Bachelor's of Criminal Justice

A criminal justice bachelor’s degree could help you grow professionally or land a job in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, investigations, or other public policy and protective services. If you’re considering a career in criminal justice, it will be especially crucial to consider acquiring a bachelor’s degree because many federal law enforcement professions demand one. In this guide, we have highlighted all you need to know about earning a bachelor’s or associates degree in criminal justice either online, free, or even offline and in any city of your choice including California amongst others.

What is Criminal Justice?

Law enforcement and the imposition of criminal sanctions are the main topics of the social science field of criminal justice. Its goal is to uphold justice under the law, as well as order and security within society. Getting a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution or university is the first step in getting a job in a career that revolves around preventing and solving crimes.

What is a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice?

Law enforcement, judicial procedures, and the criminal justice system are all covered in-depth in a criminal justice bachelor’s degree. The following requirements are commonly included in degree programs but vary depending on the school’s curriculum:

#1. General education

Courses in English composition, communication, math, physics, social sciences, and humanities will be required of you. For criminal justice majors, sociology or psychology may be mandatory courses. Normally, you finish these courses in your first two years of college.

#2. Criminal justice courses

Your criminal justice major degree plan will contain the vast majority of your courses. Law enforcement, criminology, police practices, legal systems, corrections, investigations, and ethics will all be covered in class. Additional courses in victimology, restorative justice, community policing, and domestic violence are available.

#3. Minor courses

A bachelor’s degree program typically includes the option to earn a minor with a specific focus. You might be able to select a minor that aligns with your professional objectives.

How a Bachelor’s Degree Compares to an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice

It usually takes four years to obtain a bachelor’s degree, and you need to gain 120-course credits, however, the actual number varies from school to school. A criminal justice associates degree program lasts about half as long as a bachelor’s degree program, both may be available online and free too.

However, a bachelor’s degree will provide you with a more thorough and in-depth foundation in the theories and practices of criminal justice than an associates degree, either online or otherwise. Additionally, you might be able to focus on a particular aspect of criminal justice, including juvenile justice or criminal investigations.

Your “soft skills” in oral and writing communication, critical thinking, and decision-making can all be improved with a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, you might graduate knowing more about the history, society, and culture of criminal justice.

Who Can Benefit from a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

For entry-level roles, many criminal justice careers demand a bachelor’s degree. They consist of:

  • A special agent with the FBI, CIA, or other federal agency
  • Probation officer
  • Youth correctional counselor
  • Fish and game warden

In order to advance their careers or move into management, workers in criminal justice sectors like law enforcement frequently wish to get a bachelor’s degree.

Going back to school to get a bachelor’s degree after a few years may be less difficult if you already have an associate degree. You might be able to receive transfer credit for the courses you’ve already taken when you enroll in a bachelor’s program.

Should you Get a BA or a BS?

You may have noticed when looking through degree programs that some are designated as BS in Criminal Justice and others as BA in Criminal Justice. BS stands for Bachelor of Science, while BA stands for Bachelor of Arts.

The two sorts of degrees are typically equivalent in terms of quality. The main distinction is that a BS places more emphasis on math and science while a BA emphasizes a liberal arts tradition. In a BA program, you might focus more on sociology, criminal theory, and public policy, but in a BS program, the courses might be more technical or applied.

Many large universities provide students an option, unlike some schools and universities that may only offer a BA or BS in criminal justice. The curriculum or graduation requirements will vary slightly in those circumstances.

What You Can do with a BA in Criminal Justice

Your well-rounded education from a BA in Criminal Justice can help you succeed in virtually any legal, judicial, or inmate rehabilitative vocation. It’s a fantastic option for those wishing to advance into managerial positions in a police department or other law enforcement organization because of the emphasis on “soft skills” like communication.

Assume, furthermore, that you have plans to attend law school, earn a master’s or a PhD in the future. A BA in criminal justice might give you a broader basis in history, theory, political science, philosophy, and research in that situation.

What You Can do with a BS in Criminal Justice

For those wishing to work in corrections, federal agencies, or law enforcement, a BS in Criminal Justice is typically advantageous. Additionally, the technical and scientific focus of the courses may enable you to gain useful skills that you can use in the workplace.

Some law enforcement professionals who want to advance in rank could be interested in completing a BS in Criminal Justice.

Courses in a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Program

Different schools and programs have different curriculum and specific course offerings. The course names and subjects that might be covered in a normal criminal justice bachelor’s program are listed below.

#1. Criminology

Students who enroll in criminology courses study criminological theories, research methodologies, and an overview of the numerous societal elements that influence why and how crimes happen. Learners examine pathways into and out of crime and build a grasp of criminal patterns. You can critically assess topics pertaining to law, policy, and sentence as they relate to criminal justice in this course.

#2. Introduction to Criminal Justice

Criminal justice introductory courses examine the background, present procedures, and institutional and social environment of the criminal justice system. Students gain knowledge of the system’s organization, purpose, and key procedures, as well as the functions played by courts, prisons, and law enforcement organizations.

