There are several choices among accredited Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Colorado. The state is growing and growth no longer is limited only to Denver and Colorado Springs. These cities continue to grow, but many have discovered the value of other Colorado locations in recent years. The U.S. Census Bureau announced at the end of 2016 that Colorado ranked seventh among all states for population growth in terms of percentage from 2015 to 2016. It also was eighth among all U.S. states in the total number of new residents moving to the state in 2016. Colorado has been diligent in its attention to creating a favorable business climate. Its policies and actions have gained the attention of increasing numbers of companies seeking to move from high-tax, high-regulation states.
Colorado’s impressive population growth over the past several years has increased the need for new positions in which those holding an accredited bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. Increased need for law enforcement and corrections officers in the face of greatly increased population is obvious. There is increased demand in other areas as well. The need for outreach, grant writing, probation supervision, juvenile detention, juvenile group homes and a host of other related services increase along with population. Colorado offers a broad range of options, several of which are listed below. All schools included here hold regional accreditation.
Colorado Mesa University
Social and Behavioral Sciences Department
This institution became Colorado Mesa University in 2011 following several name changes since it was founded as Grand Junction Junior College in 1925. It is a public university that is part of the Colorado university system and provides system presence in the far western reaches of Colorado. Grand Junction is the largest population center on the Western Slope of the Rockies and is very close to the Utah border. The school has a total student enrollment of 10,662. U.S. News and World Report recently placed it a number 23 among colleges in its Regional Colleges West category. The Social and Behavioral Sciences Department includes history, psychology, social work and emergency management programs in addition to its Criminal Justice program and others.
BA, Criminal Justice
Colorado Mesa University’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice provides a foundation in the critical thinking, knowledge and communication skills necessary for success in a criminal justice career. Most graduates have greatest interest in law enforcement, corrections and various areas of court function. Some use Criminal Justice as a foundation for pursuing law degrees. The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree also prepares graduates for work in related areas including youth corrections, group homes and even counseling or advocacy within the legal system.
BAS, Criminal Justice – POST Academy
This is a Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice program designed for students with specific interest in law enforcement and policing. Course work focuses on providing the knowledge that police officers must have when in active service and provides the technical skills required of those in entry level positions in law enforcement. Core study is similar to that of the BA with the exception of its focus on preparing students for the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) academy training required of every new law enforcement officer. The school recommends that students complete all of their course work before enrolling in the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy (WCPOA). Students can transfer up to 31 credits to any other POST-approved academy with which Colorado Mesa University has a reciprocal relationship.
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501-3122
Phone: 970.248.1696, 800.982.6372
Email: No email address provided.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
Colorado State University-Global Campus is an outgrowth of Colorado State University and differs from its parent institution in that it offers only 100 percent online degrees. It also was the first in the United States to achieve that distinction. Program design specifically accommodates adult learners or those who have other obligations such as families or full time jobs. Colorado State University-Global Campus was founded in 2007 in its present form and conferred its first degrees in only a few years. U.S. News and World Report ranks Colorado State University-Global Campus as number 15 among Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
The Colorado State University-Global Campus fully online program obviously cannot offer hands-on practice or lab classes, but neither do most other accredited Criminal Justice bachelor programs. Core study includes public safety, law enforcement, law, statistics, qualitative analysis, law enforcement ethics and how the criminal justice system operates. It also includes detailed attention to relevant theory in all applicable areas. A caveat for prospective students is that this program does not satisfy Minnesota requirements for gaining license as a police officer within Minnesota. All other states fully accept this Colorado State University-Global Campus 100 percent online program.
7800 East Orchard Road, Suite 200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: (800) 920-6723
Email: No email address provided. The school offers an online contact form and a live chat.
Colorado State University-Pueblo
Located in Pueblo, what is now Colorado State University-Pueblo was founded in 1933 as Southern Colorado Junior College. The current institution came to be Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2003 and serves the southern portion of Colorado as that area’s flagship institution of the public Colorado university system. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of just over 5,000. Its formal ranking is not published but U.S. News and World Report includes the school in its list of Best Colleges, Regional Universities West, Tier 2. The Sociology Department provides a broad umbrella not only for its Criminal Justice degree programs but for all other disciplines that can be defined as being social science.
