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2021 Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections

Approximately 93,738 criminal justice and corrections degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections ranking analyzed 503 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and corrections. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools for Criminal Justice & Corrections students.

Choosing a Great Criminal Justice & Corrections School

Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections The criminal justice program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we include a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The vast majority of the colleges on this list are in at least the top 38% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 607 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

A criminal justice and corrections degree from colleges on this list usually results in above average wages after graduation. While the average criminal justice and corrections bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $32,434, graduates of colleges on this list average $38,860.

Starting Salary  ( 21096 to 51703 )
$0
$109,800

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Criminal Justice & Corrections students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other criminal justice and corrections students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized criminal justice and corrections related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections students.

Best Schools to Study Criminal Justice & Corrections in the United States

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for criminal justice and corrections majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best Criminal Justice Colleges

Union Institute & University is a good choice for individuals interested in a Criminal Justice & Corrections degree. Union is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Cincinnati. This school ranks 1442nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

With 183 undergrads, Union Institute & University is one of most popular colleges to study criminal justice in United States. Graduates from the criminal justice and corrections program at Union Institute & University earn $70,940 above the standard college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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#2

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

It is difficult to beat George Mason University if you wish to pursue criminal justice and corrections as a major. GMU is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Fairfax. A Best Colleges rank of 271 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means GMU is a great school overall.

There are approximately 474 criminal justice and corrections undergrads enrolled in this program at GMU. Grads of the criminal justice program state that they receive average early career income of $38,700.

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#3

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University is one of the best schools in the United States for criminal justice and corrections. Located in the medium-sized city Tallahassee, Florida State is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 160 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Florida State is a great college overall.

There are approximately 639 criminal justice and corrections undergraduates enrolled in this program at Florida State. Graduates of the criminal justice program make around $30,000 in the first couple years of their career.

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Northeastern University is a good choice for individuals pursuing a Criminal Justice & Corrections degree. Located in the city Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 81 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northeastern is a great school overall.

With 74 undergrads, Northeastern University is one of most popular schools to study criminal justice in United States. Students from the criminal justice and corrections program at Northeastern University get $4,940 more than the typical graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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UMass Lowell is a large public school located in the large suburb of Lowell. This school ranks 357th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMass Lowell also offers 2 different higher degree levels in criminal justice and corrections, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the criminal justice program report average early career wages of $39,000.

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GWU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 115 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means GWU is a great college overall.

There are about 99 criminal justice and corrections undergrads studying this degree at GWU. George Washington University criminal justice and corrections majors receive $6,740 more than the average criminal justice graduate.

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Rutgers Newark is a fairly large public school located in the city of Newark. This college ranks 318th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

There are approximately 221 criminal justice and corrections undergrads enrolled in this program at Rutgers Newark. Soon after graduating, criminal justice students generally make an average of $33,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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Cincinnati is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Cincinnati. This school ranks 341st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in something more advanced, Cincinnati also offers 2 different higher degree levels in criminal justice and corrections, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the criminal justice program state that they receive average early career earnings of $32,400.

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#9

American University

Washington, DC

The American University is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 164 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means The American University is a great college overall.

There are about 82 criminal justice and corrections undergraduates studying this program at The American University. Graduates of the criminal justice program state that they receive average early career wages of $40,700.

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#10

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State is a fairly large public school located in the city of East Lansing. A Best Colleges rank of 107 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Michigan State is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Michigan State also offers 2 different higher degree levels in criminal justice and corrections, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, criminal justice students typically make an average of $34,700 in their early careers.

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#11

University of New Haven

West Haven, CT

U of New Haven is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of West Haven. This college ranks 578th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

There are about 561 criminal justice and corrections undergraduates studying this program at U of New Haven. Soon after graduating, criminal justice students typically earn about $33,400 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the large suburb Bristol, RWU is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 300th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Rhode Island.

There are roughly 126 criminal justice and corrections undergrads studying this degree at RWU. Soon after graduating, criminal justice students typically make an average of $36,900 in their early careers.

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#13

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX

Located in the large city Fort Worth, TCU is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 111 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means TCU is a great school overall.

Texas Christian University is one of the most popular school to study criminal justice in United States with over 50 graduates last year. Graduates of the criminal justice program state that they receive average early career wages of $40,000.

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Trine is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Fort Wayne. This college ranks 655th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

With 32 undergraduates, Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses is one of most popular colleges to study criminal justice in United States. After getting their bachelor's degree, criminal justice students generally earn around $32,100 in the first five years of their career.

