No matter which phd in criminal justice track you choose, you’ll develop professional skills related to:

  • Teaching at the graduate level in post-secondary institutions
  • Knowledge of dealing with complex issues in criminal justice
  • Advancing understanding and knowledge in the criminal justice field

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $15,218

Score: 98.25

#9. Northcentral University

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Online Doctor of Criminal Justice

San Diego, California

Northcentral University is another one of the top nonprofit schools in the nation. It was founded in 1996 with a 100 percent online strategy. About 10,000 students across the world attend NCU. And the school offers over 40 master’s and doctoral degree programs online. Currently, the school offers a Doctor of Criminal Justice degree online. A total of 54 credit hours are needed for completion. And it’s designed to be finished in approximately three years.

This online Ph.D. criminology program is an excellent beginning to various criminal justice professions. There are four specializations within this program:

  • Homeland Security
  • Policing/Law Enforcement
  • Public Administration
  • Organizational Leadership

The online program is highly flexible. And students can complete assignments online whenever it is convenient. The school offers year-round enrollment, allowing participants to start every Monday. Additionally, there are no group projects or residency requirements. This enables students to live anywhere in the world while attending NCU. The school’s innovative one-to-one learning model offers personalized attention. That way, online students get the support and guidance they need. You’ll take 18 courses in all. Some of these include:

  • Theory in Justice Administration
  • Public Personnel Administration
  • Ethics and Criminal Justice
  • Public Budgeting and Finance
  • Management Issues in Justice Agencies
  • Strategic Planning and Implementation in Criminal Justice
  • Qualitative Research Design and Methodology
  • Quantitative Research Design & Methodology
  • Statistics I

Northcentral is part of the National University System. The system also includes City University of Seattle and National University. National University System uses programmatic pathways. This method allows students to build on their degrees with specializations. Thus, they save time and stay ahead in their fields of interest.

Northcentral maintains a 100% doctoral faculty. Most instructors have obtained their educations in the fields in which they teach. f you’re new to online learning, check out Northcentral’sGuide to Doctoral Education

Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

Tuition: $16,881

Score: 98.00

#10. Nova Southeastern University

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Online PhD in Criminal Justice

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The next program on our list is an Online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. It’s offered throughNova Southeastern Universityin Florida. Students in this online Ph.D. criminology program will study the criminal justice system and prepare for various career paths within the profession. The Nova Southeastern University CJ program was designed by the Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice.

A total of 60 credit hours are needed to complete this phd in criminal justice. The cost is $1,170 per credit hour. Applications are accepted online throughout the year. Students at Nova Southeastern University can also choose from three concentrations:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Behavioral Science
  • Juvenile Justice

This program features a flexible online curriculum designed for working students. The interdisciplinary approach is designed to teach students how to:

  • Address problems in the criminal justice system
  • Develop societal solutions to control crime
  • Understand the causes of crime
  • Identify patterns of criminal behavior

You can choose from online and hybrid programs at Nova Southeastern University. These programs allow you to complete assignments, exams, and lectures when it’s convenient for you. There are no special technical skills needed to participate. As long as you have a computer and internet access, you can get started. The school has a user-friendly learning platform and plenty of remote support whenever you need it.

There are several required courses, plus those related to the specializations. Some of these include:

  • Theories of Crime
  • The Police and Society
  • Criminal Law, Procedure, and Individual Rights
  • Gender Violence: Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse
  • Mental Health Courts and Therapeutic and Restorative Justice
  • Sexual Offenders
  • Psychological Issues for Children and Adolescents in the Legal System
  • Contemporary Challenges in Juvenile Justice Leadership
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Juvenile Justice
  • Criminal Justice Organization and Management
  • Ethical Practices in Criminal Justice Leadership
  • Current Trends and Issues in Criminal Justice Organizations

Nova partners with school districts around the country to offer employer tuition discount programs. Students can make an appointment with a financial aid counselor for the details.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tuition: $21,153

Score: 97.75

#11. Saint John’s University

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Doctor of Professional Studies program in Homeland Security (DPS)

Queens, New York

St. John’s University was one of the first nonprofit colleges to offer an online doctoral Homeland Security program. It’s a 78-credit program that participants can complete on-campus or online. It takes approximately three years from start to finish. And students need to maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0 throughout the program. The program will prepare students for high-level roles in:

  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Public and private security industries
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Higher education institutions
  • Other non-governmental organizations

The school uses Blackboard as its online learning management system. Students can log on at their convenience and attend virtual classrooms. This is where they interact with their classmates and the school’s distinguished faculty. This is also where the instructors post lectures and assignments. The program teaches actionable and practical skills for both here and abroad. These Homeland Security skills include:

  • Research methods
  • Solving real-world security challenges
  • Building and managing teams
  • Thinking both critically and analytically
  • Understanding local, national, international, and organizational security issues
  • Emergency and disaster preparedness

