Top Graduate Schools for Criminal Justice

Learn about top schools that offer master's and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs in criminal justice. Find out what you should look for in a top school based on rankings, curriculum, research facilities and networking opportunities that might enhance your learning experience. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Choose A Graduate Criminal Justice Program

Top graduate schools in criminal justice have faculty experts who produce strong scholarly research both domestically and internationally; look for schools that also encourage students to publish their own research. Good schools may also collaborate on projects with other universities and government agencies at all levels. Compare schools that offer online or part-time options or opportunities for joint degrees. If you need graduate funding, scholarships are a good way to pay for your education in exchange for research assistant opportunities. Each of the schools below sponsor criminal justice-related research institutes.

Three Top Graduate Schools for Criminal Justice

Temple University (TU) in Philadelphia, PA

Temple University offers a pair of graduate degrees in criminal justice that feature knowledgeable and diverse faculty, and graduate students have the chance to conduct research at multiple levels, including internationally. The program places an emphasis on career training, with graduates ending up in tenure-track academic positions or pursuing careers in local and federal government agencies. The two degrees are:

  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

University of Cincinnati (UC) in Cincinnati, OH

Recognized as one of the best programs in the country, this public university's graduate criminology program ranked third on U.S. News & World Report's list for 2018. Cincinnati offers both master's and doctoral degree programs in criminal justice. The program's curriculum offers concentrations in law enforcement/crime prevention, criminal justice and corrections. The doctoral program features a customized curriculum that ensures students have a solid grasp of concepts related to criminal justice. Program options at Cincinnati are as follows:

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice (on-campus or online)
  • Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park, MD

UMD's graduate program in criminology and criminal justice is divided into two major components: a standard master's program and the more complex doctoral program. Though both programs emphasize research skills, the master's program prepares graduates for work in a research institute or government agency, while the PhD program focuses on academic careers, such as a professorship at a university or other research center. Students can expect to take courses related to policing, contemporary legal issues, and juvenile delinquency. Available degrees at UMD include:

  • Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Other Top Schools for Criminal Justice Graduate Programs

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey--Newark Public, 4-year Newark, NJ$19,000
University of Pennsylvania Private, 4-year Philadelphia, PA$39,000
Indiana University--Bloomington Public, 4-year Bloomington, IN$10,500
Arizona State UniversityPublic, 4-year Tempe, AZ$12,000
George Mason University Public, 4-year Fairfax, VA$15,000
State University of New York - Albany Public, 4-year Albany, NY$13,000
Florida State University Public, 4-year Tallahassee, FL$12,000
Michigan State University Public, 4-year East Lansing, MI$18,000
University of Florida Public, 4-year Gainesville, FL$13,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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