Comparison of Criminal Justice School Options in San Antonio
Several public and private schools within 55 minutes of downtown San Antonio offer undergraduate and graduate programs in criminal justice. This article explores three of those schools and also includes a table that provides easy access to important facts students will want to consider when making a decision on their education. Finally, the article includes brief information about several other San Antonio-area schools that offer criminal justice programs.
- Of the three schools that offer criminal justice degree programs, Our Lady of the Lake University - San Antonio has the lowest student population and the lowest student-to-teacher ratio. This four-year, Roman Catholic school, located about four miles from downtown San Antonio, allows to students to pursue a minor or a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
- About three miles from the city center, San Antonio College is the closest school to downtown San Antonio that offers criminal justice degree programs. This two-year college offers associate's degree programs in criminal justice.
- Texas State University - San Marcos is a four-year public university located in the town of San Marcos, nearly 45 miles from downtown San Antonio. The school currently offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in criminal justice.
Comparison of Schools
Prospective students must consider many factors when choosing a school. The following table presents important aspects to examine, including school type, tuition and the graduation rate.
|Our Lady of the Lake University - San Antonio||San Antonio College||Texas State University - San Marcos|
|School Type||4-year; private not-for-profit||2-year; public||4-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||3,212*||19,385*||38,666*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Small suburb|
|Tuition & Fees 2017-2018||$28,192*||$2,760 in-district; $7,170 in-state; $13,770 out-of-state*||$9,985 in-state; $21,605 out-of-state*|
|% of Full-Time, First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2017)||98%*||67%*||81%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||91%*||N/A - Open admissions||73%*|
|Retention Rate (2017)||61% for full-time students*||60% for full-time students; 43% for part-time students*||78% for full-time students; 56% for part-time students*|
|Graduation Rate||38% (for students who began in 2011)*||18% (for students who began in 2014)*||54% (for students who began in 2011)*|
Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.
Our Lady of the Lake University - San Antonio
Students at Our Lady of the Lake have the opportunity to participate in a practicum. The program can prepare them for a variety of careers, including crime scene investigation, law enforcement and employment in a medical examiner's office.
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Classes in the criminology and criminal justice program at Our Lady of the Lake are small, and students have the opportunity to participate in community service learning opportunities. Graduates of the program have gone on to work as parole officers and evidence technicians, as well as with at-risk populations. Major courses offered include criminal justice theories, police and society, criminal procedures and criminal investigations, to name a few.
San Antonio College
San Antonio College offers more than 80 certificate, degree and transfer programs. Students interested in studying criminal justice can choose a program focused on either the theoretical foundations or the practical applications of the discipline.
Criminal Justice Field of Study (FOS)
This program will give students a basic understanding of the criminal justice field. Students will be responsible for 15 credits of courses in topics like courts, criminal law, corrections, and police systems. The program is designed to transfer credits to a bachelor's degree program.
Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
In addition to the FOS program, San Antonio College offers three career-focused Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in criminal justice for individuals interested in entering the workforce or continuing their careers immediately after graduation. One option is the A.A.S. in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in correctional science; some of the major courses include correctional systems and practices, criminalistics and crime in America. The second option is an A.A.S. in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in law enforcement peace officer. The third option is Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement, A.A.S. and is aimed at preparation for law enforcement careers in Texas.
Texas State University - San Marcos
Students can find numerous opportunities to explore the field of criminal justice while attending Texas State University. The School of Criminal Justice employs nationally and internationally recognized faculty. It also provides opportunities for student learning both inside and outside the classroom.
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
The undergraduate degree program at Texas State University is designed to prepare students for careers in probation, asset protection, rehabilitation counseling or policing. Degree plans from which students can choose include law enforcement, criminal justice and corrections. Prior to enrolling in upper-division courses, students are required to complete a series of lower-division courses, some of which include criminal law fundamentals, police systems and practices and correctional systems and practices. Students also have the chance to participate in internships which can enhance future employment prospects.
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Master's degree students can learn about criminal justice program planning, evaluation and implementation. Courses include statistics, administration of justice and legal issues in criminal justice, among others. To complete the program, students choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option. Students who choose the non-thesis option complete a series of professional papers. A study abroad opportunity is available in Brazil.
Ph.D. in Criminal Justice
This program is designed for both working criminal justice professionals and students seeking careers in academia. Enrolled students have the chance to apply for a doctoral assistantship. The university is close to state criminal justice agency headquarters and several state criminal justice offices. Faculty members with diverse research interests teach doctoral students.
Other School Options
A bachelor's degree program in criminal justice is offered at St. Mary's University, which is roughly three miles from San Antonio. The University of Texas at San Antonio, located in San Antonio, also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. St. Phillips College, Palo Alto College and Northwest Vista College, both situated in the immediate San Antonio area, offer field of study/pre-major programs in criminal justice.