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 cjsocadvising@iastate.edu 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 150 and ENGL 250.  In addition, majors must also take an advanced course in ENGL 302 or ENGL 309 or ENGL 314 with a grade of C or better.

ENGL 150Critical Thinking and Communication3
ENGL 250Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition3
LIB 160Introduction to College Level Research1
ENGL 302Business Communication3
or ENGL 309 Proposal and Report Writing
or ENGL 314 Technical Communication
Total Credits10

World Languages and Cultures

3 years of High School
SPAN 097Accelerated Spanish Review0
2 semesters at the college level8
Total Credits8

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 https://las.iastate.edu/students/academics/general-education/.

Arts and Humanities12
Math3
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 115Orientation to Sociology1
or C J 120 The Criminal Justice League Learning Community Seminar
C J 240Introduction to the U.S. Criminal Justice System3
C J 241Youth and Crime3
C J 242Criminology3
C J 340Deviant and Criminal Behavior3
C J 402White-Collar Crime3
or C J 403 Criminal Offenders
or C J 406 Gender and Crime
C J 460Criminal 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 300/400 level. 

 Criminal Justice, B.A.

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
SOC 115 or C J 1201C J 1211
C J 2403C J 2413
ENGL 1503ENGL 2503
LIB 1601Arts and Humanities Choice3
Social Science Choice3Social Science Choice3
Arts and Humanities Choice3Natural Science Choice3
 14 16
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
C J 3403C J 2423
World Languages/Elective3-4World Languages/Elective3-4
Arts and Humanities Choice3Math Choice3
Natural Science Choice3International Perspectives3
Elective3Elective3
 15-16 15-16
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
C J 402, 403, or 4063Criminal Justice Special Topics3
Criminal Justice Special Topics3Criminal Justice Special Topics3
ENGL 302, 309, or 3143Arts and Humanities Choice3
Social Science Choice3Natural Science Choice2
Elective3Elective3
 15 14
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
C J 320, 332, 339, or PSYCH 3833C J 4603
Criminal Justice Special Topics3Criminal Justice Special Topics3
U.S. Diversity3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 119-121

Special Topics choices: C J/POL S 320; C J/PHIL 332, 339; C J 335, 351, 352, 354, 360, 402, 404, 405, 406, 410, 451, 470, 484*; and PSYCH 383.
*May take up to 9 credits of C J 484 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 460 but only three of those credits may be applied to the minor.  Nine credits must be at the 300 or 400 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. 

C J 240Introduction to the U.S. Criminal Justice System3
C J 460Criminal and Juvenile Justice Internship3
Four additional C J courses12
Total Credits18