Top Criminal Justice Degree Programs in Michigan: Find Your Path to Success

Are you passionate about making a difference in the criminal justice field? Michigan offers a wide range of criminal justice degree programs, providing you with an array of opportunities to pursue your career goals. From top universities to community colleges, online and on-campus programs, Michigan has a diverse landscape for criminal justice education. In this context, criminal justice degree programs in Michigan are highly sought after.

In this guide, you’ll discover the best criminal justice degree programs in Michigan, learn about online and on-campus degree options, and explore the various career prospects available in this field. You’ll also find out the importance of gaining real-world experience and how to access additional resources such as academic advising and financial aid.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Explore Michigan’s wide range of criminal justice degree programs at universities and community colleges.

  • Gain real-world experience through internships, networking & professional organizations to enhance employability.

  • Access academic advising, career support services & financial aid opportunities for successful studies and career aspirations in the field.

Exploring Michigan’s Criminal Justice Programs

Michigan boasts a variety of criminal justice degree programs at top universities and community colleges, giving you the freedom to choose the best educational path to suit your ambitions. With so many options available, you can tailor your studies to focus on specific areas of the criminal justice system, such as:

  • Law enforcement

  • Prosecution

  • Legal practice

  • Judiciary

  • Correctional services

A criminal justice degree offers several benefits:

  • Enhances your competitiveness as a job applicant

  • Provides a solid foundation in basic criminal law and other relevant subjects

  • Can lead to higher salaries

  • Can serve as a stepping stone towards law school.

You can learn more about employment opportunities and resources in the criminal justice field from the Michigan Department of Corrections Careers section.

Top Michigan Universities

Among the top universities in Michigan offering criminal justice degree programs are the University of Michigan-Flint and Michigan State University. These institutions provide comprehensive courses in criminal justice administration and other specialized subjects, ensuring you receive a well-rounded education. The University of Michigan-Flint, for instance, employs an interdisciplinary approach to teaching criminal justice, emphasizing the importance of a constitutional democracy committed to upholding the rule of law.

Graduating from a renowned Michigan university equips you with a robust foundation in criminal law and other relevant subjects, strengthening your competitiveness in the job market. UM-Flint criminal justice students also have access to a range of opportunities, such as:

  • Conducting research with faculty

  • Connecting with professionals in the community

  • Joining the Criminal Justice Club to foster relationships with peers and gain insights into various criminal justice issues.

Community Colleges

Community colleges in Michigan, like Delta, Kirtland, and Oakland, offer criminal justice programs with different specialties and certificates, including police training and youth services. These institutions provide an affordable and accessible route to gaining a solid foundation in criminal justice, covering topics such as felony and misdemeanor offenses, law enforcement procedures, and the criminal justice system.

Delta College provides a number of specialties to choose from, including:

  • Corrections

  • Security and loss prevention expert

  • Law enforcement

  • Law enforcement with basic police training

Explore the educational options available to you at this institution! Each track also provides an option for a certificate of achievement, allowing you to showcase your expertise in a specific field. Certificates and advanced certificates are widely offered in the field of youth services. These programs provide in-depth knowledge and expertise to professionals intending to pursue a career in youth services.

Kirtland Community College offers a criminal justice pre-service associate of applied sciences degree program. This program is designed to help students:

  • Understand formal and informal mechanisms within the criminal justice system

  • Transfer to a four-year university

  • Continue on to the Kirtland Regional Police Academy for advanced instruction.

Online and On-Campus Degree Options

Whether you prefer the flexibility of online learning or the hands-on experience of on-campus programs, Michigan has both options available for criminal justice degree seekers. Institutions like Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University, Baker College, Oakland Community College, and Wayne State University offer online courses and degree options in criminal justice. On-campus options can be found at Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University, and University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Both online and on-campus criminal justice programs in Michigan provide comparable educational opportunities and curriculum, covering various components of the criminal justice system such as law enforcement, corrections, and the legal system. However, the choice between these two formats depends on your needs and preferences. Online programs offer the convenience of completing coursework remotely, while on-campus programs provide the benefit of in-person interaction with professors and peers.

