If you are passionate about eliminating crime and you're interested in becoming a police officer, investigator, corrections officer, probation officer or criminologist, you may want to consider pursuing a major in criminal justice. While there are many programs across the United States that could provide this education, the same 10 colleges appear over and over again during research, and often in the same order.

University of Maryland

This university's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is ranked number one because of its emphasis on research, academic investigation and theory. Faculty members are renowned experts in their field and are even consulted by the government. This school provides both undergraduate and graduate degrees and recently introduced specialized degrees in emergency management, homeland security and information security.

University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 (301) 405 -1000 umd.edu/

State University of New York Albany (SUNY)

The focus at SUNY is to completely explore the theme of crime. Subject matter is on agencies in the criminal justice system, how they interconnect and how crime affects society. Undergraduate and graduate programs are both offered, with the graduate degree program acknowledged internationally.

University at Albany-State University of New York 1400 Washington Ave Albany, NY 12206 (518) 442-3300 albany.edu

University of Cincinnati

The school's Center for Criminal Research is the reason it is ranked number three, as its research productivity is highest in the nation. Faculty members are asked for their input in domestic and foreign criminal justice agencies, and one of its members was even a recipient of the 2010 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences' Award.

University of Cincinnati 2600 Clifton Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45221 (513) 556-6000 www.uc.edu/

Rutgers State University

The number four slot was more difficult, since there were more discrepancies in the research, but it belongs to Rutgers because of its advancements in technology and integration of the disciplines of sociology and anthropology. The option of earning a master's degree here was recently added.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 57 U.S. Highway 1 New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8554 (732) 445-4636 rutgers.edu/

University of Missouri-St. Louis

Research in criminal justice has been consistently published by the University of Missouri. Undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees are all offered, and even a 3-year undergraduate option is provided.

University of Missouri--St. Louis One University Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63121 (314) 516-5000 www.umsl.edu/

University of California Irvine

Emphasis on the causes, consequences and methods for controlling criminal behavior is the focus of study at this university's Department of Criminology, Law and Society. Criminal justice majors are offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

University of California Irvine Irvine, CA 92697 (949) 824-5011 uci.edu/

Pennsylvania State University

Penn State's Department of Sociology & Crime, Law, and Justice not only concentrates on empirical research and theory in the criminal justice field, it also offers an online bachelor's degree. There is also a Crime, Law, and Justice program that aims to increase critical thinking, writing skills and problem solving as related to the crime and justice system.

Pennsylvania State University Old Main State College, PA (814) 865-4700 psu.edu

Michigan State University

While bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees are offered at Michigan State, it's the incorporating of disciplines like psychology, political science and anthropology that give it a place in the top ten 10. It's School of Criminal Justice is also the oldest degree-granting program in the country.

Michigan State University 250 Hannah Administration Building East Lansing, MI 48824-0590 (517) 355-1855 msu.edu/

University of Pennsylvania

The exploration of law enforcement, research and methodology, and correctional and judicial systems are conducted at this university's Department of Criminology. Master's and doctorate degrees are both offered, but what makes this school unique is that it is the only one in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in criminology.

University of Pennsylvania 3451 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 (215) 898-5000 upenn.edu/

Northeastern University

The federal government has named Northeastern University as one of the 11 Centers of Excellence for Homeland Security Research in the country. It encourages its undergraduate students in its College of Criminal Justice to study through experience by implementing a co-op, by research or by global or service learning. Graduate programs are also offered.

Northeastern University 360 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115 (617) 373-2000 neu.edu