The program has some features unique to St. John’s. For example, the school has a new Homeland Security and Emergency Management Lab. And they also have a Cyber Security Lab. These labs offer state-of-the-art simulations and security exercises. Plus, the website has tools, technology, and an extensive library of resources. Some of the courses in this popular program include:

  • Police and Homeland Security Leadership
  • Migration and Border Security
  • Criminological Theory
  • Intelligence for Homeland Security: Organizational & Policy
  • Critical Infrastructure: Vulnerability Analysis and Protection
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Homeland Security – Enterprise Risk Management
  • Disaster Management I: Preparedness and Response
  • Disaster Management II: Operational Continuity and Recovery
  • Theories and Concepts of Security Issues in Global Security
  • U.S. Constitution and Homeland Protection

The D.P.S. in Homeland Security(D.P.S.) has two formats. Students can attend in person or online. The on-campus program is for students ready to pursue a full-time criminal justice degree. The online criminal justice program is more flexible. It is a part-time remote program designed for working professionals. However, students must attend compass for residency one week per year. All students receive academic advisement.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Tuition: $33,030

Score: 97.50

Why Pursue an Online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice?

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Roughly 181,000 students complete a doctoral degree each year. This may seem like a lot. But compared to master’s degrees (805,000) and bachelor’s degrees (1.96 million), it’s pretty small. Individuals with a Ph.D. represent an elite group of scholars. When you pursue an online criminal justice degree, you’ll be considered an expert in your field. You may also earn more money and achieve professional goals others cannot.

What’s the Difference Between a Traditional Degree and an Online Degree?

First, let’s look at what is not different about a criminal justice online degree. An online degree program is basically the same as what you would complete on campus. The only difference is that you complete your coursework remotely. Generally, you will have the same professors and instructors that teach on campus. And you’ll work through the same curricula. Upon graduation, your diploma will look like everyone else’s. And there is no mention on your paperwork that you earned your degree online.

The essential differences are in course scheduling and the pace of the program. When you attend classes on campus, you have a certain number of courses. And they must be completed by a specific date. With an online program, these dates are usually more flexible. So you are not confined to the exact timelines as students on campus. This allows you to complete your studies at your own pace. Naturally, there are some deadlines. But they are much less restrictive.

For Those With a Career

This flexible style is excellent for those already working a full-time job. Instead of rushing from work to campus and then home, Students can complete assignments more leisurely. Essentially, with most online criminal justice programs, you create your own schedule. But, more importantly, you can attend college without having to sacrifice your career.

For Those With Families

Online criminal justice programs are ideal for those with family obligations too. Many older, nontraditional students already have children or other responsibilities. This can make it challenging to attend campus classes full time. And if you do, it can make it hard to enjoy enough time with your family. With online degree programs, you don’t need to choose between family and school. You’ll still be busy, of course. But you can customize your schedule to fit everything in.

For Those Who Need a Different Pace

Going at your own pace also means you can complete your program as fast or as slowly as you want. Those who want to earn a degree quicker can simply do the coursework more quickly. Students are not held up by their classmates or a traditional semester system. If you need more time, that’s okay too.

Are Online Degree Programs Credible? Are They Accredited?

One of students’ primary concerns about pursuing an online degree is credibility. This is understandable. Many for-profit schools have a reputation for some pretty bad habits. In the past, these “diploma mills” have tainted the concept of online degrees. Additionally, many of these schools are not even accredited.

We have verified all of the schools we feature on Nonprofit Colleges Online. Each nonprofit school is accredited by a national or regional accredited institution.

Accreditation is vital when seeking out the best phd in criminal justice. When a school is accredited, a third-party agency has reviewed it thoroughly. These accrediting bodies look at the school’s programs in detail. And they ensure specific criteria are met. They examine the quality, rigor, and other factors before awarding accreditation. Many employers will not consider candidates who have not attended an accredited college.

See Also: For Profit vs. Nonprofit Colleges

How Long Does It Take To Earn a PhD in Criminal Justice?

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The number of credits needed to complete an online doctorate in criminal studies can vary. As you may have noted, there is a considerable difference between each school’s requirements. The amount needed may be anywhere from 50 to 100. However, 60 credit hours seems to be about average. These programs can generally be completed in two to four years for students enrolled full time.

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Of course, full-time enrollment may not always be practical for working professionals. That’s okay too. With many online programs, you can take as much time as you need.

Are Online Degree Programs Eligible for Federal Financial Aid?

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College can be expensive, and you may be concerned about tuition costs. But even if you attend school online program at a nonprofit, accredited college, you can still get federal financial aid. It is a common misconception that online students are somehow not eligible for financial assistance. But the truth is just the opposite.

Schools structure the process of getting assistance the same for online and on-campus students. So rest assured, you can still get all the financial aid you are entitled to. That includes loans, grants, work-study programs, and scholarships too. In fact, some scholarships are dedicated specifically for students attending online programs!

Check out the Top 50 Scholarships for Online Students.

