Criminal Justice Program Continues Expansion

Published on October 22, 2019

Eastern Kentucky University’s top-ranked Criminal Justice program made history as the first EKU program to be offered completely on-site and out of state. The program, already a popular choice among students at the University’s regional campus sites in Manchester and Corbin, as well as numerous Kentucky Community and Technical College campuses throughout eastern Kentucky, is now available to students attending Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) in Virginia. The program expanded its instate regional offering to include Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

The program at MECC, which began fall 2019, offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Students enrolled in the in-state regional programs have the option of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a bachelor’s degree in police studies.

Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Initiatives, Dr. David McFaddin, is encouraged by the regional growth of the Criminal Justice program, as well as other programs, at the University’s Regional campuses.

“The University is committed to expanding our programs to reach as many students as possible,” McFaddin said. “Our regional campuses and geographically varied partner locations allow students to stay close to home and still earn an EKU degree. The growth of the CRJ program, as well as other degree offerings at our regional campuses, demonstrates a regional educational need. EKU has and will continue to be the higher education option that meets students where they are.” 

Students may enroll as a transfer student at EKU and complete their degree by taking “hybrid classes,” a mix of in-person and online lectures using the videoconferencing program E-Presence.

“Ninety percent of the students that come into our program are transfer students, so they usually already have an associate degree. Usually, it only takes them one year to complete their entire program with us,” School of Justice Studies Coordinator Stephen Kappeler said. “What also makes our program attractive is that at EKU, anything beyond four classes are free. So if they take six classes with us, they’re really getting two for free and probably saving around $2,500 a semester.”

Since the regional campus programs are hybrid classes, students do not have to pay the higher tuition rate of 100 percent online courses despite some of their lectures taking place online.

Students may be eligible for EKU’s transfer scholarships which allow students to earn up to $2,000 per semester. Out-of-state students in Virginia may also qualify for the Select Merit Aid/Reducing Tuition (SMART) program, which provides a reduced tuition rate to students who demonstrate financial need.

The EKU School of Justice Studies is an accredited School of Distinction and currently boasts approximately 1,000 undergraduate and 60 graduate students, making it one of the largest criminal justice education programs in the nation. The Criminal Justice and Police Studies program is one of the top 10 in the United States.

The EKU criminal justice program has expanded to 11 regional campuses since 2006, including ECTC and MECC. With each addition, more students are given the opportunity to complete their degrees at EKU’s nationally recognized School of Justice Studies from their hometowns.

Planning is in place for another out-of-state program at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia. It is expected to begin enrollment in the fall of 2020.

On-site informational sessions are available to students who are interested in a regional EKU criminal justice program. To schedule a session or to view a list of the 11 regional campuses that currently offer the program, visit Students may also contact Stephen Kappeler with any questions at or by phone at (859) 622-6710.

Criminal Justice studies is just one of several degree options offered at EKU’s regional campus sites. For more information about regional programming options, visit: