15:33 PM

Criminal Justice, Business Programs Ranked for Service to Nontraditional Students


By Mike Emery 

The definition of a nontraditional student continues to evolve. At one time, it applied to students 25 years of age or older. Now, those who work full time, serve as parents or caretakers, or are financially independent can be categorized as nontraditional students.

Recently, the University of Houston Downtown-Downtown was recognized for its service to students who fit this nontraditional mold.

According to university guide College Factual, UHD’s Criminal Justice program (based within the College of Public Service) ranks No. 33 in the nation and No. 3 in Texas for nontraditional students. UHD’s Business Administration program (housed in the Marilyn Davies College of Business) holds an equally impressive ranking—No. 67 nationally and No. 4 in the state. UHD is the only Houston-area university with programs ranked in these categories.

In its assessment of UHD, College Factual states:

“This ranking was created to help students find programs that provide great outcomes for graduates and support for students who fall outside the ‘norm’ of first-time, full-time, under the age of 25.”

The Criminal Justice ranking is reflective of current students, who are working in the industry and honing their skills through UHD’s rich curriculum. These include Lt. James R. Holt with the Pasadena Police Department and attorney Joanna Hamrick.

Holt earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from UHD and is now enrolled in the master’s program. He commends the University for creating a welcoming environment for its students, particularly those who have elected to return to the classroom after years in the workforce.

“Attending college later in life, coupled with working full-time, is both intimidating and challenging,” said Holt. “The staff at UHD have consistently gone out of their way to accommodate my busy schedule. Furthermore, the excellent instruction I have received shows how much the professors genuinely care about their students. When it came time for me to enter the graduate program, UHD was an obvious and easy choice because of my experiences with the faculty.”

For fellow Criminal Justice master’s student Hamrick, UHD’s connections with local law enforcement agencies have been beneficial. Although she holds a law degree, Hamrick received valuable insights into the world of criminal justice through a recent University internship with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.

“I appreciate the ties that UHD has to different programs and agencies in our city,” Hamrick said. “That’s been very helpful and useful for myself as a student.”

Courtney Doss, a Bachelor of Business Administration student (focused on Management Information Systems), agrees that the University provides outstanding opportunities for professional growth. She returned to school after several years in the workforce and is now interning with a financial technology firm.”

“UHD is providing me with an education that opens doors. UHD prepares you for real-world job experiences,” she said. “I am using the SQL skills I learned in my database class in my current internship. And if it were not for UHD's assistance in interview skills and resume preparation I may not have this awesome internship.”

Her advice to others who are contemplating a return to the classroom is to look no further than Downtown Houston.

“My advice to professionals or anyone else looking to make a career change or expand their knowledge is not to wait wait … go for it!” she said. “I was afraid … afraid I wouldn't have enough time … afraid that I was too old and afraid that I couldn't afford it. All of my fears were unfounded. UHD makes it easy to balance school and work. Since day one, the University has surpassed my expectations of what going back to school would be like. The culture here is amazing. From the faculty to the student body, everyone here wants everyone else to succeed.”


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.