Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice

Additional academy training and education not provided by Purdue Global may be required for law enforcement positions.

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Program at a Glance

  • Enroll in a program that meets the educational and training expectations of public safety and community leaders.
  • Shorten your path to a master’s degree with the accelerated bachelor’s to master’s option.
  • Customize your degree by choosing from six concentrations.
How Do I Get Started?

We offer multiple start dates to give you flexibility in your education, life, and work schedules.

Course Effort
15–18 Hours per Week
Course Length
10-Week Terms
Average Completion
4 years
Of Full-Time Study
Credits Required
180
(120 Semester Credits)
Cost per Credit
$371
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Purdue Global Career Outcomes 2020–2021

Each year, our Center for Career Advancement sends a NACE First Destination survey to our graduating class to learn more about their career choices and potential income within 18 months of graduation. We’re proud of our recent Purdue Global alumni accomplishments.

91%

Graduates in Purdue Global’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program were employed or continued their education within 18 months of graduation.

“Career Outcomes Rate” is not the same as an “employment rate”—it includes graduates who are: (1) employed (whether full or part time); (2) participating in a program of voluntary service, (3) serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, or (4) enrolled in a program of continuing education. This rate may also include graduates employed in jobs unrelated to their degree or who were employed while attending Purdue Global. (9,106 graduates surveyed across associate's, bachelor's, master's, JD, EJD, and DNP programs from July 1, 2019, to December 31, 2020. 7,803 of 9,106 replied.)

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Overview

Whether you are seeking entry-level employment in the criminal justice field or want to advance your current career in law enforcement or private security, Purdue Global’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice can help you pursue your goals and stay ahead of the competition. You'll also be learning at one of the largest providers of public safety programs in the United States.*

This comprehensive criminal justice bachelor’s degree program combines professional skills training with courses designed to help you develop a strong foundation of criminal justice knowledge:

  • Focus on the philosophy and development of the U.S. criminal justice system, applied research methods and techniques used in the field, the development of criminal law, and different types of criminal offenses.
  • Learn about national law enforcement reform initiatives, and explore diversity and inclusivity to help you understand and address the needs of your community.
  • Participate in an optional internship to gain real-world experience while earning your degree.


See the University Catalog for policy and degree plan information specific to this program.

Military Transfer Credit

Servicemembers and veterans can earn a degree faster with our PME2Degree® program. Use our Military Transfer Credit Estimator to see how much of your training counts as credit.

HOW MANY CREDITS HAVE YOU EARNED?

Purdue University Global Is Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The HLC (HLCommission.org) is an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Admission Requirements

You must be a high school graduate or possess a General Education Development (GED) certificate or other equivalency diploma. You are also encouraged to complete orientation before you start classes. Refer to the University Catalog or speak to an Advisor to learn more.

Reach Your Career Goals Sooner

Use Your Law Enforcement Certification to Earn Credit

If you are a certified law enforcement officer who has completed the national Peace Officer Standard Training (POST), your accomplishments may qualify you to receive 25 credits toward your bachelor’s degree.

Accelerated Master's Degree Options

You can work toward a Purdue Global master’s degree in public administration, educational psychology, human services, legal studies, or psychology while you earn your bachelor’s degree. Complete both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in less time and at a lower cost than completing both programs separately. For details and eligibility requirements, speak to an Advisor.

Accelerate Your Career With ExcelTrack™

Forget what you know about earning a degree. ExcelTrack™ is personalized learning that gives you more control over your education, getting you to the same degree faster and for less money.

Ways to Save

  • Transfer Credits

    Earn credit for prior coursework completed at eligible institutions, including community colleges.

    Save Time and Money on Your Degree

  • Prior Work Experience

    You could earn undergraduate credit for your life and professional career experiences.

    Your Experience Counts

  • Financial Aid

    Title IV federal financial aid is available for many of our degree programs.

    Financial Aid FAQ

  • Grants

    Learn about federal financial grants and loan programs that may be available.

    Federal and State Grants

  • Prior Military Experience

    We offer credit for ACE-evaluated training and CLEP and DANTES examinations.

