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Online Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree

Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Earn your Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree with Penn Foster College. Most courses in this program are ACE-approved for credit transfer, and over 2,000 schools consider ACE credit recommendations for transfer to their degree programs. And we average $79 per credit with no application fee. Penn Foster helps you study at home, on the go, all at a pace that’s right for you. Did you also know that Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists make an average annual salary of $48,190?¹

We’ll help you succeed with expert instruction from dedicated faculty members with real world experience, like practicing attorney Lawrence Pierce. This program will prepare you for everything you need to know in the field, including evidence, criminal procedures, community corrections, criminal law, administration of justice, supervision, and leadership.

Curriculum Details

Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment

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.

CJS100 Criminal Justice Orientation 1 credit

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and become familiar with the criminal justice system.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
  • Describe how the police legal system and corrections system work together to solve crimes, make arrests, prosecute cases, and deal with convicted offenders.
  • Identify the different tasks that police officers, private security personnel, and federal law enforcement officers do in their jobs.
  • Outline the steps of the criminal justice process, starting with the arrest, moving through
ENG103 Information Literacy 1 credit

The primary goal of this course is to teach you to find and use information at libraries and other information centers and through electronic resources available on the Web.

Objectives:

  • Locate books, periodicals, and other documents within a library.
  • Use a variety of reference sources.
  • Create effective search statements.
  • Search the Web and select the most relevant and reliable results.
  • Recognize the ethical and legal issues surrounding copyrighted information.
CJS101 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3 credits

Begin your study of the exciting field of criminal justice.

Objectives:

  • Understand the nature of crime and victimization.
  • Describe the organization, role, and function of the police, as well as issues in policing.
  • Identify the goals of punishment and sentencing as well as the role of correctional institutions.
  • Discuss how society deals with juvenile justice issues.
SSC130 Essentials of Psychology 3 credits

This course will introduce you to the relationship between biology and behavior. You will learn about the human development throughout the life span.

Objectives:

  • Identify major psychological theories.
  • Discuss consciousness, memory, thought, and language.
  • Define intelligence, personality, and stress.
  • Analyze the role of gender in psychology.
  • Explain how community influences behavior.

Additional Course Material:

  • Textbook: Psychology and Your Life
SSC125 Introduction to Sociology 3 credits

This course is designed to introduce you to social structure and social interaction through groups, networks, and organizations. Study politics, the economy, population, social movements, technology, and social change.

Objectives:

  • Describe deviance, crime, and social control.
  • Discuss the effects of stratification, racial and ethnic inequality, sex, gender, and sexuality.
  • Examine the role of health, family, education, and religion in human behavior.

Additional Course Materials:

Textbook: Society: The Basics

Supplement: Seeing Ourselves: Classic, Contemporary, and Cross-Cultural Readings in Sociology

CJS123 Courts 3 credits

Learn about the U.S. legal system and the law.

Objectives:

  • Understand how history has shaped the organization and structure of our contemporary courts.
  • Describe the structure of the court system.
  • Discuss the sources of law and the foundations of U.S. law.
  • Explain the differences between civil and criminal litigation and between litigation in the state and in the federal courts.
  • Outline the litigation process.
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 2

CSC104 Computer Applications 3 credits

This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.
ENG100 English Composition 3 credits

This course will allow you to polish and enhance your writing skills.

Objectives:

  • Effectively use free writing and brainstorming.
  • Perfect your ability to edit and revise your writing.
  • Apply techniques for getting the reader’s attention.
  • Write descriptive essays, first-person narratives, reflective essays, persuasive essays, and effective thesis statements.

Additional Course Materials:

  • Textbook: Successful College Writing
  • Supplement: The Little, Brown Essential Handbook
CJS105 Ethics in Criminal Justice 3 credits

Responding to situations ethically is crucial to public protection and the integrity of the legal profession.

Objectives:

  • Describe morality and ethics within the context of human behavior.
  • Discuss issues of ethics and law enforcement.
  • Discuss the ethics of both punishment and correction.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project and provide ethical solutions to five given scenarios.
CJS120 Police Studies 3 credits

Unfortunately, crime is a basic presence in our lives. Police work hard to deal with crime and develop ways to suppress it.

