Criminal Justice (BA)

Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Major: Criminal Justice
Program Code: 3706

About This Major . . .

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is designed to provide students interested in careers in the justice system with the knowledge, communication and critical thinking skills necessary for success in their field. Graduates secure positions in policing, courts, and corrections. Many also use this degree as the starting point in their pursuit of a law degree.  Finally, the degree will assist students in their upward mobility in their area of employment.

Important information for this degree: 

  • Students must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • Selective Admissions: All students intending to obtain a BA or BAS in Criminal Justice will initially be enrolled as pre-criminal justice majors. Students must earn a “C” or better in CRMJ 110 and CRMJ 201 prior to enrolling in any additional program specific courses.  Core courses CRMJ 110CRMJ 201CRMJ 310CRMJ 320, and CRMJ 328 must be completed with a “C” or better before students will be admitted into the BA/BAS major.  Students must also complete MATH 110 (or higher) and ENGL 111 – both with a “C” or better prior to acceptance as a Criminal Justice major.  GPA within these subjects must be at least 2.5.  Overall cumulative GPA after 45 credit hours (approximately 3 semesters) must be at least 2.5.  Please see the Criminal Justice Student Handbook for more information. Transfer students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit Career Services’ What to Do with a Major? resource. 

All CMU baccalaureate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and practice of each segment of the Criminal Justice System: police, courts, and corrections.\ (Specialized Knowledge)
  2. Examine diversity issues and assess their impact on work and ethical practices in criminal justice (Ethical Reasoning/Personal and Social Responsibility).
  3. Apply major criminological theories to criminal behavior. (Critical Thinking)
  4. Recognize quantitative and qualitative research methods, navigate scholarly information systems, identify and select quality sources and materials, and assess the validity and reliability of data (Quantitative Fluency and Information Literacy).
  5. Demonstrate proficient oral communication and writing skills that are formal and professional in nature.\ (Communication Fluency)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU baccalaureate degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 120 semester hours minimum.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 30 of the last 60 hours of credit at CMU, with at least 15 semester hours in major discipline courses numbered 300 or higher.
  • 40 upper-division credits (an alternative credit limit applies to the Bachelor of Applied Science degree).
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 30 semester credit hours for a baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 15 of the 30 credits may be for cooperative education, internships, and practica.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Specific to this program:

Students must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.

Essential Learning Requirements

(31 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below. If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

English 1
ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
Mathematics 1
MATH 110Mathematical Investigations-GTMA1 (or higher)3
Select one History course3
Select one Humanities course3
Social and Behavioral Sciences 2
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Fine Arts
Select one Fine Arts course3
Natural Sciences 3
Select one Natural Sciences course3
Select one Natural Sciences course with a lab4
Total Semester Credit Hours31

Must receive a grade of “C” or better and must be completed by the time the student has 60 semester hours.


Recommended: POLS 101, PSYC 150, SOCO 260, or SOCO 264.


One course must include a lab.

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
Select one Activity course1
Essential Learning Capstone 1
ESSL 290Maverick Milestone3
ESSL 200Essential Speech1
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Essential Learning Capstone must be taken after completion of the Essential Learning English and Mathematics requirements, and when a student has earned between 45 and 75 hours.

Foundation Courses

(10 semester hours - must receive a grade of C or better in all courses)

STAT 215Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences4
Select two consecutive classes in the same foreign language6
Total Semester Credit Hours10

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(46-48 semester hours - must receive a grade of “C” or better in all core and restricted elective courses and maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher in coursework in this area.)

Core Courses
CRMJ 110Orientation to Criminal Justice Inquiry1
CRMJ 201Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRMJ 302Ethics in Criminal Justice3
CRMJ 310The Police Process3
CRMJ 315Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CRMJ 320Corrections3
CRMJ 328American Court Systems3
CRMJ 370Criminology3
Select one of the following:3
Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
Comparative Criminal Justice
Structured Research
Criminal Justice Electives
Select at least one course from each subfield: 112-13
Crime Scene Processing
and Crime Scene Processing Laboratory
Community Policing
Criminal Investigations
Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
White-Collar Crimes
Criminal Procedure
Civil Liability for Law Enforcement and Corrections
Constitutional Law
Criminal Law
Trial, Evidence and Legal Advocacy
Community Corrections
Capital Punishment
Restorative Justice
Inside-Out Prison Exchange
Criminal Justice Theory
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Intimate Partner Violence
Mental Illness and Crime
Crime and Deviance
Women and Crime
Crisis Intervention in Criminal Justice
Violent and Serial Offenders
Media and Crime
Total Semester Credit Hours37-38

Criminal Justice Electives taken beyond the required 12-13 semester hours can also satisfy the restricted elective requirement.

Restricted Electives
Select 9-10 semester hours chosen from any of the above listed Capstone or Criminal Justice Electives courses, CRMJ 396 Topics, CRMJ 496 Topics, or CRMJ 495 Independent Study. 19-10
Total Semester Credit Hours9-10

Internship may not be repeated if taken to meet the capstone requirement and may only count as 1 to 3 credits toward the 6 restricted credits. 300 and 400-level Topics courses may be taken more than one time if the course has a different topic.

General Electives

All college level courses appearing on your final transcript, not listed above that will bring your total semester hours to 120 hours. 25-27 semester hours; additional hours of upper division may be needed.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science with Lab 4
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
CRMJ 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
CRMJ 110 Orientation to Criminal Justice Inquiry 1
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
ENGL 112 English Composition II-GTCO2 3
Essential Learning - Mathematics 3
CRMJ 328 American Court Systems 3
CRMJ 310 The Police Process 3
CRMJ 320 Corrections 3
Activity Course Selection 1
 Semester Credit Hours16
Second Year
Fall Semester
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
STAT 215 Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences 4
Essential Learning - Social/Behavioral Sciences 3
Essential Learning - History 3
Essential Learning - Humanities 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
Foundation Course - Foreign Language 3
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
ESSL 290 Maverick Milestone 3
ESSL 200 Essential Speech 1
Essential Learning - Social/Behavioral Sciences 3
CRMJ 315 Research Methods in Criminal Justice 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Third Year
Fall Semester
CRMJ 302 Ethics in Criminal Justice 3
Criminal Justice Elective - Policing 3
Criminal Justice Elective - Courts 3
Criminal Justice Elective - Corrections 3
Criminal Justice Restricted Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CRMJ 370 Criminology 3
Criminal Justice Elective - Criminal Justice Theory 3
General Elective 3
Restricted Electives (2 courses) 6
 Semester Credit Hours15
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Restricted Elective 3
General Electives (4 courses) 12
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Capstone Course 3
General Electives (3 courses) 9
 Semester Credit Hours12
 Total Semester Credit Hours120

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for their intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be their responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.