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Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration

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Home » Programs » Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration

Investigate a Rewarding Career in the Justice System

Are you passionate about advocating for justice at the local, state, and federal levels? With the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, you can make a difference and be prepared for a variety of career options.

National University’s Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Administration program is designed to meet the educational and professional needs of individuals interested in law enforcement who are interested in professional development or career advancement. The program also prepares individuals for other employment opportunities like teaching, training assignments, private security employment, research, or employment as consultants within the field.

Our Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Administration Program

Our program is diverse, with topics of study including forensic science, research methods, juvenile justice, corrections, and more. The Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice program concludes with a senior project supervised by full-time, associate, and select core adjunct faculty.

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4th largest in the US graduating students with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and has the 2nd largest market share at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level combined among online nonprofit 4-yr University.

Course Details

Preparation for the Major

  • 1 course; 4.5 quarter units

This course is designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of the role of the peace officer in American society. The course will examine the steps in selecting candidates for the position of police officer, the complexity of the enforcement requirement, the challenges that face peace officers each day, the limitations placed on peace officers by all three branches of government at both the state and federal levels.

** Students who are currently in law enforcement should contact the Lead Faculty for any potential course waiver

Requirements for the Major

  • 9 courses; 40.5 quarter units

This course exposes the students to the basic tenets of criminal behavior, the causative and contributory factors of behavior. It explores the general personality, intellectual and social perspectives of criminal behavior.

A study of the nature and control of juvenile delinquency. Examines patterns of delinquent behavior, factors of causation, juvenile law and the juvenile justice system. Students also learn policies and procedures in treatment and prevention.

An analysis of the organization and management of criminal justice agencies. Discusses principles of supervision and motivation of personnel, management problems and solutions, decision-making and administration of policies and procedures.

An introduction to the practices and procedures involved in conducting civil and criminal investigations. Topics include learning about crimes and their elements, modus operandi, major goals of investigations, primary functions and responsibilities of investigating officers/agents and the investigator’s relationship with other individuals and agencies involved in an investigation.

A study of concepts and theories regarding the utilization, organization and management of the judicial process. Critically reviews the issues of fair trial, speedy trial, free press, calendar control, judicial responsibility and new technology. Students analyze the roles of the legal actors, problems of lower, trial and appellate courts and the distribution of judicial powers.

A survey of jurisprudential philosophy and case study of common law and statutory crimes. Discusses historical development, theory, principles and functions of criminal law. Also covers elements of due process, rule of law and the role of the constitution in protecting rights.

An introduction to the field of corrections and the corrections continuum. Topics include contemporary theories of punishment, corrections and rehabilitation, local, state, federal and military confinement facilities and community alternatives to incarceration.

In depth exploration of the historical foundations of ethical decision making and how it informs the criminal justice system. Particular attention to the relationship of critical thinking skills and ethical decision making to current issues.

Recommended: Prior completion ofall of the prior core courses. CJA 470 Capstone should be the final course in the BSCJA major.

Critical analysis of scenarios from three areas of the criminal justice system–policing, corrections, and courts to demonstrate deep understanding of the complex interplay of media influence, ethics, critical thinking and viable solutions. Grading is H, S, or U only. Eligible for In Progress “In Progress.”

Students who do not complete the Senior Project within the two month period are eligible, at the discretion of the instructor, to receive a grade of “IP” with a maximum of a one-time six month extension. Students who do not complete the project at the end of the extension period will need to retake CJA 470. No grade of “I” (Incomplete) can be given for this course.

**A two-month course that meets once per week for 4.5 quarter units. (Grading is by H, S, and U only.) Accelerated study is not permitted with CJA 470.

Upper-Division Electives

  • 7 courses; 31.5 quarter units

Students must complete a minimum of 7 courses (31.5 quarter units) of electives from the list below.

A study of the elements of criminal law as applied to various theories of criminal evidence to enhance understanding of the various issues facing prosecutors, criminal justice practitioners and law enforcement agents. This course will explore the application of evidentiary issues and its relationship to investigations and criminal conduct.

Exposes students to the basic trends of criminal behavior as it relates to gangs in America and the causative and contributory factors of gang behavior. It explores the general personality, intellectual and social perspectives of criminal behavior as it relates to gangs.

Exposes students to the basic trends of criminal intelligence as it relates terrorism around the world. The focus will be on the domestic and international threats of terrorism and the basic security issues that surround terrorism today. The student will gain an understanding of terrorism and the many factors that support and drive the terrorist movements throughout the world. The students will also analyze the laws and special forces which nations within the international community have created to meet this challenge. This course also presents an overview of computer crimes and the use of the internet to disrupt computer services throughout the world. The student will learn about emerging laws and digital solutions to block the use or spread of digital crimes or terrorism.

