What is a Criminal Justice Degree?

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What is a criminal justice degree?

Since criminal justice is a system of practices and government institutions put in place for the purpose of maintaining social order, deterring and mitigating crime, as well as punishing people who violate the law through criminal penalties and efforts aimed at rehabilitating the offender, criminal justice degrees would then be educational programs that deal with the study of maintaining the rule of law in a society. There are three main components of the criminal justice namely Legislative, which is tasked to create laws, Adjudication as represented by the courts, and Corrections as made up of jails, prisons, parole, and probation.

Featured Undergrad Programs
1. Ashford University – BA – Social and Criminal Justice
2. Liberty University – BS – Criminal Justice – Forensics
3. Post University – BS – Criminal Justice

Featured Master’s Programs
1. Grand Canyon University – MS – Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement
2. St. Leo University – MS – Criminal Justice – Forensics
3. Virginia College – MS – Criminal Justice

History of Criminal Justice as an Academic Discipline

Criminal justice was established as an academic discipline during the 1920s. It has always been distinct from criminology and its main focus was on policing and police science until the 1960s. Eventually however, the study of criminal justice included psychology, sociology, and criminology thereby producing a more comprehensive view of the system.

The ancient criminal justice system made use of several forms of punishment such as exile, payment to the victim, and corporal punishment including branding, mutilation, flogging, and execution. In the US, jails and prisons took the place of corporal punishment for a time before the latter was revived due to social pressure. The modern criminal justice system however actively promotes the preventive role of the police and rehabilitation of offenders.

Criminal Justice Degrees

Criminal Justice as an academic study encompasses the many aspects related to the three main components of the system. Several colleges and universities offer master’s, bachelor, and associate degree programs as well as certification programs in various sub-categories. These include Criminal Justice, Criminology, Court Reporting, Forensic Science, Legal Assistant, Legal Degrees, Mediation, Paralegal, Computer Security, Correctional Officer, Crime Scene Investigation, Law Enforcement, Police Training, Public Safety and Security, Private Investigation/Private Detective, Cyber Security, Homeland Security, and Computer Forensics.

Depending on the program and the school offering them, degree programs can be offered on-campus, online, or a combination of both. A degree in criminal justice provides a broad foundation that includes the aspects of the system. Concentration or Emphasis Courses allow students to specialize on a particular area.

Program Curriculum

A Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice provides a comprehensive study of the different aspects of crime scene management, terrorism, and law enforcement. The program curriculum typically requires students to complete one hundred twenty (120) credit hours consisting of Core Courses, Electives, and Concentration Courses. Computer Literacy Courses are also typically required to be completed.

Core Courses usually include Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Law Enforcement Operations, Criminal Procedure, Ethics in Criminal Justice, Corrections, Research Methodology, Investigations, Crime Scene Management, Computer Investigation, Domestic and International Terrorism, Criminology, Criminal Justice Documentation, Security Management Technology, Public Relations, and Probation and Parole. Concentration and Elective Courses will vary depending on the desired specialization. It would usually take four (4) years to complete a bachelor’s degree, although some online schools offer accelerated versions through the acceptance of credits from prior learning.

If you’re asking then what a criminal justice degree is, then the above information should more or less cover it.

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