Top Ranked University for a Degree in Criminal Justice - Knoxville, TN

School and Ranking Information

Within a 50-mile area of Knoxville, there are a handful of schools that offer criminal justice programs. Among these options, the following three stand out based on ranking, tuition and school type:

  • Winner: Lincoln Memorial University, located in Harrogate, is the top school due to its top-100 regional ranking from U.S. News & World Report in 2013 and highly experienced criminal justice faculty.
  • Runner Up #1: Walters State Community College, found in Morristown, makes the list as the second pick as a result of the school's tuition rates and the number of certificates and degrees it awards in the field.
  • Runner Up #2: Roane State Community College in Harriman claims third place due to its proximity to Knoxville, public school status and multiple associate's options in criminal justice.

School Comparison Chart

Category Lincoln Memorial University Walters State Community College Roane State Community College
Rankings (2013) 80th among Regional Universities (South)* N/A N/A
Location Harrogate, TN (45.0 miles from Knoxville) Morristown, TN (39.6 miles from Knoxville) Harriman, TN (35.3 miles from Knoxville)
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $18,740 (undergraduate)
$12,166 (graduate)**
$3,519 (undergraduate, in-state)
$13,647 (undergraduate, out-of-state)**
$3,525 (undergraduate, in-state)
$13,653 (undergraduate, out-of-state)**
Criminal Justice Program Levels Offered Bachelor's degree Less than 1-year certificate; associate's degree Associate's degree
Criminal Justice Certificate and Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 10** 178** 30**
Most Popular Criminal Justice Program in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (10 awarded)** Less than 1-year certificate (164 awarded)** Associate's degree (30 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 49% (began 2006)** 17% (began 2009)** 16% (began 2009)**
Noteworthy Program's faculty includes an assistant district attorney general, a retired special agent and an investigator with the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Division One of the first community colleges in the nation to implement mobile learning Program director and associate professor is a former Tennessee probation and parole officer

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Lincoln Memorial University

  • Students can get involved with the school's Alpha Beta Epsilon Chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association
  • LMU is planning to charter an Alpha Phi Sigma Chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society within the next year
  • Internship opportunities are available with multiple criminal justice agencies
  • Criminal Justice Curriculum Advisory Board ensures that LMU's criminal justice courses meet the required standards

Students at Lincoln Memorial University can earn a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Justice ethics, the criminal justice system and critical evaluation of criminal justice policy are all issues that are studied in this program. An original research project related to each student's interests must be completed in the program's senior capstone course. For students majoring in other fields, the school also has a criminal justice minor. The minor can be completed by taking three criminal justice electives, as well as courses like introduction to criminology, introduction to criminal justice and criminal law.

Runner-Up #1: Walters State Community College

  • The East Tennessee Regional Law Enforcement Academy works in conjunction with the college
  • Tutoring available on campus
  • Students in need can utilize the school's health clinic

A technical certificate in basic law enforcement officer education can be acquired at Walters State Community College. This 23 credit-program includes coursework that covers defensive and tactical driving, physical defense tactics and basic firearms education. At the associate's degree level, Walters State has three options for criminal justice majors: an Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety with a concentration in law enforcement, an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice and an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice. The Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice program is intended for students who plan on transferring to a 4-year university after graduation.

Runner-Up #2: Roane State Community College

  • Students can utilize several resources from professional criminal justice organizations
  • School offers flexible scheduling options, with many courses available in the evening and online
  • Students may be able to earn proficiency credit by completing law enforcement training at academies or specialized schools

Roane State Community College has two associate's degree options for criminal justice majors: an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice. The first option is for students who wish to enter the workforce after graduation, and the second option is a transfer program that prepares students for transfer to a 4-year university. Students in Roane State's criminal justice program enroll in courses that cover various topics, including criminal procedure, juvenile delinquency, criminal investigation, criminal law and terrorism.

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