An introduction to the forensic sciences. Includes topics such as forensic photography, firearms and tool mark identification, the examination of questioned documents, hair and fiber analysis, serology, instrumental analysis, forensic pathology and odontology and forensic psychology.

This course will expose the students to elite and corporate deviance, the incidence and prevalence of white collar and organized crimes. The course explores the theoretical foundations of all types of occupational crimes, with a comparative, analytical global look at these crimes. It also exposes the students to the forms and causes of these crimes, the legal and law enforcement and societal responses to such crimes.

Using a seminar approach, this course focuses on current specific problems and issues within the law enforcement community. Topics may include police morale, the retention of sworn personnel and future trends in law enforcement.

An exploration of methods, patterns and meanings of individual and collective violence. Focuses on gangs, terrorists and the assaultive individual. Students analyze the causes of violence, attitudes toward violence and methods of controlling violence as well as the impact of gun control.

A review of the criminological literature and theoretical applications of the law and criminal justice as seen from a racial, gender specific, class and ethnic orientation.

Investigates the accounting steps required to effectively pursue financial crimes. Topics include the five standards of proof, different classifications of evidence as well as the intricacies involved in how an investigator might develop the evidence necessary for a forfeiture proceeding.

Explore the complex relationship between media and the criminal justice system. Gain understanding of how media influences both public opinion and the criminal justice system.

A study of the fundamentals of the U.S. Constitution, the rights and protections of the accused; an exploration of the case law and the judicial system, the rights and responsibilities of the police and citizenry.

A practicum designed for students seeking field experience in law enforcement. Students receive academic guidance from criminal justice faculty and supervision at the field placement site. Typically, the practicum requires students to work a minimum of 100-150 hours under supervision. At the completion of the practicum, students are required to write an in-depth research paper about their experiences during their placements with coordination and support from their faculty advisor and field supervisor. Units are arranged and determined based on assignment and number of hours prearranged at the placement site. Grading is S or U only.

Exposes the students to the basics of terrorism and its global impact; terrorism investigation and intervention strategies. It describes the factors to be considered when implementing psychological, social, investigative and legal techniques against terrorism and its related crimes.

Visit foreign countries and investigate the origins of modern courts, corrections, and law enforcement that are historical precursors of the current U.S. legal and criminal justice system. Students develop a thorough understanding of the emergence of criminal justice and forensic science through lectures and presentations by experts and historians of the criminal justice systems in the host countries. Grading is Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.

BS in Criminal Justice Administration Course Requirements

To receive a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, students must complete at least 180 quarter units as articulated below; 45 of which must be completed in residence at National University, 76.5 of which must be completed at the upper-division level, and a minimum of 69 units of the University General Education requirements. In the absence of transfer credit, additional general electives may be necessary to satisfy the total units for the degree. The following courses are specific degree requirements. Refer to the section on undergraduate admission procedures for specific information regarding application and evaluation.

Refer to the section on undergraduate admission procedures for specific information regarding application and evaluation. All students receiving an undergraduate degree in Nevada are required by State Law to complete a course in Nevada Constitution.

Earning a criminal justice degree from National University ensures you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the cross-section between laws, processes, and the systems that make justice a reality. Your comprehensive understanding of the system will make you knowledgeable and helps increase marketability in your field as you assist individuals and the community you serve.

Plus, your degree allows you to broaden your career pursuits: you can go to law school, graduate school, or be part of the administration of justice. With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you can choose from a variety of careers.

  • Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officers – The national median salary is $65,533. Jobs can be found at colleges and universities, K-12 schools, hospitals, and the local, state, and federal government.
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators – The national median salary is $86,944 and the number of jobs is expected to grow by 14.4 percent between 2022 and 2031.
  • First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives – The national median salary is $92,976, and jobs can be found with local, state, and federal law enforcement and correctional facilities, and correctional facilities.
  • Public Safety Telecommunicators – Jobs for public safety and police dispatchers, and 911 or emergency dispatchers can be found at local and state governmental agencies, ambulance services, colleges and universities, and hospitals.
  • Security Services and Correctional Services – Work as part of security details in a wide variety of settings including national, state, local, and military security agencies, corporate security, loss prevention, finance, fraud, private security, emergency management, and other public safety interests.
  • Law Enforcement (operators/first-line supervisors, analysts [fraud, interdiction], administrators) – A variety of careers in the field exist with local, state, and federal agencies such as FBI, DEA, Customs and Border Protection, Fish and Wildlife, US Military, Secret Service, ATF, and US Marshals.

National University is proud to offer online classes. In our ever-changing world, it can be difficult to keep up with every priority. We believe that education should be as manageable as possible, which is why we offer online, four-week courses. With NU’s four-week format, you’ll be able to complete your classes one at a time and earn your degree faster.

