Best Criminal Justice Schools in Mississippi

Updated August 16, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Academic Programs and Career Paths for Criminal Justice Students

Mississippi has a crime rate 10 percent above the national average, making careers in criminal justice in-demand in the state. Those interested in attending criminal justice school in Mississippi can transition into industries such as criminal investigation and prosecution, correctional facility, judicial and legal work or even wildlife and natural resources law enforcement. This page offers information about Mississippi's best criminal justice schools, as well as state-specific employment, salary and job growth resources for current or prospective students, and anyone interested in exploring a degree in criminal justice.

Top 10 Best Criminal Justice Schools in Mississippi

#1 Mississippi Valley State University Itta Bena, MS
#2 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
#3 University of Mississippi University, MS
#4 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
#5 Jackson State University Jackson, MS
#6 Delta State University Cleveland, MS
#7 Alcorn State University Alcorn, MS
#8 William Carey University Hattiesburg, MS is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Mississippi's Best Criminal Justice Programs


To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria: Accredited at the institutional level Private nonprofit or public school Minimum of 1 bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools Schools were then scored on factors such as: Cost & Financial Aid Number and variety of program offerings Student-teacher ratios Graduation rates (4-year schools only) Placement and support services offered Academic/Career counseling services Employment services Loan default rates These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

With a variety of program options, specializations and criminal justice schools spread across Mississippi, the search for the perfect school can be difficult. The list below provides an analysis of which schools offer the best overall value for criminal justice students. Each criminal justice school is scored and ranked by features like tuition cost, acceptance rates and financial aid availability. These variables can help college-bound students efficiently assess Mississippi's best criminal justice programs.

4 - Year Colleges

  1. Mississippi Valley State University

    Itta Bena, MS

    Mississippi Valley State University's criminal justice program introduces the foundations of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, courts and corrections. Curriculum covers crime prevention strategies, criminal law, and juvenile justice systems, as well as private and industrial security. Students also complete a two to three month internship at a criminal justice agency. The school recommends that the internship be completed during summer months, but a fall or spring internship is also accepted. Current students and alumni can access the school's career services, which offer on-campus interviews and access to job, internship, and scholarship postings.

  2. University of Southern Mississippi

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Students in the University of Southern Mississippi's criminal justice program complete coursework in field-specific topics such as modern corrections and criminal procedures, as well as more general fields like management, politics, and psychology. Curriculum is centered on the importance of clear communication, critical thinking, and rational analysis as they are applied to traditional criminal justice professions. Related degree programs allow learners to specialize their studies in juvenile justice or forensics. Students can pursue study abroad experiences through the criminal justice department, with destinations in Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean. Several scholarships specific to criminal justice students are available.

  3. University of Mississippi

    University, MS

    At the University of Mississippi, students can enter the criminal justice program as a traditional four-year major or as a transfer from a community college. The program combines classroom learning and an internship, and students can choose to focus in corrections, homeland security, or law enforcement. Many resources are in place at Ole Miss to support student success: a writing center, where students can get free writing consultations online or in-person; an information technology center that provides training and technical support; and a Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience that guides learners with academic advising and initiatives to support first-year students.

  4. Mississippi College

    Clinton, MS

    Mississippi College's administration of justice program can help prepare graduates for careers in law enforcement, homeland security, emergency management, loss prevention, or security management. Curriculum focuses on five areas of emphasis: police process, corrections process, criminology, judicial process, and homeland security. Students typically complete nine semester hours of study in each of these areas, as well as additional study in foundational criminal justice topics and electives. The school's Criminal Justice Club provides a career forum where students can hear from guest speakers representing federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies.

  5. Jackson State University

    Jackson, MS

    Jackson State University offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, as well as a master's degree in criminology and justice services. The school offers support to its criminal justice students in numerous ways.

  6. Delta State University

    Cleveland, MS

  7. Alcorn State University

    Alcorn, MS

  8. William Carey University

    Hattiesburg, MS

[Search School Tool]

A degree in criminal justice may lead to many different careers. Take a look at some of the most common occupations for criminal justice school grads in Mississippi below. Before choosing a specialization within criminal justice, college-bound students can get a feel for what each profession looks like in the state of Mississippi, including average salaries and the level of education required for each profession.

