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Online Criminal Justice Degree Accredited Bachelor's Programs

2019 online criminal justice degree graduate Shelly Villa, working from a laptop computer.

Cost per credit $330

Total courses 40

Term length 8 weeks

Program Overview Why get a criminal justice degree?

Criminal justice is an ever-evolving field that requires qualified professionals who have both a deep understanding of our legal system and adept interpersonal skills.

At Southern New Hampshire University, you can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with real-world perspective. Expanding the boundaries of a traditional criminal justice program, you’ll be exposed to national and global trends, criminology theories and effective communication strategies.

Skills you'll learn:

  • Community relations and partnerships
  • Communication with diverse audiences
  • Laws, regulations and ethical standards
  • Research-based solutions to complex problems
  • Human motivation and behavior
  • The impact of tech on criminal justice agencies
Sharla Kaleihua Kahale-Miner, holding her diploma and making a traditional Hawaiian hand gesture, at the 2023 Southern New Hampshire University commencement ceremony.

Courses & Curriculum Criminal justice courses that keep ethics at the forefront

Throughout the courses in this online criminal justice degree program, you'll gain the practical, hands-on experience that can help you pave your way in the field. And many of the faculty you'll learn from have experience with major law enforcement agencies like the FBI, FEMA, Homeland Security and large police departments across the country.


Online criminal justice degree concentrations

Choose the general track or add one of 8 specializations to your bachelor’s degree.

In Southern New Hampshire University's online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Corrections, you'll explore evidence-based programs and practices for rehabilitating offenders in correctional institutions and in the community.

The program addresses the services provided in corrections, including community-based supervision and the social factors that lead to incarceration. Through simulated scenarios, you'll encounter actual challenges and solve them with the guidance of your instructors.

Career outlook:

While the U.S. prison system continues to need correctional officers, additional job opportunities may present themselves in community-based programs that rehabilitate prisoners and limit their risk of repeated offenses.

A bachelor's degree is often required for roles in this field. SNHU's online degree in criminal justice and corrections can help prepare you for a variety of roles within the corrections, probation and parole system. These jobs include:

  • Correctional administrator
  • Correctional case manager
  • Correctional officer
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Parole officer
  • Probation officer
  • Public safety officer

In the field, most probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work either in state or local government – excluding education and hospitals – with a smaller amount working in social assistance.1

In addition, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists can feel personal satisfaction from counseling members of their community and helping them become productive citizens.

Law enforcement positions may involve additional training and eligibility requirements.

Courses may include:

  • Community-Based Corrections
  • Corrections in the United States
  • Offender Rehabilitation
  • Correctional Administration

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Criminology & Crime Analysis allows you to apply criminological theory to develop crime reduction and prevention strategies.

Examine the important roles that criminologists and crime analysts play in the development of data-based, proactive policing methods and crime prevention policies with this online criminology degree concentration.

Courses may include:

  • Criminology & Public Policy
  • Prevention of Crime
  • Data-Based Policing Strategies
  • Crime Analysis and Solutions

In a society that's become dependent upon technology, cybercrime is now a growing threat to individuals, corporations and governments.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Cybercrime, you'll have the knowledge and skills you need to combat tech-based criminal activity, from email hacking and identity theft to child exploitation and cyberbullying.

Career Outlook:

If you aim to pursue or advance a career in law enforcement, a cybercrime degree offers a critical skillset that can help you shine in the eyes of employers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detective roles could see over 23,000 new positions added through 2032.1

As a graduate of this program, you'll gain the skills you need to analyze and investigate cybercriminal offenses. You'll have the foundational qualifications you need to pursue a number of occupations, including:

  • Computer forensic examiner
  • Cybercrime investigator
  • Cyber forensic analyst
  • Cybercrime operational risk specialist
  • Detective or criminal investigator
  • Federal agent
  • Information security analyst
  • Private investigator

This cybercrime concentration also stands out for its heavy emphasis on practical application – giving you the experience you need to back up the knowledge you gain throughout the program.

Courses may include:

  • Cybercrime Principles
  • Cybercrime Targets: Organizations
  • Cybercrime Targets: Individuals
  • Cybercrime Investigations

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security & Counterterrorism offers a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the threat of terrorism.

Examine the history of terrorism, how terrorist groups succeed and fail and responses to domestic and international terrorist campaigns with this online homeland security degree concentration.

Courses may include:

  • Intelligence and Counterintelligence
  • Terrorism in the United States
  • Security Management

With your Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Human Services & Advocacy, you'll examine public policy, child welfare and support services that can help families navigate the system – including community medical and mental health providers, nonprofit organizations, family courts and human services departments.

