Criminal Law Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Students interested in criminal law typically attend law school and earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Most J.D. programs can be completed within three years of full-time study, and students can focus on criminal law by choosing relevant advanced courses after completing the core requirements.

Criminal law is a field of law focusing on criminal acts such as drug use, fraud, abuse, assault, theft, murder or robbery. There are many colleges and universities that cover this aspect of the law in their J.D. programs.

Top Ten Law Schools

According to U.S. News & World Report, these ten schools had the best law programs in 2016:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition and fees (2015-2016)*
Yale University New Haven, CT Private $58,050
Harvard University Cambridge, MA Private $58,242
Stanford University Stanford, CA Private $56,274
Columbia University New York, NY Private $62,700
University of Chicago Chicago, IL Private $56,916
New York University New York, NY Private $59,330
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Private $58,918
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA Public $48,679 in-state, $52,630 out-of-state
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Public $53,112 in-state, $56,112 out-of-state
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Public $54,000 in-state, $57,000 out-of-state

Source: *U.S. News & World Report

University Selection Criteria

Consider the following when choosing a law school:

  • Select a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association.
  • While typical law school classes include constitutional law, criminal procedures, criminal law and evidence, you may want to consider a school that offers advanced classes related to criminal law.
  • Research what percentage of graduates actually pass the Bar Exam, which confers the certification necessary to become a practicing attorney in one's state.
  • Make sure that your scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) make you a competitive applicant for admission.

J.D. applicants who are interested in criminal law can find many schools that include the subject within their curriculum, including some of the nation's top universities.

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