As you progress in the field of criminal justice, you may consider earning an online doctorate degree in the subject.  Although a challenging and dangerous occupation in today’s society, the need for well-qualified personnel is growing exponentially; therefore, more colleges today are offering students the opportunity to earn an online Doctor of Criminal Justice degree to help them advance in their law enforcement career.

With the correct credentials and experience, you can work in education, research, Homeland Security or as an investigator, forensic investigator or FBI Agent.  If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, perhaps you are interested in opening your own security consulting firm.



Interested in our picks for the Best Online Doctor of Criminal Justice Degree Programs? If so, please check out the below schools (listed in no particular order) as you search for a doctoral degree program that will fit YOUR busy schedule… not theirs. For those who have families and prior work responsibilities, an online distance learning doctoral program is for you! The following points were considered when constructing this list of awesome opportunities:

  • Format availability; either 100% Online or Hybrid options,
  • Designed to combine coursework in the complexities of the court system, law enforcement and today’s correctional systems,
  • Prepares students for leadership and management positions in the field of Criminal Justice,
  • Enhances knowledge in Criminal Justice, such as in the areas of scholarly research, public relations, crime, justice theory, among others pertinent topics,
  • Provides residency and/or group project, or dissertation options, (some schools require, and some may not),
  • Ease of Credit transfers to a Doctoral program,
  • Positive student and reliable academic resource reviews of degree programs,
  • Promotes positive mentoring, ethical, and crucial life skills to impact your community through the field of Criminal Justice,
  • Regionally Accredited specific to Criminal Justice degree programs,
  • Various Financial Aid options,
  • Instructed by experienced faculty who specialize in the field of Criminal Justice.

To learn more, see our Methodology page.




PROGRAM STANDOUTS: Northcentral University is an online university based in San Diego, CA. They specialize in the virtual learning experience. Northcentral takes pride in providing all students with a convenient and flexible format to suit everyone’s needs. As a criminal justice professional, you must be a team player to protect and serve the public. Through NCU’s doctoral program, you can learn how to optimize your leadership skills and gain valuable knowledge used to solve today’s problems in the field of criminology. You will receive a comprehensive understanding of civil and criminal liability and criminal justice theory. You may also choose to specialize in policing/law enforcement, homeland security or white-collar crime. You can expect to hone your research skills, as well as, administrative skills related to public safety.


ACCREDITATION: Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

TYPES OF AID: Grants, Scholarships, Veterans Benefits, Tuition Assistance at Work, Private Education Loans, Payment Plans


ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: To enroll in Northcentral University’s doctoral program, you must have your master’s degree from an accredited institution. You may complete your online application, at which time you will be given a personal identification number to access your account. You will also need to submit your official transcripts.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: At NCU, you can easily complete your doctoral program completely online. As you receive the same challenging and comprehensive learning program as on-campus students, you will have the convenience and flexibility to study at times that’s good for you. There will be no residency or group project requirements for this degree option. Courses begin every week. At Northcentral University, you are a classroom of “one,” therefore, faculty members can give you the personal attention you deserve.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: Upon graduation, your online Doctor of Criminal Justice degree will provide you with many opportunities for career advancement such as, a Postsecondary Instructor, an Agency Administrator, Faculty Director or Corrections Administrator. While only 3% of people in the United States owns a doctorate degree, let Northcentral help you reach your highest potential.




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PROGRAM STANDOUTS: Capella University is truly unique. They realize that when you are spending your hard-earned money on an educational program, it is an investment in your future. With two different learning formats to choose from, flexibility and convenience allows anyone to earn the education they desire. Capella University offers their students the awesome opportunity to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice degree. In this program, you will learn how to conduct policy and scholarly research and consult to positively affect the criminal justice system and society.

You will also focus on building the skills needed to pursue a career in management and leadership. Other classwork includes Criminal Justice Theories, Democratic Principles, Accountability and dissertation research seminars. If you would like to choose a concentration, you can choose from a variety of elective courses such as, Corrections, Criminology, Continuity Management or Project Management, just to name a few options. You will also need to attend a residency.


ACCREDITATION: Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1441,   Ph: (800)621-7440

TYPES OF AID: Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Grad PLUS Loans, Federal Grants, Private Loans, Third Party Scholarships, Military Benefits, Employer and Association Discounts.


ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: You may complete an application online and submit your non-refundable application fee of $50, as well. You must have a master’s degree from an accredited institution. Submission of your official master’s transcripts with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher is also required. GRE or GMAT scores are not required for admission, however, you should check with an Enrollment Counselor for your program’s specific admission requirements.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: At Capella, you are never alone. Your online distance learning experience will pair you with an expert instructor and writing coach to help you along the way. The experienced faculty at Capella will help you from enrollment through graduation and after, as the Career Center will help you plan your career. You can choose from two different online learning formats. The FlexPath lets you choose your own pace. Your completion time will determine your costs. Through the GuidedPath format, you will have extra structure and direction. Although you can complete assignments on your own time, you will need to adhere to deadlines. Capella University also provides support teams who offer guidance and strategies designed to optimize your learning experience, all available to you 24/7.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: A Doctor of Philosophy degree in Criminal Justice from Capella University will prepare you for advanced positions in all aspects of law enforcement. As you move forward, you may want to consider positions as a Police Chief, University Professor or Researcher, Drug Enforcement Officer or Victim Specialist, Investigator or Intelligence Specialist, among others.





PROGRAM STANDOUTS: Colorado Technical University was established in 1965 and currently has 92% of their students enrolled in their online courses. Online distance learning classes, through CTU, offer each student the convenience and flexibility they need when furthering their education as an adult learner while balancing a career and a busy home life.  Colorado Technical University can assist in making your dreams come true and they put the student first. As the criminal justice system is an integral part of today’s world, an online Doctor of Management degree in Criminal Justice will permit you to advance in your career as a supervisor in upper management.

This program includes ten core instructional courses, nine doctoral research courses, as well as, five concentration instructional courses. You can expect to develop your managerial skills while studying Criminal Justice Organization and Management, Collaboration and Cooperation within and among Criminal Justice Agencies, in addition to, the study of Ethics and the Criminal Justice Leader. Your program will also include a residency and dissertation component, along with, an in-person symposium experience. With hard work and dedication, you can complete this doctorate program within three years and at an affordable price.

CAMPUS LOCATION: Colorado Springs, CO

ACCREDITATION: The Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1441,   Ph: (800)621-7440

TYPES OF AID: Federal Loans, State Aid, Grants, Scholarships and Military Benefits.


ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS:   If you wish to enroll in a graduate program at CTU, you will need to connect with an Admissions Advisor to help you explore degree options that are right for you. As you submit your online application, you may also be asked to provide an entrance essay and attend a doctoral interview in person or by phone.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: Colorado Technical University is dedicated to making your online experience convenient, yet challenging. Their asynchronous format allows students to study and access their coursework at any time of day, night or weekends. CTU is up-to-date on the latest technology designed in bringing the virtual classroom to your living room. With this technology, you can connect wherever you have Internet access using their self-directed courses. In addition, you can participate with fellow students in discussion forums, as well as, enjoy tailored lessons and materials designed to meet each student’s needs. CTU professors are available to help you along the way and multiple start dates are available throughout the year.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: Through an online doctoral program at Colorado Technical University, you will be prepared to contribute to the enhancement of the field of criminal justice through positive change. Managerial skills will be sharpened through research, writing, leadership courses, mentoring, as well as, through projects and, of course, your chosen specialization field of study.





PROGRAM STANDOUTS: The California University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1852. As they continue in their history of providing academic excellence, their motto, “Building Character. Building Careers.” still holds true today. The exceptional faculty at Cal U are experienced in their field and are dedicated to helping students from all walks of life achieve success, academically and personally.

An online Doctorate degree in Criminal Justice from Cal U will provide you with many opportunities to enhance your career. They offer this subject through an online format; however, a summer residency will be required before graduation. You can expect to engage in coursework such as, Leading Criminal Justice Agencies, Using Theory to Improve Criminal Justice Practice, Improving the Administration of Juvenile Justice, as well as, many other topics like, Police Management, Corrections, Advanced Criminal Law and Forensic Science. If convenience, flexibility and affordability are important to you, the California University of Pennsylvania is the school for you. Without a doubt, you can expect the same quality education that all on-campus students receive.


ACCREDITATION:  The California University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, Ph: 267-284-5000,

TYPES OF AID: Loans, Grants, Student Employment, Scholarships, Military Benefits


ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Submit your graduate application online along with the $50 non-refundable application fee. As each graduate program has different undergraduate coursework requirements, in criminal justice, you must have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related topic (see website for a list of acceptable degrees) with a minimum GPA of 3.5. You will need to submit your official transcripts, a current resumé stating your professional and academic achievements, two letters of professional recommendation, a personal statement and a writing sample. Please be aware of specific deadlines pertaining to your doctorate program in criminal justice.

PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY: Cal U makes it easy to earn your doctorate degree through their online distance learning program called “Desire2Learn.” You’ll need an up-to-date computer with a high-speed Internet connection. Through the program, you can access your assignments and easily interact with fellow students and professors. Your support staff is available to answer your questions.

DEGREE OUTCOMES: Through Cal U’s online doctorate program, you can expect to graduate with a deeper understanding of policy implementation and evaluation within the criminal justice system. You will also learn how to deal with real-world situations, along with, perfecting your leadership skills to gain the promotion you deserve as you play an integral role in the betterment of today’s society.