Learn Which Classes You'll Take in Criminal Justice School
Take a glance at what you'll study at the best criminal justice schools.
Here is a sampling of courses that will prepare you for a career in the field of criminal justice, law enforcement or corrections.
Bachelor's Degree from a Criminal Justice School
To earn a bachelor's degree at most criminal justice schools, you'll generally need to take mandatory liberal arts classes. This ensures that when you finish your criminal justice degree, you'll have the same well-rounded education as other undergraduate students.
You'll also take courses in your criminal justice major. An introductory course in criminal justice provides students with a general understanding of law, crime and the criminal justice system.
Here are some examples of other popular criminal justice courses:
|Collecting and Protecting Evidence |
Courts and the Legal System
Crime Control Strategies
Criminal Justice Management
Criminal Justice Research
|Forensic Science |
Gender, Race and Crime
Law and Legal Reasoning
Policing in America
Psychology of Crime
Punishment and Corrections
Theories of Crime
White Collar Crime
- Punishment and Corrections looks at the theories of punishment and the rehabilitation of offenders. Topics covered include mandatory sentencing laws, offender education programs, drug treatment programs and probation.
- Theories of Crime is a study of the historical, sociological, biological, psychological and economic theories of crime causation.
- Crime Analysis examines the methods used to analyze crime data, including crime patterns, crime rates, the physical description of victims and offenders, and recidivism (behaviors of repeat offenders).
- Criminal Law and Reasoning presents the basic concepts of criminal law, including the legal elements of crime and evidence, defenses and mitigation, and reasonable doubt, with an emphasis on the application of logical reasoning in making legal decisions.
While certain core courses are required for all criminal justice students, you'll have more flexibility in your choice of electives. You'll study what you like most in your electives. The following list is representative of some of the most popular elective courses:
- Prisoner Rehabilitation is another elective offered in criminal justice schools, and is popular with people who want to work in corrections or probation. In it, you'll study the foundations of correctional intervention, including the major theories and techniques of effective treatment programs for criminals.
- Juvenile Justice is another popular elective. Topics covered include theories of delinquency, drug abuse, school violence, mistreated children, problems with the incarceration of juveniles, race and gender issues and the prevention of juvenile delinquency.
- White Collar Crime has been in the news lately so this has become another attractive elective. In it, you'll learn about corporate, political and organized crime, including the nature of elite deviance and how it relates to crime and power. You'll study white-collar crime from a number of different perspectives: criminology, sociology, political science and economics.
If you are truly passionate about criminal justice and really want to make a difference, you may decide to pursue your graduate studies with a master's degree or doctorate. In grad school, you'll need to choose a specialty. Some of the most common ones are below:
|Alcohol and Aggression |
Criminal Law and Procedure
Drugs and Drug Abuse
|Gang Activity |
Mental Health Law and Policy
Punishment and Reform
Research Methods, and Statistics
Whatever route you take, you'll get a well-rounded education at many high-quality criminal justice schools. For more information on courses offered at any particular school, contact the criminal justice schools that interest you to request more information.
Source: Portland State University (online.ccj.pdx.edu/criminal-justice-curriculum)
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