Overview

Criminology is the study of crime and criminals. Professionals in the field study the science behind crime and its causes to inform professionals in criminal justice and law enforcement—an important responsibility in terms of equitable justice and law enforcement strategy.

Due to the complexity of the field and its importance, many consider obtaining a master’s degree. Criminology master’s programs train students to become sociologists who specialize in criminal behavior and the causes and effects of crime. Courses ensure students develop a comprehensive understanding of the basic elements of psychology, the criminal justice system, and current law enforcement practices while being able to respond to new developments including cybercrime.

Degree holders can work as researchers, consultants, or work for government agencies such as the FBI or in the private sector. In addition, many go on as fraud analysts.

Yes. The key is to find an accredited program that suits your specific scheduling needs.

Most online degrees are accepted by employers and universities. What matters more is a student’s performance in the program and their work experience.

A master’s in criminology takes around 2 years to complete. Students can complete their degrees faster by taking more courses, but it’s best to take your time.

For those who want a career in improving the criminal justice system, a master’s degree is a worthwhile investment. In addition, degree holders often have higher salaries and chances of employment compared to their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees.

To put it simply, criminology master’s programs explore the socioeconomic, political, and environmental factors affecting crime. This type of education ensures that degree holders can evaluate and examine the current criminal justice system to offer suggestions that lead the way to equity and progress. At a time of political and social tension between the criminal justice system and the public, such expertise is invaluable.

Best Online Masters in Criminology Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Criminology program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and a list of the 12 best online Masters in Criminology programs.

Read about our methodology here.

Graduation Rate
79%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$554 per credit
Best Value

Florida State University offers one of best master's in criminology programs in terms of value thanks in part to its affordability and career-driven curriculum. Students pay the same online tuition no matter where they live and can match the coursework with their career goals for true flexibility.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminology
Available Concentrations: Penology, Race, Ethnicity, Crime & Social Justice, Criminal Law, Procedures & Individual Rights, Criminal Justice Administration

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Field Education Requirements: 9 credit hour full time graduate internship (field practice)

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 1 year

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: November 1; Summer: March 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

112 S Copeland Street

Tallahassee, FL 32306

850-644-6200

Graduation Rate
55%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$295 per credit
Best for Policy Careers

Missouri State University prepares graduates for careers as criminal justice policy makers thanks to a rigorous curriculum in the master's in criminology program. Graduates have the skills to make critical decisions in the criminal justice system and to lead in administrative roles in their careers. Students also have the opportunity to earn a homeland security certificate as part of the program.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Criminology and Criminal Justice
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, Criminology, or Criminal Justice
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 16; Spring: January 11; Summer: June 7
GPA: 3.0

Address:

901 S National Ave

Springfield, MO 65897

417-836-5000

Graduation Rate
71%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $1,495 per credit; Out-of-state: $2,263 per credit
Most Reputable

The University of Texas at Dallas has an outstanding reputation for its criminology program thanks to its cutting-edge research facilities and faculty. Students who enroll in this online program learn from renowned criminologists and gain the skills to advance their careers in administration.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminology

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate in Criminology, Sociology, or a relevant discipline
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1 year
Program start dates: Fall: July 1

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: May 1; Spring: October 1; Summer: March 1
GPA: 3.2

Address:

800 W. Campbell Rd

Richardson, TX 75080

972-883-2935

Graduation Rate
86%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$13,974 per year
Best for Leadership Careers

The University of California-Irvine designed its master's in criminology program for professionals in law enforcement, corrections and other related fields who want to advance their careers into leadership positions. Graduates are prepared for administrative roles after college thanks to a rigorous curriculum and an expert faculty with years of experience in academics and criminal justice professions.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Criminology, Law and Society
Program Name: Masters of Advanced Study in Criminology, Law and Society

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 52 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: October 1

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

Irvine, CA 92697

949-824-4611

Graduation Rate
52%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $635 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,050.06 per credit
Best for Sociology Careers

