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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Criminal Justice

Majors Overview March 4, 2015

Get information about a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Criminal Justice and its coursework, job outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Criminal Justice

Students enrolled in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in Criminal Justice gain knowledge about corrections systems, courts, and policing, in addition to a background in mathematics, science, and humanities.

Coursework is devised to meet the needs of those currently in careers in the criminal and juvenile justice systems as well as individuals seeking entry-level careers in the field. Some programs offer concentrations, these include juvenile justice, loss prevention, legal processes, crime and justice, and corrections. Some schools also offer distance learning.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.


Coursework is devised to impart a strong grasp of every aspect of the criminal justice system. Schools also offer professional internships, which would help students gain work experience in the field. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Domestic terrorism
•Fire investigations
•Correctional strategies
•Gender in criminal justice
•Juvenile justice system
•Security and police administration
•Legal research
•Correctional alternatives

Job Outlook

A job growth rate of 5% has been predicted for detectives and police officers over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). During the same period, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are expected to see a decline of 1% in job growth (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

While an associate’s degree is sufficient qualification for some criminal justice positions, including those of correctional specialists and probation officers, those that seek other occupations in the field may require a bachelor’s degree. For example, those that wish to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree and possess some work experience in the criminal justice field.

Students may be required to take certification examinations along with completing formal training at a law enforcement agency or academy. Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may choose to enter the workforce as criminal justice teachers or as lawyers. Alternatively, they may opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree.

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