Advantages of Online Programs

Online criminal justice programs in Michigan offer unmatched flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with work or other commitments. Asynchronous learning means you can access lectures and discussions at any time, eliminating the need for a fixed schedule. This format is ideal for those who require the freedom to study at their own pace and the convenience of not needing to commute to campus.

In addition to flexibility, online criminal justice programs in Michigan provide transfer options to four-year colleges or universities, ensuring your hard work can be applied to further education. Financial aid opportunities are also available for online students, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. For example, Michigan State University offers financial aid and tuition assistance for their online criminal justice programs.

Campus-Based Programs

Campus-based criminal justice programs in Michigan allow students to gain hands-on experience through practical learning opportunities, such as internships or shadowing. These experiences provide invaluable insights into the criminal justice field and can help you build a professional network that may prove crucial when seeking employment in a criminal justice program.

Networking is a significant advantage of campus-based programs, as they offer opportunities to connect with professors, peers, and professionals in the criminal justice field. These connections can lead to mentorship programs, resources, and events relevant to criminal justice, helping you gain a better understanding of the field and prepare for a successful career.

Career Prospects in Michigan’s Criminal Justice Field

The criminal justice field in Michigan presents a variety of career prospects accompanied by diverse salary ranges and job growth potential. Some of the most sought-after criminal justice professions in the state include patrol officers and forensic scientists. With a criminal justice degree, you can explore various career paths and find the perfect fit for your interests and skills.

Michigan criminal justice careers are comparable to national averages in terms of salary and job growth. As the state’s violent crime rate is above the national average, it highlights the need for expansion in the criminal justice industry. This ensures ample opportunities in various fields, such as law enforcement, homeland security, and legal practice.

Salary and Job Growth

In Michigan, criminal justice careers have varying salary and job growth rates. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for protective service occupations, including patrol and police officers, is $42,870. Job growth rates also vary depending on the position. The projected job growth rate for forensic science technicians is estimated to be 16% through 2030, with a median salary of $61,930.

Other lucrative criminal justice positions in Michigan include:

With a diverse range of career options and varying salary ranges, Michigan’s criminal justice field presents a promising future for those who choose to pursue a career in this field.

In-Demand Positions

Forensic science technicians, police officers, and probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are currently in high demand in Michigan’s criminal justice field. These positions offer competitive salaries and job growth potential. For example, the median salary for police officers and detectives is $66,020 per annum, with a projected job growth rate of 7% through 2030.

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists also play a vital role in Michigan’s criminal justice system, with a median salary of $60,250. By pursuing a criminal justice degree in Michigan, you can prepare yourself for a successful career in these in-demand positions and contribute to a safer, more just society.

Gaining Real-World Experience

Gaining real-world experience is crucial for criminal justice students in Michigan, as it allows them to:

  • Put their knowledge and skills into practice in a professional context

  • Gain invaluable insights into the criminal justice field

  • Build their professional network, increasing their chances of securing employment upon graduation.

Opportunities for internships and involvement in professional organizations, such as the CJ Club and Sigma Mu Chi, are available to help students gain practical experience and expand their network. By participating in these programs and organizations, you can build relationships with industry professionals, acquire a better understanding of the field, and ultimately increase your chances of finding a fulfilling career in criminal justice.

Internship Opportunities

Internship opportunities in Michigan’s criminal justice field provide students with hands-on experience, a chance to apply their knowledge to real-world situations, and connections to potential employers. Examples of top internship opportunities in Michigan include Program Coordinator-Criminal Justice and Hunting & Angling Studies (part-time) in Harrison, MI, Investigators, Security/Community Corrections, and Environmental Justice internships.

To apply for an internship, follow these steps:

  1. Research opportunities at criminal justice and law enforcement agencies, as well as sociological agencies in Michigan.

  2. Check the websites of universities and colleges that offer criminal justice programs, as they often have internship information for their students.

  3. Look for internship postings on job search websites and government websites.

  4. Follow the application instructions provided by the internship agency or department.

  5. Submit your application by the specified deadline.

Networking and Professional Organizations

Networking and professional organizations play a vital role in helping Michigan criminal justice students build relationships and gain a better understanding of the field. The CJ Club, for example, offers a platform for students to connect with their peers and industry professionals, providing mentorship programs, resources, and events relevant to criminal justice.

