Sample Coursework in Criminal Justice Programs

For those interested in earning a criminal justice degree, there is rigorous course work involved. The length and intensity of each program varies by school, type of degree a student is pursuing, and concentration of studies. An associate’s degree in criminal justice may require about 60 hours of course work, and a bachelor’s degree will require about twice that number of hours. A master’s degree may require at least an additional 50 hours of course work. Criminal justice classes at the postsecondary level include the study of various aspects of criminal justice: corrections, criminal law, juvenile delinquency, criminology, police community relations, psychology, sociology, corrections, criminal procedure, emergency services, computer security, and homeland security.

Some criminal justice schools also offer internship programs, in which students can experience firsthand working with various employers in the criminal justice field. These internships may be tied to courses, as well, and they can contribute positively to a student’s knowledge base and educational experience. Specific school programs, requirements, and options are worth investigating for any student considering a postsecondary degree in criminal justice.

  • Criminal Justice Organization and Administration 23. One potential class students may take in criminal justice schools or programs is Criminal Justice Organization and Administration. This course introduces students to the criminal justice system of the United States, as well as to the criminal justice systems of other countries. A basic knowledge of how the criminal justice system works is essential to any further study of criminal justice in a postsecondary educational program. This course examines the various jurisdictions and responsibilities of the criminal justice system, describes how offenders are moved through the system, and encourages students to determine the efficacy of the system. It may also explore effective ways to manage others involved in the criminal justice system at various levels, as well as explore issues such as evidence and official indictment, legal system requirements, sentencing guidelines and concerns, and corrections. The course explores specific scenarios but also works toward student understanding of the criminal justice organization and administration as a whole.
  • Principles of Policing and Law Enforcement 24. Another course students may take in criminal justice schools or programs is Principles of Policing and Law Enforcement. This course examines the complex relationship that police officers have with the communities in which they work. Students taking this course will become familiar with the rights and responsibilities of police officers, as well as the rights and responsibilities of community members living and working with police officers. The course may examine the tension that is often present between police officers and community members. The course may also help students determine effective ways for police officers to garner community support, and may challenge students to examine their own stereotypes and preconceived notions about certain communities and about policing in general. Students will learn about the role that policing principles play in the larger goals and responsibilities of law enforcement and have a clearer understanding of roles and expectations of all community members with regards to policing and law enforcement.
  • The Criminalistics of Cybercrime 25. Another course students may take in criminal justice schools or programs is The Criminalistics of Cybercrime. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, crime committed using technology such as computers and the Internet increases, as well. This course may examine various criminal scams or courses of action that result in crime, as well as the types of criminals who are perpetrating cybercrime. This course may also examine the policing involved in preventing cybercrime and cyberterrorism, and the investigations necessary to bring cybercriminals to justice. Various issues regarding jurisdictions and determining where exactly cybercrimes are committed might also be explored. The international scope of cybercrime and the ubiquity of technology; the Internet; and the methods of communication between people, banks, other sources of money, and merchants make the study of this particular area of crime an ever-changing and evolving enterprise requiring cutting-edge policing and legal attention. Understanding the technology that is constantly evolving is crucial to preventing the creation of more victims of cybercrime and to understanding the criminalistics of cybercrime.