Earning an online criminal justice degree at NU means you have the support you need to complete your degree. You’ll engage with classmates, access support services, and receive valuable insight and feedback from faculty.

If you are looking to advance your career while you continue your educational journey, National University’s transition programs can do just that. Criminal justice students can use their time spent on earning their bachelor’s degree to make progress in the MSCJA, MFS, or MPA programs.

How It Works:

  • Student must be enrolled in the Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice program and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Student must be within completing their last six (6) courses
  • Eligible students can enroll in two (2) courses in MSCJA, MFS, or MPA programs as bachelor’s degree electives

Transition graduate electives are restricted to courses with no prerequisite. All transition coursework must be completed with a grade of “B” or better. Through the transition program, students can reduce their course load to as few as ten classes to earn their degree. Graduate-level course work taken as part of the criminal justice administration program cannot be applied to the Master of Criminal Justice Program, Master of Forensic Science Program, or Master of Public Administration Program.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Apply biological, psychological, sociological, and economic explanations for criminal behavior from a variety of disciplines.
  • Identify the causes and patterns of juvenile delinquency.
  • Distinguish the leadership and management styles commonly employed in the criminal justice system.
  • Demonstrate the criminal investigation process to include preliminary investigation, evidence collection and preservation, submission, and testimony in a courtroom.
  • Explain the role of criminal sanctions concerning victims and offenders.
  • Examine the importance of ethics when applied to all three branches of the criminal justice system.

Why NU’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration Program?

  • Public Safety Promise: Public safety professionals can receive a 25% tuition discount.
  • Help the Public: A criminal justice degree sets you on a path toward a career that helps individuals and the community you serve.
  • Faculty Support: Program faculty are readily available for support. During their senior year, students complete projects with hands-on supervision from full-time, associate, and select core adjunct faculty with real-world experience.
  • Online or On-site: Complete your program with online or on-site class formats and achieve a balance between your education and personal life.
  • Relevancy: The Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice program examines the issues facing public safety today to prepare you for tomorrow.

Hear From Our Faculty


Enrolling in a university is a big decision. That’s why our dedicated admissions team is here to guide you through the admissions process and help you find the right program for you and your career goals.

To that end, we’ve simplified and streamlined our application process, so you can get enrolled in your program right away. Because we accept and review applications year round, you can begin class as soon as next month, depending on your program and location of choice.

Learn more about undergraduate, graduate, military, and international student admissions, plus admissions information for transfer students. You can also learn more about our tuition rates and financial aid opportunities.

To speak with our admissions team, call (855) 355-6288 or request information and an advisor will contact you shortly. If you’re ready to apply, simply start your application today.

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Our course structure is built to make earning your degree accessible and achievable, one month at a time, so you can start sooner and finish faster.

Why Choose National University

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We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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“My favorite part of the program was the staff and students. The staff was professional and had previous experience working in some aspect of criminal justice, not just teaching about it. The students were also professional and most had full time jobs. They were in class with the goal of graduating and not just filling a seat.”

-Dennis Reyes, Class of 2021

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We know your life may not happen on a 9-5 schedule, so we offer courses online or on-site at locations across California.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Earning your degree ensures you get benefits you won’t get without a degree. Though salaries and career opportunities vary, the benefits of working in the field before or after you complete the program are plentiful.

Majoring in criminal justice also allows you to pursue a wide variety of jobs, giving you an advantage in the field. Earning your degree can help you become a police officer, private detective, and other relevant jobs with-in the justice system.

Earning a bachelor’s in criminal justice administration will give you plenty of knowledge to help you prepare for the field. With NU’s available resources and training available to people in criminal justice occupations, you could navigate the criminal justice field without too much difficulty.

According to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the criminal justice field is expected to see significant growth: a 7% growth is plausible from 2020 to 2030. Additionally, criminal justice employees have a good salary. The median annual wage for police and detectives was $67,290 in May 2020.* The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that more than 53,000 new jobs for police officers and detectives will become available by 2026.

Yes. Earning a bachelor’s in criminal justice gives you a strong foundation that you can easily build on to earn a Juris Doctor degree. A BS in criminal justice program’s focus on justice and equality can help you make your way toward public service-oriented careers in criminal or immigration law.

That depends on what you would like to achieve in your career. If you are service-oriented, value justice, and want to reduce criminal behavior, then getting a criminal justice degree will be more beneficial for you. Typically, criminology focuses on crime perpetrators and their motivations rather than taking a more direct approach.

Criminal justice requires an understanding of the way the law enforcement system operates and the systems within it. Criminology, on the other hand, is a more abstract field that uses psychological and sociological assessment to gain an understanding of criminals and why they commit crimes.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.