8 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Alabama

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Criminal justice is a diverse field of study combining law, local and Federal agency regulations and enforcement, and social policy.

This type of interdisciplinary education can be applied to most careers offering lifelong professional development.

However, a criminal justice degree provides a strong, focused background in as little as two to four years.

It can be used as a launch pad for careers in public service, academic research, social policy, law, and even politics.

Alabama criminal justice graduates often work in Federal enforcement agencies, private security, international relations, policing, and for multi-national corporations.

There are roughly two dozen Alabaman criminal justice programs throughout the state.

These offer certificates, supplementary education to enforcement, and two-year undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Some are on campus. A handful provides hybrid or 100% online education accommodating busy lifestyles.

So, if you are meticulous and dedicated to the safety and care of your community, a career in one of the many pathways of criminal justice is an excellent option.

1 University of Alabama

About the School

The University of Alabama, born in 1821, is located in located south of the state’s capital, Birmingham, in Tuscaloosa.

A world-class institution, its 38,000-strong student body consists of both undergraduate and graduate programs.

The university’s program is part of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree.

It combines a comprehensive curriculum of deviance studies with computer fraud investigation, forensic analysis, investigation, criminal policy, and terrorism.

Courses Offered

The Crimson Tide’s four-year program, a 120-credit-hour degree, covers statistics, Basic English, writing, and natural science courses.

The major focus is on justice theory, psychology, and international crime, and is often combined with a cyber crime minor for a comprehensive degree.

Core competencies include:

  • Deviant psychopathy
  • Principles of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Computers in Terrorism
  • International and domestic terrorism

An independent studies course and a semester internship are required to graduate.

Contact Information

  • Address: 1720 2nd Ave South, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
  • Phone: (205) 348-6010
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 Auburn University Montgomery

About the School

Auburn University Montgomery is a secondary campus located in the capital city of Montgomery in South Alabama.

There are an estimated 4,000 students attending undergraduate and graduate studies in over 90 disciplines.

Auburn University offers both a major and a minor in criminal justice and is leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

A minor offers multiple concentrations, including Law Enforcement, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, or Security Management. All core curricula are part of the Department of Social Sciences.

Courses Offered

The on-campus 120-credit hour pathway focuses on rehabilitation and forensic science.

Students balance liberal arts core courses with degree-focused instruction in criminal justice, policing, criminality, and psychology.

Core competencies include:

  • Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System
  • Law and Society
  • Crime Theories
  • Evidence/Criminalistics
  • Investigative Methods

Immersive internships are required of all graduates.

The university supports several fraternal organizations, including The CJ Honor Society of Alpha Phi Sigma and The Justice and Public Safety Club.

Federal student loans, FAFSA, the GI Bill, and Pell Grants are accepted.

Contact Information

3 Columbia Southern University

About the School

Formed as a private Christian university, Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a fixture in Orange Beach on the Alabama coastline.

It serves nearly 11,500 undergraduate students.

An intimate campus, the university’s colors of navy blue and gold are everywhere, providing a peaceful setting.

Many classes are also taught through CSU’s online program.

Courses Offered

Columbia Southern University offers an Associate, Bachelor, and Master in Criminal Justice as a part of the Department of Social Sciences.

The two-year degree is intended as preparation for entry-level positions in local, state, and federal criminal investigations and enforcement.

More advanced studies delve into the complex theories, research methodologies, and technologies within the criminal justice system.

A comprehensive interdisciplinary program ends with an internship for all graduates at all levels.

Academic fundamentals complement criminal justice courses for the 120-credit-hour Bachelor’s degrees.

The syllabus lists courses in English, statistics, and psychology.

The US Constitution is studied in depth.

Core criminality coursework includes:

  • Criminology Theory
  • Police and Community Relations
  • Victimology
  • Court Security
  • Evidentiary Procedure

Information on grants and tuition assistance is available.

Contact Information

  • Address: 21982 University Lane, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561
  • Phone: (251) 981-3771
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 Jacksonville State University

About the School

An estimated 7,000 students are enrolled in Jacksonville State University (JSU).

This public university was founded in 1883.

Its main campus in Jacksonville is east of Atlanta, near the Alabama border.

Students at Jacksonville State University pursue certificates undergraduate and graduate degrees both on-campus and online chosen from over 120 programs.

Criminal justice studies are part of the College of Social Sciences and can lead to Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees with investigation or criminal law pathways.

Courses Offered

The criminal justice programs are designed for both on-campus and 100% online.

Coursework provides a basic understanding of crime and society.

The four-year pathway requires the completion of 120 credit hours.

Fundamental academics, including English writing, math, and public speaking, complement majors and minors in criminology.

Core competencies for both programs include:

  • American Federal Law
  • Introduction to Corrections
  • Enforcement
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Investigative techniques
  • Principles of Psychology

A final year apprenticeship and completion of a field test are required to graduate regardless of focus or degree level.

Many first-time applicants qualify for some form of tuition assistance, corporate scholarships, and federal grants.

The college also allows GI Bill assistance.

Contact Information

  • Address: 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, AL 36265
  • Phone: (256) 782-5781
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 University of South Alabama

About the School

The University of South Alabama (USA) is a public institution recognized as an outstanding research university.

