Introduction to Criminal Justice at UC Online

Turning Your Passion into Action

As society continues to evolve, the need for well-trained criminal justice professionals evolves with it. An umbrella term that refers to the laws, procedures, and institutions working to deliver justice to accused offenders, criminal justice is much more than local law enforcement — it is a highly specialized, interconnected web operating at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as private sector.

Often appealing to learners looking to make a positive impact on the world, this field is typically seen as more of a calling than a choice, and comes with the advantage of diverse career options, lucrative salaries, and attractive benefits. So, if you dream of getting paid to create meaningful change in your community, your state, or even your country, UC Online offers the complete path to your future in criminal justice.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Whether you’re seeking an entry-level position or looking to further your current career, earning your bachelor’s in criminal justice can help you achieve your professional goals. Here, you’ll learn the challenges inherent in criminal justice, explore ethics and morality in criminology, and dissect research on violence in America — and you’ll do it with full control over your studies, allowing you to work at your own pace. Upon graduation, you’ll be well-positioned to pursue a broad spectrum of careers that connect with your interests and passions.

“I credit UC Online for so much of my personal and professional development – network contacts, internships, study abroad, entry-level positions that helped to develop my criminal justice career, and professors that invested in my development and have continued to act as mentors even years after graduation.” — Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Graduate, Sam Surber

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Designed for professionals looking to take their careers to the next level, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice approaches the study of crime and criminal justice from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing insights from sociology, criminology, psychology, and law. What’s more, to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to stay ahead of current trends as they pursue advanced leadership roles, our program offers three distinct concentrations (also available as graduate certificates): Analysis of Criminal Behavior, Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention, and Corrections and Offender Rehabilitation.

“The level of instruction is not watered down because of the online designation; an online student is getting the same quality education as an on-campus student. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a challenge. It exceeded my expectations, and I am proud of the fact that my degree came from UC Online.” — Master of Science in Criminal Justice Graduate, Terence H.

Criminal Justice Careers

Graduates of a criminal justice program can go on to graduate school or find work in both the public and private sectors, with roles going far beyond local law enforcement. Within these careers, individuals have frequent opportunities for advancement and, because of the significant challenges involved, are typically well-compensated. Below are common careers in the field that can be pursued with a criminal justice degree.

  • Victim advocates provide support and assistance to victims of crime and earn an average salary of $40,253
  • Asset protection specialists prevent financial loss caused by theft and fraud and earn an average salary of $42,619.
  • Probation officers oversee people with a sentence of probation and earn an average salary of $46.414.
  • Police officers respond to emergency and non-emergency calls and earn an average salary of $56,644.
  • U.S. Marshals protect the federal judiciary and earn an average salary of $63,131.
  • FBI agents investigate federal criminal law violations and earn an average salary of $68,021.
  • Border PatroI agents ensure safe travel and transportation of goods and earn an average salary of $68,414.
  • Cybersecurity analysts seek to anticipate and prevent cyberattacks and earn an average salary of $78,810.

*Salary data sourced from

Become the Difference You Want to See

Criminal justice is a rewarding, highly specialized, and highly respected field — but it takes a passionate and valiant person to step up to its level of responsibility. If you see yourself making a difference in your community through social advocacy, overseeing unlawful activity, or working to minimize the occurrence of re-offenders, then criminal justice could be the perfect path for you. And here at UC Online, we offer the complete path to your future in the field so you can begin turning your passion into action.

Ready to learn more? Explore our online programs or take the first step in advancing your criminal justice career by beginning your application today.

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