There are several choices among accredited Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa. Though much of the country sees Iowa as a stable and unchanging state, the fact remains that Iowa, along with many other American states, has seen an increase in the need for those trained in criminal justice. In the past, Iowa was a fully agricultural state. That is no longer the case, as Iowa’s largest cities have been growing over the past several years. As population increases, so does the need for qualified people trained in various aspects of criminal justice. As is the case in many other states, Iowa’s prison populations have expanded beyond Iowa’s prisons’ capacity. The state continues to seek alternatives.
Though Iowa sees less influx of new residents than do many other states, it still experiences an increase in the need for those trained in criminal justice who may choose to work in related areas. Some of those related areas include grant writing, juvenile detention, probation supervision, juvenile group homes, court advocacy, outreach and others. Iowa offers a broad range of educational opportunities in criminal justice, some of which are described below. All of the schools and programs listed here train criminal justice students well and hold regional accreditation.
Briar Cliff University
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Briar Cliff University’s Department of Sociology and Criminology offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology along with a choice of several interdisciplinary minors, one of which is criminal justice. The university strives to ensure that its sociology and criminology studies degrees prepare students for active participation and responsibly in their own local communities as well as in society in general. It offers one of the leading Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.
The Department of Sociology and Criminology offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, and several interdisciplinary minors including legal studies and social research. These programs prepare students to participate actively and responsibly in their local communities and in society at large.
The Criminology Program of the Department of Sociology and Criminology teaches students not only how our justice system works, but also why it works. The program includes study of topics such as immigration, terrorism, and drug abuse, as well as cruel and unusual punishment. Students have the opportunity to compete in a regional crime scene investigation (CSI) event, participate in a mock trial, and shadow a local law enforcement professional. The program concludes with a senior internship in the area of the student’s interest, ranging from law enforcement, the court system, a counseling facility, parole functions, or other criminology related organizations.
Briar Cliff University has been regionally accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1945. Its most recent recertification of accreditation was in 2015.
3303 Rebecca Street
Sioux City, Iowa 51104
Phone: (800) 662-3303
Buena Vista University
School of Social Science, Philosophy and Religion
Founded in 1891, Buena Vista University is a small private institution that consistently ranks highly in national assessments. In its most recent list of best colleges in the US, U.S. News and World Report includes Buena Vista University in its listing of Best Colleges for 2018 as number 24 among Regional Colleges Midwest. Further, the publication also ranks Buena Vista University at number three among best colleges for Veterans and number 15 in Best Value Schools. Buena Vista University offers one of the best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Buena Vista University’s Criminology and Criminal Justice program seeks to prepare students and its graduates for work in any area within the criminal justice system. Students study criminal events as well as various aspects of the criminal justice and correctional system. Students take part in in-depth study of victims, perpetrators, law enforcement officials and the larger criminal justice system including courts, probation functions and associated activities and agencies.
Buena Vista University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been since 1927.
610 West 4th Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588
Criminal Justice Department
Founded in 1955, Dordt College is a small, private, Christian institution located about an hour outside of Sioux City. With an undergraduate enrollment of 1,454, U.S. News and World Report lists Dordt College at number eight among its Regional Colleges Midwest in its 2018 edition of Best Colleges. Dordt College maintains high academic standards and offers one of the leading Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.
The primary objective of the department is to articulate “a Reformed, Christian perspective of criminal justice and those affected by the criminal justice system.” Without minimizing the severity of the effects of criminal activity, the department strives to learn, analyze and critique contemporary culture’s perspective of the role and impact of the criminal justice system.
Whereas other schools’ programs focus on the criminal justice system and means to operate within it, Dordt College focuses more on criminal justice as a field of service that also incorporates law enforcement. Dordt College stresses that criminal justice must be administered compassionately in ways that also further society’s need for both security and stability. The program also promotes the role of the criminal justice professional as a community leader. The entire program is taught from the perspective of reformed Christianity, meaning that the program and its meaning are taught from the perspective of the effects of Christ on society.
Dordt College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1971. Its next review period is scheduled for the academic year 2022-2023.
498 4th Avenue NE
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250-1606
Phone: 800-343-6738, 712-722-6000
Graceland University – Lamoni
Division of Social Science
Graceland University is an old private institution. Founded in 1895, Graceland University’s total undergraduate enrollment currently is only 1,446 students. Located in southern Iowa near the Missouri border, Graceland University operates on a trimester-based academic calendar rather than on the more common semester system. In its 2018 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News and World Report ranks Graceland University among Regional Universities Midwest, Tier 2. Graceland University offers one of the more thoughtful Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.
