Criminal justice is a rapidly growing field that encompasses a wide range of professions, from law enforcement and corrections to private security and victim advocacy. As such, there is a high demand for qualified professionals in this field, and earning a degree in criminal justice can be a great way to prepare for a rewarding career. However, with so many criminal justice programs available, it can be difficult to determine which schools offer the best education. In this article, we will explore the top criminal justice degree programs in the United States, and with a quick search online, you can discover more about these great schools across the country.
What Careers Do People With This Degree Pursue?
A degree in criminal justice can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities in the field of law enforcement, corrections, and other related areas. Some of the most common career paths for graduates of criminal justice programs include:
- Law Enforcement: In agencies such as police departments, sheriff’s offices, and federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI, DEA, or ATF.
- Corrections: As correctional, probation, and parole officers in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities.
- Court System: As bailiffs, court clerks, or court reporters.
- Legal Services: In victim advocacy or private security firms.
- Crime Prevention and Investigation: As private detectives, forensic specialists, or crime scene investigators.
- Homeland Security: For agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security or Transportation Security Administration in roles related to national security and anti-terrorism efforts.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Located in New York City, John Jay College of Criminal Justice is widely considered one of the best schools for criminal justice in the United States. The school offers a wide range of degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice. In addition to its academic programs, John Jay College has a number of research centers and institutes dedicated to studying various aspects of criminal justice, including the Center for Terrorism and the Center on Race, Crime, and Justice. The college has a strong reputation for producing graduates who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in the field.
University of California, Irvine
The Department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine is another highly regarded academic body in the field of criminal justice. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law and Society, a Master of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law and Society, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology, Law and Society. Classes in the department provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to the study of crime, law, and justice, and emphasizes the social and cultural factors that contribute to criminal behavior. Their programs are known for their focus on research, and students have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty members on research projects related to crime and criminal justice. In addition to traditional classroom learning, students in the program can participate in internships, field placements, and other experiential learning opportunities
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is home to the School of Criminal Justice, which is consistently ranked as one of the top criminal justice schools in the country. The college offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice. Michigan State’s criminal justice programs are known for their emphasis on research and focus on developing practical skills that prepare graduates for careers in law enforcement, corrections, and other criminal justice fields.
Florida State University
The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University offers a range of degree programs at various levels, including a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminology and Criminal Justice. The college also provides students with practical experience through internships, field placements, and other experiential learning opportunities.
Pennsylvania State University
The Department of Sociology and Criminology at Pennsylvania State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, a Master of Arts in Criminology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology and Criminology. The program emphasizes the study of crime and its causes, as well as the role of law enforcement and the criminal justice system in preventing and addressing criminal activity. Students in the program have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty members on research projects related to crime, justice, and inequality. In addition, students can participate in internships and other experiential learning opportunities that provide practical skills and experience.