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Criminal Justice Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

School of Public Service Leadership

Make Safety Your Business

You need a wide array of skills to keep communities safe as a criminal justice professional. Capella’s online bachelor’s in criminal justice program provides a competency-based approach that helps you gain the skills to support your success—including conflict resolution, ethics, multicultural communication, and more. Whether you're just starting out or you've been in the field for years, Capella has designed its criminal justice curriculum to meet the changing needs of those working in law enforcement and corrections, including the probation, prison, and parole systems.

At a Glance

  • 100% Online
  • 10–13 General Education Courses
  • 11 Core Courses
  • 11–13 Elective Courses
  • 1 Capstone Course

Classes Start May 6th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

What you’ll learn

Uphold Justice

Apply an ethics-centered, evidence-based analysis to complex situations encountered in this profession. 

Understand the Impact of Crime

Explain the cause and effect of crime in the broader context of interdisciplinary knowledge.

Solve Problems Professionally

Integrate theoretical, scientific, and practical methods to solve problems. 

Resolve Conflicts Peacefully

Demonstrate effective conflict resolution techniques for culturally diverse group interactions.

Lead Your Community

Assess the ethical, community-focused leadership skills required for successful criminal justice practitioners.

Communicate Professionally

Employ the professional communication skills expected of a criminal justice practitioner.

Program features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Credit for Prior Experience

Earn up to 51 credits for your previous coursework, experience, and training—like Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).

Flexible Online Learning

Access your learning environment anytime, anywhere, with any device, and set your own schedule while meeting deadlines.

Competency-Based Education

Gain the skills you need for success—conflict resolution, ethics, multicultural communication, and more.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$357 per 1000-2000 level credit $411 per 3000-4000 level credit, 180 total quarter credits, 135 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Prior learning assessment

Earn credits by demonstrating your knowledge and/or industry certifications through our Prior Learning Assessment process.

Reduce your tuition by $8K

Enroll in your bachelor's degree, apply for the scholarship, meet eligibility requirements, and receive up to $8K.

Learn through real-world simulations with RiverBend City: Justice in Action. This immersive media simulation tool gives you a safe environment to explore career options, sharpen decision-making skills, and build confidence in the way you react to complex situations.

Our faculty members are seasoned with real-world experience.  Learn from experts with various credentials and degrees, and who have worked in their respective fields for many years.  Several have worked in top federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample courses

The curriculum in our online bachelor’s in criminal justice program includes coursework and a one-of-a-kind simulation tool to help you practice risk assessment and scenario planning in a safe, controlled environment.

Show course with description
Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Learners in this course identify ways to obtain, qualify, and admit evidence for criminal investigation and prosecution. Learners examine the rules and procedures of the criminal justice system pertinent to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments; evaluate criminal procedure and evidence as they pertain to law enforcement principles; and analyze the foundation and evolution of federal and state court systems. Learners also synthesize constitutional issues, criminal procedure concepts, and their real-world application. 

6 quarter credits
Criminal Psychology and Behavior

In this course, learners gain a basic understanding of the impact criminal psychology and criminal behaviors have on the law, police, and communities. Learners also examine the uses of criminal psychology relative to criminal behaviors, and theories surrounding these behaviors. In addition, learners analyze popular criminal defenses relative to criminal psychology and behaviors, and explore examples in well-known criminal cases.

6 quarter credits
Corrections, Probation, and Parole

This course introduces learners to the fields of penology and corrections. Learners analyze the evolution of corrections, probation, and parole processes and evaluate the effects associated with corrections and reform movements. Learners also examine criminal behavior assessments that help determine offender placement and incarceration alternatives.

6 quarter credits
Multiagency Investigations

In this course, learners examine the intricacies of conducting successful multijurisdictional investigations. Learners identify considerations, laws, and protocols used in multiagency investigations, including emergency and terrorism response and border security, to overcome differences in approach and role. Learners assess cross-collaboration related to crime scene evaluation and preservation practices, crimespecific investigation strategies, and the different investigation standards of various federal agencies.

6 quarter credits
Police Administration and Leadership

In this course, learners evaluate police administration concepts. Learners examine communication principles and decision-making, leadership, and human resource management skills used in contemporary law enforcement environments. Learners also analyze individual and group behavior and ethics within police organizations.

6 quarter credits


Concentrations let you hone in on your specific area of interest that can get you even closer to your exact career goals. The concentrations you earn will be included on your transcript.


Learn and apply theories, treatments, and current research techniques needed for psychological and behavioral aspects of addictions.


Explore issues related to incarceration, probation, parole, and counseling to gain an understanding of the corrections industry.

Emergency Management

Study evidence-based practices that develop analytical, problem-solving skills to prevent or respond to threats in your community.

Law Enforcement Leadership

Enhance your knowledge of decision-making principles and grow as a criminal justice leader.

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.

Career center

For this team, it's more than resumes and interview tips. It's about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Relevant blog posts

What Can You Do with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice?

A large variety of careers are available to individuals interested in the field.  

The Growing Use of Technology in Criminal Justice

Technology has become a key factor in helping to solve crimes more efficiently and effectively.

5 Ways a Criminal Justice Degree is Important in Law Enforcement

Two Capella faculty chairs share five reasons why it’s becoming more important to have a degree.

Move forward in your career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online bachelor’s in criminal justice degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Border patrol agent
  • Correctional officer
  • Customs agent
  • Detective
  • Drug enforcement administration agent
  • Emergency management coordinator
  • Investigator/Criminal investigator/Internal affairs investigator
  • Parole/probation officer
  • Police officer
  • Security manager
  • Transportation security officer
  • Victim services personnel

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • Correctional facility or prison
  • Department of Corrections
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Probation and Parole
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Emergency management agency
  • Law enforcement and administration
  • Municipal court system
  • Private security firm
  • U.S. Department of Justice

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.