Free Online Courses for Criminal Justice

There are online courses for criminal justice accessible to anyone who has access to the web. Although some sites require tuition fees, there are also free ones courtesy of the OpenCourseWare (OCW) consortium.


The classes on the web focus on several topics related to the justice system. Three of the major study areas are legal, historical and social aspects of the criminal legal system in America. There are also Internet programs that focus on other countries’ legal and judicial systems.

Universities in the US that offer free information on the subject are part of the OpenCourseWare consortium. Other sites are standalone and simply free. There are also courses which require payment and are more formally structured.

OCW Classes

These courses can be accessed by anyone 24/7. You can study at the pace you like. You can study on your own. There are no instructors to guide you and there is no need for group studies. Different types of information can be downloaded including notes from lecturers. However, these materials aren’t credit bearing.

Other Content Forms in Internet Courses

Some of the materials online require specific software programs to be accessible. To read a document in a PDF format, you need to download and install a PDF reader. There are also files that are in DOC format, which requires Word. In some cases you have to buy a textbook to supplement the class lesson.

An overview of the US court system is included in virtually all these programs. These web based classes also provide case studies. One of the topics frequently covered is the connection between crime and insanity.

There are also topics which analyze the reasons behind criminal behavior. Formal online classes work in different ways. However they will all include course assignments. Classes with instructors will assign reading tasks as well. Some web classes will also require essay writing.

Other Information

An introduction to criminology is another one of the major subjects. Physical security and loss prevention is also discussed in a lot of these classes.

The various methods for preventing crime are also explained. These topics are often included in undergraduate courses. Related topics like terrorism, homeland security, retail security and emergency cases are also detailed and explained.

Online courses for criminal justice can provide you with an opportunity to learn basic facts about the system. Whether you opt for a free legal course or an official one, resources will be available online.