Criminal Justice Degree Program
Graceland University’s criminal justice degree program is designed primarily for students interested in a career in law enforcement and related areas including adult or juvenile corrections or court services. It also offers choices for those students most interested in serving in private security or treatment facilities.
1 University Place
Lamoni, IA 50140
Phone: 641.784.5000 or 866.GRACELAND
Grand View University
Criminal Justice and Sociology
Located in Des Moines, Grand View University is an old private institution founded in 1896. A small university with a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,910, Grand View University is a high quality school offering one of the best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa. U.S. News and World Report places Grand View University at number 39 among Regional Colleges Midwest in its 2018 edition of Best Colleges.
Criminal Justice Major
Grand View University strives to give students an understanding and knowledge of America’s criminal justice and criminology, along with insight into associated sociological, psychological, biological, and ethical issues. The program seeks to provide understanding not only of the criminal justice system but also of the interrelationships between the criminal justice system and society.
Grand View University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools region of the Higher Learning Commission.
1200 Grandview Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50316
Phone: (515) 263-2800 or (800) 444-6083
Email: admissions @ grandview.edu
Iowa Wesleyan University
Division of Science, Criminal Justice Institute
Iowa Wesleyan University is a very old private institution. Founded in 1842, the school remains small with a total undergraduate enrollment of 520. It also is a leading school offering one of the best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa. U.S. News and World Report places Iowa Wesleyan University at number 54 among Regional Colleges Midwest on its 2018 listing of Best Colleges.
Criminal Justice Major
The Criminal Justice major focuses on the traditional areas of criminal justice such as courts, law enforcement, corrections, probation and related areas of criminal justice. The program also leads students through the sociology of crime, criminal behavior and its causes.
Iowa Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
601 N. Main Street
Mount Pleasant, Iowa 52641
Phone: 800.582.2383 or 319.385.8021
Kaplan University – Cedar Falls Campus
Well known throughout the United States as a leading university offering online degrees, Kaplan University is headquartered in Iowa. Founded in 1937 as the American Institute of Commerce, today Kaplan University has more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as almost 3,600 faculty members. The Cedar Falls campus was a part of Hamilton College until it became a part of Kaplan University in 2000 and began offering one of the leading Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
Whereas most Iowa based criminal justice degrees focus on traditional areas of law enforcement, courts and probation, Kaplan University takes a broader perspective that also includes homeland security and the security of businesses as they conduct their business. It also addresses private security.
Bachelor of Science in Corrections
While most criminal justice degree programs are all-encompassing and more general in their approaches, this one specifically addresses the criminal justice concerns within corrections. The program addresses how jails and prisons function, what works and what doesn’t, and security needs to ensure internal control of circumstances and individuals.
Kaplan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
7009 Nordic Drive
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
Phone: 309 277 0220 or 800 987 7734
General Email Address: email@example.com
Criminal Justice Major
A Catholic college, Loras College also is a very old institution founded in 1839. Loras College remains a private institution. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,463, Loras College is a midsized institution among Iowa’s private schools. U.S. News and World Report places the school at number 13 among Regional Colleges Midwest in its 2018 listing of Best Colleges. Loras College enjoys a reputation among colleges that places it among the best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.
Loras College incorporates social work, sociology, psychology and political science in its criminal justice curriculum. The program also assesses appropriate legal, social and ethical considerations and incorporates a field-instruction component that allows students to put classroom knowledge and skills into practice in real world situations.
Loras College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
1450 Alta Vista Street
Dubuque, IA 52001
Phone: 800.245.6727 or 563.588.7100
Continue here: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Programs in Iowa (N-Z)
Mount Mercy University
Criminal Justice Curriculum
Founded in 1928, Mount Mercy University is a private Catholic institution that offers one of the most comprehensive Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa. Located in Cedar Rapids, the campus occupies a suburban setting. U.S. News and World Report includes the school in its 2018 listing of Best Colleges at number 54 among Regional Universities Midwest.
Criminal Justice Major
Mount Mercy University takes pride in the fact that its faculty is both academically accomplished as well as practically prepared to teach students. The program blends classroom learning with practical experience and internships to prepare students for careers in corrections, criminal investigation, law enforcement, forensics or criminology while emphasizing critical thinking, communication skills and ethical decision making.
Mount Mercy University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
1330 Elmhurst Drive NE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402-4797
Phone: (319) 363-8213
As always has been the case, criminal justice study prepares graduates for careers in various areas of law enforcement including corrections and within the judicial system. That focus remains the core of criminal justice study, but criminal justice programs increasingly include forensic analysis, homeland security issues and cyber-crime. Graduates of an accredited criminal justice program can regard it as a terminal degree that assists in promoting their careers, but a bachelor degree also can form the basis of future graduate study. These programs are some of the best Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree programs in Iowa.