Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

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.

This program is also available as a minor.

About the Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

In the bachelor's 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.

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

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.

Classes in the Major

General Education Requirements

Writing and Communication Classes | 12 Credits

No more than 3 credits in writing can be earned by exam.

Introductory Writing Class | 3 Credits

All Available Options

This requirement must be completed within the first 18 credits. A placement test is not required for Introduction to Writing (3 Credits, WRTG 101). The requirement cannot be met through course challenge exams.

Writing Class | 3 Credits

All Available Options

Communication, Writing, or Speech Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Media and Society (3 Credits, COMM 202)

All Available Options

Advanced Writing Class (Upper Level) | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Advanced Research Writing (3 Credits, WRTG 391)

All Available Options

Arts and Humanities Classes | 6 Credits

Classes must be from different disciplines.

Historical Perspective Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Technological Transformations (3 Credits, HIST 125)

All Available Options

A 3-credit class in ARTH or HIST

Arts and Humanities Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Introduction to Humanities (3 Credits, HUMN 100)

All Available Options

A 3-credit class in ARTH, ARTT, ASTD, ENGL, GRCO, HIST, HUMN, MUSC, PHIL, THET, dance, literature, or foreign language

Biological and Physical Sciences Classes | 7 Credits

Laboratory Science Class | 4 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Introduction to Biology (4 Credits, BIOL 103)

All Available Options

  • A 3-credit science lecture class with a related 1-credit lab
  • A 4-credit science class combining lecture and lab chosen from ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, GEOL, NSCI, PHYS, biotechnology, botany, entomology, general science, or zoology

Science Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Introduction to Physical Science (3 Credits, NSCI 100)

All Available Options

Math Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Finite Mathematics (3 Credits, MATH 106)

All Available Options

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 counselor 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. Contact an admissions counselor 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.

Recommended Minors

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2015-16 Criminal Justice Degree Planning Worksheet

If you began your degree program prior to fall 2015, please refer to the catalog for the year you began your studies to determine degree requirements.

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