Criminal Justice Colleges in Illinois with Program Summaries

Illinois has 86 schools that offer criminal justice programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for ten of the largest schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

Students who want criminal justice education and training in Illinois can find programs at all levels at 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. This includes certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs. In addition to careers in law enforcement and corrections, students who pursue graduate education can explore opportunities in research or academia.

In some cases, students can transfer the credits from an associate's degree program to a 4-year institution. Some programs offer students the opportunity to intern with local law enforcement agencies or corrections facilities. Graduate students might complete master's thesis or doctoral dissertation requirements. Read on to find out about ten schools offering criminal justice programs in Illinois.


College of DuPage

The College of DuPage is located in Glen Ellyn and offers several criminal justice certificate and degree programs. Students can pursue certificates in criminal justice and homeland security. An Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice program is available that can lead to further education in a bachelor's degree program.

The Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice program requires 64 credits and prepares students for entry-level law enforcement or corrections positions. The homeland security associate degree program is 64-68 credits in length and teaches students about emergency management, operations continuity, disaster management and bio-terrorism. The college's criminal justice bachelor's degree program is offered in association with Lewis University. Students complete 92 credits at DuPage and 36 credits at Lewis.

College of Lake County

The College of Lake County is based in Grayslake, and students at the school can pursue three criminal justice programs. Students earning the criminal justice certificate are required to complete 30 credits and take courses in criminology, criminal law, psychology and sociology.

The Associate in Applied Science program requires 60 credits and can include coursework in policing, corrections, criminal law, juvenile delinquency, investigations, traffic law enforcement and evidence technology. An Associate in Arts program is designed to prepare students for study in a baccalaureate program.

Harper College

Located in Palatine, Harper College gives students the opportunity to pursue an associate degree in law enforcement and justice administration. The program is two years long and covers topics in policing, criminal law, juvenile justice, drug control, investigative process, criminal procedures and law enforcement leadership. An Associate in Applied Science program in forensic science is also available.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University is based in Normal, and students can pursue criminal justice programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The bachelor's degree program requires that students complete courses in contemporary corrections, crime and behavior, criminal law and contemporary policing. Electives offer students a chance to learn about juvenile justice, victimology, criminal behavioral analysis and evidence rules.

Students enrolled in the master's degree program can earn a Master of Science or Master of Arts. They choose between completing a thesis or taking a comprehensive exam. Courses cover topics in family violence, correctional institutions, women in criminal justice, criminal justice administration and correctional systems.

Joliet Junior College

Located in Joliet, this college has law enforcement and criminal justice programs. The Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice program is 64 credits in length and prepares students for transfer to a four-year college or university. Courses teach students about corrections, law enforcement, criminal law, criminal procedures and juvenile delinquency.

Students can also pursue a certificate or associate degree in law enforcement. The certificate program is 30 credits long, while earning the associate degree requires completing 68 credits. Courses in both programs teach students about the criminal justice system, procedural criminal law, traffic administration and law enforcement organization.

Moraine Valley Community College

Located in Palos Hills, Moraine Valley Community College offers a 62-credit associate degree program in criminal justice. Students are required to complete core courses in criminology, juvenile delinquency, procedural criminal law and criminal evidence. Electives offer students the chance to learn about homeland security, criminal justice issues and addiction studies.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

The Carbondale campus of Southern Illinois University offers criminal justice programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. The bachelor's degree program in criminology and criminal justice requires the taking of core courses and electives, as well as the choosing of a minor. Internship opportunities are also available. Criminology and criminal justice is also available as a minor.

Students in the master's degree program can choose the thesis or non-thesis option. Courses in the program include criminal justice methods and concepts, criminal justice data analysis and interpretation, criminal justice foundations and criminological theory. The non-thesis option requires that students complete two projects, including at least one research paper. Students in the doctoral program must take part in core courses and electives, as well as take a comprehensive exam and write a dissertation.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

This campus of Southern Illinois University is located in Edwardsville, and students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Science in Criminal Justice. General education courses are required, as well as core courses, electives and an internship. Core courses include corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement, criminology and criminal procedures. The internship requires that students complete 140 hours of work. Criminal justice is also offered as a minor.

Triton College

Located in River Grove, Triton College features several criminal justice programs. Criminal justice administration certificates can be earned in law enforcement, corrections and private security. The private security certificate program requires 11 credits and includes courses in firearms, security problems and first aid. Students earning the law enforcement or corrections certificate are required to complete 27 credits. The former program includes courses in patrol administration, criminal investigations, police supervision, traffic enforcement and law enforcement administration. The latter program covers topics such as probation and patrol, correctional procedures and correctional counseling.

Three associate degrees in criminal justice administration are offered at the school as well. The 64-credit Associate in Arts and Associate in Science programs produce graduates who can then pursue bachelor's degrees in the field at four-year colleges. Students in the Associate in Applied Science program complete 65-66 credits and are prepared for employment in corrections, law enforcement and the courts.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Students at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois can pursue criminal justice programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. The bachelor's degree program in criminology, law and justice is 120 credits in length and features courses in criminal law principles, law in society, criminology and criminal justice organizations. A minor is also available.

Students must earn 40 credits to complete the master's degree program. Besides taking courses, they must also take a comprehensive exam. Students choose to complete a thesis, project or additional coursework to graduate from the program. The doctoral program requires 96 credits; however, students who earn the master's degree receive 32 credits towards graduation. Courses, examinations and a dissertation are program requirements.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Criminal Justice Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)
College of DuPage 2-year public; large suburb Criminal Justice Certificate,
Associate in Arts/ Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice,
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
$5,275 in-district, $10,885 in-state, $12,985 out-of-state*
College of Lake County 2-year, public; large suburb Criminal Justice Certificate,
Associate in Arts/ Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice
$3,612 in-district, $8,358 in-state, $11,046 out-of-state*
Harper College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration
Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Science
$3,228 in-district, $9,396 in-state, $11,208 out-of-state*
Illinois State University 4-year, public; midsized suburb Bachelor of Arts/Science in Criminal Justice,
Master of Arts/Science in Criminal Justice
$13,666 in-state, $21,482 out-of-state*
Joliet Junior College 2-year, public; large suburb Law Enforcement Certificate of Achievement,
Associate in Applied Science in Law Enforcement,
Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
$3,450 in-district, $10,508 in-state, $11,187 out-of-state*
Moraine Valley Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice $3,996 in-district, $8,916 in-state, $10,326 out-of-state*
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 4-year, public; small city Minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice,
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice,
Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice,
Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice
$13,137 in-state, $26,390 out-of-state*
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 4-year, public; large suburb Minor in Criminal Justice,
Bachelor of Arts/Science in Criminal Justice
$10,247 in-state, $21,740 out-of-state*
Triton College 2-year, public; large suburb Criminal Justice Administration Certificates in Law Enforcement/ Private Security/Corrections,
Associate in Arts/Science in Criminal Justice Administration,
Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice Administration
$3,870 in-district, $9,360 in-state, $11,630 out-of-state*
University of Illinois at Chicago 4-year, public; large city Minor in Criminology, Law and Justice,
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law and Justice,
Master of Arts in Criminology, Law and Justice,
Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Justice
$13,664 in-state, $26,520 out-of-state*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator.


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