Protect, serve, and prepare to move into a key position in law enforcement or a federal agency with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Located a stone's throw from the FBI, CIA, and NSA and the major metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, University of Maryland University College is home to industry leaders who protect cities and the nation from some of our greatest threats. Our online criminal justice program can help provide you with an understanding of the nature of crime and the personnel, institutions, and processes that prevent and respond to crime.

These program requirements are for students who enroll in the 2017–2018 academic year. For prior year academic requirements, visit the catalog archive in the Current Students section.

This program is also available as a minor.

About the Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

In the Bachelor of Science program, you'll learn both the theory and practice of the criminal justice system as well as the specifics of criminal behavior, law enforcement, courts, corrections, security, and investigation. Our courses are developed and taught by local law enforcement officials, so you'll benefit from their field-tested knowledge and experience.

What You'll Learn

Through your coursework, you will learn how to

  • Apply critical-thinking skills and logic to analyze and solve a variety of complex problems in the criminal justice environment
  • Manage and evaluate organizational efforts to ensure effective cooperation with stakeholders to prevent, control, and manage crime to ensure public safety
  • Use an ethical framework and an understanding of legal constraints to make decisions as a criminal justice professional
  • Develop specialized technical knowledge and skills relevant to subspecialties in the field of criminal justice to ensure public safety
  • Use interpersonal and leadership skills to work both independently and cooperatively as a member of a criminal justice team

Coursework Examples

In past projects, students have had the opportunity to

  • Design a security plan for a public service in the community
  • Compose a search and seizure application and supporting affidavit
  • Critique an analytic report of criminal intelligence

Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Our curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. You'll learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills you can apply on the job right away.

Courses in the Major

  • CCJS 100 or CCJS 105
  • CCJS 340
  • CCJS 497
  • CCJS 345
  • CCJS 350 or any upper-level CCJS course
  • CCJS 230
  • CCJS 360 or any upper-level CCJS course
  • CCJS 380
  • CCJS 341
  • CCJS 352 or any upper-level CCJS course
  • CCJS 495

Electives

The bachelor's degree in criminal justice requires 46 credits of minor and/or elective coursework.

General Education Requirements

Research Course

  • LIBS 150
    (to be taken in first 6 credits)

Writing and Communication Courses

  • WRTG 101 
  • WRTG 293 or other writing course 
  • COMM 202 or other communication, writing, or speech course
  • WRTG 391 or other advanced upper-level writing course

Arts and Humanities Courses 

  • HIST 125 or other arts and humanities course 
  • HUMN 100 or other arts and humanities course

Behavioral and Social Sciences Courses 

  • ECON 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course 
  • BEHS 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course

Biological and Physical Sciences Courses

  • BIOL 103 or other science lecture and laboratory course(s) 
  • NSCI 100 or other science lecture course

Math Course 

  • MATH 106 or other 3-credit approved math or statistics course

Computing Courses

  • IFSM 201 or CMST 301 
  • CMIS 111 or another computing course appropriate to the academic major

Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may require you to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options. Please also see more information on alternate courses (where allowable) to fulfill general education requirements.

Overall Bachelor's Degree Requirements

In addition to the general education requirements and the major, minor, and elective requirements, the overall requirements listed below apply to all bachelor's degrees.

  • You must complete a minimum of 120 credits
  • You must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 overall and a minimum grade of C for any class applied to the academic major or minor
  • Within the 120 credits required, the following coursework must be taken through UMUC:
    • 30 credits (normally the final 30)
    • Half of the required number of credits within both the major and the minor
    • 15 credits at the upper level (earned in classes numbered 300 to 499), preferably within the major or minor
  • At least 45 credits must be upper level and include
    • At least half of the credits required for the major
    • 3 credits in advanced writing
  • The remaining upper-level credits can be earned in any part of the curriculum
  • At least half the required number of credits for any academic major or minor must be earned through graded coursework. Credit earned by examination, portfolio assessment, or noncollegiate training does not count as graded coursework

Double majors: You can earn a dual major upon completion of all requirements for both majors, including the required minimum number of credits for each major and all related requirements for both majors. The same class cannot be used to fulfill requirements for more than one major. Certain restrictions (including use of credit and acceptable combinations of majors) apply for double majors. You cannot major in two programs with excessive overlap of required coursework. Contact an admissions advisor before selecting a double major.

Second bachelor's degree: To earn a second bachelor's degree, you must complete at least 30 credits through UMUC after completing the first degree. The combined credit in both degrees must add up to at least 150 credits. You must complete all requirements for the major. All prerequisites apply. If any of these requirements were satisfied in the previous degree, the remainder necessary to complete the minimum 30 credits of new classes should be satisfied with classes related to your major. You may not earn a second bachelor's degree in general studies and may not obtain a second associate's degree within the second bachelor's degree. Contact an admissions advisor before pursuing a second bachelor's degree.

Electives: Electives can be taken in any academic discipline. No more than 21 credits can consist of vocational or technical credit. Pass/fail credit, up to a maximum of 18 credits, can be applied toward electives only.

Career Preparation

This program is designed to help prepare you to move into a command position in law enforcement or meet the four-year degree requirement by some federal law enforcement. The content of the degree program is applicable to positions in the public and private sectors. It may also serve as a qualifying degree for law school. Graduates may find positions throughout the criminal justice system.

Student Clubs and Organizations

Criminal Justice and Investigative Forensics Club

Type: Academic club
Available To: Undergraduate and Graduate

About the Club: This club encourages discussions on current events and topics within the criminal justice and investigative forensics fields. The group posts career information, including job openings. In addition, this club provides students with the opportunity to talk with faculty in the program and enables students to share resources and network with one another.

Pi Gamma Mu

Type: Honor society
Available To: Undergraduate

Pi Gamma Mu is the international honor society that recognizes outstanding scholarship in the social sciences at UMUC. Students interested in anthropology, criminal justice, economics, gerontology, history, political science, social psychology, sociology, and women's studies may qualify for membership. The society recently named UMUC's Maryland Theta chapter to its Roll of Distinction, the highest honor that the society grants.