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Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminology Online in 2023

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminology Online in 2023

Do you have an analytical mindset? Are you committed to creating a more fair and effective criminal justice system? Do you want to make an impact in your community? A career in criminology might be right for you. Explore top online criminology degree programs and learn everything you need to know to get started in this thrilling—and fulfilling—field.

If you want to dive into the minds of criminals and spearhead criminal justice reform, an online criminology degree could be a great next step for you. As an interdisciplinary field, criminology relies on sociology, psychology, and law to understand the motivations of criminals. Earning a criminology bachelor’s degree online unlocks career opportunities in law, government, and nonprofit sectors.

An online criminology bachelor’s degree provides a convenient and flexible pathway to become a private investigator, correctional officer, or forensic scientist. Read on to discover top online criminology bachelor’s degrees and take the first steps on your academic journey.

Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminology for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Jonesboro, AR
    Public $

    Arkansas State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. This program is a mix of criminology, sociology, and political science courses and covers social research methodologies, criminal justice systems, and strategies to reduce crime. Students will study the root causes, the prevention, and the after-effects of crime and how they relate to society. A-State offers the opportunity to obtain a double-major, allowing students to pair criminology with any other online program available. Students can transfer up to 90 credits.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Arts in Criminology

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $276/credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: HLC
  • Saint Louis, MO
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    Maryville University offers a 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice/Criminology. This program, which has three start dates each year, combines elements of criminology, psychology, criminal justice, and law to give students a well-rounded education in the basics of the criminal justice field. Students can choose either a police academy training path or a project-based learning path that focuses on internships and seminar courses. Graduates are prepared for careers in law enforcement, criminal courts, and correction facilities.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice/Criminology

    • Credits: 128
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost:$525/credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: HLC
  • Tampa, FL
    Public $

    The University of South Florida offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology with the option of a concentration in cybercrime. This degree covers both specific knowledge and skills in criminology and criminal justice with an emphasis on theory and policy. Students also have internship opportunities available to provide real-life experience and hands-on study. Although this degree can be taken entirely online, this program does require a one-time mandatory campus orientation.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Arts in Criminology

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $211.19/credit resident; $575.01/credit non-resident
    • Mode: Online, on-campus, hybrid
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Saint Louis, MO
    Public $$
  • Carbondale, IL
    Public $
  • Odessa, TX
    Public $
  • Maryville, MO
    Public $
  • Norfolk, VA
    Public $
  • Saint Charles, MO
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Moscow, ID
    Public $
  • Wilmington, NC
    Public $
  • Gainesville, FL
    Public $
  • Bowling Green, KY
    Public $$
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
    Public $$
  • Terre Haute, IN
    Public $
  • Fort Wayne, IN
    Private not-for-profit $$
  • Springfield, MO
    Public $
  • Carrollton, GA
    Public $
  • North Dartmouth, MA
    Public $$
  • Pullman, WA
    Public $$
  • Cleveland, TN
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Gainesville, FL
    Public $
  • Chicago, IL
    Private not-for-profit $$

Program Spotlights: Criminology Bachelor’s Degrees Online

Hundreds of online criminology degree programs are available, so how do you know which one is right for you? While most bachelor’s degrees in criminology focus on developing your critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities, they vary in terms of goals, format, outcomes, and curriculum. Despite these differences, most criminology programs must meet specific standards to achieve regional accreditation. 

Finding the right program for you depends on your schedule, career aspirations, and financial situation. Here are top online criminology bachelor’s degree programs to consider.

University of Florida

If you love analyzing trends and solving cases, the online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Florida may be right for you. Throughout the program, you’ll examine relationships between law, society, politics, history, and psychology to understand how they affect criminal justice.

  • Topics covered include theories of crime, criminal behavior, and criminal justice systems.
  • Admissions requirements include a 2.5 cumulative high school GPA, transcripts from all previous schools, and test scores if you graduated from high school less than five years before applying. Admissions requirements may vary if you have transfer credits.
  • Cost per credit: $129.18/credit for Florida residents; $552.62/credit for non-Florida residents
  • Credit requirement: 120
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an affordable, 100% online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Crime Analysis. You’ll explore the criminal mind and examine real-world problems involving preventing, controlling, and treating crime and delinquency. This transfer-friendly program is led by highly regarded faculty with frontline experience in major law enforcement agencies. If you have law enforcement training, you can earn up to 12 credits toward your bachelor’s degree in criminology.

