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Associate in Criminal Justice

The program will introduce you to the theory and practice of the United States criminal justice system. Course emphasis includes: adult and juvenile crime; causation theory; criminal and civil procedure; the police; the courts; and institutional and community-based corrections.

Program Description

You will receive instruction from a wide variety of highly-qualified and experienced criminal justice system practitioners; including judges, attorneys and justice agency administrators.

Program Objectives

  • Describe the constitutional concepts of due process, equal protection, and fundamental fairness in policing, courts, and corrections
  • Know the role of ethics and moral reasoning throughout the criminal justice system
  • Be aware of issues of diversity, including but not limited to gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and class issues, in the administration of criminal justice
  • Demonstrate writing, research, communication, and computer literacy skills sufficient to enter into criminal justice field
  • Employ critical reasoning skills to solve problems
  • Compare and contrast traditional and contemporary theories of crime causation, and their implications for public policy



Required Courses (24 credits)
Major requirements

CJS 105 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CJS 106 Applied Concepts in Criminal Justice 
CJS 150 Policing in America
CJS 200 Criminalistics
CJS 201 Substantive Criminal Law
CJS 204 Constitutional Law
CJS 254 Survey of Methods for Criminal Justice

One Criminal Justice Elective 

Core Curriculum 21 credits 

WTNG 102 Exposatory Writing
WTNG 220 Critical Writing / Professions 
MATH 124 Basic Statistics or higher
IDS 210 Effective Speaking Across Audiences

Natural Science** 


Fine Arts** 

Social Science 

Liberal Arts Elective 

** Must take one 3-credit course from one of these areas: 

Natural Science, Humanities, Fine Arts 

Electives  15 credits 

Total Credits required to Graduate 61 credits 



Course Descriptions

CJS 105 – Introduction to Criminal Justice
An overview of the American criminal justice system. Discusses in detail the individual components of the criminal justice system, including the police, the courts, and corrections. Designed not only to provide basic understanding of our legal system, but also to provoke thinking on key legal and criminal justice issues such as the death penalty and mandatory sentencing laws. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

CJS 106 – Applied Concepts in Justice Studies
This course seeks to provide students with a better understanding of the relationship between criminal justice and legal studies, the place of justice studies within the university curriculum, and the role of these fields in American society. Within this context, the course has the general goal of improving students’ ability to think, write, and speak about justice studies. Specific topics for the focus of these activities include the literature of criminal justice and the law, becoming facile with the language and terminology in the field, ethics and academic integrity, and the meaning of justice in America and the world. (3 credits) Spring

CJS 150 – Policing in America
Review of the history of policing and police functioning, with regard to contemporary social issues. Special focus on related research into police functioning. (3 credits) Spring

CJS 200 – Introduction to Criminalistics
Offered only through the School of Continuing Studies. Instruction in the collection and preservation of physical evidence found at a crime scene. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

CJS 201 – Substantive Criminal Law
Prerequisite: CJS 105 An introductory analysis of substantive criminal law, emphasizing common law and modern statutory applications of criminal law. Course topics include the nature of substantive law, the distinction between the criminal and civil justice systems, the elements of crimes, and the essential components of crimes including wrongful criminal acts (actus reus), criminal intent (mens rea), causation and harm. This course also considers the insanity defense, entrapment and several other defenses to crimes that are used in the U.S. legal system. (3 credits) Fall

CJS 203 – Criminal Procedure
Prerequisite: CJS 105 or permission of instructor Considers the development of procedural due process in the United States. Analyzes in detail United States Supreme Court decisions in Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment cases. Course topics include search and seizure, the right to be free from self-incrimination, double jeopardy, the right to counsel, the right to a speedy and public trial, and other aspects of procedural due process. (3 credits)

WTNG 102 – Expository Writing
Prerequisite: Placement in WTNG 102 or successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 100. Fulfills one of the two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program. Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor. This first-year course helps students develop a conceptual map of how writing works by building their rhetorical and writing-process knowledge and by fostering genre and discourse community awareness. Students draft a minimum of four revised essays and complete a course portfolio. Students must submit a satisfactory portfolio and earn a C- or higher in the course in order to enroll in a 200- or 300-level WTNG course. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

WTNG 220 – Critical Writing for the Professions
Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102. Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor A research-based course, Critical Writing for the Professions focuses on the guidelines for persuasive writing commonly used in business and industry: how to write for specific audiences, choose the appropriate style, design effective document formats, and use visuals to help achieve a documents purpose. The course emphasizes the composition of such professional documents as letters, proposals, and analytical reports. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

MATH 124 – Basic Statistics
Fulfills the University Core Curriculum requirement in mathematics Emphasizes descriptive statistics, probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, regression and correlation. (3 credits) Fall, Spring

IDS 210 – Effective Speaking Across Audiences
This class is designed to give the School of Continuing Studies student experience in the practice of researching, preparing, analyzing, and delivering public and personal presentations most often found in the workplace. One of the primary focuses of this course is to connect the role and practice of public speaking to students’ current or future career goals. The course frames public speaking from a real world, professional approach. The interplay between audience analysis and speaker goals, and the development of personal style is emphasized. Assignments are relevant to adult learners and/or students in the professional world/ workplace. Various types of oral presentations in a variety of settings including interviews, small groups, board meetings, public forums and computer-enhanced speaking opportunities are explored. Students will ultimately gain confidence in their ability to organize and prepare clear, concise and interesting oral presentations to multiple stakeholders needed to meet current and future career goals. (3 Credits) Fall, Spring, Summer I


  • Provide a professional education combined with an integrated liberal arts curriculum that teaches critical thought, analytical reasoning, and scholarly writing;
  • Prepare you to pursue careers which include federal, state, and municipal law enforcement, professional human services, including counseling, probation and parole, corrections, and the legal profession;
  • Provide you the opportunity to develop intellectual skills that will enable you to pursue lifelong learning.