Matt Giblin

SIU Carbondale’s criminology and criminal justice online bachelor’s program is ranked No. 7 nationally by Forbes Advisor. Matthew Giblin, professor, is director  of the School of Justice and Public Safety. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

August 14, 2023

SIU’s online criminology bachelor’s program earns recognition from Forbes

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s criminology and criminal justice online bachelor’s program was recently recognized by Forbes Advisor when comparing affordability, course offerings and delivery methods.

The online program — which started in 2012 — is ranked No. 7 nationally after a review of data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reputable professional organizations and education providers’ websites. The methodology also includes a review by an advisory board of professionals and educators.

“We are incredibly honored to be recognized by Forbes for the quality of our online criminology and criminal justice program,” Matthew Giblin, professor and director of the School of Justice and Public Safety, said.

Online program evolution

Giblin noted that even with more than 50 years of criminology and criminal justice academic programs at SIU, “we continue to evolve to meet the demands of the industry and students pursuing bachelor’s degrees.”

The online program’s initial focus was on degree completion and best suited for transfer students who had already completed their general education core curriculum requirements, Giblin said. Several years later, as online offerings “became more prevalent on campus, we were able to offer a fully online program from beginning to end — all 120 credit hours for the degree,” he said.

The online criminology and criminal justice courses range from 30 to 40 students in each class and are offered year-round, including during the winter intercession and summer, Giblin said.

Courses are also available in a hybrid format, he said. Online students come from the Southern Illinois region, including Carbondale, Marion and West Frankfort; throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Champaign and Quincy, and across the United States, including Texas, California, Arizona and Tennessee. Tuition is the same for all U.S. residents.

“All students have their own reasons for pursuing online degrees, but for many, work, family and/or financial commitments led them to study online rather than come to SIU Carbondale,” Giblin said. “We are thankful we can deliver our program to them wherever they are.”

Online enrollment continues to grow

Over the past two years, online students have accounted for about 28% of criminology and criminal justice majors, and Giblin anticipates a significant increase in online enrollment heading into the fall 2023 semester compared to last year.

He attributes the popularity and growth of the online component to several factors, including:

  • It is one of fewer than 50 schools in the country offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the field.
  • All courses are taught by the same professors who teach face-to-face students on campus, ensuring students “can be confident they are receiving the same subject matter content from the same subject matter experts as they would if they came to Carbondale.”
  • The Saluki Step Ahead program allows qualified partnering community college graduates to seamlessly transfer into the SIU online program following an established pathway. Students receive an annual $4,000 scholarship in each of their third and fourth years in the program.

Students can apply through the SIU website or by using the Common App. Additional information on the criminology and criminal justice program is available by calling 618-453-5701, emailing Giblin at or program coordinator Breanne Pleggenkuhle at, or via SIU Extended Campus at or 618-453-3430.