Top 25 Affordable Online Master’s in Criminology Programs

Top 25 Affordable Online Master’s in Criminology Programs

In this article, we list the top ranked and most affordable online master’s in criminology degree programs.

From forensics to law enforcement, a master’s in criminal justice or criminology can open the door to a variety of careers. According to the United States Department of Labor–Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for criminal justice occupations are expected to increase by up to 17% over the next decade. Police and law enforcement employment growth is expected to rise 10%, and criminology employment growth could increase by as much as 28%. The expected demand means that more colleges and universities will offer flexible education designed to equip job candidates.

Accredited Online College Programs

Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s in Criminology Programs

Rank School Location
1 Missouri Southern State University Joplin, MO
2 Missouri State University Springfield, MO
3 Wichita State University Wichita, KS
4 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
5 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
6 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
7 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, MO
8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
9 Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH
10 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL

Best Online Badge

We examined a total of 86 accredited colleges and universities that offered an online master’s in criminology, criminal justice, or closely related degree programs. Our initial pool of schools came from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES College Navigator). We narrowed this list to only those schools that had received rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, or U.S. News and World Report. We then selected the most affordable of these institutions based on in-state graduate tuition/fees listed by NCES College Navigator. We listed the 25 top schools in order of affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for the top 25 affordable online master’s degree programs in criminology or criminal justice.

  1. Missouri Southern State University
    Location

    Joplin, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Missouri Southern State University offers an affordable online master's in criminal justice degree program with three available completion options–thesis, internship, or capstone. All classes are delivered online and include 18 hours of core courses like civil law and liability, criminal justice theory, ethics in criminal justice, overview of the criminal justice system, research methodology in criminal justice, and statistical analysis in criminal justice. Twelve credits of electives must also be taken and include courses like crime and criminal justice policy, death penalty in America, and law enforcement. Missouri Southern is a regionally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

  2. Missouri State University
    Location

    Springfield, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Thesis and non thesis options, as well as optional summer courses, allow students at Missouri State University to complete their online master of science in criminology and criminal justice in one and a half years of full-time study. The thesis and non thesis program options require 30 and 36 credits of coursework to complete, respectively. Missouri State requires applicants hold a bachelor's degree in sociology, criminology, or criminal justice and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students without a background in sociology, criminology, or criminal justice may have to take prerequisite courses before embarking on the master's in criminology online curriculum.

  3. Wichita State University
    Location

    Wichita, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the most affordable online criminology degrees on our list is offered by Wichita State University. This fully online program has part-time and full-time options and allows students to enter the program in the fall, spring, or summer. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same university professors who teach on campus. Courses include criminal behavior, research methods in criminal justice, and statistical analysis in criminal justice. Wichita State University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a best national university and top-recommended institution by high school counselors.

  4. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Earning an online master of science in criminal justice from East Carolina University indicates an education that prepares students fully for careers in criminal justice, advancement to doctoral work, or becoming credentialed in teaching criminal justice. Three graduate certificates in criminal justice education, security studies, and public management and leadership are available for independent completion or can be satisfied as part of the elective requirements for ECU's online criminology master's degree. ECU requires GRE scores for admission, three letters of reference, and a statement of purpose.

  5. Indiana State University
    Location

    Terre Haute, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The motto "Blue believes in you" at Indiana State University extends to their online criminology master's degree. A master of science in criminology and criminal justice at ISU includes a concentration in either law enforcement or corrections in its 36 credit curriculum. Curriculum includes seminars in police problems and practices, law and criminal justice administration, and corrections. As the master of science is considered a terminal degree, for students pursuing doctoral work, Indiana State also offers an online master of arts in criminology and criminal justice.

  6. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Sam Houston State University's terminal master of science in criminal justice online fits the lifestyle of many working professionals eager to advance their career in criminal justice. The 36 credit curriculum includes critical analysis of justice administration, communication theory and administration of justice, and emergent issues in criminal justice leadership. GRE scores are not required for admission, but may be requested for students with an undergraduate GPA under 3.0. Students concerned about the cost of pursuing graduate education benefit from over 20 scholarships offered specifically to SHSU criminal justice students. also offers a master of science in criminal justice leadership and management

  7. Southeast Missouri State University
    Location

    Cape Girardeau, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the most affordable master's in criminology schools online is Southeast Missouri State University. The university offers an accredited online master's in criminal justice degree program that is designed to accommodate working individuals who desire to advance their career trajectories in the criminal justice field. All classes are taught online and include civil law and liability, criminal justice theory, ethics in criminal justice, overview of the criminal justice system, research methodology in criminal justice, and statistical analysis in criminal justice. Southeast Missouri State is a top public school and regionally ranked university. In fact, U.S. News and World Report also ranks the school's online graduate criminal justice program #24 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  8. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Accredited master's in criminology online degree programs are designed to equip individuals for careers in corrections, local and state law enforcement, and other criminal justice fields. Liberty University offers an online master's in criminal justice that is accredited and affordable. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach at the Lynchburg campus. These courses include administration of justice organizations, criminal justice integration, criminal justice program evaluation, leadership and ethics, and topics and trends in criminal justice. A thesis proposal, research, and defense are also required. Liberty is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school's online graduate criminal justice programs #35 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

  9. Youngstown State University
    Location

    Youngstown, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Youngstown State University offers a type of master's in criminology online degree program designed for those individuals seeking an evidence-based approach to criminal justice management and for those interested in pursuing doctoral level study. The program is offered entirely online in a flexible format that requires two courses per semester. Courses are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach on campus. Courses include advanced criminology, applied police and corrections management, law and criminal justice, program planning and evaluation, research methods in health and human services, and statistical techniques in health and human services. Youngstown is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best regional university in the Midwest.

  10. Saint Leo University
    Location

    Saint Leo, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Leo University offers an accredited and affordable online masters in criminal justice program designed for busy professionals. The online degree program explores various topics in corrections, law, leadership, and major criminal justice trends. All classes are delivered online and include forensic science and medicolegal death investigation, hostage negotiations, leadership and supervision in criminal justice, personnel law, and public policy. Electives explore specialty topics like courtroom psychology and the impact of terrorism on homeland security. Saint Leo University is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 62nd best regional university in the South and the 26th best value school in the country.

This concludes our listing of the top ranked and most affordable online master’s in criminology degree programs.

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