Top Criminal Justice Programs in California

Criminal Justice Programs in California


Criminal justice degrees are buried within a highly competitive field and require the full and complete focus of their students, much like the work that will come after the degree. For prospective criminal justice students, getting into the best programs possible is a priority.

Following is a list of some of the best criminal justice programs in the Sunshine State, California. While these colleges may not be your initial option, they represent some of the best places to eventually transfer to when the time comes.

1. University of California Irvine

University of California Irvine is ranked nationally by U.S. News as the 5th best graduate school for criminal justice students. They spotlight having the only criminology department in the entire UC system and one of only two law and society departments. Those two specialties make for a special criminal justice program.

Their faculty includes former presidents of both the American Society of Criminology and the Law and Society association. Founded in 1970, UC Irvine’s Department of Criminology, Law and Society has consistently been recognized as one of the best in the nation.

They offer PhD programs and even an online Master’s program for working criminology professionals. Even if you start your criminal justice education somewhere else, UC Irvine looks to be the place to land after a few years.

2. Sacramento State University

Sacramento State’s Criminal Justice Division has been around since 1949, just two years after the college was established. It wasn’t until 1969 that the program was given its independent division. The 1980s brought the most growth to the program and it has only grown further since then. With somewhere over 1600 undergraduate students in the program, it is one of the largest criminal justice programs in the country.

Due to its popularity, the program is impacted, but the education possible with the program is well worth the trouble. Students may find trouble in landing in the program, but with a diverse faculty with rich history, Sacramento State’s program is perfect for anyone looking for a criminal justice degree.

3. San Jose State University

San Jose State’s Justice Studies department is all about collaboration. For over 80 years, the program has adapted and grown with the changing world. While not a nationally ranked program, with 80 years of history and growth, San Jose State may be the perfect match for your criminal justice graduate program.

One of the biggest pillars of San Jose State’s Justice Studies program is the collaborative nature of its program with other departments at the college. Working alongside departments from the School of Social Work to the School of Journalism, students in San Jose State’s program are able to get a wide look at the world of criminal justice.

They spotlight their faculty as great minds in the world of research, working on human rights, violence against women, and victimology, amongst other things. For anyone pursuing a criminal justice degree, San Jose State definitely offers a varied “experience”.

Each of these schools offer something new to the table for those interested in criminal justice. If your attention has been piqued, find out how you can start your way towards these great programs.

Get information on criminal justice degrees using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your criminal justice degree.