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#15

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis, MO

SLU is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Saint Louis. A Best Colleges rank of 134 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means SLU is a great school overall.

With 51 undergraduates, Saint Louis University is one of most popular colleges to study criminal justice in United States. Graduates of the criminal justice program earn about $38,000 in their early career salary.

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Located in the midsize city Richmond, VCU is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 322nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There are about 317 criminal justice and corrections undergrads enrolled in this degree at VCU. Students who graduate from the criminal justice program make about $33,600 in the first couple years of working.

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UIC is a very large public school located in the large city of Chicago. This college ranks 329th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

For those interested in something more advanced, UIC also offers 2 different higher degree levels in criminal justice and corrections, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduation, criminal justice students typically earn about $31,900 in the first five years of their career.

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Located in the suburb West Chester, WCUPA is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 371st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, WCUPA also offers a Master's Degree in criminal justice and corrections. Students who graduate from the criminal justice program earn about $36,800 in their early career salary.

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Located in the large city Phoenix, ASU - Downtown Phoenix is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 365th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Arizona.

With 293 undergrads, Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix is one of most popular schools to study criminal justice in United States. After getting their bachelor's degree, criminal justice students typically earn about $36,500 in their early careers.

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Located in the large suburb Orlando, UCF is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 312th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UCF also offers a Master's Degree in criminal justice and corrections. Students who complete this degree report average early career income of $29,300.

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#21

Seattle University

Seattle, WA

Located in the city Seattle, Seattle U is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 201 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Seattle U is a great college overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Seattle U offers a Master's Degree in criminal justice and corrections. Graduates of the criminal justice program state that they receive average early career wages of $35,400.

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Located in the midsize city Charleston, The Citadel is a public school with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 279 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means The Citadel is a great college overall.

Citadel Military College of South Carolina is one of the most popular college to study criminal justice in United States with over 64 graduates last year. Graduates of the criminal justice program state that they receive average early career wages of $37,000.

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Loyola Chicago is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Chicago. A Best Colleges rank of 247 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Loyola Chicago is a great school overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Loyola Chicago offers a Master's Degree in criminal justice and corrections. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, criminal justice students usually make around $36,400 in the first five years of their career.

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John Jay is a fairly large public school located in the large city of New York. This college ranks 1027th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, John Jay also offers a Master's Degree in criminal justice and corrections. Soon after graduating, criminal justice students typically make an average of $33,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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Located in the small city University Park, Penn State University Park is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 112 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Penn State University Park is a great college overall.

There are about 193 criminal justice and corrections undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Penn State University Park. After graduation, criminal justice students typically make about $32,900 in the first five years of their career.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections

#26

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY
#29

Temple University

Philadelphia, PA
#30

Lewis University

Romeoville, IL
#35

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY
#36

Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, TX
#37

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL
#39

University of Scranton

Scranton, PA
#40

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL
#41

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC
#42

Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, CT
#45

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#46

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
#47

Champlain College

Burlington, VT

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 503 different United States criminal justice and corrections schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Simpson College Indianola, IA
52 St John’s University - New York Queens, NY
53 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
54 Westfield State University Westfield, MA
55 Salve Regina University Newport, RI
56 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
57 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
58 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
59 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
60 Pennsylvania State University - Greater Allegheny McKeesport, PA
61 Norwich University Northfield, VT
62 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
63 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI
64 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
65 Mercer University Macon, GA
66 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
67 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
68 St. Joseph’s College - New York Brooklyn, NY
69 Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Winona, MN
70 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
71 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
72 Hilbert College Hamburg, NY
73 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
74 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
75 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Criminal Justice & Corrections students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections award.

Rank College Location
76 University of Mississippi University, MS
77 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
78 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
79 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
80 Bradley University Peoria, IL
81 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
82 Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg Middletown, PA
83 Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
84 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
85 Widener University Chester, PA
86 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI
87 Madonna University Livonia, MI
88 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
89 Truman State University Kirksville, MO
90 Wayne State University Detroit, MI
91 Winona State University Winona, MN
92 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta, NY
93 La Salle University Philadelphia, PA
94 Gannon University Erie, PA
95 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
96 University of Michigan - Dearborn Dearborn, MI
97 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
98 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
99 Central Christian College of Kansas McPherson, KS
100 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, MA

Criminal Justice & Corrections by Region

View the Best Colleges for Criminal Justice & Corrections for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Criminal Justice & Corrections is one of 3 different types of Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Criminal Justice

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fire Protection 13,656
Homeland Security 6,367
Other Homeland Security 1,995

View All Criminal Justice Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard). More about our data sources and methodologies.

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