Top University with a Criminal Justice Degree - Cincinnati, OH

Students interested in studying criminal justice in Cincinnati have many schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Students can choose from nearly a dozen schools to pursue a criminal justice degree in the Cincinnati area. The three schools below stand out among area schools based on their national rankings from U.S. News and World Report, degree types offered and graduate rates:

  • Winner: The University of Cincinnati (UC) earned the top spot for offering the most degree options (associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral) and conferring the most degrees in this field in 2011-2012 than the other two schools.
  • Runner Up #1: Xavier University places second since it had the highest graduation rate among the three top schools as well as very high national rankings.
  • Runner Up #2: Thomas More College takes third place since it is the only school of these three that is not located within Cincinnati. This school offers both associate and bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of Cincinnati Xavier University Thomas More College
Rankings Ranked 135th among national universities in the country on 2014 list*
Named the nation's 68th best school among Top Public Universities on 2014 list*
Nation's third-ranked graduate program in criminology for 2009*
Ranked fourth among regional universities (Midwest) on 2014 list*
Country's second-ranked up-and-coming school in 2013*
Nation's 41st best regional university (south) on 2014 list*
Location Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati, OH Crestview Hills, Kentucky (About 6 miles from Cincinnati)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $10,784 (in-state, undergraduate), $25,816 (out-of-state, undergraduate);
$14,182 (in-state, graduate), $25,696 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$32,070 (undergraduate), $10,584 (graduate)** $26,595 (undergraduate)**
Criminal Justice Program Levels Offered Associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Associate, bachelor's and master's degrees Associate and bachelor's degrees
Criminal Justice Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012) 495** 17** 9**
Most Popular Criminal Justice Program (2011-2012) Master's degree (303 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (12 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (7 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class 55%** 78%** 49%**
Noteworthy Students can become members of the school's Criminal Justice Society, which is designed to enhance the criminal justice educational experience through activities such as prison tours and a career fair*** Criminalistics concentration was recently added to the major's curriculum*** The school offers alternative Associate and Bachelor of Elective Studies degree options, which allow adult students to personalize their programs***

Sources: * U.S. News and World Report; **National Center for Education Statistics; ***Schools' websites.

Winner: University of Cincinnati

  • Both the Bachelor and Master of Science degree programs in criminal justice are offered on campus and through the university's Distance Learning program
  • All Ph.D. students in criminal justice are required to complete a teaching practicum in which they teach at least one criminal justice course
  • Students pursuing undergraduate criminal justice degrees must complete field placement, which is an unpaid internship designed to help them gain practical field experience

The University of Cincinnati offers several degree levels in criminal justice, and according to NCES, most students in the discipline pursue master's degrees at UC. When taken in the classroom, the master's program comprises 30 semester hours of coursework and takes one year to complete. When taken online, the curriculum spans 11 courses and the completion time can vary; both prepare students for entry-level careers in middle,management or advancement for those already employed in the criminal justice field. The four-year, 120-hour bachelor's degree program focuses on interdisciplinary study of criminal justice in the U.S. and requires seniors to complete field placement before graduation. The Ph.D. program, which requires either 90 semester hours of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree or 60 after a master's, includes proficiency and comprehensive examinations along the way, as well as a final dissertation after being granted doctoral candidacy.

Runner-Up #1: Xavier University

  • Bachelor's degree program students must complete a three-hour practicum involving supervised placement in criminal justice agencies
  • Master's program can be attended full- or part-time and during evening or summertime classes

Xavier offers associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice, as well as a 15-credit minor. Of the 39 credits within the criminal justice major that students must complete, 30 are from required classes, with the other 9 used for elective courses. The required three-hour practicum involves developing a 150-hour field placement in settings such as law enforcement, courts or corrections. The master's program builds on this by offering coursework focused on the theory and practice of criminal justice in these settings. Classes for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program are offered in the evenings and students can begin fall, spring or summer term. It might be important for prospective students to note that Xavier is a Catholic university with a liberal arts tradition.

Runner-Up #2: Thomas More College

  • Students can customize both associate and bachelor's degree programs to emphasize criminal justice
  • Class sizes in the criminal justice program are small, so students receive individualized attention from their professors and advisors

Thomas More's degree options in criminal justice include those at the associate and bachelor's levels. The associate degree (18 credit hours) includes an introductory class in criminal justice, criminology, sociology and multiple other electives within the discipline. The bachelor's degree program expands on that curriculum with more criminal justice courses, including an internship and senior seminar, as well as more sociology and elective classes. The school also offers Bachelor and Associate of Elected Studies degrees, which allow students to personalize their programs. This can include majoring in criminal justice or creating a program that emphasizes it. Graduates can find jobs such as a police officer, youth counselor, parole officer, social worker, court administrator, probation officer and correctional counselor, among others.

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