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Criminal Justice

Bachelor of
Arts in
Criminal Justice

Female Lawyer Working on Laptop
African american detective reading and discussing criminal case file

Criminal justice is the study of crime and criminal legal systems and their impact on individuals and society. The criminal justice system encompasses policies, laws, institutions, and personnel from the time of an offense through the court and correctional systems and community reentry, as well as victim support and advocacy.

Two overarching themes of Georgian Court’s criminal justice degree are the rights of victims and offenders, and that criminal conduct must be addressed fairly and justly.

Our B.A. in Criminal Justice is a multidisciplinary social science program immersed in the liberal arts that prepares you for a variety of careers. Primary learning outcomes help you develop the ability to think analytically and critically about social systems and to act with exceptional integrity, sensitivity, and professionalism.

You can also minor in criminal justice.

"The criminal justice degree is designed with social justice and the development of concrete and translatable skills in mind. Such skills include the ability to communicate effectively; apply ethical decision-making across social theory, research, and practice; and evaluate the impact of diversity on criminal justice systems. Our dynamic faculty are passionate about their areas of expertise and bring professional experiences to the classroom, guiding students to careers in a wide array of public interest positions and offering student–faculty research opportunities."
Marny Requa
Marny Requa
Associate Professor
Juris Doctorate

Why Study Criminal Justice at GCU?

Young confident Hispanic female agent of secret service with headphones

What Students Might Be Interested in Criminal Justice?

A criminal justice degree may be a good fit if you’re motivated to discover more about the criminal justice system, global justice, and social systems and wish to make a difference in addressing social justice and human rights issues. Ethical leadership skills and a strong moral compass are integral to this field, as well as a desire to serve the public and those in need.

Investigator working at criminal case

What Can I do with a Criminal Justice Degree?

Due to its multidisciplinary nature and solid foundation in the liberal arts, GCU’s criminal justice degree prepares you for a wide range of jobs within many different fields. These include careers in social service, such as victim advocacy casework, corrections, and community reentry; law enforcement, including policing and investigation; civil service and nonprofit organizations; judiciary and law; business; teaching; research; international agencies; and more. You’ll also be prepared for graduate studies in criminal justice and related areas. A sample of careers and median annual salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are below. Note: Jobs that may require a double major, minor, and/or an advanced degree and additional certifications and licensures are marked with an asterisk.

  • Corrections officer - $49,610
  • Paralegal* - $59,200
  • Private investigator - $52,120
  • Substance abuse social workers* - $51,240
  • Legal support workers - $62,340
  • FBI agent - $68,760
  • Police officer - $69,160
  • Prison warden - $89,450
  • Detective - $86,280
  • Lawyer* - $135,740

B.A. in Criminal Justice Program Information

You’ll need to successfully complete at least 120 credits, including General Education requirements. A minimum of 42 core credits in the criminal justice major, plus courses in related areas, are required. Students who have no applied experience in a work or voluntary capacity within a criminal justice agency or related organization must complete an additional 3-credit internship.

To earn this degree, students must successfully complete at least 120 credits, including General Education requirements and the major requirements below.

Major Sequence

A minimum of 45 core credits, plus courses in related areas, is required for the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.  It is strongly recommended that students take MA103 Introduction to Statistical Thinking to satisfy the General Education Quantitative Analysis requirement.

Core Requirements
CJ111The Criminal Justice System3.0
CJ167Race, Ethnicity & Criminal Justice3.0
or AN112 Cultural Anthropology
CJ/SO200Theories of Crime3.0
CJ210Introduction to Law Enforcement3.0
or CJ212 Introduction to Corrections
CJ213Criminal Law & Practice3.0
CJ320Special Populations in the CJ System 23.0
CJ325Gender & Crime3.0
CJ331Research Methods in Criminal Justice3.0
CJ351Comparative Criminal Justice Systems3.0
CJ435Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice3.0
SO101Principles of Sociology3.0
SO201/CJ202Social and Crime Statistics3.0
3 CJ electives. PS320 and PS321 may be used as CJ electives9.0
General Education Course 1
World Language 13.0
Total Credits48.0

World Language is required; Spanish is strongly recommended. Another language may be substituted with the approval of the student’s advisor.


CJ majors are expected to take CJ320. However, PS320 can be used to satisfy the CJ320 requirement. PS320 cannot be counted as a substitute for CJ320 and as a CJ Elective.

Concentrations in Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice majors who would like to focus on courses specific to their career or academic interests may elect to do a concentration in one of three areas: Cyber Crime, Global Justice and Society, or Law Enforcement and Corrections. Students wanting to add a concentration take courses as listed in the groups below or other concentration courses not listed that are offered on a rotating basis as designated by the department chair each semester.  Three of the courses in the concentration may count toward the electives required for the major. Concentrations are an elective part of their major. Students may request to take alternate courses (e.g., in other departments) relevant to the concentration upon department chair and advisor approval. 

Cyber Crime

Select one of the following:3.0-4.0
Computer Literacy
Foundations Of Computer Science
Computer Programming I
Select two of the following:6.0
Cyber Security & GIS
Cyber Crime
Political Crimes & Terrorism
Selected Topics in Criminal Justice (when approved for cyber crime)
Select two of the following:6.0
Principles of Financial Accounting
Management Information Systems
Enterprise Cybersecurity
Total Credits15.0-16.0

Global Justice & Society

Select four of the following:12.0
Constitutional Law
Political Crimes & Terrorism
International Human Rights Law
Global Justice & Law
Selected Topics in Criminal Justice (dependent on semester, and when designated as concentration course by dept. chair)
Independent Research in Criminal Justice (dependent on research topic; dept. chair approval required)
Globalization & Sustainability
American National Government
Modern Political Thought
Human Rights & Social Justice
Total Credits12.0

Law Enforcement & Corrections

Select four of the following:12.0
Race, Ethnicity & Criminal Justice (if also taking AN112 as a core CJ requirement)
Introduction to Law Enforcement (if also taking CJ212 as a core CJ requirement)
Juvenile Justice
Cyber Security & GIS
Cyber Crime
Criminal Investigation
Selected Topics in Criminal Justice (dependent on semester, and when designated as concentration course by dept. chair)
Sex Crimes
Independent Research in Criminal Justice (dependent on research topic; dept. chair approval required)
Integrative Stress Management & Health
American National Government
State & Local Government in America
Forensic Psychology
Criminal Profiling
Total Credits12.0

For more information on program requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

"My time at GCU molded me into a better version of myself. I stepped outside my comfort zone from public speaking as a resident assistant and president of the Criminal Justice Club to networking at leadership conferences across the country. At GCU, I learned to adapt and soar for more, never settling for less."
Christine Hedgebeth
Christine Hedgebeth ’16
Parole Officer
New Jersey State Parole Board

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