WT’s online criminal justice program ranked best in US

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West Texas A&M University’s online bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree in criminal justice administration was ranked No. 1 on Best College Review’s recent survey of the best online bachelor’s in criminal justice programs.

Best College Review ranked online criminal justice programs according to both affordability and ranking in the US News and World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. WT’s online criminal justice program ranked first according to affordability, with a yearly tuition of $9,117. WT also ranked 21 in the list of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

One unique aspect of WT’s criminal justice program is that the number of students attending in-person courses compared to online is relatively equal. This creates an environment where in-person students are not “the priority” because online students comprise a significant portion of the program’s student population.

“We have different tracks in criminal justice,” said Dr. Brandon L. Bang, assistant professor and director of the criminal justice program. “For our on-campus degree, we have a policing track and we have a corrections track. We refer to our online degree as our ‘administration track.’”

While some students choose to attend college before entering the criminal justice field, many others go straight into the field without a post-high school education. For these individuals who are already working in the field, an online degree gives them the opportunity to pursue an education while remaining employed full-time.

“I think the benefits [of online learning] are pretty universal across any program,” said Jeanette Arpero, instructor of criminal justice. “It’s the availability for you to be able to log into your classroom and have a connection with your instructor or professor anywhere.”

Although online learning has the benefit of flexibility, it comes with its own set of challenges as well.

“The students can feel kind of isolated, like they’re out there in ‘internet land’ and there’s nobody here on the other side,” Dr. Bang said.

Good communication becomes even more important in online classes because students are not getting the in-person connection of being present in a classroom environment.

“I’ll shoot videos for them, so they know what I look like,” Dr. Bang said. “Students report that the way I structure the online classes gives them much more of an in-person feel.”

The dedication of both the faculty and students in the criminal justice program is a big part of what makes it an excellent educational experience. The combination of both academic and field experience that the criminal justice faculty bring to the program provides students with a balanced approach to their understanding of the field.

This diversity of the faculty, combined with the students who enroll in the criminal justice program, makes for a unique learning environment.

“I think just having a wide array of different personalities and different interests and they all come to the program,” Arpero said. “I think that’s what adds to it as well. I think that’s what makes it special.”

Learn more about WT’s criminal justice program here or contact Dr. Brandon L. Bang, director of the criminal justice program, by sending an email to [email protected] or calling (806) 651-2595.

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