Objectives:

  • Identify the standards for police officers.
  • Describe the structure, organization, and administration of the police organization.
  • Describe how police departments deter crime.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project regarding the investigation and analysis of “victimless” crimes.
SCI140 Nutrition 3 credits

This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

Additional Course Material:

  • Textbook: Personal Nutrition
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 3

PLS202 Legal Research and Writing 4 credits

This course will introduce you to legal writing and to the great number of tools that can be used in legal research. You will practice these skills through three writing and research projects.

Objectives:

  • Format legal writing.
  • Perform some basic techniques to enhance your writing.
  • Approach a research problem from different access points.
  • Look up cases and statutes using the appropriate sources.
  • Read and brief a case.
  • Use basic procedures for citation.
  • Formulate a search request and search for documents.
  • Locate, profile, and investigate people and companies.
  • Conduct financial and business research.
  • Quickly and efficiently retrieve legal information using Lexis.com.®
CJS130 Police Management 3 credits

This course discusses aspects of law enforcement management and supervision.

Objectives:

  • Discuss community policing and problem-oriented policing adopted by progressive police agencies.
  • Describe the latest research on supervision, organizational theory, and police administrative policy.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Organizational Behavior and Management in Law Enforcement

HUM102 Art Appreciation 3 credits

This course will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to critique a variety of artwork.

Objectives:

  • Understand artistic media.
  • Identify historical periods and artistic movements.
  • Explain the roles of the artist and the viewer.

Additional Course Material:

  • Textbook: The Power of Art
MAT115 Intermediate Algebra 3 credits

This course introduces basic algebraic concepts that you’ll need to be successful in your career.

Objectives:

  • Understand the systems of equations, polynomials, and radicals.
  • Factor polynomial expressions.
  • Simplify rational expressions.
CJS238 Criminal Law 3 credits

Criminal law involves prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime.

Objectives:

  • Understand the basics of substantive criminal law and procedural criminal law.
  • Describe the principles of criminal responsibility and how crimes are classified.
  • Find out how crimes are classified and the origins of criminal law.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project where you’ll assume the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer in two high-profile murder cases.
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 4

CJS203 Criminal Procedures 3 credits

Become familiar with the procedures used in criminal cases. 

Objectives:

  • Outline the framework for studying criminal procedures.
  • Handle matters involving arrests, search warrants, and probable cause.
  • Describe exceptions to search warrant requirements.
  • Discuss admissions, confessions, and pretrial identification.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project and apply what you’ve learned about criminal procedures to a real-life criminal justice case as chronicled in the book, The Innocent Man.
ENG200 Speech 3 credits

Create effective speeches appropriate for a variety of settings.

Objectives:

  • Prepare an outline for a speech.
  • Apply techniques to develop an emotionally persuasive speech.
  • Use methods to gain the audience’s attention.
  • Learn ways to rehearse a speech.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: The Essential Elements of Public Speaking

SSC260 Adolescence and Adulthood 3 credits

Learn about human development through the adolescent years and into emerging adulthood.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the cultural basis and historical context of adolescent development.
  • Identify both the physical and cognitive changes that occur during the teen years, beginning at puberty.
  • Describe the development of the self in terms of self-esteem, social identity, and self-conception.

Additional Course Materials:

Textbook: Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural Approach

Supplement: Readings on Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

CJS307 Victimology 3 credits

For every crime committed, there’s a victim. Study the social science of victimology.

Objectives:

  • Identify a victim’s rights.
  • Describe the relationship between the victim and the criminal justice system.
  • Discuss how the criminal justice system might be changed to better serve victims.

Assignment: Complete a research project and apply what you’ve learned about victimology. Analyze the Uniform Crime Report, comment on jury duty, research the topic of battered-woman syndrome, and research victims’ rights groups.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Victimology

Science Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

SCI120-Introduction to Biology

This course will allow you to explore the origin of life and the relationships among all living things.

Objectives:

  • Explain how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

Additional Course Material:

  • Textbook: Essentials of Biology

SCI110-Earth Science

This course will allow you to learn about planet Earth and the various aspects of the environment.

Objectives:

  • Describe specific characteristics of Earth.
  • Describe different types of rock and minerals.
  • Discuss the various components of our solar system.
  • Explain the components of weather and climates.

Additional Course Material:

  • Textbook: Earth Science
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 5

CJS211 Correctional Institutions 3 credits

Explore the American correctional context, correctional practices, and a number of correctional issues and perspectives.