The need for social and community service managers continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 9% growth for these positions through 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

Courses may include:

  • Public Policy and Advocacy
  • Family and Community Systems
  • Ethics and Laws in Child Welfare

Students seeking to become a human services professional may also be interested in the online human services degree program. The degree has several concentrations that allow you to specialize your skill set even further.

This Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Police Administration and Operations helps students understand the demands, functions and goals of modern police agencies.

You'll dive into topics like deployment of patrol assets, policy development and crime analysis with this online law enforcement degree concentration, which provides a thorough understanding of the roles police agencies assume throughout the United States.

Courses may include:

  • Effective Patrol and Community Policing
  • Crisis Intervention for Police
  • Leadership/Management in Criminal Justice Organizations

From understanding the various types of security and the importance of preparedness to identifying potential threats and maintaining business continuity after a crisis, the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Security Management explores what it takes to protect an organization's employees and assets.

Other topics discussed in this concentration include security partnerships, emerging industry trends, cybersecurity defenses, loss prevention and risk assessment.

Earning your security management degree online can kickstart or advance your career in many industries. Corporations and other private organizations hire security management professionals in areas related to loss prevention, continuity planning, risk assessment and crisis management. Potential roles in security management include:

  • Chief security officer (CSO)
  • Corporate physical security supervisor
  • Corporate security manager
  • Internal security manager
  • Security operations manager

Courses may include:

  • Security Management Principles
  • Security Risk Assessment
  • Security Crisis Management
  • Business Continuity and Resiliency Planning

With increasing recognition of the substance abuse crisis in the U.S., the need for highly skilled community workers is on the rise. Through 2032, growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is projected to grow 18% – much faster than the average of all jobs – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Substance Abuse was designed to help you become a voice for justice and a conduit for recovery for people in treatment facilities, outpatient programs and the court system. Graduates of the program are prepared to provide entry-level services to individuals, groups and families in residential addiction treatment facilities, outpatient addiction programs, the drug court system and corrections departments.

According to the BLS, counselors who work with substance abuse, behavioral disorders and mental health typically work for employers1 like:

  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers
  • Individual and family services
  • State, local and private hospitals
  • Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities
  • Government

The substance abuse program provides students with a strong foundation in the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) 12 core functions of a drug and alcohol counselor, theories of addiction, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder, as well as legal and ethical issues associated with addiction. This program is an important educational first step toward becoming a drug and alcohol counselor.

Courses may include:

  • Foundations of Addiction
  • Substance Use: From Screening to Consultation
  • Pharmacological Factors in Substance Use Treatment

If you have a heart for recovery, you may also be interested in the online Bachelor of Arts in Human Services with a substance abuse degree concentration.

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Substance Abuse offered by Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) does not directly lead to licensure. It does provide a significant portion of the substance abuse coursework most often recognized as necessary for licensure. Students seeking licensure and/or certification may be required to complete additional coursework and will be required to complete fieldwork as prescribed by each state. Most states also require a passing score on a licensing exam.

The licensure process and educational requirements for drug and alcohol counselors vary from state to state. This program does not directly lead to licensure.

It is the student’s responsibility to contact their state board or agency for additional information regarding the licensure process and educational requirements. If the student moves to another state, the requirements for licensure will likely be different from the state where the student currently resides, and students are responsible for determining the licensure requirements in the state to which they relocate. Southern New Hampshire University does not guarantee that the completion of this program will result in state licensure or certification.

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Upcoming term starts: October 28, 2024 | January 06, 2025

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Online Student Experience What’s it like going to SNHU?

Attending college online at SNHU can be a life-changing experience. In fact, 93.2% of online students would recommend SNHU according to a 2023 survey with 21,000+ respondents.

What to expect:

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  • Schedule of weekly assignments
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How to Take an Online Class at SNHU
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After reviewing your official evaluation, you can decide if SNHU is right for you! If you choose to enroll, just pick your start date and get ready for classes to begin.

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SNHU is accredited by the regional accreditor the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which means we meet certain standards of academic quality, and have the tools and resources necessary for students to be successful. The university also carries specialized accreditations for some programs.

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Tuition Cost & Savings College can be more affordable than you think

As a nonprofit university, SNHU offers some of the lowest online tuition rates in the country. And when you work with our Financial Services team, we'll explore ways to help you save even more on your education – and customize a payment plan that works for you.

