Criminal justice degrees are one of the most dynamic degree options for students wishing to enter the criminal justice system in any capacity. The topics covered within this educational program sets students up to pursue careers in law enforcement, criminal law or in social work. If you’re interested in expanding your career options while obtaining a solid education, then it’s important to understand the core curriculum for this dynamic degree. In addition to the traditional classroom method, e-learning or distance learning has surfaced as a popular method of obtaining a criminal justice degree. To learn more about these online learning options click here. While the exact core curriculum for a criminal justice degree can vary based upon institution standards, the following core coursework is designed to provide students with a solid educational foundation to pursue a wide array of careers or graduate degree options.
Standard Core Curriculum
The standard core curriculum offered in a criminal justice degree program covers topics and subject matters that most careers require. The most essential out of these courses include:
Introduction to Criminal Justice – This course is a mandatory prerequisite for all other criminal justice courses. Throughout its topics, students are taught about the history of criminal justice and philosophical reasoning behind criminal justice system agencies, functions and processes. Other common topics within this course include victimology, comparative criminal justice and social control.
Introduction to Law Enforcement – Even if a student isn’t planning on pursuing a career in law enforcement, this is an essential topic within a criminal justice degree. Throughout the course, students are taught the foundation principles of police administration, organization and functions of these government agencies. Topics also include contemporary law enforcement techniques and various policies and theories within police departments.
Criminal Justice Theory – The foundation for a criminal justice degree is the knowledge and understanding of criminal justice theory. This coursework discusses various criminology theories, testing and application of these theories. Victim and perpetrator perspectives of various crimes are discussed and analysis of policy implications is reviewed.
Statistics in Criminal Justice – This course generally discusses and breaks down the various statistical methods and procedures criminal justice students will be faced with. Throughout its coursework, students will discuss various techniques and how the application of these techniques affects the various branches of the criminal justice system.
Criminal Law and Court Processes – Regardless of the type of criminal justice system career you choose, you must be well-versed in criminal law and how this law is carried out in court proceedings. Throughout this course, students are taught the various elements of defenses and offenses as well as processes in regards to arrest, detention, pre-trial techniques and post-trial involvement.