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Courses BS in Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice


Total program credits needed for graduation: 180

One academic quarter is three months. You will have a three-week break between each quarter.

General Education Requirements

As a Capella bachelor’s student, you need 45 quarter credits to satisfy your general education requirements. You’ll need to choose a minimum of 6 quarter credits from each of the categories below. You’ll also select an additional 21 quarter credits of your choosing from any of the categories.

ENG1000 English Composition 6 quarter credits
ENG1100 Writing Strategies for Criminal Justice 6 quarter credits
ENG2000 Research Writing 6 quarter credits
ENG3300 Business and Technical Writing 6 quarter credits
COM1000 Public Speaking 3 quarter credits†
COM2000 Intercultural Communication 6 quarter credits†
COM2050 Visual Design in Communications 3 quarter credits
COM3200 Leadership, Gender, and Communication 6 quarter credits
COM3700 Conflict Resolution 6 quarter credits
COM4100 Media and Culture 6 quarter credits
HUM1000 Introduction to the Humanities 6 quarter credits
HUM1055 Approaches to Studying Religions 3 quarter credits
LIT2100 Women's Literature 3 quarter credits
PHI1000 Introduction to Philosophy 6 quarter credits
PHI2000 Ethics 6 quarter credits
PHI2100 Introduction to Logic 6 quarter credits
PHI3200 Ethics in Health Care 6 quarter credits
BIO1000 Human Biology 6 quarter credits
BIO1050 Biology and Society 3 quarter credits
BIO2000 Environmental Health 6 quarter credits
PHY1000 Introduction to Astronomy 6 quarter credits
MAT1050 College Algebra 6 quarter credits
MAT2001 Statistical Reasoning 6 quarter credits
MAT2002 Statistical Reasoning 6 quarter credits
MAT2051* Discrete Mathematics 6 quarter credits
ECO1050 Microeconomics 6 quarter credits
ECO1051 Macroeconomics 6 quarter credits
HIS3200 History of Health Care in America 3 quarter credits
POL1000 The Politics of American Government 6 quarter credits
PSYC1000 Introduction to Psychology 6 quarter credits
PSYCH2700 Child Development
PSYCH2740 Adult Development and Aging 3 quarter credits
SOC1000 Introduction to Human Society 6 quarter credits
SOC2000 Cultural Diversity 6 quarter credits
SOC3400 Social Deviance 6 quarter credits


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General Education Requirements

Choose 45 quarter credits with a minimum of 6 quarter credits from each category; see General Education Courses.

Required course:

Writing Strategies for Criminal Justice

This course introduces learners to professional writing and academic standards for writing, support, and citation specific to the field of criminal justice. Learners inspect various types of reports, professional assessments, and case studies and build foundational knowledge of writing for various audiences and purposes. For BS in Criminal Justice learners only.

6 quarter credits



Additional Program Requirements

Required courses

66 quarter credits

Introduction to Criminal Justice

In this course, learners examine the characteristics of the United States criminal justice system and its evolution in response to the continually changing forces that influence crime control. Learners gain an understanding of criminal justice theory and its relation to criminality, the criminal justice system, and the principles of the adjudication process.

6 quarter credits
Perspectives in Criminal Justice

In this course, learners build and strengthen the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed in their program and the workplace. Learners expand their critical-thinking, organizational, problem-solving, and research skills in order to demonstrate a criminal justice perspective. Learners also exhibit ethical behavior and apply project creation skills. For BS in Criminal Justice learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

6 quarter credits
Ethics of Criminal Justice

Learners in this course analyze the ethical dimension of law enforcement practice and acquire the critical knowledge and skills that support ethical, on-the-job decision making. Using material from commissions of inquiry, internal affairs investigations, published literature, human rights documentation, and observed policecommunity relations, learners examine major ethical problems such as discrimination, corruption, deception, racial profiling, and excessive force. Learners also explore the basis for developing personal and professional ethics, guided by professional codes of practice and human rights standards.

6 quarter credits
Constitutional Law

This course tracks the historical foundation of the U.S. Constitution, with particular emphasis on allocation of power between the branches of government and the role of each branch under separation of powers. Learners examine the Bill of Rights in the context of due process, state application, and procedural protections; develop knowledge of law making and law interpretation in a criminal justice substantive and procedural context; and explore philosophical underpinnings and public policy influences in conjunction with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

6 quarter credits
Criminal Law

Learners in this course examine the historical development of criminal law and the rules of criminal procedure that govern its application. Learners distinguish between the social and legal definitions of crime and dissect the various elements of crime. 

6 quarter credits
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
Research Applications in Criminal Justice

This course introduces learners to the uses of criminal justice data collected by major federal criminal justice agencies and private entities. Learners explore the social and economic impact this data has on the U.S. and its citizens. Learners also gain skills needed to communicate findings based on criminal justice research and commonly used data sources.

6 quarter credits
Intercultural Communications

Learners in this course demonstrate and apply knowledge of cultural differences associated with values, norms, social interaction, and code systems. Learners also analyze the effects those differences have on inter- and cross-cultural communication.

