How Much Do Online Criminal Justice Degrees Cost?

Find out how tuition costs vary by degree level, school and student residency status for online criminal justice degree programs. Learn about potential expenses, including application and online technology fees.

Assessing the Costs for Online Degrees

There are many variables in calculating the cost of online criminal justice degree programs. Tuition rates vary by school, degree level and student residency status. Additionally, the cost for books and supplies is different for each class, and some schools charge online technology fees as well as application fees. Students should contact the school they plan to attend to best estimate how much their online criminal justice degree program will cost.

Degree Level

In most cases, tuition for undergraduate credits is less expensive than tuition for graduate credits. Further, tuition rates per credit for associate's degrees in criminal justice are typically less expensive than those for bachelor's degrees. Although online criminal justice bachelor's degree credits cost less than those for a master's degree, the total tuition costs for online undergraduate degrees may be more expensive due to the number of credit hours required to complete the program. Bachelor's programs generally demand about 120 credit hours, while master's programs only require about 33 credit hours. Tuition for a bachelor's degree may be decreased by completing general education and elective credits at a less expensive community college.


Many U.S. public schools charge higher rates for online students who do not live in the same state as the school they are attending. The per-credit tuition for out-of-state students can be as much as double the cost of credits for in-state students. In some cases, graduate degree programs can add up to over $700 per credit for out-of-state students. Distance learning programs at private schools typically charge the same for in-state and out-of-state students.

Private vs. Public Schools

Private schools are often more expensive than public schools. However, the difference in tuition is hard to pinpoint. For example, tuition for a private school with no fluctuation for out-of-state students may be significantly less than a public school that increases costs for non-residents. Also, a less prestigious private school may have lower tuition rates than a more popular, highly-ranked public university.

Additional Fees

Schools offering online criminal justice programs may also tack on additional fees. These fees may include application fees, distance learning fees, textbook charges and shipping fees. Application fees vary, but are generally about $45-50. These fees may be waived for distance learners of certain programs or schools. Some schools charge per-credit-hour distance learning fees. Books with shipping charges can cost up to $350, though this cost can be decreased by purchasing used books or utilizing online course materials when available.

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