List of Free Online Criminal Justice Courses & Training Programs

Jan 02, 2019

Check out our list of free online courses in criminal justice. Learn what types of criminal justice courses are available, what topics they cover and which ones lead to real college credit.

Criminal Justice Course Online for Credit

Free criminal justice courses won't provide college credit, but students able to pay a relatively low-cost fee might consider's affordable video lesson library. These courses include free lesson transcripts, interactive practice tests, and other resources to help you study effectively.

Students can check out Criminal Justice 101: Intro to Criminal Justice, which includes chapters on:

Free Online Criminal Justice Course Information and Requirements

There are several schools that offer criminal justice courses through OpenCourseWare (OCW) systems. In these types of classes students work independently, without instructor or peer contact. Users can download or stream course materials from the course website. Additionally, many courses provide the names of the textbooks used in the original course so that students can purchase them if they'd like to learn more about the topic.

University of California - Irvine (UC Irvine)

  • Criminology, Law and Society: Hate Crimes discusses the implications, causes and results of crimes based on racism and other kinds of discrimination. Students learn the different conceptions of hate crime and the social and legal theories related to these acts. Each of the 10 lessons includes a recommended reading list for students to cultivate a background applicable to the material. Students seeking a Master of Advanced Study (M.A.S.) in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine can receive college credit for completing this online course.
  • Criminology, Law and Society: White-Collar and Corporate Crime deals with criminal activity such as embezzlement, theft or fraud, that occurs at businesses and organizations. This course discusses how these acts manifest themselves and asks students to think about ways that these acts can be controlled. The courses include recommended readings and supplementary course materials. As part of UC Irvine's M.A.S. in Criminology, Law and Society online program, students can earn college credit after completing this course.
  • Immigration Law Symposium focuses on the legal plight of undocumented immigrants. Through a series of videos, students can view speakers discuss various topics related to immigration, such as anti-immigrant ordinances and how these laws are sometimes unfairly enforced.
  • Republican Law 1770-1830 is a 72-minute lecture presented by Christopher Tomlins, a faculty member of the UC Irvine Law School. It deals with the early roots of American law as it was conceived during the American Revolution. The free lecture discusses the contrast between the revolutionary spirit and the need to prescribe a system of rule after the Revolution. As this is only a lecture, there are no other course materials for students to download.

University of Michigan

  • Information Policy Analysis and Design covers policy analysis and the regulation of information. Students will look at the legal ramifications of intellectual property, telecommunications policy and digital governance. The course intends to provide students with policy analysis skills and reveal their connection to legal, economic and communication issues. This was a graduate-level course, but students can download course materials directly from the course website.

The Open University

  • Judges and the Law is an introductory course engineered for students interested in the British judicial system. The class includes discussions of civil code and common law systems. Students also look at the role of judges in the law-making process in the United Kingdom. Course materials are downloadable and all units include learning outcomes.

University of Cape Town

  • The Judiciary and Government deals specifically with judicial intervention in South African politics. Students look at key cases, court success and land reform, among other topics. This course is presented in a series of audio lectures that students can download.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Law and Society provides an overview of the relationship between law enforcement entities and citizens in the United States. Students discuss topics like social systems, legal reasoning and political processes. The course page includes links to assignments, lecture notes and study materials.
  • The Supreme Court, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights was designed for undergraduate students with an interest in how the Supreme Court handles civil right issues. Students have access to a reading list and lectures notes with topics like Federalism, desegregation, gender discrimination and criminal procedure. Students can download lecture notes, assignments and exams into one ZIP file.
  • Violence, Human Rights, and Justice examines the relationship between political violence and the abuse of a state on its citizens. There are lectures notes on torture, political prisoners and international abuses of power on the justice system. Particular case studies in Rwanda and South Africa are analyzed and discussed. The free course materials include a recommended reading list, PDF lecture notes, assignments and examples of reflection papers written by students.
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