Criminal justice could most simply be defined as a system made up of government institutions that aim to deliver justice to those who have committed crimes. The term also refers to the laws, procedures, and policies used to fulfill the mentioned aim. Of course, the role of criminal justice isn’t just to prosecute the offenders; it is also to offer them rehabilitation, to prevent other crimes, and to offer moral support for the victims of the crimes.

Below, we will be discussing some of the best criminal justice schools in the world.

Top Criminal Justice Schools in the World

1. John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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  • Degrees offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a public college of the University of New York, founded in the mid 20th century. Being a top criminal justice school, John Jay College’s main focus is the study of criminal justice. This college prides itself in being one of the US’ premier criminal justice and liberal arts institutions. It encourages experiential learning and focuses on values such as diversity, equity, integrity, and respect.

This college offers both undergraduate and graduate criminal justice studies, meaning you could earn a bachelor’s, master’s, and/or PhD degree in criminal justice (or any other specialty area related to criminal justice and criminology in general). A broad spectrum of majors and minors in every possible aspect of criminal justice would surely tickle your imagination to continue your criminology studies in the same master’s or PhD program at this college.

2. Liberty University

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  • Degrees offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD

Liberty University is a private university in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded in 1971. This university offers both undergraduate and graduate criminal justice studies, as well as certificates and transfer degrees (such as Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice); so, apart from bachelor’s and/or master’s and PhD degrees, you could simply get one of their many certificates in the field of criminal justice.

When it comes to its undergraduate criminal justice studies, this excellent criminal justice university promises a solid foundation for understanding the crucial issues that impact the US criminal justice system in various aspects and fields, while its graduate studies give a more in-depth knowledge and experience in practice, as well as in developing leadership skills. Undergraduate studies of criminal justice at this university can be attended both residentially and online, while graduate studies can, currently, only be attended online.

3. University of California – Irvine

The School of Social Ecology is a school at the public University of California, Irvine, where its Department of Criminology, Law and Society can be found. This  excellent criminal justice school and its department offer both undergraduate and graduate studies in criminal justice, which are more oriented towards broader and general knowledge when it comes to criminology than offering programs focused on any particular area of expertise.

The Department’s undergraduate studies offer an understanding of the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that interact with the law, giving the students a solid foundation for their later studies in criminology, criminal justice, even law. On the other hand, its master’s and PhD programs are more oriented towards the usage of given knowledge in important government and educational institutions.

4. Florida State University

The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice is one of the colleges of Florida State University – one of the best criminal justice schools in the world. It represents one of the oldest programs in this field of studies. This college offers both undergraduate and graduate studies in criminal justice, as well as online programs.

Undergraduate studies at this college claim to be flexible above everything – students can attend their classes both on-campus and online, depending on their possibilities and needs, and also to provide knowledge that will later assure a diverse range of career options. Graduate studies, on the other hand, are more focused on scientific research of criminal behavior and the public’s response to it.

5. Northeastern University

Northeastern University is another one of the best criminal justice schools. It is a private university in Boston, established in the late 19th century, where its School of Criminology and Criminal Justice can be found. Through its undergraduate and graduate studies in criminal justice, this school promises to prepare its students to understand the complexities of crime, make communities safer, and ensure justice.

Through its undergraduate studies, this school offers a BS in Criminal Justice through Criminal Justice Major or programs that include studies of criminal justice combined with various fields, such as psychology, political science, journalism, etc, while graduate studies offer knowledge in specialized fields, such as victimology, security management, juvenile law, etc, during which students also develop their analytical skills.

6. Penn State University

The Pennsylvania State University is a public university in Pennsylvania, founded in the mid 19th century. At this university, you could earn a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in criminal justice, depending on your choice of undergraduate and/or graduate studies.

Being an outstanding criminal justice school, Penn State University offers different bachelor degrees under its undergraduate wing, such as BS in Criminal Justice and BA in Criminal Justice, and both programs promise a solid base when it comes to criminal justice research. Graduate studies consist of MPS in Criminal Justice and MA in Criminal Justice, with both programs providing a lot of practical work and research through real-life cases.

7. University of Miami

The University of Miami is a private university in Coral Gables, Florida, where the College of Arts and Sciences with its Department of Sociology and Criminology can be found. This department offers both undergraduate and graduate studies in criminology and criminal justice.

Through majoring in Criminology in one of the best criminal justice schools, students at the University of Miami will learn the most important things about crime as a term and the criminal justice system, as well as the functioning of the most important institutions and courts. The graduate program offers an MS degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, providing training in fundamentals of the criminal justice system, research methods, and statistics to its students, as well as necessary criminological theory.


I hope this article on the best criminal justice schools in the world was helpful. Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students to learn more about studying abroad.