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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Criminal Justice

Majors Overview March 10, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education information.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Criminal Justice

Students enrolled in a four-year degree program in criminal justice are provided with a strong grasp of the criminal and legal justice systems in the country. Students gain both a theoretical and practical background in law, court systems, police regulations, and crime control.

They are also taught about law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, crime control agencies, and justice agencies, among other things. Students also learn about research methods that are involved in criminal investigation to facilitate their understanding of the factors leading to crime and the ways of preventing it, such as laws and educational programs.


Courses in criminal justice ethics, laws, and criminology augment liberal arts courses. Students participate in an internship that allows them to gain work experience in the criminal justice field, whereby they may acquire hands-on application in criminal investigations. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Legal writing
•Constitutional criminal procedure
•Police and safety
•Diversity in criminal justice
•Criminological theories
•Introduction to criminal justice
•Judicial processes
•Criminal investigation

Career Choices

Those who graduate from the program can seek occupations within:

•Private organizations
•The federal government
•Local government agencies

Job and Wage Outlook

A slower-than-average job growth rate of eleven percent has been predicted for police officers and detectives, including criminal investigators, over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, detectives and criminal investigators brought home $45,740 (BLS).

Continuing Education Information

Those who complete the program may seek continuing education by earning a Master of Science (M.S.) in Forensic Investigation or Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice. Coursework in these programs is devised to train candidates in the leadership skills and investigative methods necessary for handling supervisory and management roles in criminal justice agencies and police departments.

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