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Criminal Justice Program Overview

Ashland University’s Criminal Justice program is designed by experts in law enforcement, forensic science, law, sociology and more. We communicate regularly with local law enforcement to discover areas that need more focus in the field of criminal justice to make sure you’ll be equipped with the most relevant skills, tools and information to help you succeed.

One of the primary advantages of this program is the option to choose between either an associate or bachelor’s degree. An associate degree can be achieved in as few as 60 credit hours. A bachelor’s degree only takes 120 credit hours and is offered both in person or 100 percent online.

We offer added flexibility for those enrolling in our online criminal justice program:

  • Courses begin every eight weeks and are offered 100 percent online.
  • You have access to courses 24/7, so you can complete them when it's convenient for you.
  • You can complete your degree in less than two years if you already have an associate degree.

Our online Criminal Justice Associate Degree program is ranked in the top 10 online programs by

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Delivery Format

In Person

Credit Hours


Time to Complete

4 years


How Do I Know if This Program Is Right for Me?

If you have a passion for understanding the criminal justice system, analyzing crime patterns and seeking justice, this major may align well with your goals. Additionally, if you possess strong communication skills, critical thinking abilities and a desire to contribute to public safety and community well-being, pursuing a degree in criminal justice could be a fulfilling path. Researching the curriculum, exploring potential career opportunities and speaking with professionals in the field can also provide valuable insights into whether this program suits your interests and long-term objectives

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Already working in a related field?

Ashland University offers several perks you may qualify for:

  • Up to 30 credit hours of credit can be awarded for life and work experience through a Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio.
  • You may receive transfer credit for previous college courses.
  • Veterans who served in the armed forces for at least 36 months after Sept. 10, 2001, have the Federal Yellow Ribbon program available. AU matches funding provided by the Veterans Administration up to a total of $11,000.
  • There is a 15 percent tuition discount for members of the Fraternal Order of Police, first responders and their immediate families.

Sample Curriculum

Choose one of five tracks within the program: criminal justice generalist, law enforcement administration, correctional administration, criminology and research or legal studies.

Learn more about the criminal justice curriculum by viewing these resources:

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning allows students to receive up to 30 credit hours for life and work experience through a Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. You may also receive transfer credit for previous college courses.

Dean's Scholarship

The Dean's Scholarship was created to enhance the undergraduate academic experience for new first-time and transfer students enrolled in a major within the College of Arts & Sciences. It is a merit-based, renewable scholarship of $1,500 that can be "stacked" on top of other awarded AU academic scholarships. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in unique academic communities with a focus on career coaching and preparation.

Can You Give Me a Glimpse of My Future?

You might pursue roles such as law enforcement officer, detective, probation officer, corrections officer, forensic analyst or crime analyst. With experience and further education, you could advance into leadership positions, such as police chief, FBI agent or criminal justice professor.

What our students say

Rachel Kleman

“The criminal justice program at AU is such an amazing program. All of the professors I have been taught by and encountered were always extremely helpful and knowledgeable of the field. It helps having professors who have been in the field and have experienced the same things all of us joining the program want to do. Not only are the professors great, but the courses themselves are accurate and descriptive to what happens in the ‘real world’. The courses I took gave me a real understanding of what to expect in my career.”

Rachel Kleman
Correctional Lieutenant for the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, Mansfield, Ohio

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