Best Online Criminology Degree Programs

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
April 20, 2020

FREE Trial with Benzinga Pro happening right now!

Do you dream of working in the criminal justice system? You can enroll in an online criminology degree program and graduate in as little as 3 years. If you already have college credit under your belt, the amount of time you take to get to completion could be even quicker. Many options are offered by some of the top colleges and universities in the nation. 

Unsure of where to look for reputable options? Benzinga is here to help you identify which programs are a worthwhile investment. 

Why Choose an Online Criminology Degree?

An online criminology degree program is designed for nontraditional students. Most juggle careers and families while continuing their education, so distance learning is a good fit. 

Students can view lectures and complete coursework when it’s convenient to avoid having to choose between work, family and their goals. This is perhaps the most significant perk of pursuing an online education. 

Career flexibility and job opportunities are another major benefit of choosing an online criminology degree. 

Not quite sold on the idea of being in the public eye as a correctional officer, police officer, investigator or another similar role? You can work behind the scenes as a forensic psychologist, paralegal, loss prevention officer or a financial examiner. 

Job duties change daily in most roles. You won’t find yourself rote tasking, as there are always new challenges and problems to solve. Plus, you can earn a decent salary and enjoy job security and make a difference in the lives of others. 

What if you enter the field as a criminal justice professional and decide that you want to pursue a graduate degree? Most online criminology degrees meet the educational requirements for admission into graduate programs. If you’ve successfully completed your degree with good grades, you should gain entry into a master’s program in criminology or a related field without a problem. 

How to Choose an Online Criminology Degree

Not all online criminology degree programs are the same. Be mindful of the following factors when weighing your options.


You want an online criminology degree from a school that’s accredited so it holds weight in the eyes of employers.

Take a look at reviews from past students. Where are they now in their career? Did the program help position them for success? You should also be mindful of where graduates are employed to determine whether the paths they took could also be suitable for you.  


Are online courses held at specific times each week or can you log in and view the pre-recorded lectures when it’s convenient? Is the online portal accessible 24/7 to submit classwork, participate in discussions and view supplemental resources? These are a few questions to ask as you evaluate the structure of an online criminology degree program.

If your schedule is already jam-packed, you want to avoid programs that require students to sit in on live video lectures. The times may not work for you and could spill over into your personal life and cause you to take time away from your family.

Cost of Attendance

Some colleges and universities offer competitive rates on tuition and fees while others are pricier. Evaluate programs and costs side by side so you make the best decision based on outcomes. You can also offset the cost of attendance by transferring credits from an accredited college or university. Reach out to the admission office to confirm the maximum transfer credits permitted. 

Jobs Waiting for You with a Criminology Degree

Here are some of the well-paying jobs you can land with a criminology degree: 

Forensic Science Technicians 

Forensic science technicians collect, analyze and prepare crime scene evidence for processing at the lab. They capture photographs of critical pieces of evidence, along with samples of body fluids and fingerprints. You will also create sketches, make detailed notes and possibly recreate crime scenes. Some forensic technicians are also responsible for reviewing evidence once it reaches the lab. 

On average, forensic science technicians earn $58,230 per year, or $27.99 per hour. 

Financial Examiner

Financial examiners assess risk and monitor consumer lending. Ultimately, they work to ensure that their organization is in compliance with regulatory standards related to financial institutions and transactions. 

Individuals in this role who evaluate financial health review financials to confirm viable loans are being extended. It’s also their job to determine if the institution is liquid enough to cover substantial losses. Those who oversee consumer lending review data to ensure borrowers are not subjected to predatory lending practices. 

In 2018, the median pay for financial examiners was $80,180. 


Legitimize your role as a super sleuth by becoming an investigator. You will conduct interviews and surveillance, collect evidence and dig deep into public records to find answers for the individuals and entities you serve. 

There’s never a dull moment in this role because cases vary. Depending on the need, you may be tasked with finding a missing person, uncovering fraud or infidelity or investigating cybercrimes. 

The average annual salary for private detectives and investigators is $50,090. This equates to $24.08 hourly. 

Best Online Colleges for a Criminology Degree

We’ve scoured the web to bring you the best online colleges for a criminology degree. Below, you will find our top picks and a review of each program to help you make an informed decision. 

1. University of Florida 


The University of Florida offers an online Bachelor of Arts in criminology. It’s offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The degree focuses on crime theories, how society responds to crime and the connections between law and society. You’ll also learn how crime, justice and legal processes are impacted by historical, legal, political, psychological and social influences. 

Students enrolled in the program complete the following core courses:

  • Advanced Principles of Criminal Justice
  • Criminological Theory
  • Law and Society
  • Research Methods in Criminology 

You will also take 6 law electives and 1 of these law-driven courses:

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Juvenile Law
  • Law and the Legal Process

You’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to pursue a career in criminal or juvenile justice systems. If you prefer to continue your education when you graduate, this degree program also meets the educational requirements for master’s degree programs or law school. 

UF Online requires 120 credit hours to earn your degree. 

Enroll now

2. Indiana State University 


The online Bachelor of Science in criminology and criminal justice degree program from Indiana State University approaches the subject from an applied and theoretical perspective. Many core subjects are studied, including criminal behavior, criminal justice administration, the criminal justice system and how they all relate to society as a whole. 

The curriculum also includes liberal arts coursework to help you hone your communication and critical thinking skills. These intangible tools will serve you well in your career as a criminal justice professional. 

Courses are taught by experienced faculty who have held an array of roles in the field. They share nuggets of wisdom through the following core courses:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice Report Writing 
  • Criminal Law and Procedure I
  • Dynamics of Criminal and Delinquent Behavior 
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice 
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Introduction to the Court Systems 
  • Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • Introduction to Research Methods in Criminal Justice 
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Victimology

Students must also complete an internship to earn a degree. 

