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Total Credit Hours: 124

Transfer Credits: Up to 94

Whether you see yourself out in the field investigating the scene of the crime or policing the streets, the online criminal justice degree program at SC will prepare your for a wide range of career options in the field of criminal justice. Students experience relevant courses including criminal law and procedure, criminal investigations, and cybercrime.

  • Gain experience in the field of criminal justice including criminal investigations, evaluation of evidence, and ethical standards through applied project-based learning
  • Stack with the Cybercrime Investigation Certificate to build additional credentials
  • Learn from experienced law enforcement professionals who bring real-world application to the online classroom.
  • Discover more reasons to choose SC!

Recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report for its online bachelor’s degree programs, Southwestern College offers quality online degrees to adult learners. With courses taught by expert faculty and access to a variety of student resources, SC learners are provided with the tools and flexibility needed to succeed in their education while preparing for professional advancement.

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Projected Job Growth (BLS): 16%

Average Salary (PayScale): $60k

Graduates of the online criminal justice program at Southwestern College will be prepared for a variety of careers, including:
  • Forensics examiner
  • State trooper
  • Corrections officer
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Emergency management coordinator
  • FBI agent


“It only takes six week to accomplish any class. They’re challenging but they continue to push you further.”
Tacarra, graduate


Visit our faculty page to view current criminal justice instructors.

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Students enrolled in the online criminal justice program at Southwestern College can expect to:
  • Recognize the historical development, philosophy and operation of the criminal justice system, criminal justice careers, and the various skills and attributes of a successful criminal justice professional.
  • Apply community-based policing strategies, investigative techniques, case law, practices and procedures of criminal investigations, and criminal data analysis processes to the prediction and prevention of crime.
  • Incorporate the historical perspectives of corrections, alternatives to imprisonment, institutional corrections, and the types of correctional clients.
  • Integrate the various components and procedures of the juvenile justice system and the theories of criminology and victimology with emphasis on the sociological aspects of various types of criminals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of constitutional and criminal law, principles of search and seizure, evidence, criminal prosecution and defense, trial process, sentencing, and other criminal procedures.
  • Evaluate contemporary management problems and issues confronting criminal justice organizations, and their respective organizational structures, leadership philosophies, and governing policies and procedures.
  • Appraise the application of various strategies for policing and communicating in diverse environments in the workplace and communities.
  • Assess the moral and ethical dilemmas present throughout the criminal justice system.


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Cybercrime Investigation Certificate
Organizational Communication Certificate
Security Management


The Criminal Justice program focuses on the social and operational aspects of criminal justice, as the contemporary demands of the discipline requires a strong ethical foundation, along with critical thinking, leadership and innovative approaches towards public safety. In addition, program learners are afforded an understanding of the nature of crime and the personnel, institutions, and community involvement processes that assist in the response to, and prevention of crime. Learners learn both the theory and the operational practice of the criminal justice system. With specific emphasis on fostering community relationships, diversity, ethics, communication, leadership, psychological, and sociological aspects of the criminal justice environment. The curriculum covers crime and criminal behavior, policing, criminal investigation, cybercrime, criminal law and procedure, courts, corrections, criminal justice careers, and administration and management of criminal justice organizations.

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must be graduates of an accredited high school or have completed a GED®
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.0

Core Major Requirements

CJUS301: Introduction to Criminal Justice

This course surveys the concepts of crime and justice, the rule of law, and provides an overview of how crime impacts society. Learners will be introduced to criminal justice theory, law enforcement and the Constitution, criminal courts, and the correctional system. Additional issues and challenges affecting modern policing are also discussed.

CJUS311: Careers and Perspectives in Criminal Justice

This course examines the history, roles, and challenges of law enforcement careers in American society. Learners will develop an understanding of the constitutional, ethical, and workplace expectations and attributes of a successful criminal justice practitioner, and the nature of police work. Learners will also discuss the stressors and psychological factors involved in criminal justice, and well as discussing wellness principles and concepts.

