Online Criminal Justice Degree Courses & Classes

In this program you will investigate both the social and legal sides of working in the criminal justice system. By examining topics in forensics, psychology, crime prevention, law, terrorism, the correctional system, and law, you will develop the skills and gain the knowledge needed to build an effective career.

Below you will find the courses for this program beginning with the introductory courses. You have a choice in this program, either to take a standard program composed of major course requirements, or you may choose to add a specialization. Please note that you must complete the major course requirements' capstone course before you can begin any specialization. Each specialization consists of four (4) courses, each worth three (3) credits.

Introductory Course
Major Course Requirements

Introductory Course

All Bachelor’s program students are required to successfully complete EXP 105 Personal Dimensions of Education as their first course. Students with zero (0) traditional college-level transferable credits are also required to successfully complete the Student Success Orientation prior to enrolling in credit-bearing coursework. Following successful completion of orientation, students are required to successfully complete EXP 105.

Student Success Orientation
The orientation is designed to provide students with a complete overview of the Ashford University experience, prepare them for success in their courses, and help them to self-evaluate their readiness to succeed in an online classroom setting. Students will be instructed on Ashford University policies and the learning resources that are available to them through interactive videos and assessments. Students enrolled in orientation must successfully complete all assigned activities.

EXP 105 Personal Dimensions of Education
This course is designed to help adult learners beginning their university studies to achieve academic success. Students will explore learning theories, communication strategies, and personal management skills. Adult learners will develop strategies for achieving success in school and work. Students will also be introduced to the University's institutional outcomes and learning resources. A minimum grade of C- is required to successfully complete the course.

Major Course Requirements

(36 credits, all courses are 3 credits. Courses are listed in the recommended sequence.)

SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility
This course introduces the basic ethical concepts and explores philosophic perspectives for understanding the meaning of social responsibility. Topics include ethical theories, the role of government, the role of corporations, environmental issues, and ethical integrity.

POL 303 The American Constitution
This course is a study of the Constitution of the United States and its role in American history and government. The study covers the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, its subsequent amendment and interpretation, and its contemporary role in American politics and government.

CRJ 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice
This course provides an analysis of the criminal justice system focusing on the police, courts, and corrections.

SOC 305 Crime & Society
The course considers the basic sociological theories and research findings concerning crime. The punishment and corrections process, organized crime, corporate crime, the police, the courts and the impact of crime on the victim are examined.

SOC 333 Research Methods
This course examines quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods and associated data interpretation within the context of research, policy and practice within the social sciences. This course also examines the relationship between research, policy and/or theory. Students will examine types of data, measurement scales, hypotheses, sampling, probability, and varied research designs for research in the social sciences and related disciplines.

CRJ 308 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
An integrated course applying the research and methodology of psychology and sociology to the understanding of criminal conduct. Theories of psychology are explored including: biological, developmental, cognitive, social learning and psychoanalytic. The sociological concepts of social process and structure, social control and social conflict are introduced.

CRJ 305 Crime Prevention
This course explores strategies of crime prevention including programs designed to reduce opportunities to commit crime; programs to alleviate demoralizing community social and economic conditions that foster criminal behavior; programs to improve police/community cooperation; and, programs to educate young people as to likely consequences of criminal behavior.

CRJ 301 Juvenile Justice
This course describes prevalent patterns of juvenile delinquency, relates these patterns to theories of child and adolescent development, and examines various theories pertaining to the causes of criminal behavior among juveniles. In addition, this course surveys the roles of police, courts and delinquency intervention programs in the administration of juvenile justice. Emphasis will be given to strategies of prevention and early intervention.

CRJ 306 Criminal Law & Procedure
A survey of constitutional rights, police compliance to constitutional rights, and constitutional amendments that specifically apply to the individual. The course examines the application of these rights in the enforcement, investigation, and adjudication of specific crimes.

CRJ 311 Forensics
Forensic science applies scientific methodology to crime scene investigation and crime solving. This course analyzes techniques of crime scene investigation and the lawful gathering of evidence. Emphasis is placed upon the Federal Rules of Evidence, including the admissibility of physical evidence at trial, as well as the role of forensic science in the criminal justice system and the identification, collection and preservation of physical evidence (chain of custody issues).

CRJ 303 Corrections
An analysis of correctional procedures and institutions, especially jails, prisons, parole and probation is the focus of this course. Other topics include inmate subcultures, rehabilitation and prisonization.