Online undergraduate programs

Cost per credit
Cost per course
Cost for 120-credit degree*
Full- and part-time students
Active-duty military and spouses | Full- and part-time students**

*before previously earned credits are applied

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

**Note: Students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional costs: Course materials vary by course.

Transfer credits and lower your cost by:

$9,900 $14,850 $19,800 $24,750 $29,700
Transfer credits and lower your cost by:

If 30 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $29,700

If 45 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $24,750

If 60 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $19,800

If 75 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $14,850

If 90 of your prior learning credits ($330/credit) are accepted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Your remaining tuition cost: $9,900

How we estimate your tuition cost:

We look at the cost per credit multiplied by the number of credits you need to earn for a bachelor's degree. Most bachelor's degrees require 120 credits. SNHU allows you to transfer in up to 90 credits, requiring a minimum of 30 credits to be taken at SNHU. This is only a tuition estimator, and doesn't account for other fees that may be associated with your program of choice.

Career Outlook What can I do with an online criminal justice degree?

There are many avenues you can pursue with a degree in criminal justice — from law enforcement and security to advocacy, law and government. With 8 concentrations to choose from, our bachelor's in criminal justice was designed to help you gain foundational knowledge and skills while also giving you the ability to tailor your program to your career goals.

Law enforcement positions may involve additional training and eligibility requirements. Some students also choose to gain more knowledge through an online master's in criminal justice: SNHU offers the general track, as well as 2 concentrations – advanced terrorism and public safety administration – for more specialized graduate study.


Whether you’re looking to start a career in criminal justice or advance in your current role, earning your online criminal justice degree opens doors to positions in a variety of areas:

Victim advocates help victims navigate the criminal justice system and connect them with the support services they need.

Within the correctional system, there are many careers, including probation and parole officers, corrections officers and case managers.

Positions in law enforcement, for both sworn officers and civilian employees, exist at all levels of government: federal, state and local.

Security management professionals focus on protecting businesses from threats to people, property and assets.


Yearly average police and detective role openings through 2032, projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1


Median annual pay for police and detectives as of May 2023, according to BLS.1

Understanding the numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors—like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

What SNHU students are saying

Sharla Kaleihua Kahale-Miner '23
Sharla Kaleihua Kahale-Miner '23

I was a travel manager for 30 years but decided to change my career to help local people in Hawaii live better lives. My degree in criminal justice will help me do that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice can be earned online the same way you would get a degree at a brick-and-mortar school: through classes and assignments, interactions with your classmates and discussions with your instructor.

Getting an online criminal justice degree is especially ideal for those who are already working in the field. Many people in the industry don't work a standard 9-to-5 schedule, meaning a traditional, set class time on campus isn't the most convenient. By having access to a classroom that's open 24/7, you can do your classwork when it's most convenient for you.

Kaitlin Roach, who earned her online criminal justice degree in 2021 at SNHU."I chose SNHU because I was looking for a program where I could continue working full-time while working towards my degree," said Kaitlin Roach '21, a graduate of the online criminal justice program. "I wanted to be considered a full-time student and the schedule with SNHU worked with my work schedule."

Thousands of students have graduated with SNHU's online criminal justice bachelor's degrees, and many continue on to earn their master's degree online.

The best place to earn your online bachelor's degree in criminal justice depends on what you are looking to get out of your program, as well as what your career goals are.

SNHU may be the right online college for you. Here are some unique features of our online program:

  • An emphasis on cultural literacy, problem-solving and decision making, as well as exposure to new technologies in criminal justice and developing research skills
  • A criminal justice communication certificate that’s embedded in your online program
  • Field authentic learning experiences
  • Prior learning assessment opportunities for police academy and corrections academy training, saving you time and money
  • Faculty members who bring experiences from law enforcement agencies ranging from big city departments – like Houston and New York – to federal agencies – like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security

The time it takes you to earn your 120-credit bachelor's degree in criminal justice completely depends on how many credits you start your program with.

If you begin the online program with no credits – and you enroll full-time – it would take you around 4 years to graduate. At SNHU, being a full-time online student means taking 2 classes per 8-week term. And there are 6 terms each year.

Most students who begin an online program here are transferring in any number of credits – from a handful of courses up to the maximum 90 credits that the university accepts. Transferring credits can significantly reduce the number of courses you need to take – helping you get across that finish line quicker.

For Kaitlin Roach '21, transfer credits made a big difference to her timeline. "Not only did I graduate, I graduated with honors and did so in less than four years," she said.

You may be able to earn credit for your criminal justice degree from your law enforcement training – from basic police, corrections, or probation and parole academies. With at least 400 hours of instruction, you could receive up to 12 credits toward the following courses:

  • CJ-112 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CJ-140 Communication Skills for Criminal Justice
  • CJ-207 The United States Judicial System
  • CJ-205 Policing in the United States OR CJ-210 The United States Correctional System

There are a wide range of careers in the criminal justice field. Depending on your background, interests and qualifications, you may find some positions to be a better fit.

