5 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Seal

Located far up north in New England’s upmost corner is Rhode Island, one of the US’s smallest and least populated states.

In this state, students can pursue educational training with a degree in criminal justice.

These programs prepare graduates for a job in many fields related to criminology and criminal justice.

Learn about the top-ranked colleges and universities for criminal justice in Rhode Island to help you choose a school.


Rhode Island is not the biggest state.

Therefore, there are fewer colleges and universities in this state compared to other states in the US.

At the same time, this New England state has a few exceptional learning institutions for college-aged adults.

Find the right school and the most applicable criminal justice degree and training program from these RI institutes.

Along with varying in price of tuition, these schools each offer something unique that may best benefit a student’s educational goals.

1 Rhode Island College

Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies

Rhode Island College in Providence, RI is a public institution for undergraduate students.

Originally called the Rhode Island State Normal School, Rhode Island College was founded in 1854.

As a result, Rhode Island College is one of the oldest schools in New England.

The main campus of Rhode Island College is in Mount Pleasant, a neighborhood in Providence, RI.

An additional campus called RIC Workforce Development Hub is located in Central Falls.

At RIC, students can major in Criminology with a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies.

Minoring in Justice Studies is also available.

An internship is part of this Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies, which is a one-of-a-kind opportunity compared to most colleges.

Students can complete hands-on in-person training and practice in a job setting.

The internship is included in the degree and graduation requirements.

Tuition for undergraduates at Rhode Island College is approximately $27,000 before financial aid for in-state students.

After financial assistance, students can expect to pay $11,000 per academic year for tuition.

Contact Information

  • Address: 600 Mt. Pleasant Ave., Providence, RI 02908
  • Phone: 401-456-8000
  • Website: Visit School Website

2 Roger Williams University

Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

Undergraduate Certificate in Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The School of Justice Studies at Roger Williams University prepares students for the field of criminal justice.

The college provides online, on-campus, and hybrid modalities for students interested in earning a degree or certificate in criminal justice.

Campus locations for Roger Williams University are in Bristol, which is the main campus, and in Providence, RI.

University College in Providence is another school that is a division of Roger Williams University.

At UC, the department provides criminal justice degree pathways along with a Graduate Certificate in Introduction to Criminal Justice.

Also, Roger Williams University is the only law school in Rhode Island.

This college is the Roger Williams School of Law, and the school has an Experiential Campus.

Students can pursue several law and criminal justice-related degrees and programs at the School of Law.

In addition to the undergraduate Certificate in Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems, students at RWU-UC can earn many more related add-on certificates.

These certificate programs are all for undergraduates and specialize in an area related to criminal justice.

The programs allow students to earn certificates in Homeland Security and Police Agency Administration.

To be eligible for a graduate certificate program at Roger Williams University, students must be graduated from undergrad and still enrolled in school.

The graduate certificates allow graduates to supplement their degree in criminal justice.

Focus your strengths on a skill and earn a graduate certificate along with your MS in Criminal Justice.

The cost of tuition to Roger Williams University for an undergraduate degree or certificate is $59,856 a year for in-state students without financial aid.

After assistance is applied, the average tuition for an academic year for in-state RI students drops to $37,384.

Contact Information

3 Salve Regina University

Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology

Master of Science in Justice and Homeland Security

At Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, students can complete a full education in criminal justice.

A smaller school with 2,800 students on average, there is only one campus for Salve Regina, which is in Newport.

A co-ed university, Salve Regina is a private Roman Catholic school that opened in 1934.

Salve Regina University is a top-ranked college in the area, at #27 of 178 universities, according to US News.

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers several degree programs for criminal justice majors.

These programs include an Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, as well as a Master of Science in Justice and Homeland Security.

Students may also pursue several specializations in the department related to criminal justice.

These specialized programs include a minor in cybersecurity.

Undergraduates working toward a master’s can also earn several graduate certificates.

These graduate certificates include criminal justice-related topics, such as digital forensics and leadership in justice.

The cost to attend Salve Regina University as an in-state undergraduate is $44,200 per academic year.

Keep in mind with tuition assistance and financial aid, students may see a dramatic decrease in tuition costs.

Contact Information

  • Address: 100 Ochre Point Ave., Newport, RI 02840
  • Phone: 401-847-6650
  • Website: Visit School Website

4 University of Rhode Island

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice

The University of Rhode Island is a school with a high research focus.

There is a main campus in Kingston and four additional campus locations.

The university has a campus in downtown Providence and on Eddy Street, as well as a campus in Narragansett Bay and the Alton Jones Campus for environmental courses.

