College of Arts and Sciences
Criminal Justice

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the degree/specialization options?

    The degree and specialization options are designed to meet the individualinterests of students and to provide necessary preparation for particular careers and courses of graduate study. The BA/Administration of Justice degree/specialization most closely reflects the traditional criminal justice degree offered at most universities. The additional degree/specialization options require the same core coursework as the BA/AJ in criminal justice, criminology, criminal law, statistics, research methods, organizational theory, and criminal justice ethics while allowing students to complete important preparatory coursework for careers and graduate study that may require a stronger background in the physical sciences, psychology, and/or sociology than the traditional CJ degree provides. Students pursuing the criminal justice degree to obtain entry into a particular position or graduate program should work closely with their advisor and should consult the agency minimum qualifications and/or graduate program requirements.

    A few tips/factors to think about in determining your degree/specialization:

    • If you are interested in pursuing employment as a forensic scientist, the only degree/specialization option offered through the CJ Department that will prepare you for this is the BS/Forensic Science degree. Students pursuing this career route often choose to double major in a physical science and/or to go on to obtain graduate level training in forensic science in order to stand out in a highly competitive job market. 
    • If your goal is to become a correctional counselor or PhD-level forensic psychologist, the BA or BS/Forensic Psychology specialization is a good choice. However, getting into a PhD graduate program in forensic psychology is highly competitive. To increase your candidacy for graduate school, consider a double major or minor in psychology. Many graduate schools in psychology require the GRE/Psychology subject test and/or specific psychology coursework as an entrance requirement.If you enjoy theory-based courses, plan to go to graduate school in a discipline or program that includes justice studies or criminology as part of a broader law and justice or sociology curriculum, and/or would like to minor in sociology, anthropology, or social work, the criminology & criminal justice theory specialization would be a good choice.
    • If you want a traditional criminal justice degree that provides a strong and broad foundation in law enforcement, courts, and corrections, choose the BA/Administration of Justice degree/specialization. Students interested in pursuing law enforcement, correctional custody, crime prevention/security, and law school tend to select this option.
    • If you are unsure of which degree/specialization option to select, choose the BA/Administration of Justice. You may change your degree/specialization at any time by contacting the Department Chair or Administrative Assistant.

    The following are examples of career and/or graduate school routes criminal justice students tend to pursue. Selection of a degree/specialization option is an individual choice and depends on your own goals and interests and the particular courses you want to take as part of your undergraduate degree.

    Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BA) with specialization in:

    Administration of Justice

    • Employment in city, county, state,federal law enforcement, courts,institutional and community  corrections, juvenile justice, victim services, private security, investigation.
    • Graduate school in criminal justice/criminology, public administration, political science.
    • Law School

    Criminology & CJ Theory

    • Employment in city, county, state, federal law enforcement, courts, institutional and community corrections, juvenile justice, victim services.
    • Graduate school in sociology/criminology or criminal justice/criminology.
    • Law School

    Forensic Psychology

    • Employment as a correctional counselor, community corrections officer, juvenile justice or social service caseworker, victim advocate.
    • Graduate school in forensic psychology.
    • Law School

    Forensic Science

    • Employment in local, state, or federal law enforcement, fraud investigation, or forensic technology positions that do not require a physical science degree.
    • Graduate school in forensic science programs that do not require a BS/Physical science degree.

    Bachelor of Science (BS) with specialization in:

    Forensic Psychology

     

    • Employment as a correctional counselor, community corrections officer, juvenile justice or social service caseworker, victim advocate.
    • Graduate school in forensic psychology.

     

    Forensic Science

     

    • Employment as a forensic scientist or forensic technician in a local, state, federal, or private crime lab.
    • Employment as a medicolegal death investigator at a Medical Examiner or Coroner’s Office.
    • Graduate school in Forensic Science.