Law enforcement agencies may have specific requirements for sworn officers such as age, fitness or education. But there are also many positions in the criminal justice system for civilians, including those for crime analysts, victim advocates and private investigators.

Likewise, SNHU's online bachelor's in criminal justice offers a wide range of concentrations to match your interests:

  • Corrections
  • Criminology & Crime Analysis
  • Cybercrime
  • Homeland Security & Counterterrorism
  • Human Services & Advocacy
  • Police Administration & Operations
  • Security Management
  • Substance Abuse

Getting a bachelor's in criminal justice won't solely earn you a uniformed position – but it can be a big advantage in your career.

To become a police officer, you typically have to graduate from the police academy and pass the law enforcement entrance exam – though requirements can vary by department.

A bachelor's degree can give you a leg up on gaining entry-level jobs. It also can help you if you're interested in climbing the law-enforcement ladder as your career progresses.

In addition, the curriculum here complements academy training, which is often focused on tactics and procedure. Our bachelor's in criminal justice teaches critical thinking and working with diverse populations – as well as communication skills, which is why SNHU's program includes an embedded communication certificate.

Criminal justice refers to the system of law enforcement, courts and corrections, while criminology tackles the academic and research side of the field.

Those who study criminal justice more often are on the front line, dealing with criminals and unlawful behavior. Those in the field aim to both prevent criminal activity and punish criminal acts.

Students pursuing a criminology path may be more interested in profiling, data collection, analysis, psychology and environmental factors. Criminologists study crime and the who, why and how behind the criminals.

At SNHU, you can earn your bachelor's in criminal justice, but you can add a concentration in criminology.

SNHU adjunct cybercrime professor Tim Craig in suite and tie"A cybercrime degree can help with the foundational understanding of emerging technologies and bridge the gap that law enforcement has in this ever-changing field," said Tim Craig, a cybercrime SME and adjunct professor at SNHU.

As a graduate of the program, you'll have the foundational qualifications you need to pursue a number of occupations, including:

  • Computer forensic examiner
  • Cybercrime investigator
  • Cyber forensic analyst
  • Cybercrime operational risk specialist
  • Detective or criminal investigator
  • Federal agent
  • Information security analyst
  • Private investigator

Like many professions, employers often look for candidates who have the education, knowledge and demonstrable skills they need to succeed in their field.

Jason Compton a cybercrime adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University."Most careers require a certain level of experience, but what makes the SNHU Cybercrime degree program unique is that there is real-world experience injected into the curriculum week by week," said Jason Compton, a cybercrime subject-matter expert and adjunct professor at SNHU. "Students will have the exposure and knowledge needed to shine in a pool of professional candidates."

With practical application at its core, our cutting-edge program will help give you an operational understanding of how to investigate cybercrimes, collect evidence and understand relevant laws on the local, state and federal levels.

"This places the student into an advantageous position in future career aspirations, as they will have a deep knowledge base which will enable them to excel in many applicable professions," Compton said. "Cybercrime changes and advances at the speed of evolving technology, so students will finish the program with advanced and current knowledge to apply to real-word careers immediately upon graduating."

"Cybercrime is frequently associated with the term 'hacker,' but cybercrime is much more in depth than just that," said Jason Compton, an adjunct professor at SNHU. As he points out, there are hundreds of types of cybercrime. Of those identified, the most frequently observed examples are:

  • Email compromise – Business and personal e-mails open the door to gaining access to many different accounts that could cause much more severe harm.
  • Identity theft – Your identity is sacred. The impacts of your identity being compromised can be severe.
  • Ransomware – As the name suggests, this is malicious software that locks down your sensitive files and holds them “hostage” until you pay a fee or “ransom” to have them unlocked.
  • Spoofing and phishing – One of the more common methods of gaining sensitive information or enabling an adversary to compromise your account(s).
  • Online predators – One of the most severe issues faced today. Exploitation of youth online is extremely prevalent.

While often mistaken as interchangeable terms, there are, in fact, key differences between cybercrime and cybersecurity.

"Cybercrime is a situation where an actual individual and/or their property is targeted by an adversary," said Jason Compton, an adjunct professor at SNHU. "Cybersecurity involves incidents where a larger business or corporation is targeted with the intent to compromise their network by various different methods of attack."

While there may be crossover between the two – and both can qualify as criminal offenses – it's "the act itself and the actions in response to the act that truly separate cybercrime from cybersecurity," Compton said.

Sources & Citations

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:

  • (viewed April 18, 2024)
  • (viewed April 18, 2024)
  • (viewed April 18, 2024)
  • (viewed April 18, 2024)

Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.