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B.A. in Criminal Justice: Curriculum

Curriculum Details

120 Total Credits Required

To receive a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, St. Paul, all undergraduate students must complete the general education requirements. The bachelor’s degree in criminal justice delivered online also requires 45 credit hours of coursework covering foundations of the criminal justice system, research methods in the field, constitutional justice, cultural considerations, contemporary issues, and more.

The program core can be completed in just over five semesters, although your transfer credits and general education coursework will vary the time it takes you to finish.

Required Courses


This course will offer a robust overview and more profound understanding of criminology designed to provide an extensive emphasis on personal development, by examining career roles, responsibilities, policies/procedures, and administration of various public and private agencies and organizations, involving multiple federal, state, county, local, tribal, and international components, that constitute modern-day Criminal Justice System. Students will explore critical issues affecting multi-cultural populations, administration of justice and develop deeper awareness involving domestic violence intervention, interpersonal communication, and trauma-informed approaches. Students will also explore the evolution of technology approaches, proactive intervention efforts, and community-based treatment programs as well as implications of vicarious/secondary trauma experienced and explore a variety of strategies for practitioner survival mindset.

This course will provide a forum for students to gain an understanding of how academic writers use the writing process to shape initial ideas and effectively communicate in the Criminal Justice System as a whole and develop an understanding and link between criminological theory, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and literature review research analysis and comparison. Students will utilize this course to further their individual reflection while developing and practicing the necessary skills to be successful in accessing criminal justice-related research and statistics that will assist them in balancing this academic program and realizing how these skill sets transition into their Criminal Justice environment.

This course is designed to understand the roles of various federal, state, county, local, tribal, and international components of the Criminal Justice System and how these systems work collaboratively. Students will further explore career insights, trajectory, and professional networks and internship opportunities. Students will identify and apply concepts and principles from a system perspective lens through current challenges within the systems and further explore these interlocking systems as change agents, exercising creative problem-solving processes. Through this course exploration, students will develop skill sets to bridge communication and strengthen collaboration between systems. Students will promote a deeper awareness of vicarious/secondary trauma experienced and explore a variety of approaches for practitioner survival mindset.
(Prerequisites: CJU 442 and CJU 446)

This course is designed to explore and develop the understanding and working knowledge of broad and specific variations of federal, state, county, local, tribal, and international components that influence constitutional, criminal, and criminal justice process civil law and how it affects the Criminal Justice System in the modern day. Students will review foundational history, basic concepts, and key participants in the courtroom/trial to understand interpretations of the Constitution by the United States Supreme Court impacting criminal justice. Moreover, students will learn and apply practical research strategies to find relevant case law. This course will use an assortment of case studies, individual research, and in-depth group discussions.

The course is designed to conceptualize the balance between community and Criminal Justice Systems, within the framework of cross-culture and diverse populations albeit related to critical social problems and Criminal Justice System responses to manage and influence them. This course prepares students to explore various vocational fields such as law enforcement, security, courts, corrections, probation/parole, social services, community reintegration, and treatment services by building skill sets to professionally and effectively manage challenging and diverse situations, employing deeper understanding and appreciation for culture uniqueness by acknowledging individual awareness, system-oriented bias, and refining effective communication skill sets.

The course is designed to expose students to ethical decisions and useful leadership traits within the Criminal Justice System by examining the power in discretionary decisions influenced by individual attitudes, values, and beliefs. Further exploration involving concepts such as public service, authority, control, discretion, law, individual liberty and punishment, bias, and cynicism will evaluate alternatives within the multi-systemic Criminal Justice System when solving dilemmas. This course prepares students to acquire skills in moral sensibility and fundamental leadership principles to effectively resolve individual issues in discretionary decision making as it applies to professional codes of ethics and within the boundaries of the law.

The course is designed to afford students deeper focus on current and relevant topics and patterns in today’s Criminal Justice System while drawing upon constitutional and criminal law, spirituality, values, and ethics further building innovative problem-solving skill sets to address emerging public safety issues. Further exploration involving concepts such as individual and community behavior, multi-cultural aspects, use of force, suicide by cop, mental illness, body cameras, and the interworking of the multi-systemic Criminal Justice System. Additionally, students will further explore the evolution of the multi-systemic Criminal Justice System brought on by the war on terrorism, rapid technological changes, police accountability, accusations of racial profiling, and the redesign of community policing in the 21st century.

The course explores the theories and research that define logical components and causes to the criminal mind, including mental health, brain structure and function, and environmental factors associated with identifying suspect behavior and exploring preventative and intervention strategies, and treatment modalities. Students will identify general theoretical frameworks to include Choice Theories, Psychological Theories, Sociological Theories, Life Course Theories, Criminology Theories as well as further examine how past and present understanding of the criminal’s behaviors has determined the contemporary responses in our society as well as the final treatment of offenders within the Criminal Justice System.

This course focuses on issues related to juvenile delinquency and justice, biological and psychological development including the impact adverse childhood experiences, risk/protective factors, criminal exposure, and criminal behavioral perspectives toward adult and elderly criminal behavior response through the lifespan. This course will also examine delinquent and criminal behaviors comparing foundational history, policies, and practices of the juvenile justice and adult criminal systems from prevention, arrest to post-incarceration, and rehabilitation, within the context of federal, state, county, local, tribal, and international components. As well as further analyze elements involving adversity, cultural aspects, victimization, environmental, data statistics and patterns, legal requirements, and community and societal reactions and perceptions of law violations and correctional practices.

Experiential Learning eFolio is an integral component to enhance a student’s total academic experience through a “field apprentice” in a Criminal Justice System setting, receiving academic credit for their work. Designed as a capstone eFolio model used throughout their academic criminal justice program journey, students will institute a plan of observation, study, and participation in a Criminal Justice System setting linking theoretical, conceptual, and practical experiences to examine, challenge, question, and broaden their educational experience. This course will further expose students an opportunity to formalize their career goals.

Choose one of the following courses


This course will provide the opportunity for developing a basic working knowledge and strengthening individual understanding of the Minnesota Criminal Code by covering procedural law, crimes against persons and property, juvenile offenses, and rights of peace officers. Students will also examine Minnesota Traffic Laws to include driving rules, licensing, specialty vehicles, equipment requirements along with alcohol and controlled substance violations. Additionally, the exploration and discussion will cover key elements of crime, levels of offense, applicable case law, common defenses, and sentencing guidelines. (The course is required for students who intend to take the POST Exam for Minnesota Law Enforcement Officers).

This course is designed as a systematic and comprehensive exploratory approach to the evolution of forensic science relative to crime scene management and various technology considerations in Criminal Justice Systems. Students will delve into practical application in a forensic investigation by utilizing foundational theoretical frameworks. Students will research and examine various technologies used in forensic investigation explore risks and vulnerabilities, and examine specialty cases, case law, and require record evaluations involving the evidentiary collection, preservation, analysis, as well as the admission of legal evidence in court. (The course maybe substituted for students who do not intend to take the POST Exam for Minnesota Law Enforcement Officers).

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