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Criminal Justice

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The Criminal Justice program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and a minor in Criminal Justice.

Your adventure begins with your academic advisor. Please contact for more information.

Students in this major will learn about the components of the juvenile and criminal justice systems, become acquainted with the issues affecting these systems, apply theoretical concepts to real-world phenomena, interface with criminal justice and social service providers, and plan an academic and/or applied career in criminal justice.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will:

  • Understand theories of crime, victimization, and criminal justice (i.e., theories about social bonds, learning, social control, conflict, labeling, rehabilitation, alternatives to incarceration).
  • Think critically about crime, victimization, and criminal justice (i.e., be able to apply, critique, compare, and integrate knowledge in the area).
  • Understand how race/ethnicity, gender, wealth, and power are related to crime, victimization, and criminal justice.
  • Understand and be able to use basic social science research methods, as well as those most relevant to the study of crime, victimization, and criminal justice.
  • Be familiar with career paths in the criminal justice system and make career choices that best fit their career interests.
  • Make appropriate decisions, think creatively and be able to express themselves in written and oral communication to supervisors and clients.

Degree Requirements

University Requirements

International Perspectives3
US Diversity3
Total Credits6

Communication Proficiency

According to the university-wide Communication Proficiency Grade Requirement, students must demonstrate their communication proficiency by earning a grade of C or better in ENGL 1500 and ENGL 2500. In addition, majors must also take an advanced course in ENGL 3020 or ENGL 3090 or ENGL 3140 with a grade of C or better.

ENGL 1500Critical Thinking and Communication3
ENGL 2500Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition3
LIB 1600Introduction to College Level Research1
ENGL 3020Business Communication3
or ENGL 3090 Proposal and Report Writing
or ENGL 3140 Technical Communication
Total Credits10

World Language and career proficiency

3 years of High School
Accelerated Spanish Review
2 semesters at the college level8
LAS 2030Professional Career Preparation1
Total Credits9

General Education Coursework

Students must select from a variety of LAS approved general education courses in each area listed below. A full list of approved courses can be found at

Arts and Humanities12
Natural Sciences8
Social Sciences9
Total Credits32

 Program of Study

A program of study that meets the needs and interests of the student and departmental requirements will be developed in consultation with the major advisor. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher in their core courses.

SOC 1150Orientation to Sociology1
or CJ 1200 The Criminal Justice League Learning Community Seminar
CJ 2400Introduction to the U.S. Criminal Justice System3
CJ 2410Youth and Crime3
CJ 2420Criminology3
CJ 3400Deviant and Criminal Behavior3
CJ 4020White-Collar Crime3
or CJ 4030 Criminal Offenders
or CJ 4060 Gender and Crime
CJ 4600Criminal and Juvenile Justice Internship3
Select one of the following courses3
American Judicial Process
Philosophy of Law
Liberty and Law in America
Criminal Justice Policies
Psychology and Law
Select 5 of the following courses15
American Judicial Process
Philosophy of Law
Race, Ethnicity, and the US Criminal Justice System
Liberty and Law in America
Police and Society
Punishment, Corrections, and Society
Prevention of Crime and Delinquency
Latinas and Victimization
White-Collar Crime
Criminal Justice Policies
Drugs and Crime
Gender and Crime
Capital Punishment
Contemporary Issues in Policing
Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
Topical Studies in Criminal and Juvenile Justice
Psychology and Law
Total Credits37

LAS majors require a minimum of 120 credits, including a minimum of 45 credits at the 3000/4000 level. You must also complete the LAS world language requirement and career proficiency requirement.

As majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Criminal Justice students must meet College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and University-wide requirements for graduation in addition to those stated above for the major.

Students in all ISU majors must complete a three-credit course in U.S. diversity and a three-credit course in international perspectives. Check ( for a list of approved courses. Discuss with your advisor how the two courses that you select can be applied to your graduation plan.

 Criminal Justice, B.A.

SOC 1150 or CJ 12000-1CJ 12101
CJ 24003CJ 24103
ENGL 15003ENGL 25003
LIB 16001Arts and Humanities Choice3
Social Science Choice3Social Science Choice3
Arts and Humanities Choice3Natural Science Choice3
 13-14 16
CJ 34003CJ 24203
World Languages/Elective3-4World Languages/Elective3-4
Arts and Humanities Choice3Math Choice3
Natural Science Choice3International Perspectives3
LAS 20301 
 16-17 15-16
CJ 4020, 4030, or 40603Criminal Justice Special Topics3
Criminal Justice Special Topics3Criminal Justice Special Topics3
ENGL 3020, 3090, or 31403Arts and Humanities Choice3
Social Science Choice3Natural Science Choice2
 15 14
CJ 3200, 3320, PHIL 3390, or PSYCH 38303CJ 46003
Criminal Justice Special Topics3Criminal Justice Special Topics3
U.S. Diversity3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 119-122

Special Topics choices: CJ 3200/POLS 3200; CJ 3320/PHIL 3320, PHIL 3390; CJ 3350, CJ 3510, CJ 3520, CJ 3540, CJ 3600, CJ 4020, CJ 4040, CJ 4050, CJ 4060, CJ 4100, CJ 4510, CJ 4700, CJ 4840*; and PSYCH 3830.
*May take up to 9 credits of CJ 4840 special topics.

Note: This is an example four-year plan. Your actual semester schedules may vary.

Criminal Justice Minor

The Criminal Justice minor offers an opportunity for students to learn about the components of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to become acquainted with the issues and problems affecting these systems, to apply theoretical concepts to real world problems, and to plan a career in the criminal justice field.

Students who declare a minor in Criminal Justice are required to complete 18 total credits. Students may do up to nine credits of SOC 4600 but only three of those credits may be applied to the minor. Nine credits must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. The minor must include at least 9 credits that are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement. Students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in courses for the minor. 

CJ 2400Introduction to the U.S. Criminal Justice System3
CJ 4600Criminal and Juvenile Justice Internship3
Four additional C J courses12
Total Credits18