#3. Introduction to Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

The main differences between homeland security and counterterrorism organizations and initiatives are outlined in an introductory course on the subject. Students investigate the functions and obligations of anti-terrorism agencies in preserving public safety and security in the United States.

Students look at how terrorism contributed to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), how the DHS has changed over time, and how it has affected American culture.

#4. Juvenile Justice

The history of the juvenile justice system is often included in juvenile justice classes, along with the societal variables that contribute to criminal conduct and topics including prevention, intervention, rehabilitation, and treatment. Students study juvenile justice trends, policies, and programs while analyzing legal concerns, counseling and treatment choices, and the function of juvenile justice organizations.

#5. Law Enforcement

The evolution of the criminal justice system as well as important law enforcement theories and concepts are covered in law enforcement courses. The different parts of the criminal justice system, such as law enforcement, corrections, courts, and juvenile justice, are thoroughly examined in the course material.

Concentrations for a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice

Every institution and program has a different curriculum. Some programs provide emphases or specialties, enabling students to focus their studies on a particular area of criminal justice and design their courses to meet their professional objectives.

A sampling of possible concentrations for bachelor’s programs in criminal justice can be found below. These concentrations are not available through all programs, and not all concentrations are reflected here.

#1. Corrections

The strategies and evidence-based programs used to rehabilitate criminal offenders in prisons and their communities are examined by students who specialize in corrections. Students examine the services offered in correctional facilities and learn about the numerous societal variables that affect and contribute to incarceration.

#2. Cybercrime

This form of bachelor’s in criminal justice focus on cybercrime and looks at crimes committed online, particularly how criminal groups employ technology and its root causes.

Students study digital forensics, including methods for preventing and investigating cybercrime. The tools, rules, and practices associated with obtaining and combining digital forensic evidence are studied by students. They might also pick up information on protocols and practices for safeguarding crucial digital infrastructure.

#3. Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Students who specialize in homeland security and emergency management have the theoretical and practical expertise necessary to assist communities in crisis. Students investigate the effects of historical threats, catastrophes, and acts of terrorism on national security.

#4. Probation and Parole

Students who concentrate in probation and parole learn how to uphold court orders, create plans for rehabilitating offenders and integrating current and former offenders into their communities. Students are introduced to techniques and tools for rehabilitating both juvenile and adult offenders in courses.

Choosing a Minor for Your Criminal Justice Degree

You will have the option to choose a minor course of study while pursuing your criminal justice bachelor’s degree. Then you should consider a minor as a criminal justice major if it helps broaden your knowledge or enhance your professional objectives. You often have the option of taking social science, language, or technological courses.

Sociology and psychology minors are popular alternatives. These classes can help you gain understanding of criminal conduct and societal factors that affect crime.

A minor in a foreign language can be beneficial, particularly if you wish to deal directly with a diverse population as a police officer, correctional officer, victim advocate, or in any other position. Understanding the fundamentals of another language can help you build connection with the clients you serve and provide assistance in an emergency.The legal system also need translators.

As a minor, technology is another excellent option. Computer-based crime models and record keeping are becoming more and more important in criminal justice.

Is Criminology a BA or BS?

In addition to criminology courses, a bachelor of arts degree in criminology and psychology calls for a core set of courses in the liberal arts and sciences. A criminology bachelor’s degree places a big focus on technique, statistical analysis, and real-world applications.

Is a BA in Criminal Justice Worth It?

Depending on your career objectives, it might be. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice can give you the groundwork knowledge and abilities need to work in the industry. A bachelor’s degree is typically required for many positions in the criminal justice field.

What Is the Difference Between Criminal Justice and Criminology?

An interdisciplinary study of the legal system, prisons, and police forces is known as criminal justice. Criminal justice analyzes the system itself, the organizations incorporated within that system, and how the system runs, whereas criminology focuses on the motivations and behavioral patterns of offenders.

Is a BA the Same as a BS?

A BS in criminal justice and a BA in criminal justice are different in that a BS places greater emphasis on research and technical and scientific courses, whilst a BA places more emphasis on social sciences.

Which Is Harder a BA or BS?

A BS degree would certainly be far more difficult for those who do not excel in the hard sciences or mathematics. Furthermore, a BS degree often has more major-specific requirements than a BA degree.

What Can You Do With a Bachelors in Criminal Justice Degree?

There are so many tasks you can complete, including:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent.
  • U.S. Office of Probation.
  • Crime/Intelligence Analyst.
  • Private and Corporate Security.
  • Domestic Violence Advocate.
  • Local and State Law Enforcement.

How Many Years Does It Take To Earn a Bachelors in Criminal Justice?

Bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice normally take four years to complete and require a minimum of 120 credits. However, a lot of colleges and institutions now provide free and paid online criminal justice degree, both bachelor’s and associates degrees that enable full-time students to complete their studies in two years.


Students interested in criminal justice have a variety of degree options at their disposal. Students interested in this career frequently choose between a BA and a BS in criminal justice. You can select the curriculum that is best for you by learning about the variations between them. Everything you need is in this guide.


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