Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice


The Criminal Justice & Criminology program provides undergraduate students with a high quality criminal justice education to prepare them for future success in:

  • Public Service (such as law enforcement, courts and administration, probation, parole, jails and prisons, juvenile justice, victims’ services, and training/teaching);
  • Law School;
  • Graduate School; or
  • Private Sector (such as loss prevention/security and corrections).

Academic Requirements

A candidate for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice must fulfill the general education requirement of the College of Science (with the exception of calculus1) and the specific requirements listed below for the major in Criminal Justice. (Note: MTH 160 will fulfill the math requirement in lieu of calculus).

A major in criminal justice consists of 39 total credits: 15 credits of Core Requirements and 24 credits of electives (18 hours of which may be part of a designated Area of Emphasis).

Criminal Justice Core Requirements (15 cr.)

  • CJ 200: Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 cr.)
  • CJ 302: Criminal Justice Research Methods (3 cr., prerequisite: CJ 200)
  • CJ 322: Criminal Law (3 cr., prerequisite: CJ 200)
  • CJ 404: Theoretical Criminology (3cr., prerequisite: CJ 200)
  • CJ 492: Senior Seminar (3 cr., prerequisites: CJ 200, CJ 302, CJ 404)

Criminal Justice Electives (24 cr.)

Students may take 24 credit hours of CJ electives or may choose an optional Area of Emphasis (18 cr.) and take 6 credits of additional CJ coursework to fulfill the elective requirement.

Areas of Emphasis

Criminal justice majors are NOT required to choose an Area of Emphasis (AOE) for graduation or for employment in any area of criminal justice or criminology. However, the following are available for those students that might want a more specific degree in a specialized area. Students may only declare one AOE but may change their choice any time during their enrollment.

Law Enforcement (18 cr.)

Students whose career aspirations include professional jobs in federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies, investigative agencies, as well as private security companies can choose this area of emphasis. Courses here specifically address topics such as criminal and crime scene investigations, management and administration of police departments, criminal procedures, the ethical obligations of those in uniform, and the intersection between policing and the law. Courses for this area of emphasis include CJ 211: Introduction to Law Enforcement, plus 15 credit hours of coursework from the following list: CJ 300, CJ 312, CJ 314, CJ 323, CJ 400, CJ 406, CJ 410, CJ 416, CJ 424, CJ 426, and CJ 490. Other options may include, but are not limited to: CJ 325, CJ 340, CJ 341, CJ 351, and CJ 440. These courses can be used with permission from the department chair. Students are encouraged to complete an internship in this area (CJ 490) in the summer before their senior year.

Legal Studies (18 cr.)

Students whose career aspirations include professional careers within the legal system and/or entering law school to practice criminal law can choose this area of emphasis. Courses here specifically address topics such as legal research and writing, courtroom and trial procedures, standards for the admissibility of criminal evidence, and victim advocacy. Courses for this area of emphasis include CJ 221: Introduction to Criminal Courts, plus 15 credit hours of coursework from the following list: CJ 223, CJ 323, CJ 400, CJ 422, CJ 424, CJ 426, and CJ 490. Other options may include, but are not limited to: CJ 325, CJ 341, CJ 406, CJ 416, and CJ 440. These courses can be used with permission from the department chair.  Students are encouraged to complete an internship in this area (CJ 490) in the summer before their senior year.

Corrections (18 cr.)

Students whose career aspirations include professional careers in the federal or state prison system, regional jail system, probation, parole, or juvenile justice can choose this area of emphasis. Courses here specifically address topics such as management and administration of correctional institutions, rehabilitation and treatment of offenders, supervision and investigation of probationers and parolees, and developing policies for reducing reoffending.  Courses for this area of emphasis include CJ 231: Introduction to Corrections, plus 15 credit hours of coursework from the following list: CJ 325, CJ 331, CJ 332, CJ 400, CJ 406, CJ 433, and CJ 490. Other options may include, but are not limited to: CJ 300, CJ 340, CJ 341, and CJ 426. These courses can be used with permission from the department chair. Students are encouraged to complete an internship in this area (CJ 490) in the summer before their senior year.

View our Criminal Justice Course Descriptions for more information on individual courses.