Criminal Justice Program Requirements featured image background

Colleges and Schools

The School of Professional Studies Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice has been discontinued and is no longer accepting new students.

Program Requirements

All School of Professional Studies degrees require a total of 120 semester hours of credit, which can be fulfilled through a combination of North Park classes and transfer credits. Learn more about program requirements for all our majors.

Bachelor of Arts

Students seeking a bachelor of arts (BA) in criminal justice will gain the professional knowledge and skills needed to work and advance as police officers as well as other positions in law enforcement, private security, corrections, victim assistance, probation, parole, federal service, and social service agencies. This curriculum also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in criminal justice or law.

Criminal Justice Major Requirements

Criminal Justice Minor

The minor includes the required course CJ3000 and then students may select any combination of the remaining courses to equal a total of 20 sh. The minor reflects the core content in the field of criminal justice.


Click on the links below for course descriptions of all criminal justice courses. For a complete list of all North Park’s programs and course offerings, review the academic catalog.

Provides an interdisciplinary and critical analysis of the criminal justice system in the United States. Emphasis is on key theories, causation of crime, and pertinent research that assesses the implications for policies related to crime control and prevention. An analysis of the roles of the police, prosecution, defense attorneys, and courts, from diversionary processes to arrest, trial and sentencing and imprisonment. An examination of contemporary structures and practices of corrections will build upon a historical understanding of the criminal justice system in the United States. Representative Supreme Court decisions in the law of arrest, right to counsel, capital punishment, search and seizure, and self-incrimination are analyzed.

Emphasis is on the theory, principles, and methods used in criminal justice research. The course addresses a broad range of research methods, data collection strategies, and analytical tools that are commonly used in the criminal justice system. Provides an overview of various types of research design and data collection strategies such as questionnaires, interviews, observational techniques, sampling, and the use of secondary sources, computers, and other technology.

Review of the historical and contemporary structure, philosophical underpinnings, and administration of adult corrections in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the purpose and goals of the correctional system and the critical issues and problems facing it today. Major topics include discussion of the various philosophies of punishment, sentencing strategies, and the prison community. The social, political, and economic impact on correctional services, such as boot camps, sentencing reform, overcrowding, community-based alternatives, punishment versus rehabilitation debates, and reintegration are explored.

The contemporary juvenile justice system is analyzed from historical and philosophical perspectives. An overview of the procedures, structures, and treatment of juvenile offenders are provided as well as an exploration of the purpose and primary operations of juvenile detention and probation services. Further emphasis is placed on the nature and extent of delinquency, theories of causation, current trends, prevention, problem solving, and the delivery of services to this population. Students compare and contrast different approaches and future trends in juvenile justice among countries within and outside of the United States.

An overview of the structure of the United States court system, sources of individuals' rights and the constitutional limitations on the prohibition of criminal conduct will provide a foundation for this study of criminal procedural law. This course will examine the legal continuum from the initial search and seizure of a suspect, to the arrest and interrogation, pre-trial process, criminal trial, sentencing and punishment, and appeal and post-conviction rules.

Provides an overview of criminal law with an emphasis on the major crimes to include offenses against: the person, habitation, property, public morality, alcohol and drug offenses, and white collar and organized crime. The course will explore an individual's liability for criminal conduct, criminal responsibility or intent, and the circumstances that may modify the individual's responsibility for a criminal act. Special defenses to criminal acts will also be discussed.

Intensive investigation of a selected topic in criminal justice offered from time to time at the discretion of the School of Adult Learning.

Application of the fundamental theories and principles related to the professional management and administration of law enforcement agencies. The basic management concepts of police administration and forms of police organization are analyzed and evaluated. Examines specific operational functions such as budgeting, personnel, planning, technology, and productivity measurements. Designed to assist students in developing the ability to interpret and implement complex policy such as homeland security into their professional practice.

An overview of the most common crimes and issues related to crime and delinquency within urban communities. In-depth analysis of theories and research that emphasize community factors that lead to crime and delinquency, including local community approaches to crime prevention. Topics include but are not limited to youth culture and deviance, substance abuse, gun control, and domestic violence. Current community-oriented initiatives such as problem oriented policing and alternatives to incarceration aimed at reducing crime will be discussed.

An in-depth analysis of the key principles and concepts critical to the practical application of restorative justice. Acknowledges that crime causes injury to people and communities and that restorative justice seeks healing, wholeness, and reconciliation for all parties. Introduces the student to a variety of established restorative methods such as family/group conferencing, victim/offender mediation, and peacemaking circles.

An intense examination of the ethical dilemmas and diversity issues facing the professional criminal justice practitioner. Myths and realities surrounding race, gender, social class, and the relationship to the criminal justice system are discussed. Typical applied ethical issues might include the following: plea bargaining, capital punishment, insanity defense, mandatory sentencing, search and seizure rules, white collar crime, terrorism, and community-based alternatives to incarceration.

The practicum includes observation and hands-on experience within an appropriate criminal justice agency. The student will develop and/or work on a larger institutional-wide project that involves reflection and application of theory and research learned in the classroom to practical situations in the work setting. The student applies relevant theory and research methods to inform their practicum project. The practicum is designed to increase the student's interdisciplinary knowledge and practical skills employed in the field of criminal justice. The practicum is approximately four hours a week over one full semester and is the final course in the major.

Advanced independent research in criminal justice.

An assignment in the field of criminal justice other than the current employer in which reflective experience is the goal. Interested students who have completed 20 hours or more in the major should apply to their academic advisor.