Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree General Criminal Justice Concentration

About Criminal Justice

Sharpen your knowledge and critical thinking skills to excel in the criminal justice profession.

If you're ready to build a solid foundation for a successful career in criminal justice, choose PennWest California for our comprehensive and well-respected bachelor's degree program.

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is led by a team of faculty scholars and professionals with extensive career experience. They are ready to prepare you academically as you study the major functions and operations of the criminal justice field. PennWest California offers five concentrations within the B.S. in Criminal Justice:

Get a competitive edge with a highly ranked, hands-on program.

PennWest California's B.S. in Criminal Justice was recently ranked #18 in Best Online Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degree Programs (2016) by

 The B.S. in Criminal Justice program offers an excellent blend of liberal arts and professional courses to develop critical thinkers and well-versed communicators. You'll be well prepared to pursue leadership positions in various justice-related professions or go on for further studies in law or graduate school.

Learn about our accelerated bachelor's-to-master's degree program.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Criminal Justice  

Concentration:  Your curriculum for the general criminal justice concentration includes a broad overview of courses such as Introduction to Law Enforcement, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Law, Correctional Systems, Leadership and Ethics, and more. The general criminal justice program allows students to tailor their program with a wide range of justice electives to fit student interest and career aspirations. The Introduction to Criminal Justice course covers the nature, scope and impact of crime in the United States, introducing students to the three components of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, courts and corrections. It also includes an overview of career opportunities within the criminal justice and security fields.

Solid foundation: The criminal justice curriculum consists of a required core of 11 courses that provide a broad and coherent approach to the six content areas identified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences: administration of justice, corrections, criminological theory, law adjudication, law enforcement, and research and analytic methods.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at PennWest California.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in criminal justice, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
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Degree Benefits

PennWest California prepares you to enter the workforce with knowledge, integrity, character and experience. In addition to a strong faculty with top academic and professional credentials, the program offers access to forensic labs and forensic computer investigation labs. With the help of the Career and Professional Development Center, students also are connected to potential employers through networking events, job shadowing opportunities, on-campus recruiting, job and internship fairs, and organizational visits. 

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Graduate Outcomes

As a graduate of the criminal justice program, you will have the education, skills and training necessary to meet your individual and career goals. Taught by highly qualified professors who have real-world experience, criminal justice students get access to hands-on internships. Our well-prepared graduates find employment in: Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Courts and law offices. Correctional institutions. Probation and parole offices. Juvenile justice fields. Security firms (private, government, homeland and international). Emerging fields of forensic science, electronic fraud and white-collar crime.

Criminal Justice General Criminal Justice Concentration

B.S., Criminal Justice General Criminal Justice Concentration Courses and Related Programs


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any Public Speaking Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
Any Technological Literacy Course
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
3 or 4
Social Sciences
Any Social Science Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • Any Technological Literacy Course
  • Any General Education Courses (two courses)
Required Major Courses 33
JUS 101  Intro to Criminal Justice Studies 3
JUS 102  Intro to Law Enforcement 3
JUS 103  Correctional Systems 3
JUS 331  Juvenile Justice 3
JUS 361  Court Systems 3
JUS 375  Criminal Law 3
JUS 376  Criminal Procedure 3
JUS 466  Leadership and Ethics in Criminal Justice 3
JUS 495  Research Methods in Criminal Justice 3
JUS 496  Criminological Theory 3
JUS 499  Seminar in Criminal Justice Studies 3
Related Electives 21
Select seven JUS courses 21
Additional Electives 25 or 26
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): JUS 499 Seminar in Justice Studies
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): Any two JUS approved Writing-Intensive Menu courses
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): Any Laboratory Course

Program Notes: 42 credits (or 14 courses) of upper-division (300- or 400-level) courses are REQUIRED. Any related electives not listed must be approved by adviser.

Related Programs


  • Minor in criminal justice
    Take two required courses (6 credits) plus five Justice electives (15 credits)

  • Minor in forensic science
    Take four required courses (12 credits) plus three Justice electives (9 credits)


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Experienced Faculty

Our faculty is composed of highly qualified and dedicated full-time professors with terminal degrees in their fields and real-world professional experience. Our professors have earned J.D., Ph.D. and other doctoral degrees from such institutions as Columbia University, University of Notre Dame, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Robert Morris University. Part-time instructors in the undergraduate criminal justice program are outstanding, offering valuable perspectives from their experience as practitioners. 

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Professional Connection

Many PennWest California professors are members of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), an international association established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice. ACJS promotes criminal justice education, research, and policy analysis within the discipline of criminal justice for both educators and practitioners.

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Student Resources

Criminal justice students can enhance their academic study at PennWest California by joining Lambda Alpha Epsilon (LAE), the national criminal justice association. LAE introduces students to the criminal justice system and to employment opportunities, and it also serves as an excellent networking tool with practitioner members. Alpha Phi Sigma  is the national honor society for criminal justice majors. The society recognizes scholastic excellence by undergraduate and graduate students in criminal justice.