Last Updated: 26 May, 2023
Colleges in California for Criminal Justice
Students in California who want to study criminal justice can choose from a number of top-ranked colleges and universities. Three California schools are featured in our 2023 Best U.S. Colleges for Criminal Justice ranking, and several others appear in our lists of the nation’s top public universities and best-value schools.
Criminal justice programs teach students about law, crime, and how the justice system works. This helps them prepare for jobs in law enforcement, corrections, and other criminal justice fields. In these programs, students learn about the origins of crime and how it affects society. They also learn about the history, structure, and functions of the American criminal justice system, as well as contemporary issues in criminal justice. Programs emphasize critical thinking and ethical reasoning so that graduates are prepared to enter the workforce as effective and responsible criminal justice professionals.
The Best Criminal Justice Colleges in California for 2023
Your choice to enroll in a criminal justice program is an investment in your future – one that can lead to immense satisfaction and fulfillment in many areas of the criminal justice system. With so many options available to students, it pays to conduct research before making a selection. To assist you in choosing the best college for your needs, we have carefully examined every college in California that offers a criminal justice degree.
We use information from reliable public sources, including the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard, and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), to evaluate and score each college in the state. The factors listed below are the most heavily weighted in our scoring methodology:
- Student satisfaction
- Employability of graduates
- Competition during the enrollment phase
- Credentials and experience of the faculty
- Cost of attendance (including tuition and fees)
- Graduation rates and the availability of financial aid
We also consider how committed each school is to diversity and inclusion. We take this action because we are aware that a criminal justice school ought to make an effort to foster an atmosphere in which each student is treated fairly and equally.
The following 10 institutions have been selected as California’s top 20 criminal justice programs for 2023 following a thorough review:
Criminal Justice Colleges in California FAQ
What college has the best criminal justice program in California?
According to our rankings, the University of California - Irvine has the best criminal justice program in California. The Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at UC Irvine has a distinguished faculty and a curriculum that looks at the entire criminal justice system from a community perspective, making it one of the best criminal justice programs in the country.
Is criminal justice a good degree?
Becoming a police officer is a very rewarding job that gives people who care about helping others the chance to make a real difference in their communities. Earning a degree in criminal justice helps you develop the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to be successful in this demanding profession and opens doors to a variety of other exciting career options in the criminal justice field.
How long does it take to complete a criminal justice degree?
You can anticipate earning your degree in four years if you choose to enroll full-time in an undergraduate program. Other options include a full-time associate's degree, which can be completed in two years. Many criminal justice degree programs offer online or hybrid courses that give you the flexibility to study around your work and personal commitments. These programs typically take longer to complete but allow you to progress at your own pace.
What jobs can I get if I study criminal justice?
A degree in criminal justice can lead to various career paths in law enforcement, corrections, and other aspects of the criminal justice system. With the right experience and education, you can pursue a career as a police officer, detective or criminal investigator, federal agent, homeland security specialist, or corrections officer. You can also work in private security or as a loss prevention specialist.