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 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

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
  • WRTG 101
  • WRTG 101S

This requirement must be completed within the first 18 credits. A placement test is not required for WRTG 101. The requirement cannot be met through course challenge exams.

Writing Class | 3 Credits

All Available Options
  • WRTG 293 or any 3-credit WRTG class EXCEPT for
    • WRTG 486A
    • WRTG 486B
  • ENGL 102
  • JOUR 201

Communication, Writing, or Speech Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

COMM 202

All Available Options
  • A 3-credit class in COMM, SPCH, or WRTG
  • ENGL 102
  • ENGL 281
  • JOUR 201

Advanced Writing Class (Upper Level) | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

WRTG 391

All Available Options
  • WRTG 391
  • WRTG 393
  • WRTG 394

Research Class | 1 Credit

LIBS 150

Arts and Humanities Classes | 6 Credits

Classes must be from different disciplines.

Historical Perspective Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

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

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

Behavioral and Social Science Classes | 6 Credits

Classes must be from different disciplines.

Behavioral and Social Sciences Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

ECON 103

All Available Options
  • A 3-credit class in ANTH, BEHS, ECON, GEOG, GERO, GVPT, PSYC, or SOCY
  • AASP 201
  • CCJS 100
  • CCJS 105
  • CCJS 350
  • CCJS 360
  • CCJS 461
  • WMST 200

Behavioral and Social Sciences Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

BEHS 103

All Available Options
  • A 3-credit class in ANTH, BEHS, ECON, GEOG, GERO, GVPT, PSYC, or SOCY
  • AASP 201
  • CCJS 100
  • CCJS 105
  • CCJS 350
  • CCJS 360
  • CCJS 461
  • WMST 200

Biological and Physical Sciences Classes | 7 Credits

Laboratory Science Class | 4 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

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

NSCI 100

All Available Options
  • NUTR 100
  • A 3-credit class in ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, GEOL, NSCI, PHYS, biotechnology, botany, entomology, general science, or zoology

Math Class | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

MATH 106

All Available Options
  • MATH 106
  • MATH 107
  • A 3-credit MATH class at or above the level of college algebra

Computing Classes | 6 Credits

Computing Class | 3 Credits

All Available Options
  • IFSM 201
  • CMST 301

Computing Class Appropriate to Your Major | 3 Credits

Recommended for Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree
  • CMIS 111
  • IFSM 300
All Available Options
  • ACCT 326
  • A 3-credit class in CMIS, CMIT, CMSC, CMST, CSIA, IFSM, or SDEV

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.

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.