Students interested in majoring in criminal justice can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

This is a traditional four-year pathway toward a degree in criminal justice.

Campuses in Kingston and downtown Providence serve criminal justice students.

Students can also earn a minor in Justice, Law, and Society in this field.

Tuition to the URI is approximately $15,330 for one year for Rhode Island residents.

Students from out of the state can expect to pay $33,000 for a year of tuition at the URI.

These tuition prices are before the application of financial aid.

Most students with financial aid receive up to 50 percent off of the total price each year.

Contact Information

  • Address: 45 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI 02881
  • Phone: 401-874-1000
  • Website: Visit School Website

5 Brown University

Bachelor of Arts in Independent Concentration of Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science in Independent Concentration of Criminal Justice

Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University is an Ivy League school in New England.

The school is renowned for its liberal arts education, study abroad programs, and price tag.

While Brown University has no stand-alone criminal justice major or degree, there is another option.

This college has a program called Independent Concentration.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree in an independent concentration at this school.

To be eligible, undergraduates must present a curriculum for how they plan to study their preferred major and subject.

There is a publicly acknowledged process for how students apply for an Independent Concentration at the college.

Therefore, criminal justice-aligned students should be able to develop a course to submit to the committee for the BA or BS degree.

This is a valuable opportunity to attend an Ivy League college, which is highly reputable, as well as to showcase your skills as an entrepreneur.

To have the capacity to create a criminal justice program for learning how to achieve your career goals while in an undergraduate program is wholly impressive.

Students who can apply to Brown University and submit a proposal for an Independent Concentration degree in criminal justice should do so.

This is a unique degree route that proves a student is highly capable of organization and professionalism.

However, to attend Brown University is costly.

Tuition is nearly $89,000 for the first academic year for undergraduates who live in the state.

The average cost of a four-year BA or BS degree at Brown University is more than $217,000.

Contact Information

Schools Summary Table

Rank School
#1 Rhode Island College
#2 Roger Williams University
#3 Salve Regina University
#4 University of Rhode Island
#5 Brown University

Criminal Justice Salary Information

In the US, criminal justice majors can expect to make an annual income of $32,000 to $80,000 depending on several factors.

Compare this to how much criminal justice professionals earn in Rhode Island.

Then, take a look at which jobs in criminal justice lead to the biggest paychecks for RI graduates.

This can help you determine which area to focus on when studying criminal justice in this New England state.

Criminal justice jobs in RI lead to an hourly rate of $26 on average.

Salary ranges are based on the specific job title of the criminal justice professional.

For example, investigators in RI make nearly $77,000 a year, compared to security guards in the state who earn much less at about $27,000 a year.

Correctional officers working for prisons in Rhode Island are at a middle range of $60,000 on average for a salary.

RI police officers earn approximately the same at $55,000 a year with a degree in criminal justice.

The variation of pay salaries for college graduates with a degree in criminal justice indicates specialization is important.

If you need to earn more than $50,000 a year with a criminal justice degree, choose to focus on becoming a police officer or correctional officer.

Lower-paying jobs like detective and investigator are not going to fulfill your financial goals.

At the same time, with an entry-level degree in criminal justice without specialization, graduates are often stuck with lower-earning positions.

These jobs pay menial salaries and have few benefits, such as overtime or retirement savings.

However, graduates with little experience need to gain the skills required for better-paying criminal justice jobs.

This process requires working in these entry-level jobs in a criminal justice-related area.

Most jobs are short-term or short-lived and allow graduates to climb up the criminal justice ladder.

The more degrees typically lead to higher pay requests and more opportunities, too.

Annual Salary Range:
Item Percent

Average Salary in Rhode Island

City Name Salary
Providence $80,494
Warwick $80,494
Cranston $80,494
Pawtucket $80,494
East Providence $80,494
Woonsocket $80,418
Coventry $80,342
North Providence $80,494
Cumberland $80,494
West Warwick $80,494

Regional Salary

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA410$89,230$42.9$137,340$65,820
* 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.

3 Responses to 5 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Rhode Island

  1. Avatar
    Sandy Ramirez #

    Well done on highlighting these institutions! I’m currently considering pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice and hearing about these schools’ strong curriculum and alumni success stories reinforces my decision to pursue this path.

  2. Avatar
    Andrea Long #

    This list aligns perfectly with what I’ve heard from colleagues and friends in the criminal justice field. DEF Institute’s focus on community engagement and diversity initiatives makes it a standout choice for those seeking a well-rounded education.

  3. Avatar
    Ken Ramos #

    Having researched extensively before choosing a school, I can say that these institutions offer top-notch resources, internships, and networking opportunities crucial for aspiring professionals in the field.

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