Texas A&M University-Commerce caters to both aspiring and advanced criminal justice professionals who want to pursue leadership roles in sociology. The master's in criminology program prepares them for careers as sociologists, giving them the skills to study the behavior of groups, cultures, organizations and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
Program Name: Master of Science in Applied Criminology
Available Concentrations: General Criminology, Criminal Justice Administration & Management, Homeland Security
Accrediting Body: SACS

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18 months
Program start dates: Summer: July 6

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

2200 Campbell St

Commerce, TX 75428

903-886-5483

Graduation Rate
44%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$707 per credit
Best Credit Transfer

Western Kentucky University is the ideal choice for transfer students who want to earn their criminology degree without having to take unnecessary courses. The university allows students to transfer up to 12 credit hours from a previous graduate program and to start any day of the year thanks to on-demand coursework.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Criminology
Accrediting Body: SACS

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's Degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall: August 27; Winter: January 2; Spring: January 22; Summer: May 13

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: February 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1906 College Heights Blvd

Bowling Green, KY 42101

270-745-2446

Graduation Rate
59%
School Type
Private Non-profit
Tuition
$600 per credit
Most Flexible

Regis University's master's in criminology program is ideal for distance learners who want the flexibility to earn their degree at their own pace. Students can choose a specialized focus area, tailor the coursework to their interests and select between online and blended campus formats to have a truly customized educational experience.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Contemporary Liberal Studies
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminology
Available Concentrations: Leadership, Human Behavior, Cybercrime, Terrorism
Accrediting Body: HLC

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate Degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall: August 27; Spring: January 14; Summer: May 6

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

3333 Regis Blvd

Denver, CO 80221

800-944-7667

Graduation Rate
52%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$600 per credit
Best for Criminology Education Careers

San Jose State University offers an online master's in criminology degree program with a curriculum that prepares graduates for careers as criminology or criminal justice instructors. Students develop the skills to create a syllabus, to deliver coursework and to teach law enforcement procedures to students in their classes.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Justice Studies
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminology
Available Concentrations: Global Criminology

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asychronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate Degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: August 21

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: December 1; Fall: June 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1 Washington Square

San Jose, CA 95192

408-924-2940

Graduation Rate
40%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $412 per credit; Out-of-state: $527 per credit
Best Educational Paths

Students at Indiana State University have two criminology programs to choose from: a Master of Arts and a Master of Science. Both programs provide similar coursework in criminal justice and criminology but require different credit hours, giving students separate options for pursing their degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Graduate and Professional Studies
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate Degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall: August 21; Spring: January 15; Summer: May 20

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: April 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

200 N 7th St

Terre Haute, IN 47809

812-237-3619

Graduation Rate
32%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$393 per credit
Most Individualized Experience

Delta State University offers small class sizes for students who want to receive a more individualized education in the master's in criminology program. This program also includes a personal adviser to oversee the students' progress as they work toward earning their degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Division of Social Sciences and History
Program Name: Master of Science in Social Justice & Criminology

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate Degree in the proposed area of study

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall: August 20; Spring: January 7; Summer: May 28

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Beverly Moon

Admissions Contact

Address:

Hwy 8 West

Cleveland, MS 38733

662-846-4700

Graduation Rate
53%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $516 per credit; Out-of-state: $526 per credit
Most Accelerated

California University of Pennsylvania offers an accelerated master's in criminology program for distance learners. Students in this program who enroll on a full-time basis can complete the entire coursework in just over a year.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Criminal Justice
Program Name: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Studies
Accrediting Body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 1 year
Program start dates: Fall: August 27, 2018; Spring: January 22, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

250 University Ave

California, PA 15419

866-595-6348

Graduation Rate
53%
School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $525 per credit; Out-of-state: $613 per credit
Best New Program

Indiana University of Pennsylvania started its online master's in criminology program in 2009, making it one of the best new programs in the nation. Though it's fairly new, this program offers an in-depth curriculum and delivers invaluable education thanks to an expert faculty with professional experience.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Program Name: Master of Arts in Criminology

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)
Program start dates: Fall: August 27; Spring: January 22

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

411 N Walk

Indiana, PA 15705

724-357-2720