  • Topics covered include theories of human behavior, crime reduction and prevention strategies, trends in criminal justice, and research methodologies.
  • Admissions requirements include an online application, attestation form, and transcripts from previous schools. There are no GPA requirements for any of SNHU’s online degree programs.
  • Cost per credit: $330/credit
  • Credit requirement: 120
  • Accreditation:New England Commission of Higher Education

Drexel University

With a rigorous curriculum, Drexel University’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Justice Studies prepares you for a fulfilling career within the criminal justice, private security, and legal profession. The self-paced program offers three concentrations to expand your knowledge in criminal justice, justice informatics, and justice studies. Plus, the program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year, allowing you to finish your online criminology degree quickly.

  • Topics covered include crime and criminal behavior, crime mapping, computer crime, crime prevention, and juvenile justice.
  • Admissions requirements for first-year students include an application, a high school diploma or GED, official transcripts from all previous schools, and a personal essay.
  • Cost per credit: $459/credit
  • Credit requirement: 181 quarter-credits (equal to 120 standard credits)
  • Accreditation:Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Courses in Your Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology

While the curriculum for every online bachelor’s degree in criminology differs, the goal is always to help you understand the causes of crime and how crime impacts society. The curriculum will cover relevant topics such as criminal justice, crime prevention, victimology, and research methods.

Since criminology is interdisciplinary, taking psychology, economics, history, or law electives can also be beneficial for academic success. Some online criminology bachelor’s degree programs also offer concentrations in areas such as forensic psychology or informatics so you can further specialize. You may even have the opportunity to use your new knowledge and skills through a capstone project or internship, which can help bolster your resume.

While each program is different, here are a few standard courses in many online criminology degree programs.

Introduction to Criminal Justice

Explore the world of criminal justice and the American judicial system from a historical and systemic perspective. This foundational course in your criminology bachelor’s degree provides you with a basic understanding of critical components of the criminal justice system, such as law, police, courts, and corrections. Investigate contemporary issues and reforms to help create a more equitable criminal justice system. Discuss criminal justice issues and initiatives such as restorative justice, incarceration alternatives, and the impact of technology on law enforcement.


Victimology plays a critical role in crime and justice. In this course, you’ll gain a unique perspective on the relationship between victim and offender to develop a better understanding of the mental and emotional impact crime can have. Through victimization and risk factor analysis, you’ll learn how to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Explore the development of victimization research and how it’s been measured throughout history.


This comprehensive deep-dive into the world of criminology equips you with the problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytical skills to understand criminal behavior and its implications in society. You’ll gain insight into the criminal mind by exploring social, psychological, and criminological theories and applying them to real-world situations. Examine how crime is defined, criminal motivations, and the relationship between law and criminology. Explore the distribution of criminal behavior within the social system, including age, race, and gender.

Law Enforcement and Society

Throughout history, law enforcement has played a pivotal role in society. In this course, you’ll explore the evolution of law enforcement and how it functions within the criminal justice system. Students dive into relevant topics in today’s society, such as police operations, discretion, due process, use of deadly force, and police corruption and deviance. You’ll discover the importance of cultivating positive relationships between law enforcement and local communities to drive change and enhance the criminal justice system.

Research Methods

Reducing crime starts with using scientific methods to study trends in criminal behavior. In this online criminology degree course, you’ll be introduced to the data sources and research methods criminologists use. Students gain hands-on, practical experience designing and conducting research projects to help you draw conclusions, identify trends, and make informed decisions. Learn qualitative and quantitative techniques for research, data collection, and analysis commonly used by criminologists, including surveys, experiments, interviews, and comparative studies.

What Should I Look for in an Online Criminology Bachelor’s Degree Program?

Choosing an online criminology degree program is a significant decision that requires careful research and weighing various factors to ensure the program you’re considering matches your personal and professional goals. Here are a few key elements to remember when selecting your online criminology bachelor’s degree.


When researching online criminology degrees, price is a critical factor. Before you begin your research, decide how much you’re willing to spend on your degree and what financial aid options you’re ready to explore. This makes it easy to narrow your search to schools you can afford.

