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ASU criminology and criminal justice online grad program ranked No. 2 in nation

Ana Perez and Mariela Diaz received their graduate degrees in December 2014
January 07, 2015

Arizona State University's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice ranks second nationally in the rankings of online graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking is the highest of any ASU online graduate program. View the complete list of university rankings here.

“The fact that our online graduate degree is ranked number two in the nation is a reflection of the time and energy that the faculty and staff have devoted to developing a high quality and demanding program that serves the needs of our students,” says Cassia Spohn, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions (formally the College of Public Programs), was one of the first at ASU to offer an online graduate program. Since the first degree was awarded in 2010, 329 students have earned their master of arts in criminology and criminal justice, including 73 last month.

Ana Perez is one of them. She traveled from her home in North Carolina to participate in graduation ceremonies.

“I feel that Arizona State has put a lot of thought into how it's running its online programs, especially the criminal justice program,” says Perez. “I'm very impressed with how they do it.”

Perez earned a pre-law degree in justice studies from ASU before moving to North Carolina, where her husband is stationed in the military. She had planned on enrolling in law school there, but as a new mother, thought a master’s degree made more sense. Perez finished in one year with a GPA of 3.85. She will teach part-time as an adjunct instructor at a North Carolina school and hopes to land a position as a crime analyst with the Raleigh Police Department where she volunteers.

Perez appreciated the flexibility an online degree offers. It allowed her to study on her own schedule while working full-time and raising a newborn. She says what stood out about her experience at ASU were the professors and faculty associates she learned from.

“I think the instructors pay special attention to their online students, and [the students] receive the same type of education as someone going to school in person,” Perez says.

Unlike in-person classes that are taught over the course of a fall, spring or summer semester, online courses are taught over seven and a half weeks.

“Honestly, it helped me remember what I learned a lot better,” says Mariela Diaz, who earned her bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice in person and her master’s degree online. “Because they were only seven week classes instead of expanding it out over an entire semester, it was always fresh in my mind.”

Like many of the school’s online graduate students, Diaz wasn’t in a position to take in-person classes. She is a regional profit risk analyst for Kohl’s department stores.

“I oversee 73 stores and I travel a lot,” Diaz says. “So that’s why the MA online was the best choice for me.”

In addition to a master of arts in criminology and criminal justice, the school offers online graduate certificates in law enforcement administration and corrections management for professionals seeking career advancement. A new online graduate degree – a master of arts in emergency management and homeland security – began in fall 2014. The interdisciplinary degree, offered by the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, is one of the fastest growing online degrees at ASU.