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15 Best Colleges for Criminal Justice Majors

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Students who study criminal justice and corrections learn about the theories and principles of correctional science and may explore topics such as criminal investigation, criminal profiling, forensic law, psychology, and criminal justice reform.


In this post, you’ll find a ranked list of the best colleges for criminal justice and corrections majors, what’s unique about each school’s criminal justice department, and what it takes to get into these colleges. See the complete list of best colleges for Criminal Justice and Corrections majors.


Top 15 Best Colleges for Criminal Justice and Corrections Majors


Click on the school to jump to a description of its criminal justice department.


School Name Location Acceptance Rate (2019) Middle 50% SAT Scores Middle 50% ACT Scores
1. Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX 47% 1150-1340 25-31
2. University of Florida Gainesville, FL 38.7% 1280-1440 27-32
3. Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston, SC 74.7% 1060-1230 20-25
4. University of the Ozarks Clarksville, AR 50.2% 880-1040  18-23
5. Temple University Philadelphia, PA 60% 1140-1310 24-30
6. University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 27.1% 1280-1420 29-32
7. Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, New Jersey 60.1% 1190-1410 25-31
8. American University Washington, DC 31.5% 1220-1380 27-31
9. Northeastern University Boston, MA 18.1% 1390-1540 32-35
10. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY 40.6% 920-1060 N/A
11. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA 56.5% 1160-1360 25-30
12. University of Maryland-College Park College Park, MD 44.1% 1290-1460 29-33
13. Howard University Washington, DC 31.6% 1140-1285 22-27
14. Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 56% 1020-1220 20-27
15. Rutgers University-Newark Newark, NJ 62.7% 1020-1190  19-24


1. Texas Christian University

Location: Fort Worth, TX

Acceptance Rate: 47%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 9,474

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1150-1340 SAT, 25-31 ACT


Texas Christian University’s Criminal Justice major requires some foundational courses, as well as advanced courses in each subcomponent of the criminal justice system: policing, law, court practices, and corrections. Students are also required to get hands-on experience through a criminal justice internship.


Learn more about Texas Christian University and what it takes to get accepted.


2. University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL

Acceptance Rate: 38.7%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 35,491

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1280-1440 SAT, 27-32 ACT


Students at the University of Florida have the opportunity to pursue original research via a senior thesis or through a specific Undergraduate Research in Criminology course. Before graduating, students are required to pass an exit exam that covers crime, criminal justice, law and society, and criminological theory.


Learn more about the University of Florida and what it takes to get accepted.


3. Citadel Military College of South Carolina

Location: Charleston, SC

Acceptance Rate: 74.7%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 2,923

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1060-1230 SAT, 20-25 ACT


Criminal justice is the second largest major The Citadel. Students can join the Citadel Criminal Justice Society to hear from guest speakers or take field trips related to criminal justice. They also have the opportunity to participate in academic conferences, fundraising events, and community service projects.


Learn more about Citadel Military College of South Carolina and what it takes to get accepted.


4. University of the Ozarks

Location: Clarksville, AR

Acceptance Rate: 50.2%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 824

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 880-1040 SAT, 18-23 ACT


University of the Ozarks offers a criminal justice minor, which gives students the chance to take courses in sociology, psychology, and political science. This minor will allow students to become familiar with concepts and research methods throughout criminology in order to prepare them for a career in the justice system.


Learn more about University of the Ozarks and what it takes to get accepted.


5. Temple University

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Acceptance Rate: 60%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 28,726

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1140-1310 SAT, 24-30 ACT


Students who major in criminal justice at Temple University receive a hands-on approach to the subject through a wide variety of internship opportunities and in-class experiential learning. “Inside Out,” an internationally recognized program at Temple, gives students the opportunity to attend classes in a prison. 


Learn more about Temple University and what it takes to get accepted.


6. University of Miami

Location: Coral Gables, FL

Acceptance Rate: 27.1%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 11,307

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1280-1420 SAT, 29-32 ACT


The Criminology major at University of Miami gives students a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system and crime itself. If students meet the required academic criteria, they also have the opportunity to join the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma.


Learn more about University of Miami and what it takes to get accepted.


7. Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Acceptance Rate: 60.1%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 36,039

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1190-1410 SAT, 25-31 ACT


Rutgers University’s Criminal Justice major blends a liberal arts education with pre-professional training to prepare you for your career. Highly qualified students who are interested in law can apply to the 3+3 program and receive a graduate law degree in six years instead of seven.


Learn more about Rutgers University-New Brunswick and what it takes to get accepted.

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8. American University

Location: Washington, DC

Acceptance Rate: 31.5%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 8,287

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1220-1380 SAT, 27-31 ACT


Being in Washington D.C., American University Justice, Law, and Criminology students have the unique opportunity to participate in challenging research and internship opportunities in the nation’s capital. American University’s faculty is also comprised of experts who conduct international research, work with policymakers, and have extensive experience in the field.


Learn more about American University and what it takes to get accepted.


9. Northeastern University

Location: Boston, MA

Acceptance Rate: 18.1%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 18,359

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1390-1540 SAT, 32-35 ACT


Northeastern students cycle between semesters of classes and semesters of paid, full-time positions in industries related to their major, meaning they’ll get extensive career experience before graduating. Some of the criminal justice tracks offered at Northeastern include blended majors, such as psychology and criminal justice, cybersecurity and criminal justice, and computer science and criminal justice.


Learn more about Northeastern University and what it takes to get accepted.


10. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance Rate: 40.6%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 13,319

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 920-1060 SAT, N/A ACT


John Jay College of Criminal Justice emphasizes the importance of critical reasoning skills throughout their curriculum. There are 31 majors and 40 minors to choose from, with the most popular being public administration, criminal justice, and forensic psychology.


11. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

Location: University Park, PA

Acceptance Rate: 56.5%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 40,363

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1360 SAT, 25-30 ACT


Penn State’s Criminology Program is ranked at one of the top 10 programs in the United States. One unique opportunity offered to students is a summer trip to the Netherlands. Students can choose from programs focused on The Holocaust or the Dutch approach to criminal justice and social problems.


Learn more about Pennsylvania State University and what it takes to get accepted.


12. University of Maryland-College Park

Location: College Park, MD

Acceptance Rate: 44.1%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 30,511

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1290-1460 SAT, 29-33 ACT


University of Maryland’s Crimiology and Criminal Justice Major is a Limited Enrollment Program, a competitive major with controlled numbers in order to maintain program quality. Students can apply as a direct admit to the major and are subject to an academic review once they’ve taken 45 Maryland credits. You can also apply to the major once you’re already a freshman, but you must have successfully completed the academic review. 


Learn more about University of Maryland-College Park and what it takes to get accepted.


13. Howard University

Location: Washington, DC

Acceptance Rate: 31.6%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 6,243

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1140-1285 SAT, 22-27 ACT


Because Howard University is a historically Black institution of higher learning, special focus is given to exploring the relationships between the criminal justice system and people of color. Some of the goals for Howard University’s Criminology program include developing high writing proficiency, preparing students for leadership positions, and increasing the numbers of African Americans in administration of justice, sociology, and other related fields.


Learn more about Howard University and what it takes to get accepted.


14. Liberty University

Location: Lynchburg, VA

Acceptance Rate: 56%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 45,935

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1020-1220 SAT, 20-27 ACT


Liberty University offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice through the Helms School of Government. Because Liberty is a Christian college, students will evaluate the criminal justice system from a biblical worldview. Students can also choose a specialization, such as crime scene investigation or homeland security.


Learn more about Liberty University and what it takes to get accepted.


15. Rutgers University-Newark

Location: Newark, NJ

Acceptance Rate: 62.7%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 9,142

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1020-1190 SAT, 19-24 ACT


The Rutgers School of Criminal Justice offers an accelerated masters program, allowing qualified undergraduates to complete a five-year bachelor of science/master of arts in Criminal Justice. Because internships are critical for hands-on experience, Rutgers offers academic credit for internship and fieldwork experiences.


Learn more about Rutgers University -Newark and what it takes to get accepted.


There are many more colleges great for studying Criminal Justice. See the complete list of best schools for Criminal Justice and Corrections.


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