Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

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

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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 113 credits and receive credit for certain military and police academy training. If you completed your AS in Criminal Justice at Excelsior University, 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.

Introduction to Corrections

Discusses the organization and functions of corrections within the criminal justice system and emphasizes the evolution of corrections for the rehabilitation of offenders. Students discuss the future of corrections with an eye toward continuing the current evolution of correctional systems in American society.

Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice

Multiculturalism is a primary issue in society today, both in general, and more specifically, the criminal justice system. This course will focus on the diversity of cultural groups as well as cultural differences and awareness, and their impact on the criminal justice system. Views from both the role of a practitioner and from the perspective of an offender will be addressed.

Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Provides a comprehensive review and in-depth analysis of the rules of evidence and criminal procedural law in the United States. Analyzes case law which interprets the constitutional guarantees afforded the accused by the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments, and the admissibility of evidence in court proceedings. Particular emphasis is placed upon arrest, search and seizure, confessions and admissions, the privilege against self-incrimination, the right to counsel, the exclusionary rule and its exceptions, burden of proof, and procedural due process.


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.

Criminal Justice Administration

This course provides a comprehensive discussion of criminal justice administration through the integration of relevant theories, research findings, and the application of best practices within criminal justice organizations. Included in this course are the basic concepts of an organization, management, and the criminal justice system’s environment; issues regarding communication, motivation, leadership and job design. Additionally, the areas of group behavior and processes within criminal justice organizations regarding occupational socialization, power and political behavior, organizational conflict and effectiveness, decision-making, and change and innovation will be presented.

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.

Ethics in Criminal Justice

Examines ethical issues specifically related to the criminal justice profession. Issues include professional communications including government regulation and policy, free speech, client/victim/investigative privacy, accuracy in media and the impact of science and technology on communications.

Judicial Process

Explores the historical development and contemporary structure of state and federal trial courts and courts of appellate review. Constitutional and statutory authority for courts, court procedures, and defendant’s rights in the judicial process are reviewed to include due process, public and speedy trial, jury composition, self-incrimination, punishment, and state and federal post-conviction relief and/or appellate review. Other statutory and administrative/regulatory laws are reviewed pertaining to the Code of Professional Responsibility as it applies to respective judicial officers. Also, analysis of the respective roles, duties performed, and career paths for judicial officers such as judges, prosecutors, and defense counsel.

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:

  • Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
  • Family Law
  • Gangs in America
  • Deviant Behavior
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Police and The Community
  • Drugs and Crime
  • Child Abuse and Neglect


Choose any 5 courses from this list:

  • Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
  • Police and the Community
  • Drugs and Crime
  • Gangs in America
  • Intro to Homeland Security
  • Domestic Terrorism
  • Emergency Management
  • International Terrorism
  • Infrastructure Security and Policy

Homeland Security

  • Introduction to Homeland Security
  • Domestic Terrorism
  • Emergency Management
  • International Terrorism
  • 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.

View our catalog for additional information.

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

Explore Common Careers

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

Thomas Drake
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, 2014

Recognitions & Accreditations

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

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE or the Commission) Excelsior University’s accreditation status is accreditation reaffirmed. The Commission’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status on June 23, 2022 was to reaffirm accreditation. MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation and pre-accreditation (candidate status) activities for institutions of higher education including distance, correspondence education, and direct assessment programs offered at those institutions. The Commission’s geographic area of accrediting activities is throughout the United States.

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