Police, Sheriff & Highway Patrol Officers

  • Total Employed in Mississippi7,320
  • Median Salary in Mississippi$33,430
  • Degree Level Required in MississippiAcademy Program

Correctional Officer

  • Total Employed in Mississippi7,090
  • Median Salary in Mississippi$24,630
  • Degree Level Required in MississippiVaries; up to Bachelor's

Compliance Officer

  • Total Employed in Mississippi1,960
  • Median Salary in Mississippi$47,040
  • Degree Level Required in MississippiBachelor's

Court, Municipal and License Clerks

  • Total Employed in Mississippi1,540
  • Median Salary in Mississippi$28,200
  • Degree Level Required in MississippiVaries; up to Bachelor's

Paralegal and Legal Assistant

Detectives and Criminal Investiagors

  • Total Employed in Mississippi910
  • Median Salary in Mississippi$45,660
  • Degree Level Required in MississippiVaries; up to Associate

Probation Officer

  • Total Employed in Mississippi260
  • Median Salary in Mississippi$28,940
  • Degree Level Required in MississippiBachelor's

Projected Job Growth and Annual Salaries in Mississippi

When choosing a criminal justice school in Mississippi it may also be important to consider the legal and protective service career options available in the state. With crime rates 10 percent higher than the national average, many criminal justice oriented fields show higher than average job growth projections. Compare Mississippi's numbers on the graphs below and learn about which degree each specialized position within criminal justice requires, from Doctorate to Associate.


Criminal Justice Professor63,23064,460
Probation Officer31,64054,080
Court Reporter32,27054,720
Rehabilitation Counselor32,22037,330
Forensic Science Technician51,42060,090
Administrative Law Judge79,28089,970
Gaming Investigators32,04034,790

Job Growth

Transportation Security-0.090.095
Administrative Law Judge-0.0330.018
Compliance Officer0.0330.055
Correctional Officer0.0370.144
Detectives, Criminal Investigator-0.0120.045
Paralegal, Legal Assistant0.0760.097
Court Reporter0.0150.044

Source: Projections Central, 2015

Highest Employment Areas for Criminal Justice in Mississippi

Before enrolling in criminal justice school, students may want to have a better understanding of the most employable areas in the state. Michigan has many large-population cities with criminal justice career opportunities, examples mapped below. Details on common industry careers and the largest employment areas in the state of Michigan are included-scroll over the map to learn about each region.

  • Protective Services Potential Employers Lauderdale County Courthouse; Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility; Oxford Police Department; Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; Mississippi State University; Jackson Police Department; Mississippi Department of Transportation Office of Law Enforcement; private detective firms; Mississippi Gaming Commission; Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport Total Number of Employees in Mississippi: 33,570
  • Legal Occupations Potential Employers Private Practice Law Firms; Adams County Courthouse; Holmes County Circuit Court; Office of Disability Adjudication and Review; Mississippi Mediation and Arbitration; Mississippi Court of Appeals; Desoto County Courthouse; Jones Circuit Courthouse; Mississippi Attorney General's Office; Mississippi Secretary of State Total Number of Employees in Mississippi: 5,510

Largest areas of employment in descending order

Protective service

  1. Jackson
  2. Gulfport, Biloxi
  3. Northeast Mississippi
  4. Southeast Mississippi
  5. Northwest Mississippi

Legal service

  1. Jackson
  2. Northeast Mississippi
  3. Gulfport, Biloxi
  4. Southeast Mississippi
  5. Northwest Mississippi

Additional Information on Criminal Justice in Mississippi

Business Compliance Resources

  • State of Mississippi Department of Revenue
  • The Department of Revenue provides information on Mississippi's taxes, registering businesses, online tax forms and various laws for individuals and businesses working in the state.

    Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance
  • This department works to ensure fair and ethical banking in Mississippi through regular examinations of businesses handling finances such as pawn brokers and motor vehicle sales companies.