Sigma Mu Chi, the chapter of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, the international honor society of the American Criminal Justice Association, is another organization that can help you broaden your professional network in the criminal justice field. By joining these organizations, you can develop lasting connections and gain insights that will prove invaluable as you embark on your criminal justice career.

Additional Resources for Michigan Criminal Justice Students

Michigan criminal justice students can benefit from additional resources to support their academic journey and career aspirations. Academic advising and financial aid opportunities are available to help you plan your studies, chart a path to success, and fund your education.

Academic advising services, such as those offered by the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, provide personalized guidance to help you develop an academic plan, select courses, and explore career opportunities in the field. Financial aid opportunities, including scholarships and grants, are available at various Michigan institutions to help you achieve your criminal justice degree without breaking the bank.

Academic Advising and Support

Academic advising and support services at Michigan universities play a crucial role in helping criminal justice students plan their studies and achieve academic success. Advisors can offer guidance on:

  • Course selection

  • Degree requirements

  • Career opportunities in the field

  • Internship and research opportunities

  • Resources and support services

These services are essential for criminal justice majors pursuing a criminal justice major in the criminal justice field, with a focus on criminal justice studies and local law enforcement.

In addition to academic advising, Michigan universities provide career advising services to help students navigate the job market and secure employment in the criminal justice field. These services include:

  • Resume and cover letter assistance

  • Interview preparation

  • Job search strategies

  • Networking opportunities

These services, coupled with academic support, ensure that criminal justice students in Michigan are well-prepared to excel in their chosen careers.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarships and financial aid opportunities are available for Michigan criminal justice students to help fund their education and achieve their career goals. Some general scholarships include:

  • Michigan Competitive Scholarship

  • Kids’ Chance of Michigan Scholarship Program

  • Hagan Scholarship Foundation

  • SET Educational Fund Scholarship

These scholarships can provide financial assistance for your studies.

Specific financial aid programs for criminal justice students in Michigan include:

  • The Walter E. Bothe Memorial Scholarship

  • The Justice Scholars Program

  • Scholarships at Michigan State University

  • Scholarships at University of Michigan-Flint

By researching and applying for these opportunities, you can alleviate the financial burden of pursuing a criminal justice degree and focus on achieving academic and professional success.


Michigan offers a diverse range of criminal justice degree programs at top universities and community colleges, providing students with numerous opportunities to pursue their career goals. Online and on-campus degree options cater to various learning preferences and needs, while internship opportunities and involvement in professional organizations help students gain real-world experience and build their professional network.

The criminal justice field in Michigan offers a wide array of career prospects, with varying salary ranges and job growth potential. With a criminal justice degree, you can explore various career paths and find the perfect fit for your interests and skills. By taking advantage of the resources and opportunities available, you can chart a path to success in the criminal justice field and contribute to a safer, more just society.

So, whether you’re just starting your journey or looking to advance your career in the criminal justice field, Michigan’s diverse educational landscape provides a wealth of opportunities to help you achieve your goals. The time is now to embark on an exciting and rewarding career in criminal justice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Michigan have a criminal justice program?

Yes, Michigan has a criminal justice program offered at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. It is an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts program with courses ranging from Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies to Public Security, Administration, Policy Analysis and Graduate Study.

Are criminal justice degrees worth it?

Criminal justice degrees can open many career paths with job security, high potential earnings and varied work opportunities, making them worth it.

Is it hard to major in criminal justice?

Criminal justice may not be as difficult as some people think, however, it does require time and effort in order to acquire the skills needed to break into the field. Investing time and resources is necessary for success in this field.

Is Michigan State good for criminal justice?

Michigan State University has been recognized for its excellent resources and programs in criminal justice, ranking in the top 5% of universities for this field of study. It is ranked No. 6 out of 95 in Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs and offers life-changing opportunities through its online degree programs. Michigan State is a premier institution for research and education in criminal justice, making it an excellent choice for students interested in this field.

Which universities in Michigan offer criminal justice degree programs?

The University of Michigan-Flint and Michigan State University both offer criminal justice degree programs, making them two of the top universities in Michigan for this field.

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