A police officer sitting in a vehicle talking on a police radio.
The BGSU Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program has consistently ranked among the nation's best, coming in at No. 2 in Ohio in the 2024 rankings from U.S. News and World Report. (BGSU photo/Haven Conn '22)

Nationally-ranked BGSU Online criminal justice program delivers exceptional student experience

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The flexible, affordable graduate program provides a trusted path to leadership in law enforcement

By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07

For more than a decade, Bowling Green State University has played a pivotal role in advancing the careers of criminal justice professionals across the U.S. through its highly ranked online graduate degree program.

The BGSU Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program has consistently ranked among the nation's best, with the 2024 Best Online Programs rankings from U.S. News and World Report placing it at No. 2 in Ohio, No. 3 in the Midwest and No. 15 nationally.

The program offers working professionals an affordable, convenient and personalized approach to earning a master’s degree that prepares them for leadership positions in various law enforcement agencies and disciplines.

As an early adopter of online course delivery, the BGSU master’s in criminal justice degree program has built a strong reputation for its quality academic experience provided by supportive and knowledgeable faculty, said Dr. Adam Watkins, a professor and the program’s coordinator.

“Being recognized as one of the top graduate criminal justice programs in the state and nation is a testament to our expert faculty, flexibility, affordability and commitment to supporting students from start to finish,” Watkins said.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that our primary recruitment tool is word-of-mouth, which speaks volumes to the quality education we provide and the experiences students have in our program. There is no greater compliment than BGSU alumni recommending our program to their friends and coworkers.”

The master’s program curriculum blends theory and research to inform effective, evidence-based responses and solutions to contemporary challenges facing the criminal justice system.

The same full-time professors who teach in-person classes at the University and have professional criminal justice backgrounds teach students in the online graduate program. Some even consult with leading organizations, including the National Institute of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Classes are offered asynchronously in seven-week sessions to ensure a manageable course load for working professionals balancing career and family responsibilities.

Two students currently in the program, Lt. Ryan Sheedy and Laura Peterson, are among the many students who found the BGSU program through recommendations from friends and coworkers.

Sheedy, a lieutenant at the Port Huron Police Department in Port Huron, Michigan, said he put off beginning a master’s degree program due to his fear of balancing classes with work and family responsibilities—until his friend reassured him that the BGSU program is suited for working professionals.

“Everything he told me about the program is true,” said Sheedy, who enrolled in Fall 2023. “It’s incredibly user-friendly, the faculty are helpful and responsive and it fits into my schedule. So many of my worries coming into the program have already disappeared.”

Peterson, a victim advocate for the Crime Victim Center of Erie County in Erie, Pennsylvania, learned of the BGSU program through her supervisor.

Peterson said BGSU had everything she sought in an online master’s program: a manageable course load, accessible faculty members and affordability.

“BGSU has exceeded my expectations,” Peterson said. “I’m grateful the program was recommended to me, and I’m excited to see where this degree will take me in the future.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 03/26/2024 09:04AM