It offers undergraduate and graduate education to nearly 9,000 students.

The intimate campus is often hailed as one of the best places to learn while enjoying college life on the upper Gulf Coast, Mobile, Alabama.

Courses Offered

All justice coursework is part of the Department of Political Science -Criminal Justice.

An interdisciplinary degree, the 120-credit hour, four-year Bachelor of Science degree comprises 24 credit hours of general education, 72 credit hours in one’s major, and 24 hours in a chosen minor.

Core criminology courses include:

  • Gender and Criminal Justice
  • Correctional Policies
  • Justice Policies
  • Mental Health and Law
  • Introduction to Criminology

Internships and completion of a criminal justice thesis are required to graduate.

As a public institution, financial aid, scholarships, or grants are viable options for tuition assistance.

Contact Information

  • Address: 307 N University Boulevard, Mobile, AL 36688
  • Phone: (251) 460-6211
  • Website: Visit School Website

6 Troy University

About the School

Troy University (TU) started as Troy State Normal School, which in 1887 was part of the Alabama State University.

It merged with several other institutions as part of the Troy University System in 2005.

This 11,000-student-strong university provides undergraduate degrees and a strong athletics program as part of the SEC.

Courses Offered

The criminal justice pathways are either 100% online or on-campus programs.

Bachelor’s of Science in Justice or a minor in Criminal Justice are both options.

A unique pathway is TU’s accelerated law option, which allows students to special their Bachelor’s degree as a jumpstart to a law degree.

The Bachelor of Science requires 120-course hours in a foundational and justice-centric curriculum.

Courses are taught by experienced justice and enforcement experts.

The introductory justice curriculum includes:

  • Policing Procedures
  • Criminal Theory
  • Social Media Investigation
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Constitutional Law

Federal and state financial aid is often possible, as well as grants.

Contact Information

  • Address: 600 University Avenue, Troy, AL 36082
  • Phone: (800) 414-5756
  • Website: Visit School Website

7 Alabama State University

About the School

A public university is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and is part of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Established by legislation in 1867, Alabama State University serves approximately 3,500 students with over 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Courses Offered

The criminal justice studies, part of the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences (CJSS), encompass 120 credit hours.

The BS in Criminal Justice is offered online or in live lectures.

In addition to 40 hours of general education, there are four semesters of specialized study, including field experience.

Criminal Justice competencies include:

  • Criminal Procedure I & II
  • Police Relations
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Criminology
  • Substance Abuse & Mental Health

Criminal justice students have several university-approved studies related.

Financial aid, grants, scholarships, and payment plans are available.

Contact Information

  • Address: 915 South Jackson Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
  • Phone: (334) 229-4800
  • Website: Visit School Website

8 Faulkner University

About the School

This private four-year Christian university is located on an intimate campus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, the 1,900 student enrollment has access to 27 programs both on-campus and online.

Students may seek undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees.

Accelerated degrees are also an option with academic partners throughout the state.

Courses Offered

A Bachelor of Science from the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies requires 122 credit hours either online or in live lectures.

Sixty-eight hours of general education supports 54 hours of justice literacy.

Criminal Justice coursework includes:

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Terrorism
  • Community-Based Policing
  • Analysis of Criminal Behavior
  • Criminology
  • Additive Disorders

Financial aid, grants, and scholarships are offered to all students.

Contact Information

  • Address: 5345 Atlanta Hwy, Montgomery, AL 36109
  • Phone: (334) 272-5820
  • Website: Visit School Website

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 University of Alabama
#2 Auburn University Montgomery
#3 Columbia Southern University
#4 Jacksonville State University
#5 University of South Alabama
#6 Troy University
#7 Alabama State University
#8 Faulkner University

Criminal Justice Salary Information

The demand for criminal justice specialists in Alabama remains high – 6th in the nation for law enforcement careers.

Conservative estimates growth at 14% through 2029, while the national average gains only 4%.

Those with a background in criminal justice typically choose law enforcement.

However, Alabama’s criminal justice curricula expand employment opportunities into the 21st century. F

or those remaining in the Yellowhammer state, criminal justice graduate salaries range from $$28,753 to over $100,000 annually.

If highly trained with a ‘Federal, international focus such as computer forensics or cyber crime, individuals can expect to earn over $125,000 annually.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Alabama

City Name Salary
Birmingham $72,148
Montgomery $68,555
Mobile $70,695
Huntsville $73,103
Tuscaloosa $71,669
Tanner $70,991
Dothan $65,780
Decatur $70,697
Auburn $68,988
Gadsden $72,014

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Auburn-Opelika, AL40$54,300$26.11$75,360$47,050
Birmingham-Hoover, AL190$91,280$43.89$146,240$38,460
Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL40$62,450$30.03$80,510$46,710
Huntsville, AL160$102,930$49.49$158,950$60,740
Mobile, AL90$103,290$49.66$149,410$52,420
Montgomery, AL240$70,890$34.08$121,890$44,200
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Detectives and Criminal Investigators, OCC Code 33-3021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Criminal Justice Schools by State

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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