Course Feature: CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice

According to, criminal justice is “the system of law enforcement, involving police, lawyers, courts, and corrections, used for all stages of criminal proceedings and punishment.” People with a background in criminal justice have jobs ranging from police officer and corrections officer to forensic psychologist and criminal profiler. Are you interested in a criminal justice career? Take a look at CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice, the foundational course of Excelsior’s criminal justice programs, to learn more about the field.

CJ 101 provides an overview of the history, structure, and organization of the American criminal justice system, including the police, courts, corrections, and the juvenile justice system. Students develop their understanding of criminal justice by acquiring a basic knowledge of the law, legal theories, and administrative challenges. Mike Verro, senior faculty program director for public service, says, “The course also explores foundational areas such as individual rights versus public order, defining and measuring crime, criminal law, and the challenges, issues, and limitations facing the police—within the context of the U.S. Constitution.”

Students in the criminal justice programs at Excelsior College are required to take an introductory course in criminal justice. “Without this foundational knowledge, it may be difficult for students to comprehend the upper level concepts, theories, and legal and ethical issues in higher level courses,” says Verro. Since this course is a social science, though, students in other programs may also be interested in taking it.

In general, students report enjoying the course and Verro says most seem to benefit from it.  Comments range from “The course materials were easy to access.” to “Great course and great instructor.” and “Recommend to anyone looking into this field.”

Verro also reports faculty are engaged in the course and enjoy working with the students. They provide him with feedback and suggestions to improve the course and the overall student experience.

If you want to begin pursuing a degree in criminal justice, start the journey today by signing up for CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice.

View the Associate in Science in Criminal Justice Program Page Associate in Science in Criminal Justice