Enroll now

3. Florida State University 


Consider an online bachelor’s in Criminology from the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University. The distance learning department offers an exceptional educational experience to all who enroll.

Students are required to complete 36 credit hours in criminology. Plus, you can earn your degree from the comfort of your home without ever having to step foot on campus. You’ll receive the same Bachelor of Science in criminology as your peers who study on campus. 

You’ll benefit from the guidance of world-renowned instructors who provide insight on policies and trends in criminal justice. They also share invaluable information along with tips and strategies to help you thrive in your criminal justice career. You’ll also complete an internship to gain real-world experience before entering the field. 

Enroll now

4. University of Nebraska at Omaha


Earn a bachelor of multidisciplinary studies in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

The curriculum delves into standard practices and theories related to crime prevention, investigation and policy. You will also explore current trends in criminology and criminal justice, and how they’re both perceived from the local, national and international level. 

You will complete the following core courses:

  • Criminal Law
  • Drugs and the Criminal Justice System
  • International Criminology and Criminal Justice  
  • Minorities and Criminal Justice 
  • Sex Crimes
  • Sociology of Deviant Behavior 
  • Survey of Criminal Justice 
  • The Juvenile Justice System
  • Women and Crime

Alumni of the program work in juvenile justice, law enforcement, loss prevention, politics, security and social work. Some also accept roles as court administrators and educators.   

You need 120 credit hours to finish the program. 

Enroll now

5. University of South Florida 


Offered by the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, the online bachelor’s in criminology prepares students to work in the criminal justice system. It’s also a good fit for students seeking a graduate degree in criminology or a related field. 

The program dives into the inner-workings of detention, corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement, parole, probation and the judiciary. Major core courses include: 

  • Seminar in Criminology 
  • Survey of the Criminal Justice System
  • Theories of Criminal Behavior

Upon completion, you will know how to describe crime and delinquency-related theories and convey your expertise of research methods used in the field. You will also possess an in-depth knowledge of how the criminal justice system in the U.S. functions. 

Enroll now

6. Washington State University 


Want to learn more about how criminal justice professionals minimize criminal behavior? Consider an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Washington State University to bring you up to speed. 

As a criminal justice major, you will complete the following core courses and a capstone:

  • Criminal Law
  • Introduction to the Administration of Criminal Justice 
  • Introduction to Criminological Theory
  • Quantitative Methods for Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods for Criminal Justice

Prepare for a career in several criminal justice roles, like border security child protective services, crime analysis, community corrections or victim advocacy. You can also earn a degree to meet the educational requirements for a criminology graduate program. 

Enroll now

7. Southern New Hampshire University 


The online criminal justice degree program prepares students for a career in advocacy and law, corrections, law enforcement or security. 

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice explore criminology theories, national and global trends in criminal justice and the impact these trends have on criminal justice agencies. The world-class instructors also teach you how to apply ethical standards, laws and regulations to decision-making practices and devise solutions that are backed by research. 

Specialize your degree by choosing from the following concentrations: 

  • Corrections
  • Criminology
  • Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
  • Human Services and Advocacy
  • Police Administration and Operations
  • Substance Abuse 

You will complete core courses on many integral topics, including:

  • Policing in the United States
  • Problem Solving for Criminal Justice Professionals
  • Technology in Criminal Justice 
  • The United States Correctional System
  • The United States Judicial System

The program requires 120 credit hours to earn your degree. 

Enroll now

8. Ball State University 


Ball State University also offers an online Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and criminology. It’s ideal for individuals who seek a career in community correction, the court system, law enforcement, policing or the private sector. 

During your studies, you will discover the philosophical, practical and theoretical components of the legal system. You will also learn more about the role of criminology concerning public policy and the most effective ways to implement best practices. 

This 120 credit hour program requires you to complete these foundational courses:

  • Criminal Law 
  • Ethics and Decision Making 
  • Evaluation Research in Criminal Justice 
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice 
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Race, Gender and Crime
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice 

There’s also a mandatory capstone course in criminal justice. 

You can select a specialty to make your degree align with your career goals. Options include courts, corrections, policing, special populations and victimology. 

Enroll now

9. University of West Georgia 


Want to earn your criminology degree in as little as 3 years? The University of West Georgia offers an online program that allows you to meet your educational goals without interfering with your personal life. 

Courses are led by accomplished faculty with years of experience in varying criminal justice and human services roles. They have the knowledge to help you prepare for a career in the field or transition into a graduate degree program. 

You need 120 credit hours to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in criminology. However, the University of West Georgia allows you to transfer up to 90 hours from a qualified college or university. 

Enroll now

10. University of North Carolina Wilmington


The online Bachelor of Arts in criminology teaches students the knowledge needed to excel in corrector, parole, police services or probation roles. The program is also a good fit for individuals who want to attend graduate school or law school.

You are allowed to choose a concentration in criminal justice, criminology or public criminology. Both tracks require you to complete a series of core courses and electives, including: 

  • Collective Violence
  • Corrections 
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Courts 
  • Criminal Law 
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Data Analysis 
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Methods of Social Research
  • Police in Society 
  • Victimology 
  • White-Collar Crime   

Transfer credits are permitted.

Enroll now

Find the Best Online Criminology Degree Program for You

Don’t let time pass without working toward your educational goals. Start searching for a criminology degree program that will allow you to pursue the career you’ve always dreamed about. Consider options from our list of recommendations and compare your top picks to make an informed decision.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community

Learn more at SNHU.