Online Associate's 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

  • Earn your online associate’s degree from Purdue Global—one of the largest providers of public safety programs in the U.S.*
  • Select from a variety of electives in criminal justice based on your areas of interest.
  • Special transfer credit pathways available for military servicemembers and veterans, including Army Combat Arms, Army and Marine Corps Military Police, Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialists, and Navy Master-at-Arms (MA) occupations.
Upcoming Start Dates

Course Effort
15–18 Hours per Week
Course Length
10-Week Terms
Average Completion
2 years
Of Full-Time Study
Credits Required
(60 Semester Credits)
Cost per Credit
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Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Overview

Protecting society is more than a career—it's a calling. Our Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice program equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to solidify your experience or start a career in law enforcement, adult and juvenile corrections, courts, public safety, private investigation, and more.

The associate’s degree in criminal justice allows you to:

  • Interact with professionals who are experts in the criminal justice field.
  • Acquire a comprehensive overview of the U.S. criminal justice system, including existing issues and challenges.
  • Master the complexities of criminology, criminal investigation, criminal law, domestic and international terrorism, and counterterrorism.
  • Select from a variety of electives related to criminal justice, corrections and rehabilitation, corporate or private security, investigation techniques, criminology, evidence collection, diversity, and more.
  • Apply the techniques and skills you’ve learned in school to real-world criminal justice scenarios with our capstone project.

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. Many occupations across each branch have been evaluated for credit toward a Purdue Global degree. Use our Military Transfer Credit Estimator to see how much of your training counts as credit.

How Many Credits Have You Earned?
Tuition Reductions

We offer significantly reduced tuition rates for servicemembers, including Guard and Reserve, and veterans.

Learn More

Admissions Requirements

You must be a high school graduate or possess a General Educational 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.

Transfer Credit Pathways

If you are a servicemember or veteran, we believe your military training should give you a jump start on your education. Combining your military experience and prior learning makes it easier for you to earn an online associate's degree in criminal justice.

To help you achieve your academic and professional goals, we have evaluated various military occupations to reduce the number of courses required to earn your associate’s degree in criminal justice:

  • Army Combat Arms: 11B, 11C, 19D, 19K
  • Army Law Enforcement: 31B, 31D, 31E, 31K
  • Coast Guard: Maritime Enforcement Specialists (ME)
  • Marine Corps Military Police: 5811
  • Navy: Master-at-Arms (MA)

Get a Head Start on Your Bachelor's Degree

By completing your criminal justice associate’s degree, you’ll not only earn a quality education that immediately impacts your career, but you’ll also lay the groundwork for your next degree. You can transfer your associate’s-level criminal justice degree into Purdue Global's criminal justice bachelor’s degree, covering half of the program’s requirements.

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

  • Military Tuition Reduction

    55% reduction per credit for current servicemembers, 38% per credit for veterans for undergraduate programs.

    Tuition Savings for Military

  • Prior Military Experience

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

    Credit for Military Training

Program Cost Estimator

Calculate your estimated tuition and ways to save.


View the total cost of attendance for your program.

What Courses Will I Take?

Our curriculum offers an in-depth scientific study of criminology, criminal investigation, criminal law, domestic and international terrorism, and counterterrorism.

Courses are taught by knowledgeable and credentialed criminal justice professionals with years of industry experience. Additionally, our state-of-the-art, interactive technology allows for a collaborative and engaging environment with fellow classmates.

See All Criminal Justice Courses
Sample Courses
  • Preparing for a Career in Public Safety
  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Associate's Capstone in Criminal Justice

Program Requirements

  • Core Credits
  • Major Credits
  • Elective Credits
  • Total Credits

Career Opportunities

Earning an online Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice could prepare you for roles in police departments, sheriff’s departments, other law enforcement offices, juvenile detention facilities, jails, prisons, court systems, private-sector and corporate security, government, and private detection or investigation.

If you're in the military, an online associate's degree in criminal justice offers you the potential to move up in the military ranks or prepare for transition into the civilian ranks. Purdue Global offers an extensive selection of degree programs designed for you to advance your career.

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 beyond the associate’s level. Some positions require a 4-year bachelor's degree and/or 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 51% Faculty members who hold a doctorate
tablet icon 395 Faculty publications in 2021–2022
student at desk icon More Than 38,000 Professional development hours logged by faculty in 2021–2022

Statistics include all Purdue Global faculty members and are not school- or program-specific calculations. Source: Purdue Global Office of Reporting and Analysis, July 2022. 2021–2022 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 Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and the benefits of earning your degree at Purdue Global.

Prepare yourself for success with an associate's degree in criminal justice.


*Largest Providers of Public Safety Programs: 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, Based on total number of degrees and certificates granted by Purdue Global compared to other Title IV institutions.

Military Credit Awards: Purdue Global does not guarantee the transferability of credit from any of these sources. See the University Catalog for the Prior Learning policy. Credit awards have service-level requirements. Exact transfer amount may vary depending on completed military courses and occupations as listed on your CCAF and official Joint Service Transcript(s). Applicable state-specific program requirements, as listed in the University Catalog, may reduce the available transfer credits. All credits must be validated on official transcript(s) to be eligible for transfer.

Future Programs: The University cannot guarantee that students will be granted admission to any future programs. Speak to an Advisor about transfer credit opportunities and see the University Catalog for the Prior Learning policy.