CRJ 422 Criminal Justice Capstone
Students will review all learning objectives achieved throughout previous course work and develop a comprehensive, focused study of a modern criminal justice issue while applying solutions and predictions for future trends in criminal and social justice. Successful students will focus on the pragmatic application of principles and theories which guide criminal justice practice in the United States.


You may also choose to delve deeper into other areas of criminal justice when you add a specialization to your degree program. A specialization consists of four (4) courses, each worth three (3) credits each. These courses are taught online as part of your degree program. Choose from the following specializations:

Corrections Management

CRJ 461 Corrections Administration and Management
This course evaluates and develops the competencies necessary in corrections management and administration at all levels. Topics include strategic planning, risk assessment, effective leadership strategies, and current issues in corrections management. Students gain an understanding of the structure of the correctional facility as an organization. Ethical, legal, and social implications of corrections administration are discussed in detail.

CRJ 463 Contemporary Corrections Issues
This course focuses on a broad range of contemporary concerns and topics in criminal justice such as racism in sentencing, racial profiling, police use of deadly force, national drug control policy, community policing, court authorized electronic intercepts, and prosecutorial discretion. Students will research current criminal justice issues and make analytical observations using concepts and methodologies learned in the class.

CRJ 465 Corrections and Incarceration
This course examines approaches of correctional facilities and provides an overview of historic and contemporary philosophies and practices in the American Penal System. Treatment programs, prisoners' rights, intermediate sanctions, and intuitional management are among the topics discussed, as well as correctional issues pertaining to race/ethnicity and women.

CRJ 467 Probation and Parole
The purpose and procedures pertaining to probation and parole are analyzed in this course. Topics include pre-sentence investigation, supervision of probationers, parole administration and services, treatment theory, juvenile services, and parole officers. Students are introduced to such new concepts as community-based corrections, the justice model, and determinate sentencing and their impact on traditional policy and practice.

Criminal Investigations

CRJ 451 Homicide Investigation and Evidence Gathering
This course provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary for the resolution of homicide investigations. A historical overview is provided and current topics are explored. Topics include criminal behavior, the role of the crime laboratory, DNA testing, and medical/legal causes of death. Students will also be introduced to policies and procedures for evaluating and gathering evidence, with attention to blood stain and physical evidence and the impact of physical force on bodies and objects.

CRJ 453 Criminal Profiling
This course defines the motivators and environmental influences leading to criminal behavior, as well as the patterns of offending. Students are introduced to profiling approaches and techniques and their relationship to crime solving.

CRJ 455 Criminal Law
This course provides an in-depth analysis of criminal law. The principles of criminal liability are emphasized as well as the actions, mental state, and circumstances that are common to individuals committing crimes against society, persons, or to property.

CRJ 457 Forensic Evidence and the Law
Students are exposed to the historical and contemporary contexts in which arguments are made about the quality of forensic evidence and the legal burden of proof in criminal litigation. Methods and strategies for the gathering, analyzing, and application of forensic evidence are discussed. This course examines the principles and practices of crime scene investigation as well as the procedures for the collection, preservation, documentation, and analysis of physical evidence.

Homeland Security

HSM 305 Survey of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
This course is a broad overview of Homeland Security from its emergence in America’s first century to the 9/11 attacks. Areas of study include the rise of modern terrorism, domestic terrorism, cyberterrorism, Homeland Security organization, strategies, programs and principles, emergency management, the media, and the issues of civil liberties.

HSM 315 Emergency Planning
This course will provide students with the skills to develop a comprehensive plan for risk analysis, threat assessment, staffing an emergency operations center, coordinating with supporting agencies, and the creation of a continuing testing program. Actual case studies are used to teach students how to plan for natural disasters as well as terrorism at the federal, state and local levels.

HSM 320 Emergency Response to Terrorism
This course is designed to provide students with the ability to evaluate an emergency incident, determine its scope, understand the function of the first responders, learn the communication procedures necessary to alert the appropriate agencies, and understand how first responders are dispatched. Students will create a recovery plan for response to large scale terrorist incidents.

HSM 433 Counter Terrorism & Intelligence Analysis
Students in this course study and analyze counterterrorism including the evolution of counterterrorism, and the specifics of the typology and anatomy of terrorist operations. The course includes an overview of the intelligence community, collection, analysis, requirements and dissemination.

If this program fits your personal and professional goals, contact Ashford University at 866.711.1700 to learn more, or request additional information.