CJUS321: Criminology

In this course, learners will explore the origins of criminal behavior and apply criminological knowledge in the effort to understand criminal and deviant behavior. Learners will examine misconceptions and myths about crime as they develop an informed and critical understanding of crime as a function of social and political structures. Learners will also examine how politics and societal attitudes impact policy formation and develop the tools to use data, facts, and evidence to achieve results. Finally, learners will examine the evolution of theories of crime causation, strategies and purposes of crime measurement, and new and future trends in crime.

CJUS330: Criminal Law & Procedure

This course surveys due process rights of individuals in the criminal justice process. Learners will discuss and analyze the structure and processes of local, state, and federal judicial systems, paying special attention to the impact of the Bill of Rights on the practices of police, prosecutors, and judges, including an examination of the remedies available for the violation of those rights. Learners will explore topics including searches and seizures, interrogations and confessions, evidentiary procedures and the identification and processing of suspects and defendants throughout the pretrial, trial, and post‐trial stages.

CJUS341: Juvenile Justice Systems

This course will focus on the analysis of juvenile justice practices, policies and delinquency theories. Learners will examine topics to include, but not limited to juvenile crime prevention and treatment strategies, gangs, case law, juvenile court procedures, probation, and emerging trends in the administration of juvenile justice.

CJUS356: Correctional Theory and Practice

This course will introduce learners to the history, philosophy, and structure of the American corrections system. Learners will examine the roles and functions of jails, probation, prisons, parole, intermediate sanctions, and community corrections. Learners will also examine correctional clients and careers, facility management and culture, constitutional guidelines, and the societal and individual impact of prison, probation, and other correctional approaches. Finally, learners will examine issues including the death penalty, restorative justice, the disproportionate incarceration rate of minorities, and the expansion of the corrections industry, including privatization and community surveillance.

CJUS362: Criminal Investigations

This course surveys the principles, practices, concepts, and theories applicable to the investigation procedures of law enforcement agents and agencies. Learners will assess the skills necessary for the effective conduct and management of criminal investigations, not limited to, but including techniques for collecting, preserving, and evaluating physical evidence. Learners will examine evidence collection relying on interviews and interrogation techniques with a focus on ethical standards and the admissibility of evidence. Learners will also review case law, legal standards and procedures associated with criminal investigations and examine the range of evidence that can be collected and admitted in federal and state criminal courts. Finally, learners will examine the elements of successful courtroom demeanor and testimony and techniques for effective prosecution of criminal cases.

CJUS401: Ethics and Diversity in Criminal Justice

This course will focus on the ethical issues and moral dilemmas commonly found across the criminal justice discipline. The importance of gender, sex and racial diversity in the administration of criminal justice will be discussed. Learners will also examine cultural and communication issues encountered in policing multicultural communities.

CJUS411: Cybercrime

In today’s technology centered society and business environment cybercrime is a major concern. This course introduces learners to the many different types of cybercrime and the challenges facing the criminal justice system in the investigation and prosecution of such. Learners will analyze issues including, but not limited to hacking, digital forensics, cyber security policy and legal principles, fraud, and internet schemes, and cyber-bullying. Learners will also examine investigative techniques and mitigation strategies.

CJUS421: Policing & The Community

This course will focus on policing models that focus on prevention measures, community engagement, partnerships in crime reduction and problem solving. Evaluation of community and problem-oriented programs and strategies are analyzed, as well as other crime reduction initiatives and social aspects of policing.

CJUS431: Criminal Justice Organizations: Administration and Management

This course introduces learners to endemic and emerging administrative problems and issues confronting the criminal justice agency. Learners will describe, analyze, and synthesize contemporary management problems and issues in a criminal justice organization. Modern leadership and management functions, and concepts significant to criminal justice organizations will be reviewed.

CJUS441: Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice

This course will include an intensive examination of specialized contemporary topics in criminal justice. Topics may vary from course to course, but will include subjects such as substance abuse, gangs, race, hate groups, women in the criminal justice system, leadership, domestic violence, human trafficking, social media, domestic violence, terrorism, homeland security, civil liberties, crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), use of force, body cameras, forensics, electronic crimes, GIS, and other criminal justice trends and related technologies.

