There are more than 80 criminal justice colleges in Illinois prospective students can choose from. Most offer associates degrees or certificates, but there are also many schools that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as PhD programs. A degree in criminal justice can significantly improve a student’s chances of getting hired. Open positions in the criminal justice system in Illinois are abundant. This explains the popularity of criminal justice colleges and the great number of students who choose to pursue a career in the field every year.
Let’s see what the top 3 criminal justice schools in Illinois have to offer:
Illinois State University
Probably the best known university in Illinois, the Illinois State University has a Department of Criminal Justice Sciences which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.
Undergraduate students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Some of the undergraduate courses students must take are Contemporary Policing in America, and Family Violence.
Master students can choose between a MA or a MS degree. Both undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to participate to the university’s research symposiums, where they can present their research thesis in a professional setting.
The Illinois State University is one of the few criminal justice colleges in Illinois which offer internship programs. Intern students are placed in a criminal justice agency where they are familiarized with various aspects of organizational behavior and have the chance to work with the agency’s personnel closely. Through internship, students can create a network of important contacts in the field of criminal justice they can use after graduation.
The university also has a career center where students can receive guidance in finding employment positions. The career center is the host of different job and internship fairs every year.
Top students can apply for various types of scholarships and awards. Prospective students can also receive financial aid.
For the 2012-2013 academic year, the tuition and fees at the Illinois state university are around $13000 for undergraduate and about $7000 for a graduate student. The tuition rate is frozen. Students pay the same amount of tuition every year.
One drawback that this university has compared to the ones we will look into in the following lines is the fact that is that it does not offer a PhD program.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Among the most popular criminal justice schools in Illinois we can also find the University of Illinois at Chicago. The university has a Department of Criminology, Law and Justice, which offers undergraduate and graduate courses for students who want to pursue a career in the criminal justice field. Furthermore, this school is one of the very few ones in the state of Illinois which also offers a PhD program.
Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Some of the courses they have to take include Rights, Justice and Law, Crime and Society, or Research Methods. Master students focus on research in criminology, law and justice and graduate with a Master of Arts degree.
The PhD program focuses on intensive research in Enforcement Organizations, Law and Society or Criminology.
Students of the University of Illinois at Chicago also have the opportunity to participate to internship programs. Some of the criminal justice agencies in Chicago that have welcomed intern students from the University of Illinois at Chicago include the Chicago Police Department, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Corrections or the UIC Police.
Just like with the Illinois State University, students can apply for various scholarships offered by this school as well.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Another university which has earned a place among the top criminal justice schools in Illinois is the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC). Students can enroll in the undergraduate, graduate or doctoral courses held by the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Carbondale. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree after completing the course hours in criminology, policing, corrections and delinquency.
Graduate students can earn a MA or a PhD degree, and have the chance to obtain different types of scholarships that include tuition waivers and a monthly stipend. Graduate courses focus on research in the fields of social justice, crime prevention and criminal justice. Students can work on a great number of research projects, most of them grants from private foundations or federal and state agencies.
SIUC is another top academy among the criminal justice schools in Illinois which offer attractive internship programs. Undergraduate and graduate students can become interns of some of the most well-known criminal justice agencies in the state, including the Illinois Terrorism Task Force or the Carbondale Police Department.
Graduate students at SIUC often continue their research at the doctoral level. They can also gain important experience by becoming teaching assistants.
Many recent graduates of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale have found positions in national and international criminal justice agencies.
In order to enter the Chicago Police Department, applicants must have at least 60 hours of course training in the field. Here, as well as in many other criminal justice agencies, a degree earned at one of the top criminal justice colleges in Illinois means the difference between getting employed or rejected; so, whichever of the 3 schools presented above you choose, you have high chances of finding a good position after graduation.