|Jeffrey Di Leo|
The University of Houston-Victoria criminal justice bachelor’s degree recently was ranked by TheBestSchools.org as one of the best online criminal justice programs in the nation.
The UHV School of Arts & Sciences program was ranked No. 13 in the U.S. by the independent organization, which provides detailed reports and rankings on various degree programs.
“One of the advantages to our criminal justice program is that it is offered face to face, online or a mix of both,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “The faculty and staff do a great job of providing an outstanding program that not only teaches necessary skills such as theory and research, but also leadership skills students can use to further their careers.”
The criminal justice bachelor’s program is the same whether a student takes classes face to face or online. To get their degree, students are required to take at least 54 credit hours of upper-division criminal justice classes in subjects such as criminal justice administration, introduction to terrorism, psychology, hate crimes and ethics of social control.
Total enrollment numbers for the bachelor’s program have doubled in the past four years to about 140 students. The jump in numbers can be attributed to the quality of the online program and experienced faculty, said Rick Harrington, chair of the Social & Behavioral Sciences Division in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences.
“Our professors are very knowledgeable, and their expertise lends to the credibility and quality of the program,” he said. “The flexibility of the online program also has attracted new students.”
UHV was one of the first universities to offer an online criminal justice program more than a decade ago. The change in students’ work schedules originally drove the program to provide online courses, said Rob Hawkins, associate professor and director of undergraduate criminal justice studies.
“A lot of our students had criminal justice jobs that changed from a fixed schedule to rotating shifts,” he said. “All of a sudden, it was hard for them to take face-to-face classes with their job schedule. UHV offering online classes gave them the flexibility they needed to still get their degree.”
The program started with one online class and added a new class to the schedule each semester until the entire bachelor’s degree was available online. Hawkins said it was a rough start for faculty and students as they adjusted to the online lifestyle.
“Taking online courses requires a different state of mind in regard to communication and routine,” he said. “It has been quite an evolution through the years. We succeed as an online program because our department is willing to try new things to meet the needs of our students.”
To learn more about earning a criminal justice bachelor’s degree from UHV, contact the School of Arts & Sciences at 361-570-4201 or ArtsSciences@uhv.edu.