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Associate in Science in
Criminal Justice

Transfer up to
53 Credits
A median of 27 credits accepted
Receive credit for military training

Progress in Your Career and Earn Your AS in Criminal Justice Online

Develop your career in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, inmate rehabilitation, juvenile corrections, fraud detection, or crime scene investigation with this fully online Associate in Science in Criminal Justice program.

Learn about criminal justice occupations, job search tools, and career development resources as you gain relevant skills studying the criminal justice and legal processes involved in arrest, adjudication, sentencing, probation, incarceration, parole, and inmate release.

This fully online program introduces you to law enforcement, the courts, corrections, and juvenile justice systems in the United States. Instruction covers best practices in police-community relations and use of technology in the field.

Fast Facts:

AS degree holders earn on average, 64 percent more than those with no degree (Source: BLS)

The average median police detective salary is $62,960 (Source: BLS)

Employment in law enforcement is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026 (Source: BLS)


credit hours

Online AS in Criminal Justice Program Details

  • Cornerstone Course
  • Written English Requirement
  • Ethics
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences/History
  • Natural Sciences/Math (must include at least 2 credits in each)
  • Information Literacy

Core Criminal Justice Courses

Introduction to Criminal Justice

This course introduces you to the history, organizational structure, and laws and legal procedures of criminal justice in the United States. Learn about the full spectrum of police, courts, corrections, and juvenile justice systems, and processes from criminal arrest to conviction, incarceration, and reentry into society. Readings and assignments delve into topics such as: the limitations of policework in relation to constitutional law; individual rights versus public order; criminal law; definitions and measurement of crime; plea bargaining; probation; court trials and sentencing processes; prisons and jails; parole; and community corrections.

Introduction to Law Enforcement

Study the evolution of law enforcement agencies, the roles and purposes of law enforcement officers in American society, and legal issues and challenges that officers face in peacekeeping, patrol, and order maintenance. Learn about criminal justice jobs and employee recruitment, hiring, and training, and gain managerial and leadership skills. Course material covers how to develop crime reduction strategies; how to foster positive community relations; the causes and prevention of corruption; and how to maintain individual and organizational accountability.

Introduction to Corrections

This course covers the history, organization, and functions of corrections in the U.S. criminal justice system. Learn the differences between criminal punishment, institutional treatment, offender rehabilitation, community-based corrections, and criminal diversion and intermediate sanctions. Topics include: probation; sentencing and appeals; plea bargaining; alternatives to incarceration; state, local, federal, and private prison systems; management of correctional facilities; and juvenile and special category offenders.

Criminal Justice Administration

Improve your understanding of the criminal justice system and the ways law enforcement agencies are managed. This course examines different types of criminal justice jobs and teaches you how to apply best practices in the ethical operations of police, court, and correctional organizations. Topics include: federal, state, and local court systems; the structure and staffing of jails, prisons, and parole and probation facilities; law enforcement personnel management, workplace culture, and police socialization; organizational change; leadership and decision-making skills; and effective tactics for internal communication and employee motivation.

Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Learn about the processes involved in searching and seizing evidence, property, and persons; obtaining warrants for arrest and detention; interviewing and interrogation; acquiring confessions, admissions, and self-incrimination; and eyewitness identification. Course material also covers the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth constitutional amendments and pre-trial and trial procedures, including the admissibility of evidence in court proceedings.

Criminal Justice Capstone (Associate Degree)

In this criminal justice capstone course, you synthesize everything you’ve learned about legislative, law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems in the United States. Apply your knowledge of major sociological and psychological theories of crime, increase your knowledge of diversity and social demographics, and learn how to make ethical decisions in the workplace. In addition, you explore the specific criminal justice jobs and career paths you want to pursue after earning this degree.

This curriculum requires 30 credits beyond arts and sciences foundation courses (8 credits) that can be satisfied with core courses, applied professional credits, and/or electives.

Describe the various components of the criminal justice system - Legislation, Enforcement, Judicial and Correctional.

Describe how decision-making influences policy and procedures.

Explain the roles of ethics and morals in the criminal justice system.

Analyze the impact of social demographics within the criminal justice system.

Evaluate the accuracy and relevance of crime and victimization data.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online AS in Criminal Justice

  • Campus Security Officer
  • Correctional Officer
  • Crime Statistics Analyst
  • Evidence Technician
  • Insurance Investigator
  • Peace Officer
  • Police Officer/Detective
  • Private Investigator
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Youth Detention Counselor

Michelle Ashley
Associate in Science in Criminal Justice, 2018

“I was so excited that some of my work I did at Zone 5 [Training Academy] transferred as credits over to Excelsior because that made getting a degree achievable.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

College Factual - Best Schools for Non Traditional Students

Top 1% of Schools - Best for Non Traditional Students in Criminal Justice and Corrections

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 (267-284-5011) The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.