List of Best Criminal Justice Graduate Schools

There are numerous U.S. graduate schools that offer master's and doctoral degrees in criminal justice. Learn about program offerings at three top graduate schools.

View popular schools

Many schools offer master's or doctoral degrees in criminal justice or criminology, including the University of Maryland, the State University of New York at Albany and Arizona State University.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Corrections Admin
  • Corrections, Probation, and Parole
  • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
  • Criminal Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Juvenile Corrections
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Police Science and Law Enforcement
  • Securities Services Mgmt
  • Security and Theft Prevention Services

School Overviews

Students in graduate criminal justice programs learn the systems and practices used by governments to provide consequences for lawbreakers. Top schools with master's and doctoral degree programs in criminal justice include the University of Maryland - College Park, Arizona State University and the State University of New York at Albany. These schools are profiled here because they all offer top-ranked criminal justice or criminology programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

University of Maryland - College Park

School Highlight: UMCP offers research opportunities in crime and justice decision making, crime control and prevention, juvenile delinquency, life-course criminology and violence.

The University of Maryland - College Park (UMCP) had the top criminology graduate department in the nation for 2017, according to U.S. News & World Report The university's graduate program concentrates on the development and application of research skills in the various areas of criminology and criminal justice.

UMCP offers a traditional Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a professional master's degree, the latter of which includes the option to study abroad in China. At the doctoral level, UMCP students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice. A joint Master of Arts/Juris Doctor (M.A./J.D.) program is also available in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore; this program allows students to earn both degrees in four years.

State University of New York at Albany

School Highlight: School of Criminal Justice sponsors a Justice and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century project.

The State University of New York at Albany was ranked second on U.S. News & World Report's' list of the best graduate criminology schools in America for 2017. The School of Criminal Justice offers a M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, as well as an M.A./Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program. The dual master's degree program is designed for students interested in policy and research, in addition to the field of human services. The M.A. degree requires 30 credits, while the Ph.D. program consists of 60 credits.

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

School Highlight: Arizona State University offers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program that can be completed online.

Arizona State University was ranked twelfth on U.S. News & World Report's' list of the best graduate criminology schools for 2017. Additionally, the school was ranked second for its online graduate criminal justice program by U.S. News & World Report. The school's online criminal justice master's program is offered both part-time and full-time and consists of 33 credits. Students are required to complete a capstone project. The program can be completed in 18 months, full-time. ASU also offers an in-person master's program and doctoral program in criminal justice and criminology.

Top Criminal Justice Graduate Programs

Other schools with top criminal justice graduate programs include:

  • Located in Tallahassee, FL, Florida State University's faculty includes some of the nation's top criminologists.
  • Located in Bloomington, IN, Indiana University's criminal justice department focuses on interdisciplinary study and intersection of law and society.
  • Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, has three all-online criminal justice master's programs available.
  • Located in Boston, MA, Northeastern University's School of Criminology-Criminal Justice has student exchange programs in China, Amsterdam, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands.
  • At Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA, a master's program in criminology is available to students who want to earn a Ph.D.
  • Located in Irvine, CA, the University of California's criminology department is the only one in the U. California system.
  • Located in Cincinnati, OH, the University of Cincinnati's master's degree in criminal justice is offered online or on-campus and can be completed in a year, full-time.
  • At the University of Illinois in Chicago, IL, a criminal justice master's program with a concentration in women's studies is offered.

Students have many considerations when choosing a graduate criminal justice program, including concentrations, online program availability and study abroad opportunities. Other options may include part-time or full-time programs and dual-degree options.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?