Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science Degree

Program Outline

Your program consists of 121 credits and is designed to provide the knowledge and skills you’ll need for your career.

You will receive credit for previous college work if it meets Penn Foster College standards and matches the curriculum requirements. If you wish to receive credit for previous coursework, contact the college you attended and ask that your official transcripts by forwarded to Penn Foster College for evaluation.

All previous college work must have been completed with a grade of “C” or better, and up to 75% of the required credits may be transferred. We will also credit your tuition for all the courses that are acceptable.

We’ll send your first course materials immediately after your enrollment for the first semester has been accepted. Once your transcripts have been evaluated, the required courses will follow one at a time as you complete your required assignments, so you’ll always have learning materials to work with.

The first course, Basic Skills Assessment, is available online only, which allows you to start studying right away. You will not receive hardcopy program materials for these lessons. You can access your first course as soon as your tuition payment has been received. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

All students must successfully meet the 121 credit requirements described below to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree:


Program Goal: To prepare students for professional opportunities in the United States criminal justice field and for a wide array of entry-level positions in criminal justice, as well as to provide a foundation for graduate studies.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate effective quantitative skills
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences
  • Apply the procedures used to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information in a legal environment
  • Explain the typical levels of management and organizational components in the modern police organization and other major entities of the criminal justice system and different leadership styles and theories
  • Discuss the legal system in the United States, including the origins and history of the law, the development of common law, statutory law, constitutional law and how this affects the criminal justice system
  • Analyze the substantive and procedural operations of the criminal justice system with focus on the prosecutorial, judicial, and defense functions
  • Evaluate issues of justice, professionalism, and ethics within law enforcement and the courts
  • Examine the external and internal factors that control the dynamics of law enforcement from the police, prosecution, and defense perspectives as they apply to ethical, moral, and legal applications
  • Discuss the origins and development of the law of search and seizure on the federal and state levels, the ethical and legal issues surrounding the exclusionary rule as it impacts the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and the workings of an adversarial system of justice
  • Evaluate the relationship between victims and the criminal justice system and provide details of the interaction of victims with the police, prosecutors, court, and defense attorneys
  • Discuss the principles of criminal responsibility and the requirement of culpable mental states, the various defenses used to negate or to mitigate criminal liability, and the prevailing theories and philosophies for criminal punishment including restitution, retribution, and rehabilitation
  • Discuss and compare recognized biological, psychological, and sociological theories about the causes of criminal behavior and the types of criminal behavior and methods for predicting future crime.
  • Analyze the various methods and theories of policing, including reactive, proactive, problem-solving, community policing
  • Analyze theories of corrections, rehabilitation, and punishment and how they affect correctional management practices
  • Describe the juvenile court process, including the rights of juveniles, detention and its alternatives, and how juveniles are processed in adult criminal court
  • Analyze the different types of evidence, such as crime scene evidence, documentary evidence, witness testimony, and scientific evidence. Describe the admissibility requirements for the various forms of evidence as well as the attendant ethical and legal issues presented.

All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.


HUM102 Art Appreciation (3 credits)
HUM104 Music Appreciation (3 credits)

Social Science
SSC130 Essentials of Psychology (3 credits)
SSC125 Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)
SSC260 Adolescence and Adulthood (3 credits)
SSC310 Sociology of Diversity (3 credits)

ENG100 English Composition (3 credits)
ILS103 Information Literacy (1 credit)
ENG200 Speech (3 credits)
ENG300 Advanced Composition (3 credits)

SCI140 Nutrition (3 credits)
Science Elective (select 1) (3 credits)
    SCI120 Introduction to Biology
    SCI110 Earth Science

Math/Computer Science
CSC104 Computer Applications (3 credits)
MAT115 Intermediate Algebra (3 credits)
MAT210 Business Statistics (3 credits)

Total General Education Credits 43


CJS100 Criminal Justice Orientation (1 credit)
BUS340 Organizational Behavior (3 credits)
CJS101 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)
CJS105 Ethics in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
CJS120 Police Studies (3 credits)
CJS123 Courts (3 credits)
CJS203 Criminal Procedures (3 credits)
CJS205 Juveniles and the Legal Process (3 credits)
CJS211 Correctional Institutions (3 credits)
CJS238 Criminal Law (3 credits)
PLS202 Legal Research and Writing (4 credits)
CJS350 Community Corrections (3 credits)
CJS308 Criminology (3 credits)
MAT415 Research Statistics (3 credits)
CJS307 Victimology (3 credits)
CJS400 Administration of Justice (3 credits)
CJS415 Evidence (3 credits)
CJS425 Supervision and Leadership (3 credits)
CJS450 Senior Capstone:Criminal Justice (4 credits)
CJS130 Police Management (3 credits)
SSC265 Introduction to Public Policy (3 credits)

Total Core Credits 63

Criminal Justice Elective (Select 5)
CJS209 Substance Abuse and Treatment in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
CJS220 Organized Crime (3 credits)
CJS225 White Collar Crime (3 credits)
CJS215 Terrorism (3 credits)
CJS213 Women and Criminal Justice (3 credits)
CJS210 Crime Scene Investigation (3 credits)
CJS255 Computer-Based Crime (3 credits)
CJS260 Crisis Intervention (3 credits)
CJS235 Multicultural Law Enforcement (3 credits)
PLS213 Family Law (3 credits)
BUS315 Legal Environment of Business (3 credits)

Total Criminal Justice Electives 15

Total Credits 121

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

* As a degree candidate, you will take a proctored examination at the end of each semester on selected courses within that semester. We make it easy because you pick the location and the person you want to supervise the exam, as long as Penn Foster College's established policy and qualifications are met. Complete information packets with procedures will be provided well in advance, before completion of final semester coursework.

You must complete all eight semesters, pass all courses, and achieve a cumulative Quality Point Average (QPA) of 2.0, or higher, in all studies to graduate and earn your Bachelor's Degree.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

NOTE: Shipments for students with advanced standing may vary from the schedule.

Although this outline covers 121 credits of the Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree Program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.

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