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Excelsior criminal justice student looks at evidence their detective mentor shows them

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Transfer up to
113 Credits
A median of 70 credits accepted
Receive credit for military training

Prep for Career Success with an online BS in Criminal Justice degree

This fully online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program prepares you to meet the requirements and responsibilities related to jobs in law enforcement, probation and parole, federal investigation, victim advocacy, security analysis, and crime scene investigation.

Learn about the laws, processes, and administration of the U.S. criminal justice system by studying topics associated with crime-fighting procedures, police accountability, prevention of police corruption, legal processes of court trials, and the management of criminal justice agencies.

Coursework for this program teaches you how psychological, sociological, and criminological theories inform criminal justice policies and procedures, and provides job-related knowledge of the causes of criminal behavior such as violent crime, property crime, and white-collar crime.

The curriculum covers U.S. constitutional law and amendments, criminal procedural laws related to police custody and confinement procedures and interrogation, and pre-trial court proceedings to conviction, sentencing, and appeals.


Homeland Security, Without Concentration

Fast Facts:

Top jobs in criminal justice include correctional treatment specialists, forensic science technicians, and criminal investigators (Source: BLS)

The average median forensic science technician salary is $57,850 (Source: BLS)

The benefits of a four-year college degree are equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2% per year (Source: Brookings Institute)


credit hours

Online BS in Criminal Justice Program Details

Transfer up to 117 credits and receive credit for certain military and police academy training. If you completed your AS in Criminal Justice at Excelsior College, you can transfer all 60 credits to this bachelor’s program.

120 credits are required for the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. A total of 30 credits must be earned at the upper level. As part of these credits, for the core component, a minimum of 33 credits must be earned in the field of criminal justice, of which 18 credits must be upper level. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the major.

  • Cornerstone Course
  • Written English Requirement
  • Ethics
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences/History
  • Natural Sciences/Math (must include at least 2 credits in each area)
  • INL 102 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; court trials and sentencing processes; prisons and jails; and probation, parole, and community corrections.

Introduction to Law Enforcement

Study the evolution of law enforcement agencies, the roles and purposes of police in American society, and legal issues and challenges that police officers face at work in peacekeeping, patrol, and order maintenance. In this course, you learn about criminal justice jobs and employee recruitment, hiring, and training, and gain basic managerial and leadership skills. Material covers practical information about how to develop crime reduction strategies; foster positive community relations; stop corruption; and ensure individual and organizational accountability in law enforcement.

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.


Explore the nature of crime by studying theories of the biological, social, and psychological causes of criminal behavior. Learn about criminal topologies, criminological models, and criminality such as white-collar crime, violence, property theft, and public offenses. Gain experience using multidisciplinary approaches to analyze the outcomes and effectiveness of criminal justice policies and procedures, and learn how to express crime data in ways that support specific recommendations for policy and procedural change.

Research Methods

During this course you will investigate how research is conducted in the social sciences. You will learn research methods and techniques that you are likely to come across in your professional and personal lives. Throughout the course, you will have opportunities to apply the different research methods and techniques that you have learned. Lastly, you will leave the course with an understanding of research methods that will give you the knowledge and skills needed to gather, evaluate, and apply information and research findings.

Criminal Justice Capstone

In this criminal justice capstone writing-intensive course, you analyze how legislative, enforcement, judicial, and correctional agencies interface with one another. Learn how to use criminological, legal, and sociological theories to evaluate criminal justice policies and procedures, and how to solve ethical problems in the field. Written projects allow you to demonstrate your understanding of changing social demographics and contemporary court decisions that impact the criminal justice system.

Transfer credits may be applied to satisfy these elective requirements. You can fulfill this requirement with transfer credits or Excelsior course credits in these and other subjects:

  • Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Procedure and Evidence
  • Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
  • Family Law
  • Gangs in America
  • Deviant Behavior
  • Judicial Process
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Police and The Community
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Drugs and Crime
  • Child Abuse and Neglect


You select criminal justice courses with the assistance of your academic advisor and with approval of the faculty program director.

Homeland Security

  • Introduction to Homeland Security
  • Domestic Terrorism
  • Emergency Management

Plus, two courses from the following or other applicable courses:

  • International Terrorism
  • Counterterrorism
  • Infrastructure Security and Policy

The curriculum requires credits beyond the general education credits and the major requirements that can be satisfied with applied professional and additional arts and sciences credit.

Analyze the legislative, enforcement, judicial, and correctional components of the criminal justice systems and their interactions.

Apply the major legal, criminological, and sociological theories to policies and procedures within the criminal justice system.

Analyze the ethical issues that arise in the criminal justice system and generate possible solutions.

Apply decision-making models in the development and implementation of policy and procedures.

Evaluate the changing demographics of society and their impact on the criminal justice system.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in Criminal Justice

  • Correctional Officer
  • Federal Law Enforcement Agent
  • Forensic Specialist
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Parole/Probation Officer
  • Peace Officer
  • Police Officer/State Trooper/Deputy Sheriff

Thomas Drake
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, 2014

“You can use your experience and all or a lot of the training you’ve done until this point (as credit) at Excelsior.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

Top School 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.