6 quarter credits
Conflict Resolution

In this course, learners identify and analyze the factors that promote conflict and apply the fundamental skills and tools used to resolve conflict in personal and professional situations.

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
Cultural Diversity

Learners in this course gain and demonstrate an understanding of cultural diversity from a sociological perspective and identify the ways the societal structure affects micro-level experience. Learners evaluate theories that explain the cultural foundations of prejudice and discrimination, analyze the differences between majority and minority groups and racial and ethnic groups, and investigate the role of power in creating and supporting these differences at the structural level. Learners also assess the relationship between race, gender, and economics by examining past and current experiences of American minority groups.

6 quarter credits



Elective courses



63 quarter credits

Recommended elective courses:

Introduction to Emergency Management

This course provides an introduction to the growing field of emergency management. Learners assess various hazards and threats, and examine strategies to determine and reduce vulnerability. Learners also analyze disaster response and recovery behaviors and activities. In addition, learners develop an understanding of local, state, and federal emergency management organizations and the impact various stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, have on the emergency management process.

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
Correctional Counseling

Learners in this course build the skillsets required to enhance the safe operation and environment in corrections and gain an understanding of the challenges involved. Learners use intervention techniques and communication skills to impact the offender community and assess the role and techniques of casework and counseling in corrections and community-based programs.

6 quarter credits
Corrections Administration and Leadership

In this course, learners apply correctional administrative concepts; communication principles; and decision-making, leadership, and human resource management skills used in contemporary correctional environments. Learners also analyze individual and group behaviors and ethics within correctional organizations.

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
Police-Community Relations

Learners in this course scrutinize the philosophies, responsibilities, and limitations of police forces. Learners analyze formal social control processes in the U.S. and examine the effects police training, education, and career development have on community relations.

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
Emergency Planning

Learners in this course apply the strategies and skills required for successful emergency planning, and identify the components of an effective emergency plan as well as the principles and resources that guide the planning process. Learners examine federal requirements governing emergency management and emergency planning structures, including Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the Incident Command System (ICS), and Mutual Aid Agreements. Learners also analyze the effects disasters have on physical and psychological health.

6 quarter credits
Disaster Response Operations and Management

This course provides learners with a broad overview of the emergency management system, including incident management teams and operations, threat detection to post-incident analysis, and interagency collaboration in disaster response. Learners apply response and management elements of an Emergency Operations Plan to case studies and real-world scenarios.

6 quarter credits

The course covers the roles local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have in addressing terrorism, with particular emphasis on how terrorism impacts policy development and operations. Learners analyze the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, and examine how this relationship affects law enforcement’s capabilities to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist-related incidents.

6 quarter credits
White-Collar and Organized Crime

In this course, learners apply a working knowledge of the principles, parameters, and procedures of white-collar and organized crime investigations. Learners examine and apply criminal investigation best practices pursuant to current statutes and legal precedents.

3 quarter credits
Social Dimensions of Disaster

Learners in this course identify how events of crisis affect people. Learners develop and demonstrate an awareness of the effects human influence and behavior have on disaster response and recovery.

6 quarter credits
School Violence

Learners in this course examine the history and phenomena surrounding mass violence and mass murder on educational campuses. Using historical cases and data, learners investigate contagion violence, the symbiotic relationship between mass media and violent incidences, and theories surrounding these events. Learners also gain a basic understanding of the impact school violence has on students, educators, communities, and the nation.

3 quarter credits
Women in Criminal Justice

This course focuses on gender and the impact it has on the criminal justice system, correction system, and sentencing. Learners assess victimization patterns and examine experiences of female criminal justice professionals. In addition, learners investigate policies addressing crimes against women.

3 quarter credits

This course introduces victimology and the impact crime has on victims and society as a whole. Learners gain an understanding of the effects and financial costs relative to victimization in the United States. Learners also assess various victims’ rights, as well as the issues and social policies that surround victims’ rights.

3 quarter credits


Choose any additional undergraduate course(s).



Capstone course



6 quarter credits

Taken during the learner’s final quarter:

Criminal Justice Capstone

The capstone project is the culmination of the bachelor’s degree program in Criminal Justice and is intended to demonstrate the technical and applied public safety knowledge and the criticalthinking and communication skills learners gain during their program. Learners formulate ideas for a new criminal justice approach, create a vision, and develop a strategic plan that describes how to implement their concept. For BS in Criminal Justice learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s final quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

6 quarter credits




180 quarter credits

This program is not designed to prepare graduates for employment as law enforcement or peace officers. The qualifications to become a law enforcement or peace officer vary; learners should check their state’s certification process and requirements.


What Can I Expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

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Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which can help save time and money. You can transfer up to 135 credits into this specialization.


If you have elective courses in your specialization, you may be able to use them to fulfill both your degree and concentration requirements at the same time. However, completing a concentration may extend your total credits beyond the requirements of your degree. Concentrations available for this specialization include:

  • Addictions
  • Corrections
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Management and Leadership

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