Best School for a Degree in Criminal Justice - Arlington, VA

Arlington, VA, has many schools with programs in criminal justice. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings and tuition info.

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School and Ranking Information

There are over a dozen schools within a 10-mile radius of Arlington, VA that offer criminal justice degree programs. The best schools for studying this field are ranked below based on their program offerings, rankings, graduation rates and additional factors involving criminal justice-related offerings. The top three universities are:

  • Winner: American University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in criminal justice. The graduate criminal justice programs are ranked in the top 20 in the country and the school is ranked in the top 100 national universities.
  • Runner-Up #1: George Washington University was also ranked among national universities, and it offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in the field.
  • Runner-Up #2: Howard University offers bachelor's degrees and has numerous resources, like clinics and centers related to the study of law and criminal justice. It is also nationally ranked.

School Comparison Chart

Category American University George Washington University Howard University
Rankings (2014) #75 National Universities*,
#19th Criminology Graduate Schools*
#52 National Universities #142 National Universities*
Location Washington, DC (4.9 miles from Arlington) Washington, DC (4.1 miles from Arlington) Washington, DC (6.2 miles from Arlington)
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $39,499 (undergraduate)
$25,612 (graduate)**
$45,780 (undergraduate)
$24,147 (graduate)**
$22,683 (undergraduate)
$30,323 (graduate)**
Criminal Justice Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degrees
Criminal Justice Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 101** 48** 28**
Most Popular Criminal Justice Degree Level in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (75 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (46 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (28 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class 77%** 80%** 63%**
Noteworthy Affiliated with the Methodist Church Three major campus locations Labeled a research university with high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Sources: *2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings, **NCES College Navigator

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Winner: American University

  • The school's Justice Programs Office is involved in numerous criminal justice research studies.
  • Notable tenured faculty members amongst the forty-seven criminal justice faculty members here.
  • Mock Trial Team on campus.

American University's Bachelor of Arts in Justice and Law program has a criminal justice concentration and a criminology concentration. The criminal justice option includes classes in policing in America, forensic science, the prison community and concepts of punishment, while the criminology concentration has classes on organized crime, drugs, alcohol and society, white collar and commercial crime and criminal behavior. There is an honors option for students with a good academic record. Additional programs at this school include a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society, a Master of Science in Justice, Law, and Society and a Ph.D. in Justice, Law and Society. The master's degree program has a joint option that'd allow students to acquire a J.D.

Runner-Up #1: George Washington University

  • Online programs and courses are offered.
  • Summer sessions offer additional opportunities to take classes.
  • The school's study abroad programs give the chance to study overseas.

A Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Criminology are the two main program options offered at George Washington University. Ambitious students can pursue a combined degree program which would result in receive both those degrees in only five years. However, the combined degree program has several requirements including an overall 3.4 GPA or higher and providing letters of recommendation. At the undergraduate level, there are criminal justice courses offered in social research methods, data analysis techniques, contemporary sociological theory, evaluation research and sociology of sport. The graduate program has electives in gender and criminal justice, organized crime, race and crime and the sex industry.

Runner-Up #2: Howard University

  • Numerous criminal justice titles available at the school's Social Work Library.
  • Criminal Justice clinical courses can be taken here.
  • Students can participate in an externship program.

An undergraduate bachelor's degree program in administration of justice is available at Howard University. The required classes for this program cover issues like corrections, criminology, sociological methods and techniques and elementary statistics. In the senior year of the program, students are required to participate in an internship program. Students cannot graduate from the program without completing this requirement. At the end of the program, a written comprehensive examination over concepts, theories, research and practical applications of criminal justice must be passed.

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