Program Quality

Finding a quality online criminology program provides a solid foundation and enhances your career prospects. The key indicators of a high-quality criminology program include experienced faculty, a comprehensive curriculum, accreditation, and positive student outcomes. Evaluate the program’s quality by researching faculty, exploring course listings, and connecting with alumni to hear about their experiences.

Faculty Expertise

When evaluating online criminology programs, pay close attention to the faculty. Look for faculty who have hands-on experience in the criminal justice field, such as working as a probation officer, lawyer, or clinical social worker. Experienced faculty bring real-world insights and leverage professional connections to enrich student learning.


Accreditation demonstrates that a school has met rigorous standards that guarantee students receive a high-quality education. Attending an accredited university ensures that potential employers and certification boards will recognize your degree. Typically, a school’s regional and national accreditations are on its website.


The format of online programs varies in pace, delivery, and in-person requirements. Some online programs may be completely self-paced, while others require you to attend lectures at a specific time. Depending on your university, you may be required to participate in events such as orientations, labs, or seminars.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology Cost?

Earning an online criminology degree is a significant financial commitment, so it’s essential to have a plan for paying for your degree before you enroll. To help with the cost, multiple financial aid options are available, including federal student loans, personal loans, private and school scholarships, fellowships, work studies, and employer tuition assistance. The right financial aid option for you depends on your situation. Talk with your school’s financial aid office or do research online to learn more. While costs vary at each school, here are a few examples of how much your online bachelor’s in criminology could cost.

How Much Your Online Bachelors in Criminology Could Cost

SchoolNo. of CreditsCost per CreditTotal Tuition
University of Missouri-Kansas City120$427.10$51,252
Arkansas State University120$276$33,120
State University of New York at Canton122$295 (in-state);
$353 (out-of-state)
$35,624 (in-state);
$43,066 (out-of-state)
Arizona State University120$592$71,040
William Paterson University120$360$43,200

FAQs About Online Bachelor’s Programs in Criminology?

While we’ve covered the most important aspects of online criminology degree programs, you likely still have questions. Here are the most common questions about this degree.

  • Are online bachelor’s degree programs in criminology fully online?

    Most online criminology bachelor’s degree programs are 100% online. However, the format may differ from school to school. Some schools with synchronous classes require you to attend class at specific times, while others are asynchronous and allow you to work at your own pace. Depending on your school, you may have some in-person requirements, such as orientation or a lab. Before enrolling, check with your school to ensure the format and requirements match what you’re looking for.

  • What does the admissions process look like for this degree?

    The admissions process for an online criminology degree program varies by school. In most cases, the process is the same as a traditional, in-person program. You’ll submit an application, test scores, letters of recommendation, essays, and transcripts. Talk with an admissions officer or academic advisor at the school you choose to ensure you have all your admissions materials ready.

  • How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminology online?

    An online bachelor’s degree in criminology typically takes four to five years to complete if you attend full-time. Depending on your employment status and other personal commitments, you may opt for a part-time program, which will take longer. Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow you to finish your degree much faster than a traditional program. Check with your school to learn more about scheduling options for the criminology degree online.

  • What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their bachelor’s in criminology?

    As an online student, you’ll likely have the same support options that on-campus students have, such as academic advising, career development, tutoring, and alumni mentorship. Online students also receive additional services, such as technical support and an online library, to help maximize their success. Most instructors hold virtual office hours to mimic the in-person experience. Resources for every online criminology degree program vary by school, so it’s important to do your research.

  • Can I work while pursuing an online bachelor’s in criminology degree?

    Online learning provides greater flexibility than traditional in-person courses, which helps you balance work, school, and family life. However, keep in mind that each program requires a commitment. If you’re planning to work full-time while earning your online criminology bachelor’s degree, find a program that fits seamlessly into your work schedule to make it easier to balance. Let your academic advisor know that you’d like to work while attending school, and they can help you build a plan for success.

Other Bachelor’s Degree Options in Criminology

If you’re interested in a bachelor’s degree in criminology but are unsure what specialization to pursue, check out these other degree pages to learn about your options:

Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice – Forensic Science

Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security

Bachelor’s Degrees in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement