Criminal justice bachelor's degree classes & curriculum details
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Herzing University prepares graduates for many different careers in the law enforcement, security and corrections fields. As a student you will gain a solid understanding of the legal system and judicial process as well as learn the unique aspects of corrections and juvenile justice, criminalistics and evidence forensics.
All classes are delivered online. You can choose to pursue a general criminal justice degree or one of two concentrations:
|Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice||32||120|
|Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Homeland Security and Counterterrorism||32||120|
|Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Management and Leadership||32||120|
Program availability varies by location
Required Courses in Criminal Justice
All courses, 66.00 semester credit hours, are required.
A minimum of 12.00 semester open elective credit hours is required. Qualified students will have the opportunity to elect to take masters-level courses as a part of the Dual-Credit Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Required Capstone or Internship
4.00 semester credit hours are required.
Required Courses in General Education
Students enrolled in this bachelor's degree must complete a minimum of 36.00 semester credit hours in general education distributed among the following disciplines. Refer to the General Education section of the catalog for specific information about courses within each discipline. 12.00 Semester Credit Hours in Communications 9.00 Semester Credit Hours in Humanities (must include 3 semester credit hours of cultural diversity) 6.00 Semester Credit Hours in Mathematics 3.00 Semester Credit Hours in Science 6.00 Semester Credit Hours in Social and Behavioral Sciences
Personal and Professional Development Courses
2.00 semester credit hours are required.
32 months | 120 credits
$441 per credit
You are worth it.
*When student accepts awarded scholarship.
Tuition & Cost
With Herzing University, an affordable, career-focused education in criminal justice is within your reach. We are always striving to make college more affordable for everyone.
Opportunities for financial aid include:
Criminal Justice program enrollment prerequisites
Prerequisites to enroll in the Herzing University Criminal Justice bachelor’s degree program include:
- Completion of a U.S. high school diploma, GED or equivalent
- Meet and interview with a Herzing admissions advisor
- Complete an enrollment application
- Students seeking to enroll in the associate degree program will be required to meet special employment criteria prior to being admitted. For specific requirements please check with the Admissions Office.
You can follow many different potential career paths by earning a criminal justice bachelor’s degree. The field offers many possibilities, including:
- Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)
- Detective / Criminal Profiler
- Police Officer
- Correctional Officer
- Parole or Probation Officer
- Fish and Game Warden
- First-Line Supervisor of Protective Service Workers
While entry-level positions may require only a high school diploma or associate degree, a bachelor’s degree can better qualify you for career advancement in the future.
Advancing to the next level in your career is determined by a mix of education level, years of experience and on-the-job performance. It depends on the career path you choose and the educational requirements that come with it.
Our goal is to prepare you best for whatever path you walk and provide you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in your work and keep growing.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every job is different and educational requirements will vary by employer. Some will only require a high school diploma, while others (particularly federal agencies) may require an associate or bachelor’s degree.
You may be able to qualify for entry-level jobs without a degree, but advancing your career in criminal justice may become more difficult without any formal college-level education.
You are typically not required to earn a degree to enroll in police academy and work as a police officer. A high school diploma is often the minimal required formal education, with a required background check. Some agencies may require a bachelor’s degree or a certain number of credit hours, especially at the federal level.
According to a 2017 study from the National Police Foundation, about one third (30.2 percent) of police officers in the U.S. hold a four-year college degree. Just over half (51.8 percent) hold a two-year degree, and 5.4 percent hold a graduate degree.
While you may not need a degree for your first entry-level job as a police officer, if you plan to continue advancing your career in criminal justice, earning an associate or bachelor’s degree is a good idea.
Course subjects and topics in our bachelor’s degree program include:
- Criminal Investigation, which provides an overview of the investigative process and current issues.
- Criminal Law, which covers key components of criminal law and its enforcement. It also includes an overview of the criminal law process, defenses, and jurisdiction of the courts.
- Ethics in Law Enforcement, which reviews public administration and ethical issues involved with public service.
- Evidence Forensics, which covers the law model and types and current rules of evidence acquisition.
- Introduction to Homeland Security, which details the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and its strategies and initiatives, as well as legal issues related to homeland security.
- Risk Assessment, which helps students learn how to assess and identify threats, analyze targets, and implement approaches to risk assessment.
Step 1 is getting educated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), crime scene investigators (CSIs, alternatively referred to as “forensic science technicians”) are typically required to hold a bachelor’s degree.
While a major in a natural science like biology or chemistry may be preferred for a role more focused in a laboratory setting, an education in criminal justice can be appropriate for jobs more heavily favoring crime scene analysis and evidence collection in the field. Our bachelor’s degree curriculum includes a course titled “Evidence Forensics” which covers the basic rules of evidence collection.
Prerequisites for employment will vary by the job. Sometimes prior law enforcement or criminology experience will be required, particularly for senior-level roles.
Yes, you can earn your associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice online. Look for a regionally accredited university like Herzing that has a well-rounded curriculum and experienced faculty and staff. Universities that offer student advisors and online support can help prepare you for academic success.
Once you have your associate or bachelor’s degree, you can also pursue additional training or education to help increase your earning potential and further your career.
Criminology is the study of crime, including its causes, consequences and costs. Criminology students study the behavior patterns, backgrounds, and sociological trends of criminals.
Criminal justice is a social science that seeks to identify and explain criminal behavior, as well as how society deals with crime. Criminal justice majors focus more on the legal and correctional systems, the deterrence of crimes, and ethics codes of behavior. Students in a criminal justice program often study a variety of topics including legal studies, psychology, public administration, and sociology.
Though they are different, both criminologists and criminal justice professionals work in the criminal justice sector to lessen crime and improve society.
With an associate degree in criminal justice, you may be eligible for a variety of jobs, including security guards and first-line supervisors of protective service workers. These jobs are found in a variety of industries, including travel, gambling, and investigation and security services.
According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), security guards earned an average salary of $34,360 per year ($16.52 per hour).*
With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you can be eligible for jobs such as first-line supervisor of correctional officer, first-line supervisor, police officer, or detective. The BLS reports the median annual wage for police and detectives was $67,290 per year in May 2020.
Yes. Students may pursue an undergraduate degree in criminal justice as a solid educational foundation to help them prepare to apply for law school.
The American Bar Association (ABA) does not make any specific recommendation for undergraduate majors, noting that students are accepted to law school from a wide variety of academic disciplines.
Herzing University also offers legal studies programs that can help prepare students to work in different areas of law. Some students use this as a first step toward law school, be it in the near future or a few years down the road.
Yes, absolutely. A degree in criminal justice can help prepare you for a variety of jobs, from law enforcement to public service. The field continues to expand, offering people more career opportunities. In addition, a criminal justice degree provides a strong base of knowledge for future learning, if you choose to pursue additional learning, such as a law degree or a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree.
If you enjoy learning about the law, possess a strong sense of responsibility, and would like to help serve your community, a criminal justice degree may be a great fit. Learn more about our criminal justice degree program today!
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Degree Programs
Showing 1 programs for the Online campus
This program provides students with comprehensive academic knowledge of criminology, law enforcement, corrections, and the criminal justice system as well as the skills and techniques used in these disciplines. This degree can also provide advancement opportunities for law enforcement personnel requiring a bachelor's degree when applying for or advancing within the profession. (Some states, including but not limited to Minnesota, require additional certification, licensing, and/or training academy completion to be eligible for employment in a law enforcement capacity.)
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Accreditation & Disclosures
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.