B.A. or B.S. in Sociology/Criminology
The Bachelor degree in criminal justice gained through Colorado State University-Pueblo is a degree in sociology with a criminology specialization. Though the primary focus is sociology, it is one that teaches students sociology theory and principle with special attention to describe, explain, prevent and handle crime and criminal justice in both policy and practice with a sound foundation in sociological theory. The Sociology/Criminology degree includes the principles and practices of criminal justice but also offers a broader view of related areas including case management, private security, victim services, probation supervision, drug rehabilitation and similar areas.
2200 Bonforte Blvd.
Pueblo, CO 81001-4901
Colorado Technical University
Security Studies and Criminal Justice
Located in Colorado Springs along with the Air Force Academy, Colorado Technical University’s forerunner was founded in 1965 as Colorado Technical College as a vocational and technical training center for former military personnel. That organization became Colorado Technical University in 1995. Nearly all of Colorado Technical University’s programs are offered fully online, and its Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is no exception. Colorado Technical University is a for-profit organization and does maintain five physical campuses – three in Colorado and two in other states – but its Criminal Justice undergraduate degree is not limited by physical campus locations.
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
This program is available as a 100 percent online degree but also is offered at the Denver and Colorado Springs physical campuses. The program is suitable for students new to the discipline but also is valuable for those already involved in a functional area of criminal justice. It focuses on law enforcement, judicial and corrections fields of practice while emphasizing communication, professionalism, technical knowledge and leadership. Core study includes criminological theory, corrections, law enforcement and administration of justice. It addresses cybercrime, homeland security, forensic investigation and human services.
4435 North Chestnut Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Email: No email address provided. The school offers online chat communication.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology
Founded in 1963, Metropolitan State University of Denver has an undergraduate population of more than 20,000. It is a public institution located in the heart of downtown Denver on a campus consisting of 127 acres. The institution operates on a semester-based academic calendar and offers some online programs and courses. U.S. News and World Report does not disclose the school’s specific rank but lists it in the publication’s most recent edition of Best Colleges as one of its best Regional Universities West, Tier 2. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology focuses solely on the theory and practice of Criminal Justice.
Metropolitan State University of Denver offers an extensive program in Criminal Justice and Criminology that in some ways is more extensive than similar programs at other schools. Certainly it trains students in theory and practice as well as in cause and effect, but it goes beyond the basics. Focus is on criminal justice programs, cybercrime, trafficking, serial killings and other areas in the United States, but Metropolitan State University of Denver provides comparison of U.S. systems to those in countries as diverse as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and South Korea. It also offers a significant internship program.
1201 5th Street
Denver, CO 80204
Department of Sociology
A private school operating in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition, Regis University is located in suburban Denver. It was founded in 1877 and today has an undergraduate population of 4,499. It operates on a semester-based calendar. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school at number 23 among its Best Colleges, Regional Universities West. The Department of Sociology seeks to train students in knowledge and greater understanding of human behavior. Its criminal justice program explores social, economic and political causes, effects and consequences of crime.
BA Criminal Justice
Regis University’s Criminal Justice program consists of interdisciplinary study in crime but includes society’s response to both crime and its consequences. The program focuses heavily and theory in both sociology and criminology. It is research rich and strives to create understanding of structural causes of crime. The program also explores the frequently inequitable application of justice on the basis of race and gender. It also explores conditions and policies in the international setting.
3333 Regis Boulevard
Denver, Colorado 80221-1099
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
School of Public Affairs
Founded as Cragmor Sanatorium in 1902 as a small private school, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) arose from that founding and the fact that Colorado University searched for a permanent home in Colorado Springs after beginning to offer classes there in the mid-1940s. Today, UCCS is one of the three public universities comprising Colorado’s public university system. The School of Public Affairs offers programs designed to equip students to serve in the public sector.
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
As is the case at other Colorado schools, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs seeks to equip students to be highly effective in serving in all areas of Criminal Justice. It teaches theory, practice, ethics, communication and professionalism in areas of law enforcement, homeland security, judicial systems and corrections. The school offers strong internship programs in both local law enforcement as well as in national homeland security.
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Phone: 719-255-8227, 800-990-8227
Email: No email address provided.
