In recent years, more colleges and universities have begun to offer degrees in Law Enforcement, often as a subset of a Criminal Justice major, and it's even possible to earn an online law enforcement degree. These degrees are very useful for people who want to work as police officers, intelligence agents, corrections officers, or in other positions where there is a responsibility to "protect and serve." In some cases, these programs can help certify students who want to go straight into police work, and they are usually very successful at helping graduates market themselves more successfully than those who do not have a post-secondary education.
The 10 Best Online Law Enforcement Degrees Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer law enforcement programs online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $25,000/year or less.
*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
Unfortunately, there are a limited number of online criminal justice law enforcement degrees available. Therefore, we could not compile a pool of options large enough to justify a multifactorial ranking system in which we'd score colleges and universities based on a list of specific considerations.
So instead, we ranked the programs solely according to their affordability. See below for the best cheap online law enforcement degree programs, ranked from most to least expensive.
Cheap Online Law Enforcement Degree Programs Ranked
At Colorado State, you'll find a criminal justice program that's not only affordable but also puts a strong emphasis on law enforcement. Coursework on policing and corrections is built straight into the core curriculum, with classes like "Law Enforcement and American Policing," "Laws of Evidence," and "Criminal Law." CSU's online law enforcement degree also stands out for its academic flexibility. For example, you can choose whether to participate in a practicum as part of your final capstone course. You'll also get to choose from a long list of specializations in a diverse range of fields, from business administration to criminology to organizational leadership.
To qualify for Bemidji State's criminal justice program, you'll need to have at least 24 transferable credits from another academic institution. If you live in state, you can easily meet these requirements using the established "Minnesota transfer curriculum." Otherwise, a BSU advisor can help you determine if you meet the necessary conditions. Those who do enroll in BSU's cheap law enforcement program online will reap numerous benefits, including 100% online classes and concentration options within the curriculum. The law enforcement concentration is particularly robust, consisting of seven required courses in topics like "Police Process," "Police and Community Relations," and "Forensic Victimology."
Students in SUNY Canton's criminal justice program will not only learn about law enforcement, but they'll also learn about leadership. By offering coursework in both disciplines, this unique degree will help accelerate your path to managerial positions in the workplace. Plus, you'll get to hear the first-hand experiences of your professors, many of whom have worked in law enforcement themselves. To further strengthen your skills, this accredited online criminal justice law enforcement degree also offers an internship opportunity in your final semester. Aspiring police officers can even get internship credit for their attendance at the local law enforcement academy!
If you have an interest in law enforcement but also want to study criminal justice more generally, North Carolina Central's program could be for you. The curriculum (which is available in both two-year and four-year plans, depending on how many college credits you've already earned) offers a broad survey of the field. For example, you'll study "Criminal Justice Theory" alongside classes in "Criminal Law, Procedures, and Court Processes" and "Statistical Methods in Criminal Justice." But what really makes NCCU's program a top cheap online criminal justice law enforcement degree is its concentration in Law Enforcement, which covers topics like "Police Management Theory" and "Criminal Law for Criminal Justice Personnel."
Eastern Kentucky University is one of the few schools in the country that offers a criminal justice program entirely devoted to law enforcement. In this Police Studies degree, you'll learn how to maintain order, make ethical policing decisions, understand the social forces influencing law enforcement, and implement contemporary police strategies. After that, you'll get to supplement your studies with even more classes in policing - plus optional coursework in corrections and general criminal justice, too. As if that weren't enough, students who enroll in this affordable law enforcement program online can expand their horizons by adding on a minor in a related area, such as Correctional Intervention Strategies or Homeland Security.
If you're looking for a program that's interactive and hands-on, check out Lindenwood University. This school aims to keep online learners engaged not just through coursework, but also through experiential activities. For example, you can take an optional internship, where you'll complete at least 150 hours of fieldwork at an actual law enforcement organization. Candidates in Lindenwood's online criminal justice law enforcement degree can also participate in two student organizations: a local chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma (the national CJ honors society) and the school's own Criminal Justice Student Association, which has a partnership with the local police academy.
In many ways, Regent University's criminal justice program is indistinguishable from other options on this online criminal justice law enforcement degrees ranking. That is, it prepares students for a career in law enforcement by offering classes in law, corrections, investigations, and other similar topics. But there is at least one way that Regent stands out from its competitors: as a Christian university, it presents all coursework "from a Christian worldview." In fact, you'll even be required to take certain religiously inspired general education classes, such as "New Testament Studies" and "The Making of the Christian Mind."
Ball State's criminal justice and criminology program covers all the topics you'd expect: corrections, policing, criminology, law, administration, etc. But BSU's degree also differentiates itself from other schools on this law enforcement programs online ranking by emphasizing practical subjects like data-driven decision making, ethics, and cultural competency. And for students who are specifically interested in law enforcement, the program offers a specialization in Policing. In this concentration, you'll take electives like "Policing in a Free and Diverse Society" and "Criminal Evidence and Procedure" to prepare for a career on a local, state, or federal police force.
The law enforcement concentration within Purdue University's criminal justice program focuses on issues of policing and corrections as well as criminal law and civil liability. As such, it will prepare you for a variety of careers - not just police work. On a separate note, Purdue goes the extra mile to ensure that it offers an affordable online criminal justice law enforcement degree. Specifically, the university institutes a "tuition cap" for each student. That means that once you hit that cap, you won't pay a single cent more for your education - no matter how many more classes you have to take!
The goal of Tiffin University's criminal justice program is to produce public safety experts who understand law enforcement officers' unique role in society. To ensure that you are well-equipped for a career in this field, the curriculum doesn't just cover corrections and policing - it also tackles niche topics like "Technology and Crime" and "Applied Criminal Investigation and Criminalistics." Another benefit of attending this law enforcement program online is its convenient format. You'll get to choose from six annual start dates and will take classes in accelerated, 7-week terms. Plus, Tiffin keeps classes small (typically 10-15 students) so you can get the individualized attention you need.
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 10 top cheap law enforcement programs online!