Overview: An Online Degree in Criminal Justice

Like many degree programs, online criminal justice degrees are becoming increasingly popular. Coursework and/or interest in information security are especially popular among students pursuing an online degree.

This is because much of information security are now associated databases and computer security; thus, many students are already familiar and comfortable with various computing platforms and online learning.


Requirements for acceptance into an online degree program for criminal justice typically vary depending on what school one is applying for– at the very least students need to have graduated high school and received a high school diploma. A passing score on the GED is also accepted in place of a high school diploma.

Some schools require students to pass a entrance exam in order to be accepted in the program. Other places– usually technology programs, if one is particularly interested in information security — would require one to have some job experience or completion of specific prerequisites.

Typical Course Outline

Though there are some significant differences between acquiring a traditional and online criminal justice degree, much of the coursework remains the same for either programs. Coursework is designed to teach and prepare students how to deal with criminals, prevent crime, and work in both local and foreign criminal justice systems. Study in topics such as criminology, victimology, and corrections are also common for all criminal justice students.

Many degree programs also offer a specialization in criminology in addition to criminal justice degrees. As such, you will be expected to study topics dealing with law, sociology, psychology, and the legal system. However, if you are more interested in the study of crime rather than being directly involved in law enforcement, many universities offer criminology as a major at a undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level.

Required Skills

Depending on what kind of job you would like in the criminal justice industry, required skillsets will vary. For example, if you would like to become a criminologist and study crime, you will need to understand other subjects besides those concerning crime and law.

These subjects can include sociology, psychology, economy, and philosophy. Specifically, these subjects could focus on juvenile delinquency, media and its relation, impact of pornography on criminal activities, and more. You will also need to be skilled at research, data collection, and analysis of crime.

Advantages of Getting an Online Degree

One of the biggest advantages of getting an online degree as opposed to a traditional in-class degree is the flexibility and convenience of learning at your own pace, as your own schedule allows.

Thus, many people who work part time or have to take care of families will strongly consider getting an online degree. As well, online degree programs typically cost way less than the average traditional program. Students also develop online learning skills that can apply to acquiring advanced certifications, as most certification programs are only available online.

It is extremely important, however, to research and verify which online programs are accredited before choosing a program.

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