Affordable Online Law Enforcement Degrees

From beat patrols to cybercrime, law enforcement officers aim to serve and protect their communities. While duties can vary greatly between positions, all law enforcement officers and detectives are responsible for maintaining the peace, pursuing criminals, and maintaining detailed reports on their law enforcement activities. If you’re interested in leadership positions and a deeper understanding of law enforcement practices, then a bachelor’s in law enforcement online might be right for you.

Students pursuing an online law enforcement degree will study specialized aspects of the field, such as deployment of patrol assets, crime analysis, and policy development. Law enforcement officials work closely with the legal system, meaning you’ll also learn the fundamentals of ethics, judicial administration, criminal law, and legal traditions. More specialized agencies, like the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Fish & Wildlife typically require at least a bachelor’s degree; an advanced degree can open greater career opportunities in a student’s area of specialty.

Law enforcement is not the most lucrative field, and the work is often physically demanding and dangerous. Most people enter the field due to a sense of passion and dedication. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that police officers and detectives earn a median annual salary of about $60,000.

The schools on this list offer both cheap tuition and a high return on investment. An online law enforcement degree allows you to pursue your education at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home.

Most Affordable Online Law Enforcement Degrees
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Midway University

Value Score 6.82
Average Tuition $22,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $17,114
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 78%

Students can earn Midway's 120-credit bachelor of science in criminal justice entirely online. Major courses cover subjects like criminal investigation, police ethics, kinesic interviewing, and court procedure. Additionally, the curriculum includes 12 required credits in psychology courses, with topics like abnormal psychology and psychopharmacology. To graduate, distance learners must complete a capstone project where they apply their newly acquired knowledge to specific areas of the criminal justice field.

Midway delivers its online courses in an accelerated format, structured in eight-week sessions with five start dates throughout the year. Applicants to this cheap online law enforcement degree who are first-time college students should have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 and a minimum score of 18 on the ACT of 860 on the SAT. Prospective transfer students should have a college GPA of 2.0 or above. Midway does not charge a higher rate for out-of-state tuition.

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University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Value Score 6.69
Average Tuition $1,454
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $10,440
Student to Faculty Ratio 17:1
Retention Rate 86%

Mandatory courses in liberal arts distinguish UMass — Lowell’s bachelor’s in criminal justice degree from other programs. Available entirely online, the 120-credit program also requires students to complete courses in computer skills, covering topics like statistics and crime mapping, in addition to core requirements in areas like lab sciences. UMass — Lowell offers undergraduate students the opportunity to get a head start on their master's degree, allowing two graduate courses to count toward both the bachelor's and the MA in criminal justice.

To graduate, distance learners must maintain a major GPA of at least 2.5 and an overall GPA of 2.2 or higher. Admission requirements for this affordable law enforcement online degree are minimal: applicants need only a high school diploma or their GED. All distance learners at UMass — Lowell pay the same tuition rates, regardless of whether they live in Massachusetts.

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Eastern Kentucky University

Value Score 6.36
Average Tuition $8,150
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $9,253
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 74%

EKU's law enforcement bachelor's program stands out from the pack as a degree not in criminal justice, but in police studies. Unlike other, broader online law enforcement degrees, the curriculum features courses — like contemporary police strategies, social forces and policing society, and ethical decisions and police — that focus on preparing students for the professional day-to-day life of a police officer. The university delivers its online courses asynchronously and in an accelerated format, with two eight-week periods in the fall and spring and two six-week periods in the summer. The typical course load is two at a time, and the program features six start dates throughout the year.

To graduate with their degree in police studies, distance learners must complete 120 credits, including major courses, electives, and general education requirements. Applicants who are first-time college students must have a minimum 2.5 high school GPA along with either a minimum score of 20 on the ACT or 950 on the SAT (math and verbal).

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Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Value Score 6.31
Average Tuition $5,180
Students Receiving Financial Aid 98%
Net Price $8,632
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 72%

Students typically earn NSULA's online bachelor's in criminal justice within four years. The 120-credit curriculum is different from other law enforcement online programs in that it includes an optional concentration in prelaw and paralegal studies. Courses in the major cover topics like juvenile delinquency, community-based corrections, and advanced criminalistics and forensics. Additionally, students complete coursework in psychology, sociology, and political science.

NSULA delivers its distance learning courses in a hybrid format that includes synchronous and asynchronous elements. Courses in the fall and spring last for eight weeks, while summer courses last for three to six. The university boasts affordable tuition rates for distance learners, and doesn't charge extra for out-of-state tuition. To be eligible for admission, applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores along with transcripts and immunization records. Male applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 must also provide proof of Selective Service registration.