CAPS495: Senior Capstone

Learners engage in two projects that assess their achievements and preparation for pursuit of professional aspirations in their major field. Through application and assessment, learners examine the knowledge and skills gained throughout the program, achievement of the program outcomes, and their preparation as followers and leaders in their chosen professional field.
Prerequisites: The capstone should take place within the last 9 hours of a learner’s program.

General Education Requirements*

Basic Skills

CORE110: Information Literacy

This course is designed to provide learners with the skills that are fundamental to becoming an information‐literate professional who can locate, evaluate, organize and communicate information. The abundance and rapid flow of data requires skill development in the understanding of information resources, accessing information sources, determining the credibility of Internet information, logically organizing sources and finally presenting the information professionally.

ENGL101: Composition 1

This course helps learners develop writing skills that are transferable to any academic or workplace writing task. The course guides learners through the process of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading academic and workplace writing. Learners will develop skills necessary to craft coherent sentences and paragraphs, to edit editing their writing for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. They will learn about narrative structure and techniques as well as the elements of successful argumentation and persuasive discourse. This course also guides learners through every stage of the research process. Learners will develop a research plan, conduct research, organize and draft a research paper, and then revise, edit, and proofread that research paper.

ENGL102: Composition 2

This course builds on the thinking and writing skills introduced in Composition 1. Learners will write critical, argumentative essays based on their interpretations of nonfictional texts, including literary, film, and cultural texts, and in doing so, will recognize the role of rhetoric in the writing situation as they craft persuasive discourse. In doing so, they will learn methods of questioning, analyzing, and evaluating their own beliefs as well as the perceptions and perspectives of others. These methods of critical thinking are intended to improve the quality and organization of learners’ writing for any purpose, including academic and workplace purposes. In addition to writing essays, learners will develop more advanced research strategies, as well greater proficiency in APA style.
Prerequisite: ENGL101

COM125: Speech

This course helps learners majoring in any discipline strengthen communication skills essential for success in academics and the workplace. Learners will focus on listening, evaluating, and delivering spoken discourse based on audience and purpose. Learners will evaluate why some people are more effective than others as public speakers, analyze speeches and audiences, study ethical considerations for speakers, research and organize findings on a topic, and present findings before an audience, and learn techniques for identifying and reducing speech anxiety.

MASC110 Statistics & Probability or MASC115 College Algebra

MASC110 Statistics & Probability, or MASC115 College Algebra, or more advanced college credit bearing mathematics course requiring college algebra or higher as a prerequisite.

Ethical Reasoning

HUM201: Ethics

Ethics introduces learners to moral philosophy, the branch of philosophy that questions what is good and bad. The course surveys a number of important ethical theories—ethical relativism, objectivism, egoism, altruism, utilitarianism, duty‐based moral theory, natural law, natural rights, and virtue ethics—as they examine reasons why certain actions are morally right or wrong. Learners will apply ethical theories in the evaluation and analysis of current controversial issues, question ethical matters from a variety of angles, and acquire new tools to assist them in making ethically sound, well‐informed decisions throughout their lives.

Disciplinary Perspectives

Natural Science (3 or more credit hours)
Social Science (3 or more credit hours)
Humanities (3 or more credit hours)
The Arts (3 or more credit hours)
Other Cultures (3 or more credit hours)


CAPS495 Senior Capstone

Senior capstone or major capstone course.

*Most general education requirements are waived for students with an AA, AS, or AAS degree. Speak to your admissions counselor for details.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Complete all foundation and major courses with an overall GPA of 2.0
  2. Complete a minimum of 124 credit hours, with at least 60 hours at a bachelor’s degree-granting institution
  3. Complete at least 30 credit hours with a C average or above from Southwestern College

All degree requirements are subject to change. Please see Southwestern College Professional Studies Catalog for the most current degree requirements.

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