Top 10 Criminal Justice Schools

Obtaining a degree in criminal justice is no small feat. It requires a great deal of determination and focus – as well as great resources to take advantage of. The schools below have topped national lists for their dedication to criminal justice studies, as well as preparation for work after graduation. So if you’re thinking of getting into this field, it’s good to consider one of the top schools for criminal justice.


1. University of Maryland, College Park

The University of Maryland in College Park is considered one of the top schools for criminal justice in the country both by U.S. News and World Report and College Crunch. The department places a great deal of focus on furthering knowledge and existing theories in criminal justice and is led by faculty members who are regularly consulted on important local, national and international issues. This makes the school a fantastic place for undergrads and grads to gather the knowledge they need to start their careers.


2. University of Cincinnati

Let’s just start by saying a member of the criminal justice department at the University of Cincinnati is the recipient of the 2010 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Bruce Smith Award. Good enough start? Well, how about saying that the department’s research productivity is revered as the highest in the nation. Leaders in the field can’t say enough about this department and what it’s done for the criminal justice field. Who knows, after being accepted, you may feel the same way.


3. SUNY, Albany

The State University of New York in Albany is known for its comprehensive criminal justice program that focuses on the criminal justice system and its relationship with various segments of society. In addition to having significant faculty on board to teach all areas of the field, the school publishes the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, which brings data together from more than 100 sources to focus on many aspects of criminal justice in the United States.


4. University of California, Irvine

The University of California in Irvine has received a lot of kudos over the years for its excellence in criminal justice. Recently, it was ranked among the best schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index. Being the home of two top journals in the field, Law and Society Review and Theoretical Criminology, may have something to do with it. With its stellar reputation, it’s no wonder students flock to the school for an education.


5. University of Missouri, St. Louis

The University of Missouri in St. Louis received a high ranking from the U.S. News and World Report’s 2009 list of the top schools for criminal justice, due in part to the huge impact its Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice has in the field. Many of the department’s faculty members are directly involved in professional activities administered by criminal justice organizations. They then bring their professional knowledge back to their students to help them make their impact on the field.


6. Florida State University

The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University is known for offering academic programs ranked among the best in the nation. Not to mention that faculty members in the department are leaders in the field and the school offers the nation’s oldest Ph.D. program in criminology and criminal justice. With so much to brag about, there’s no doubt that students will have an excellent chance to pioneer the future of criminal justice as did their predecessors.


7. Michigan State University

The School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University got its start in 1935 and is the oldest degree-granting program in the country. Because of its long history and continued efforts to pioneer in the field of criminal justice, the department was ranked as one of the seven centers of excellence for criminal justice studies by the U.S. Department of Justice. This is great news for students who want a solid education in the field.


8. Rutgers State University

Rutgers State University has successfully managed to combine sociology, anthropology and criminal justice to create a department that properly prepares students for any discipline they want to tackle professionally. Some of the required courses in the department include police and policing, confinement and corrections and courts and criminal law, all of which get students ready to make their marks as respected leaders in the field of criminal justice.


9. Penn State University, University Park

Penn State’s Department of Sociology & Crime, Law and Justice is widely-recognized for successfully educating and training its students for careers in criminal justice. Proudly developing problem solving, writing and critical thinking skills, the faculty at the school are highly-respected leaders in the field and are well published, which makes teaching the students the ins and outs of the field a breeze.


10. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania’s criminology department was ranked #1 in the nation among criminal justice and criminology departments in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2007 faculty scholarly productivity index. Its high ranking has a lot to do with its heavy focus in all areas of the field, including law enforcement and research and methodology, as well as a comprehensive education in liberal arts, which gives students the knowledge they need to succeed in the field after graduating.

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