How Much Do Online Criminal Justice Degrees Cost?

Mar 09, 2020

There are a variety of factors that affect how much online criminal justice degrees cost, including degree level, institution type, student residency status and additional fee requirements.

Factors Affecting Program Costs

These factors affect the cost of criminal justice programs:

Degree Level

In most cases, tuition for undergraduate credits is less expensive than tuition for graduate credits. Further, tuition rates per credit for online 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 typically require around 33 to 36 credit hours. Tuition for a bachelor's degree may be decreased by completing general education and elective credits at a less expensive community college.

Private vs. Public Schools

Private schools tend to be more expensive than public schools, though this is not always the case. 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.

Residency Status

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 triple the cost of credits for in-state students. In some cases, graduate degree programs can add up to over $600 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.

Additional Fees

Schools offering online criminal justice programs may also tack on additional fees. These fees may include application fees, distance learning fees and textbook costs. Application fees vary, but are generally $40 to $60. In some cases, fees may be waived for distance learners of certain programs or schools. Additionally, some schools may charge distance learning fees, which can cost an extra $50 per credit hour. The cost of textbooks varies widely depending on which courses are taken and whether the student rents or purchases new or used books.

Example Programs

Here are some examples of credit-hour costs for online criminal justice programs, as of 2017. It should be noted that additional fees are not included in these figures.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

  • Arizona State University - $517 per credit hour
  • Southern New Hampshire University - $320 per credit hour
  • Penn State University - $542 in-state, $584 out-of-state per credit hour

Master's Degree Programs

  • Southern New Hampshire University - $627 per credit hour
  • Florida State University - $553.70 per credit hour
  • University of Cincinnati - $724 in-state, $739 out-of-state per credit hour

When considering criminal justice programs, it is important to consider all factors that affect costs, as well as to get an idea of possible expenses by looking at per-credit-hour tuition costs.

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