Online Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice
Additional academy training and education not provided by Purdue Global may be required for law enforcement positions.
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, and Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialists occupations.
We offer multiple start dates to give you flexibility in your education, life, and work schedules.
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.
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.
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
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
Earn credit for prior coursework completed at eligible institutions, including community colleges.
Prior Work Experience
You could earn undergraduate credit for your life and professional career experiences.
Title IV federal financial aid is available for many of our degree programs.
Learn about federal financial grants and loan programs that may be available.
Military Tuition Reduction
55% reduction per credit for current servicemembers, 38% per credit for veterans for undergraduate programs.
Prior Military Experience
We offer credit for ACE-evaluated training and CLEP and DANTES examinations.
Calculate your estimated tuition and ways to save.
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
- Preparing for a Career in Public Safety
- Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
- Criminal Investigation
- Criminal Procedure
- Associate's Capstone in Criminal Justice
- Core Credits15
- Major Credits40
- Elective Credits35
- Total Credits90
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:
- Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
- 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
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.
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.
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.
*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.
†Purdue Global does not guarantee the transferability of credit from any of these sources. See the University Catalog for the Prior Learning Assessment 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.
‡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 Assessment policy.