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Anderson University

Value Score 6.17
Average Tuition $22,570
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $15,786
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 73%

A small, Christian university located in South Carolina, Anderson features a 123-credit bachelor's degree in criminal justice that typically takes four years to complete. Aligning the 100% online program closely with its on-campus counterpart, the university delivers courses through the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) in a synchronous format that allows for substantial interaction among classmates and with instructors. Structured in eight-week sessions, courses include general education credits in communications and behavioral sciences, core credits in homeland security and organizational leadership, and general electives that students can use to customize their degree to their personal interests. All program faculty bring real-world experience to their instruction, helping students gain perspective on modern criminal justice in practice.

Prospective students seeking to earn a cheap online law enforcement degree from Anderson must submit transcripts and a $25 fee with their online application. Applicants under the age of 21 must also complete a "special circumstances" form online.

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Bellevue University

Value Score 6.08
Average Tuition $6,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 90%
Net Price $8,204
Student to Faculty Ratio 31:1
Retention Rate 63%

Located in Nebraska, Bellevue offers a 127-credit online criminal justice degree in an accelerated format. Students must fulfill nine of the required credits through the university's Kirkpatrick Signature Series, a group of courses that emphasize active citizenship in accordance with the traditions of Western civilization. Offerings in the series include a course on American vision and values and another on freedom and responsibility. Courses in the criminal justice major cover topics like victimology, public policy, and professional responsibility.

Online students at Bellevue enjoy access to support tools and library resources, in addition to tech support services. All undergraduates in distance learning programs pay the same tuition rates, regardless of their state of residence. Additionally, the university offers discounted tuition to active-duty members of the military. Prospective students seeking an online law enforcement degree must submit documentation of a high school diploma along with a $50 fee.

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Pennsylvania State University

Value Score 5.63
Average Tuition $13,012
Students Receiving Financial Aid 87%
Net Price $22,187
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Retention Rate 53%

Penn State -- World Campus offers a 120-credit online bachelor’s in criminal justice program that covers far-reaching topics within the field, including criminology, law, alternatives to incarceration, and ethics. The curriculum includes 45 credits of general education requirements in social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and writing and speaking. Courses in the criminal justice major cover topics like the prosecution process, research methods in the field, and corrections in America. Upper-level courses teach students about border security, the juvenile justice system, and police administration, among other subjects.

Penn-State -- World Campus delivers the majority of online course content asynchronously through Skype, the Blackboard LMS, email, and message boards. Courses in this affordable law enforcement online program typically last for 12 to 15 weeks. Prospective students must submit transcripts and an application fee. Application deadlines for fall, spring, and summer are June 30, October 31, and March 15, respectively.

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Saint Leo University

Value Score 5.55
Average Tuition $20,150
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Net Price $17,173
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 71%

A Catholic institution based near Tampa, Saint Leo delivers a 120-credit online bachelor's in criminal justice that features unique course categories like the human adventure, the human mosaic, science in a changing world, and the creative life. With a liberal arts foundation and a focus on "a steadfast moral consciousness that recognizes the dignity, value, and gifts of all people," Saint Leo's program prepares distance learners for administrative careers in criminal justice or graduate studies in the field.

Students who have already earned an associate degree in criminal justice can accelerate their online law enforcement degree by transferring up to 64 credits. Additionally, learners can earn limited academic credit for professional training as a nurse or police officer. All distance learners pay the same tuition rates, whether or not they reside in Florida. Saint Leo provides discounted tuition rates to active-duty members of the military, and also offers payment plans to help students manage costs.

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Rowan University

Value Score 5.50
Average Tuition $9,256
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Net Price $13,665
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 86%

Glassboro, New Jersey’s Rowan offers one of the more transfer-friendly online law enforcement degrees available today; of the 120 credits required to graduate, students need complete only 30 through Rowan. The university's 60-credit online BA in law and justice program, designed as a supplement for those who have already earned transferable college credits, includes major courses divided into four categories: law enforcement and security services, court services, corrections, and human services. Distance learners can complete the program in four to five semesters.

Rowan delivers distance learning courses in its law and justice program asynchronously in eight-week modules. To apply to Rowan's criminal justice program, prospective students must have 24 transferable college credits with a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Other admissions requirements include a $65 fee and official transcripts. Application deadlines for fall and spring semesters are July 1 and November 1, respectively.

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Washington State University

Value Score 5.48
Average Tuition $10,356
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $11,324
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 78%

Located in Pullman, WSU boasts the second oldest continuous criminal justice program in the country. To earn their online degree, students must complete 48 credits in the major, covering subjects such as criminal justice institutions, political science, and research methods. Outside of the major, distance learners must complete general education requirements in humanities, arts, and social sciences in addition to foreign language and lab science courses. Additionally, all students at WSU must complete a two-part writing portfolio, including a timed essay.

