Skip to main content
cop car
Bachelor of Science in
Criminal Justice

Courses

Penn State's online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program is designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical knowledge of crime control and the skills necessary to succeed in criminal justice and related careers. This interdisciplinary approach to the problems of crime and society can enhance your ability as a problem-solver in the field of criminal justice.

The degree's 24 credits of prescribed courses and 12 credits of additional courses focus on the history, practice, and science of criminal justice. Many different course options are available to complete the program, allowing you to customize the degree to meet your specific goals.

Deputy Sheriff's Training and Act 120 Program

Students with ACT 120, Pennsylvania State Police, or Municipal Police Training transcripts may receive up to 16.5 credits for the following courses:

  • CRIMJ 100: Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • CRIMJ 220: Courts and the Prosecution Process (3 credits)
  • CRIMJ 210: Policing in America (3 credits)
  • CAS 203: Interpersonal Communication (3 credits)
  • KINES 067: Physical Conditioning (1.5 credits) 
  • NURS 203: First Aid and CPR  (3.0 credits)  

Training from other states will be reviewed upon request.

Prescribed Courses (24 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Explanations and measurement of crime; criminal law; characteristics of criminals and victims; violent, property, white-collar, organized, and sexual crimes.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Overview of the criminal justice system, including legal foundations, processing and correction of offenders, extent and types of crime, victims.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Police organization and operations in America.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100 or concurrent CRIMJ 100

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Purpose and function of criminal courts in society, organization, jurisdiction and staffing; prosecution, adjudication, and sentencing of offenders.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Punishment and treatment of sentenced offenders, correctional institution organization, staffing, inmates, and subcultures.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Fundamental concepts of social science research, including design, measurement, sampling, and interpretation of the study of crime, law, and justice.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 012

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Capstone course exploring past, current, and future developments in criminal justice.

    • Prerequisite

      Sixth-semester standing and CRIM 100 or CRIMJ 100

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3
    credits

    Ethical behavior in the criminal justice system.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100 or permission of program

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

Additional Courses (select 3–4 credits)

    • 3
      credits

      Methods of collection, presentation, and analysis of quantitative data in the social science, procedures, interpretation, and application.

      • Prerequisite

        2 units of high school algebra and CRIMJ 100 or permission of the program

    • or:
      4
      credits

      Descriptive Statistics, frequency distributions, probability and normal distributions, statistical inference, linear regression, and correlation.

      • Prerequisite

        2 units of high school algebra and placement into MATH 021 or higher

Additional Upper-Level Criminal Justice Courses (select 12 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Interdisciplinary analysis of security and loss prevention; its administration, role in crime control and prevention, and relationship to criminal justice.

  • 3
    credits

    This course will explore the legal, emotional, and social responses to the process of victimization by offenders and third parties.

  • 3
    credits

    Principles of administration as they relate to a police organization and policy development.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100 or CRIM 100 and CRIMJ 210

  • 3
    credits

    Common law and statutory crimes; constitutional rights of accused persons, liability of criminal justice professionals.

  • 3
    credits

    Control and treatment of offenders in the community, probation and parole organizations, diversion programs, innovative sentences, supervision techniques.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100, and CRIMJ 113 and CRIMJ 230, or permission of program

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides knowledge about government organizations charged with American border security, guiding laws, and policies.

    • Prerequisite

      6th semester standing

  • 3
    credits

    Historical and contemporary view of juvenile justice system. Focus on analyzing components of the system, their interactions, processing, and handling of youths.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100

  • 3
    credits

    Experience with a criminal justice agency coordinated through readings and discussion.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (select 21 credits)

  • 6 credits of courses taken from the following: PLSC, PUBPL, PSYCH or SOC. You may take 3 credits at the 200 level and 3 credits at the 300 or 400 level or 6 credits at the 300 or 400 level.
  • 15 credits of courses taken in consultation with adviser. Examples of relevant course topics include: Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, Human Development and Family Studies, Forensic Science, Communications, Legal Research, Law and Business Law, Organizational Leadership, Political Science and Public Policy.

Electives

Additional credits needed to meet the 120-credit degree requirement

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
    A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
    A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
  • Integrative Studies: 6 credits
    This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Penn State World Campus Students

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

* required 1/3

I agree to be contacted via phone, email, and text by Penn State World Campus and affiliates. Privacy Policy. reCAPTCHA protected. Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.