UHV criminal justice program gets national ranking

Jeffrey Di Leo

The University of Houston-Victoria criminal justice bachelor’s degree recently was ranked by 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.  

Rick Harrington

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

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Katy Walterscheidt 361-570-4342