WSU delivers its online courses through the Blackboard LMS. This affordable online law enforcement degree includes both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and requires students to complete occasional group projects. The university provides virtual mentors for its distance learning students, along with other resources available online that include a media center and bookstore.

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Webster University

Value Score 5.37
Average Tuition $25,300
Students Receiving Financial Aid 98%
Net Price $23,790
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Retention Rate 78%

Located in the heart of St. Louis, Webster features an online law enforcement degree based more in theory than in practice. The 128-credit degree in criminology, available entirely online, instructs distance learners on the anatomy of crimes, their causes and their results. Webster delivers online course content asynchronously, allowing students access to the materials at all times. To earn their degree, distance learners must complete 43 credits of courses in the major in addition to general education requirements including 3 credits of foreign language.

Given its focus on criminology, the program's curriculum is multidisciplinary, mixing criminology, law, psychology, and sociology courses, many of which deal with topics like white-collar crime and radical extremism. All distance learners must complete a capstone course and final paper to be eligible for graduation. Students who transfer to Webster can apply as many as 15 credits towards their BA. Additionally, the university provides discounted tuition rates for active-duty members of the military.

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Northern Kentucky University

Value Score 5.33
Average Tuition $8,736
Students Receiving Financial Aid 95%
Net Price $5,030
Student to Faculty Ratio 19:1
Retention Rate 69%

From its base in Highland Heights, NKU delivers an online law enforcement degree that closely mirrors its on-campus counterpart. The university advises students to enroll in 15 credits per semester, and the program typically takes about four years to complete. To earn their degree, distance learners must finish a 120-credit curriculum focusing on police, courts, and corrections. Available courses in the major include perspectives on crime, ethics in criminal justice, and corrections in America.

To declare a major in criminal justice at NKU, students must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all college coursework. Applicants must have completed two years of study in a foreign language and must meet minimum score requirements for both the ACT and the SAT. Distance learners who reside in a state other than Kentucky, Ohio, or Indiana must pay higher tuition rates.

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Hampton University

Value Score 5.13
Average Tuition $20,526
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $26,432
Student to Faculty Ratio 9:1
Retention Rate 81%

Hampton is perhaps best known as a historically black university founded in post-Civil War Virginia with the goal of educating freedmen. The school delivers an accelerated, completely online 120-credit BS in criminal justice program. In addition to major courses covering topics like forensics and homeland security, the program contains extensive general education requirements, including writing, humanities, precalculus, and cultures/civilizations. In its core courses, the curriculum specifically emphasizes corrections and law enforcement practices and administration.

In addition to providing transcripts and a nonrefundable fee, all first-time college students applying to the criminal justice program must submit a 250-300 essay describing their personal goals and explaining how an education from Hampton will help them achieve those goals. Prospective distance learners should check program availability in their state, as this online law enforcement degree is currently unavailable in Alabama, Oregon, Maryland, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and others.

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Franklin University

Value Score 4.97
Average Tuition $11,616
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $24,279
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 50%

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin offers one of the most practical, hands-on online law enforcement degree programs. The university's criminal justice administration degree specifically grooms students for future employment in the field. Franklin prides itself on the relevancy of its curriculum, which is split into six categories: criminology theory and crime control; ethical decision-making; juvenile justice, delinquency, and corrections; corrections, probation, and parole; law enforcement; and criminal justice leadership. Teaching in-demand skills, the program prepares distance learners for a variety of careers, including law enforcement intelligence analyst, FBI agent, and bailiff.

To earn their criminal justice administration degree, students must complete 124 credits, including general education requirements, major courses, electives, and a professional core. Franklin boasts a generous transfer policy, allowing students to transfer up to 94 credits toward their bachelor's degree.

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Wilmington University

Value Score 4.68
Average Tuition $10,380
Students Receiving Financial Aid 72%
Net Price $14,677
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Retention Rate 60%

At Wilmington, expert faculty with real-world experience deliver an online law enforcement degree that combines theoretical, practical, and professional knowledge into a comprehensive package. The university offers its accelerated BS in criminal justice in an asynchronous format, providing the flexibility working professionals and other busy students need to earn their degree.

Distance learners typically complete the required 120 credits for the degree in about four years. If they so choose, students can earn six credits through the university's Community and Academic Partnerships/Co-op program, in which they complete a semester-long, supervised, relevant criminal justice work experience.

Wilmington gives students in the criminal justice program the opportunity to take two graduate-level courses as undergraduates and gain pre-acceptance to Wilmington’s criminal justice master’s program. Criminal justice students can also earn certificates in child advocacy studies, compliance, conflict resolution, crime scene investigation, criminal justice, and digital evidence discovery.

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