Top Ranked Criminal Justice Degree Programs - Oklahoma City, OK

School and Ranking Information

Criminal justice programs prepare learners for careers in such fields as corrections, law enforcement, forensics and homeland security. Some criminal justice programs offer specializations in these areas. The Oklahoma City area has about 13 schools offering criminal justice-related programs, including both 2-year community colleges and 4-year universities. The top 3 colleges, according to 2014 rankings by U.S. News & World Report, program options and number of criminal justice degrees awarded, are:

  • Winner: The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is a highly ranked public institution in the Oklahoma City metro area with bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice. It's the top choice because it awarded the most criminal justice degrees in 2011-2012, according to the NCES College Navigator.
  • Runner-Up #1: Ranked 73rd among schools in the South by, Oklahoma City University (OCU) is located in Oklahoma City and has a bachelor's degree program in justice studies, making this school another good choice.
  • Runner-Up #2: The main campus of the University of Oklahoma (OU) is located in nearby Norman, has high rankings and offers its bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice fully online, which could be a nice option for current professionals who want to earn a degree or advance in the field.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of Central Oklahoma Oklahoma City University University of Oklahoma - Norman
Rankings (2014) 75th among Western region schools* Named 24th among schools in the Western region* Ranked 101st among national universities in the U.S.*
Location Edmond, OK (about 16 miles from Oklahoma City) Oklahoma City, OK Norman, OK (roughly 19 miles from Oklahoma City)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $5,092 in-state, $12,767 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$5,201 in-state, $12,264 out-of-state (graduate)**
$27,500 (undergraduate)** $8,706 in-state, $20,343 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$6,950 in-state, $18,412 out-of-state (graduate)**
Criminal Justice Degrees Offered Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degree Bachelor's and master's degrees
Criminal Justice Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-12 98** 13** 39**
Most Popular Criminal Justice Program (2011-12) Bachelor's (80 combined total for all bachelor's degrees)** Master's (13)** Bachelor's (39)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class 32%* (34% transfer-out rate)* 56% (20% transfer-out rate)** 66%**
Noteworthy A long-standing criminal justice program, established in 1974 Only program in the area that focuses on the sociological aspects of criminology combined with the practical study of criminal justice Bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice are offered 100% online

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

Winner: University of Central Oklahoma

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked the university 29th among public schools in the Western region on 2014 list
  • Placed 178th among schools in the South by 2013
  • Required undergraduate internships or practicum may include opportunities at federal, state, county, law enforcement and corrections agencies

UCO is located just outside of Oklahoma City in Edmond and has a 124-credit Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in criminal justice with concentrations in general criminal justice, police and corrections. The general option is geared for students who are planning for a wide possibility of career opportunities in the field, while the police track is ideal for those who want to go into law enforcement and the corrections specialization is designed for students who want to work in the penal system. All of the concentrations may include required classes in criminal justice ethics, criminology, issues in the criminal justice system and research methods.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in criminal justice management and administration has 36 credits of study, a thesis and non-thesis option, and is designed for those who have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or are working in the field. This program uses hands-on training to teach such required subjects as juvenile justice administration, criminal justice organizational management, criminal justice planning, evaluating research and advanced crime theory.

As of 2013, the newly formed M.A. degree program in crime and intelligence analysis prepares students for careers in crime evaluation and reporting, with a focus on U.S. and international criminal law. Some of 33-36 required credits in this program involve analysis of criminal justice research, comparison of justice systems, environmental criminology, criminal justice technology and a professional seminar.

Runner-Up #1: Oklahoma City University

  • placed the school 74th in the South in 2013
  • Required internships could include such opportunities as juvenile facilities, re-entry programs, terrorism prevention programs, police departments and law offices

OCU is a private, United Methodist university that offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and B.A. degrees in justice studies with a program concentration in criminology through the sociology department. Criminology focuses on the social nature of crime and prepares students for careers in non-profit organizations, correctional facilities, law enforcement and the court system.

The criminology concentration includes 43 core credits with some requirements such as domestic violence, deviance, juvenile delinquency, intimate partner violence, probation, a senior capstone and an internship. Those who pursue the B.S. degree need to take 6 credits of a single foreign language, while those earning the B.A. degree must complete an intermediate level of a foreign language.

Runner-Up #2: University of Oklahoma - Norman

  • Ranked 35th among schools in the South by 2013
  • Named 47th among public national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2014
  • The Princeton Review listed this school as a best Western region college and as having good educational value for public schools in 2013

The main campus of OU has bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice that are offered only online. The 120-credit B.S. degree program in criminal justice prepares students for possible careers or advancement in homeland security, juvenile justice, corrections and law enforcement. The online courses are offered in 8-week modules and could include required classes in comparison of justice systems, statistics in criminal justice, forensic science, deviant behavior and a senior capstone.

OU also offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in criminal justice with optional concentrations in administrative leadership, drug abuse policy and restorative justice. Courses in this 33-credit program are taught by real-life criminal justice professionals and involve some required classes in criminal justice research methods, policy development and ethics, and students may choose to complete either a research project or thesis during the final year of study. Some electives offered include class and social inequality, race and ethnicity, U.S. gangs and criminology, as well as an optional internship.

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