    Credit for Military Training

Program Cost Estimator

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What Courses Will I Take?

In your first course, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your degree plan with a faculty member to align your degree path with your career outcomes.

You will also complete a capstone project and apply the concepts studied online to real-world criminal justice scenarios.

See All Criminal Justice Courses
Sample Courses
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Applied Criminal Justice Ethics
  • Managing Criminal Justice Organizations
  • Computers, Technology, and Criminal Justice Information Systems
  • Diversity and Inclusivity in Public Safety

Program Requirements

  • Core Credits
    45
  • Major Credits
    94
  • Elective Credits
    41
  • Total Credits
    180

Degree Concentrations

Choose from six criminal justice concentrations to customize your degree:

  • Focus on techniques for locating, collecting, and analyzing crime scene evidence.

  • Study psychology within the context of the criminal justice system.

  • Examine the origins of terrorism, response methods to weapons of mass destruction and other disaster incidents, crisis negotiation, and conflict resolution.

  • Explore the unique needs of youth in today's justice system.

  • Focus on landmark Supreme Court cases and how the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights apply in criminal law.

  • Understand, evaluate, and reflect on leadership, as well as develop your own leadership skills, and explore correctional alternatives, methods and techniques in program evaluation, and crisis intervention.

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, criminal justice careers are projected to grow through 2030; however, as the field becomes more competitive, employers may increasingly look for educated, qualified individuals. For police and detective positions, applicants with a bachelor’s degree and law enforcement experience are expected to have the best opportunities.

With a criminal justice degree, you may qualify for employment or advancement opportunities related to cybercrime, counterterrorism, crime scene investigation, detention, fraud investigation, homeland security, juvenile justice and detention, law enforcement, parole and probation, prisons, private investigations, and public safety.

Top 5 Skills Employers Are Looking for:

  1. Active Listening
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Speaking
  4. Monitoring
  5. Social Perceptiveness

Top Jobs With This Degree

Labor market, salary, and projected growth information are supplied by Emsi. Average salary range is based on national data. Projected growth represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018–2030) at the state level and is based on your geographic location. Actual outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience, and opportunities for employment. Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment placement, salary level, or career advancement.

Local, state, and federal law enforcement jobs may require additional training or education including additional state-approved higher education beyond the Purdue Global degree. This program was not designed to meet any specific state’s requirements, and Purdue Global makes no representations or warranties as to whether the degree or any individual courses meet such requirements. Refer to the University Catalog for additional information. Graduates of Purdue Global criminal justice programs are not eligible to attend police academies in Minnesota.

Get to Know Our Faculty

Purdue Global faculty members are real-world practitioners who bring knowledge gained through the powerful combination of higher learning and industry experience.

View Criminal Justice and Fire Science Faculty Directory
grad hat icon 98% Faculty members who have advanced degrees
diploma icon 50% Faculty members who hold a doctorate
tablet icon 237 Faculty publications in 2020–2021
student at desk icon More Than 36,000 Professional development hours logged by faculty in 2020–2021

Statistics include all Purdue Global faculty members and are not school or program-specific calculations. Source: Purdue Global Office of Reporting and Analysis, September 2021. 2020–2021 academic year.

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Take 3 Weeks to Get to Know Us

Not sure if Purdue Global is right for you? Experience a Purdue Global undergraduate program for an introductory 3-week period.

There’s no financial obligation and no cost to apply.

That’s the Purdue Global Commitment.

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Download the Program Brochure

Download our brochure to learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and the benefits of earning your degree at Purdue Global.

Prepare yourself for success with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

NOTES AND CONDITIONS

*Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2018–2019 Total Degrees and Certificates Conferred, First Major, Criminology; Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services, nces.ed.gov/IPEDS. Based on total number of degrees and certificates granted by Purdue Global compared to other Title IV institutions.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Protective Service Occupations, www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/home.htm, and Police and Detectives, www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Students must currently be a certified law enforcement officer or a federal agent (FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.), or must have been certified in either of these roles within 24 months of their enrollment date. Purdue Global does not guarantee transferability of credit. See the University Catalog for the Prior Learning Assessment policy.