Many nontraditional students assume they earn too much money to qualify for federal financial aid. However, you should always complete the FAFSA to determine your eligibility. You should also reach out to the college’s financial aid department. In many cases, prospective students think they are not eligible for help. Yet, often, the aid is available. Be sure to apply for everything well in advance so you can budget accordingly.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice?

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The world is changing, the crime rate is up, and public safety is vital. Professionals in criminal justice are desperately needed. As a result, there are more careers in criminology than ever before. And the criminal justice system field keeps on growing.

Earning a phd in criminal justice is a big commitment. But it’s also a considerable achievement. Many professionals have already achieved a master’s degree in the field. Some are ready to pursue this final path in their educational journey.

Leaving a lucrative career to attend college may not be a practical choice. However, with online programs, you don’t need to suffer a loss of income. Instead, you can continue working while earning your Ph.D. in criminal justice online. In many colleges, doctoral students can conduct research within their current place of employment. This allows them to do fieldwork in the role they already have. There are many places to go with phd in criminal justice. In this next section, we’ll discuss a few of them.

Want To Learn More? See What Can I Do With an Online PhD in Criminal Justice?

Criminal Justice Education

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One of the most popular careers for those with a phd in criminal justice is instructing. This terminal degree qualifies individuals to teach criminology at the college level. Criminal justice is one of the most sought-after college degrees of our time. And institutions are trying to keep up with the demand for criminal justice online programs. There is a fierce need for professors in the field, so there are many opportunities for careers in academia.

Those who pursue a teaching career in criminal justice might find themselves filling various other roles. These include writers, researchers, and education administrators.

The average annual salary for a criminal justice professor is $77,000-$249,000. Pay depends on location, experience, and the individual college. Here are some other research and education jobs for those with a Ph.D. in criminal studies:

Writing and Lobbying Policies$74,000-$203,000
Senior Researcher$63,000-$146,000
Associate Professor$82,000-$101,000
Instructional Designer$51,000-$110,000
Educational Administrator$38,000-$124,000

Law Enforcement

TOP CRIMINAL JUSTICE PHD PROGRAMS (18)

Law enforcement is the most well-known career path for criminal justice graduates. There will always be a need to keep communities safe. Advancing in law enforcement is an excellent reason for pursuing a Ph.D. in criminal studies. You can move into roles requiring more expertise depending on what you choose.

For example, forensics is a fast-growing area of law enforcement. But there is still a large void in the number of trained experts. Pursuing a Ph.D. in criminal justice online can give you the experience and training to fill this role. Forensic investigators make up to $162,000 annually.

There is fierce demand in other areas of law enforcement too. This table lists some additional high-level careers in this sector:

CIA Agent$97,000-$504,000
Criminal Investigator$48,000-$146,000
Forensics Analyst$41,000-$140,000
Police Chief$47,000-$130,000

State and Federal Agencies

TOP CRIMINAL JUSTICE PHD PROGRAMS (19)

Since 9/11, there has been a drastic increase in the number of state and federal agencies in the US. There has also been a marked increase in online phd criminal justice programs. Opportunities are available for professionals in branches like:

  • National Security Agency
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Federal Bureau of investigation
  • Secret Service
  • Prisons and Jails

Criminal Justice Ph.D.s can find jobs in administration, investigation, forensics, leadership, and more within these agencies. In addition, working within these agencies can provide you with a stepping stone to high-level positions. It can even prepare you to go into politics. Some of the jobs and salaries within these agencies are listed below.

Secret Service Agent$89,000-$188,000
DEA Agent$18,500-$200,000
NSA Agent$20,000-$152,000
Fraud Investigator$41,000-$95,000
Policy Analyst$45,000-$86,000
DHS Agent$63,000-$190,000
FBI Agent$42,000-$116,000

See Also: Online PhD in Homeland Security

Private Cybersecurity

TOP CRIMINAL JUSTICE PHD PROGRAMS (20)

Most of the growth in private security comes from the ever-increasing demand for cybersecurity experts. As a result, the private security industry has experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade. According to Forbes, this sector is worth over $200 billion. With so many businesses moving to online operations, it’s easy to see why it’s growing so rapidly.

For example, one of the top careers in criminal justice is Information Security Analyst. Cybersecurity analysts make between $54k – $116 annually. For this position, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 33 percent growth in the number of available jobs through 2030. This is much higher than the average for all industries.A criminal justice phd online program can open the door to high-paying freelancing in this field as well.

Related: Best PhD in Cyber Security Online: Students Before Profits

There are many career paths in cybersecurity that have similar projections. Here’s a look at the top-paying jobs in this sector:

Information Security Engineer$67,000-$175,000
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)$89,000-$227,000
Ethical Hacker$110,000-$176,000
Network Security Architect$98,000-$194,000
Security Sales Engineer$44,000-$201,000

This concludes our ranking of the top online phd in criminal justice programs.

NPCO Staff
March June 2022

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