What to Look for in a Criminal Justice Degree Program


Due to many factors, there has been a significant increase in those who are interested in taking a criminal justice degree program. If you’re interested in joining others in this dynamic and advanced industry, the most important first step is choosing a well-respected degree program. While there are literally hundreds of colleges, universities and for-profit institutions offering a criminal justice degree, only a small number of these offers an education that is truly worth its price. Therefore, before enrolling in any criminal justice degree program, make sure it meets or exceeds the following guidelines.

In-Depth Curriculum


While this should be a given for any degree program, far too many students enroll in sub-par criminal justice degree programs. There are three primary elements that create an excellent curriculum, which include: Leadership in Criminal Justice, Advanced Crime Analysis and Criminal Behavior. While the exact courses you’ll be required to take will vary based upon the degree you wish to earn (associates, bachelor’s or master’s) as well as the training institution, there are several essential courses all programs must consist of. These include:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Policing in America
  • Punishment and Corrections
  • The American Court System
  • Theories of Crime
  • Crime Control Strategies
  • Crime Analysis
  • Criminal Law and Researching
  • Essentials in Criminal Justice Research

Faculty Members

Depending on the institution, its faculty members will either be excellent or “just good enough.” It’s essential that you fully research the faculty within any program, as it’s through these teacher’s you’ll receive your education. Higher quality faculty members equal a higher quality education. Make sure the criminal justice and criminology department within your college is focused on hiring working and established professionals as faculty members. The goal is to create a student-centered environment that’s supported by highly trained faculty members.

Ranking Among Other Colleges

This is perhaps the most important element to look for when looking for an educational program. While any school can claim their criminal justice degree program is the best, few can back up this claim. Because of this, it’s essential that you check the school’s rating against a third party rating organization, such as The Princeton Review. Before enrolling in any college, always perform your due-diligence. The last thing you want to deal with is realizing your training is from a non-respected institution. This can actually hinder your career opportunities. Contact your State Department of Education to gain a list of recommended criminal justice degree programs.

 For more information, visit www.criminaljusticeschoolstoday.com.