Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Find out how a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can help you.

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A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice will give you the training you need to enter a variety of careers in law enforcement, security, crime prevention, government and other areas. This four-year degree teaches students a broad overview of the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Curriculum

Students can choose to major in criminal justice or one of the specializations within the industry. Regardless of which major you choose, core subjects include:

Typically, your undergraduate concentration determines what type of job you will pursue after graduation.

  • Criminal law
  • The court system
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Ethics
  • Government
  • Probation and parole
  • Homeland security
  • Public safety

Other specialized courses that might be found in a criminal justice degree program include: forensic science, crime scene investigation and disaster management.

The first part of most programs centers on liberal arts courses that emphasize writing and critical-thinking skills. In the second part of the program, students are allowed to take major-specific courses in which they apply the liberal arts skills previously learned.

Choosing a Bachelor’s Degree Program in Criminal Justice

The program that you choose is a personal decision with many crucial factors, but one key consideration would be to try to find a program with an internship experience, such as the program at Delaware State University.

The bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is offered online through many colleges and universities. This is a popular choice for adults who have a lot of responsibilities. Some online programs move at an accelerated pace and allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree in as short as two years.

Among the many programs offered online are those at Portland State University in Maine or Park University in Missouri.

Since this is such a popular degree for adult students, some four-year schools have partnered with community colleges to offer the bachelor’s degree on the campus of the community college.

For example, SUNY Plattsburgh has teamed with Hudson Valley Community College to offer the bachelor’s degree completion program in criminal justice. This makes the program more affordable and easily accessible to students who may have earned their associate’s degree in criminal justice at the community college.

Criminal Justice Careers

Most criminal-justice careers require real-world application of the training and theories taught in the bachelor’s degree program, so hands-on experience is valued for applicants who are fresh out of college.

After you graduate from a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice, you should have a good idea of what line of work you want to pursue. Typically, your undergraduate concentration determines what type of job you will pursue after graduation.

But what if you majored in criminology, but don’t have any idea of what part of the industry you’re interested in? Browse through the list of occupations that you can move into with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice:

Government jobs in criminal justice, such as positions in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security, are also an option and usually require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Many adults are looking to get into the workforce immediately, but it’s worth remembering that earning a master’s degree in criminal justice can help you move into management-level positions. These positions include first-line supervisors and managers of police and detectives.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree?
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