University of Colorado Denver
School of Public Affairs
The forerunner of today’s University of Colorado Denver was founded in 1912 as a correspondence school and division of the University of Colorado. Today’s University of Colorado Denver is a large public university with more than 29,000 students. It is one of the member institutions of Colorado’s public state university system. The School of Public Affairs trains students in all aspects of public administration including criminal justice, judicial systems and corrections.
Bachelors of Criminal Justice
This is a program suitable for new and beginning students interested in embarking on careers in criminal justice as well as for those already in the profession who wish to advance the careers they already have begun. It also is an appropriate program for pre-law students to enhance their understanding of the criminal justice system. The program combines theory and practice, and the school employs faculty members well versed in how the criminal justice system operates. This is an on-ground program but offers some online and hybrid options.
Dual Bachelor/Master of Criminal Justice
The Dual Bachelor/Master of Criminal Justice program provides opportunity for highly qualified undergraduate students who have completed the second year of their undergraduate study. The program allows these qualified undergraduate students to begin Master’s program study well before completing their undergraduate degrees so that they can complete a full Master’s program in only one additional year after completing the undergraduate degree. Though students can apply after finishing their second year of study, the most common time for applying is during the second semester of the junior year.
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
This is a fully online option for students seeking a Bachelor degree in Criminal Justice. It contains all of the core courses on the on-ground program at the physical campus but operates on schedules more amenable to many adult learners’ time, family and job constraints. As is the case with the on-ground program, many faculty members have extensive practical experience in several areas of criminal justice.
1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500
Denver, CO 80204
University of Denver
Department of Sociology and Criminology
University of Denver is a highly regarded private and independent institution located near the outskirts of Denver. Founded in 1864, the University of Denver operates on a quarter-based academic calendar. U.S. News and World Report places the school at number 86 on its list of Best Colleges among all National Universities. University of Denver’s Department of Sociology and Criminology creates, administers and oversees the school’s Criminal Justice program.
Bachelor of Arts – Criminology
University of Denver’s criminal justice degree is a Bachelor of Arts program offered within its Sociology and Criminology department. Rich in sociology theory and research, the criminology program includes courses in juvenile delinquency, deviance, sociology of law, policing, capital punishment, wrongful conviction and other topics uncommon in many other criminology programs. The school does not allow a double major in both sociology and criminology.
2199 S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208
Phone: 303-871-2000 main; 303-871-2036 undergraduate admissions
Email: No email address provided.
University of Northern Colorado
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Located in Greeley, the University of Northern Colorado was founded in 1889 as the State Normal School of Colorado. It took its current name in 1970 and with more than 10,000 students is the fifth largest university in Colorado in terms of total enrollment. The University of Northern Colorado is a public institution and is part of the Colorado university system. The school has satellite campuses in Colorado Springs, Denver and Loveland. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences holds a broad focus that encompasses several social disciplines.
B.A. in Criminal Justice
University of Northern Colorado’s criminal justice program is similar to other programs in Colorado in terms of its core studies. Its unique features lie in its hand-on learning opportunities and professional mentorship for those seeking to begin or advance careers in criminal justice.
501 20th Street
Greeley, Colorado, 80639
Email: No email address provided.
Western State Colorado University
Behavioral and Social Sciences Department
Founded in 1901, Western State Colorado University is a public university serving the Western part of the state. It enjoys a highly rural setting and a total undergraduate population of 2,419. It operates on a semester-based academic calendar. U.S. News and World Report includes the school at number 92 among Best Colleges, Regional Universities West. The Behavioral and Social Sciences Department houses the criminology program as well as various other behavioral and social disciplines.
BA, Sociology – Criminal Justice
At Western State Colorado University, Criminal Justice is a specialization within Sociology. The program emphasizes a holistic view of criminology and criminal justice within a framework of religion, race and gender, crime, drugs, medicine, social inequality and yes, even rock and roll.
600 N. Adams Street
Gunnison, CO 81230
Phone: 970.943.7011, 800.876.5309
Of course criminal justice always includes law enforcement, corrections and the judicial system, but it is a rapidly growing area expanding into areas such as cybercrime, forensic analysis, immigration and new horizons of criminal activity. A bachelor degree in criminal justice can be a terminal degree or a stepping stone to leadership and greater responsibility within criminal justice. These programs are some of the best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs in Colorado.