    Mississippi Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of State is in charge of business regulation and enforcement as well as business services. This website provides information on forming a business in Mississippi, from registering the business to the state rules for businesses and employers.

    Mississippi District Office for U.S. Small Business Administration
  • This organization helps small businesses succeed by providing loans, counseling and training sessions and resources for legal and regulatory compliance for business owners.

Correctional Resources

  • Justice Strategies Mississippi
  • A research organization that analyzes and advocates for humane, effective approaches to criminal justice, with a special focus on mass incarceration and immigration systems issues. This is the Mississippi chapter of the national non-profit.

    Mississippi Department of Corrections
  • The MDoC provides information on correctional institutions in Mississippi, covering topics such as inmate statistics, administration and finance, laws and regulations and professional development. Employment requirements can also be found here.

    Mississippi Juvenile Justice Services
  • This website details information for juvenile legal and regulatory compliance. They release data on juvenile institutions and how volunteers and criminal justice professionals can improve the juvenile justice system in Mississippi.

    United States Probation and Pretrial Services, Southern District of Mississippi
  • This office works closely with the court system to help rehabilitate and reintegrate convicted individuals back into Mississippi communities. Their website provides necessary probation forms, information on programs and services and employment and internship opportunities.

Court & Judicial Resources

  • Employment Opportunities, State of Mississippi Judiciary
  • Jobs available in Mississippi's court system. The website also has information on Mississippi courts themselves.

    Mississippi, The National Center for State Courts
  • A links page to information on Mississippi's court system, including various courts and facilities and a portal to employment opportunities.

    Mississippi, The United States Department of Justice
  • This division of the Department of Justice serves the community by providing data and information on employment standards and guidelines, laws and regulations, services, publications and initiatives.

    State of Mississippi Judiciary
  • This website makes court related information accessible to Mississippi citizens. They update their page with legal information such as forms, legal policies and regulations, briefs, reports and employment opportunities.

    Southern Poverty Law Center, Mississippi
  • Dealing with overall criminal justice reform, civil rights and juvenile justice advocacy, the SPLC is a team of civil rights lawyers and staffers who work to promote equality and justice for all. The group has an office in Mississippi, and history, career information and details on initiatives can be found here.

Legal Resources

  • American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi
  • The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi works with courts and the communities to ensure fairness and equality for civil rights cases. Their website includes information on criminal justice reformation, freedom and equality standards, and other resources to help protect Mississippians.

    The Innocence Project, University of Mississippi School of Law
  • The Innocence Project represents clients who claim to have been wrongly convicted in the Mississippi legal system. This website provides information on their processes, assistance and multiple cases of wrongful conviction.

    Mississippi, American Bar Association
  • The Mississippi branch of this association supports lawyers by detailing their initiatives, regulations, and free legal assistance programs in Mississippi.

    Mississippi Association for Justice
  • This organization comprised of attorneys works with civil justice cases to ensure justice and accountability. Individuals can access information on attorney legal practices, informative conferences and events and legal publications and databases.

Law Enforcement Resources

  • Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police
  • This coalition of police chiefs has resources on trainings, conferences, testing, current legal issues, and links to helpful resources including standards and policy manuals, professional associations and certification programs.

    Mississippi Department of Public Safety
  • A website that is the hub for the various divisions of Mississippi law enforcement and criminal investigation. There are links to information on motor vehicle safety, firearm data and permits, and other divisions that handle cases of public safety.

    Mississippi Professional Investigators Association
  • This association is a membership organization for private investigators in Mississippi where they can discuss and network with other professionals and find information on investigative work such as infidelity, fraud, missing persons and background investigations.

    Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers' Association
  • This membership organization trains and educates Mississippi law enforcement officers and agencies in order to build officer professionalism and proficiency. This website provides information on training, memberships, events and supported legislation.

    Mississippi Sheriffs' Association
  • The Mississippi Sheriffs' Association provides law enforcement training to help with communication management, law compliance and other professional development opportunities.

Wildlife & Environmental Resources

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

See All Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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