Objectives:

  • Understand the purpose of corrections.
  • Describe how the penitentiary form of imprisonment can aid in offender rehabilitation.
  • Identify the factors involved in deciding whether to release an offender.
  • Explain how offenders are managed in the community.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Corrections: The Essentials

ENG300 Advanced Composition 3 credits

Improve your writing and researching skills.

Objectives:

  • Create and develop thesis statements.
  • Apply appropriate writing styles to particular audiences and purposes.
  • Analyze literary elements.
  • Properly paraphrase, summarize, and quote sources.
  • Compose effective paragraphs.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Successful College Writing

CJS205 Juveniles and the Legal Process 3 credits

Juvenile justice is a field for criminal justice professionals that offers a great deal of hope for permanent rehabilitation.

Objectives:

  • Explain the philosophies and theories of the juvenile justice system.
  • Describe how children develop in various situations.
  • Identify the risk factors for delinquency.
  • Discuss the different types of corrections available to juvenile offenders.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Juvenile Justice

SSC265 Introduction to Public Policy 3 credits

Public policy decisions of the United States affect economic and social issues all over the world.

Objectives:

  • Discuss public policy enacted by our elected representatives on local, state, and federal levels.
  • Describe the economic, social, environmental, criminal, moral, and educational issues that help to define public policy.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Introduction to Public Policy

CJS308 Criminology 3 credits

Criminology is the study of the nature, extent, causes, and control of criminal behavior.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the many interrelationships of the criminal enterprise, the criminal justice system, and the study of the reasons for criminality.
  • Become familiar with the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
  • Identify the different types of research used in the criminal justice field.
  • Understand the purpose of research.

Assignment: Complete a research project on racial profiling, street gangs, motor vehicle theft, and the fourth and fifth amendments.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Introduction to Criminology: Theories, Methods, and Criminal Behavior

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 6

CJS350 Community Corrections 3 credits

Not all offenders who break society’s laws are incarcerated in jails or penitentiaries. Many such offenders stay in the community and have their behavior monitored by long-standing systems such as probation, parole, house arrest, or other programs.

Objectives:

  • Describe the role and function of probation and parole.
  • Discuss the issues involved with community-based corrections for the drug and alcohol addicted, the mentally ill, sex offenders, women, and juveniles.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Community-Based Corrections

MAT210 Business Statistics 3 credits

This course will provide you with the opportunity to explore statistics and how they affect business.

Objectives:

  • Interpret and present data.
  • Analyze frequency distribution, averages, dispersion, and index numbers.
  • Conduct time series analysis.
  • Forecast business.
  • Apply the theory of probability and statistical inference.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Statistics for Business and Economics

SSC310 Sociology of Diversity 3 credits

Discover cultural competence, prejudice, and identity development, and learn how such issues impact the lives of minority persons in the acquisition of services within a dominant culture. In addition, explore your own culture and how it impacts your interactions within your world.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Cultural Diversity

Free Criminal Justice Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

CJS220-Organized Crime  (3 credits)

Learn about organized criminal groups ranging from tight-knit outlaw motorcycle clubs to international groups that now operate on a global scale.

Objectives:

  • Outline the origins of American organized rim in various cities and among different ethnic groups.
  • Analyze the development of organized crime internationally.
  • Describe how law enforcement has responded to organized crime on a local, national, and international level.

Prerequisite: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Textbook: Organized Crime

CJS225-White Collar Crime  (3 credits)

White collar crime is financially motivated and nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. It is very different from other crimes, not only in the way the offenders are treated but also in the way it impacts society as a whole.

Objectives:

  • discuss various theories of white collar crime.
  • Describe occupational and governmental crime.
  • Explain how police attempt to regulate white collar crime.

Textbook: White Collar Crime: The Essentials

CJS215-Terrorism  (3 credits)

Terrorism became a major concern for all American citizens after the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially for law enforcement professionals.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the theory and practice of domestic and international terrorism.
  • Describe the world of the terrorist.
  • Understand the role of law enforcement and security to keep our country functioning and free of domestic terrorism.

Prerequisite: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: Terrorism and Homeland Security

CJS210-Crime Scene Investigation Basics  (3 credits)

Crime scene investigations entails mastering and practicing acceptable procedures and techniques, and it has become a growing concern in the law enforcement practice.

Objectives:

  • Describe general crime scene investigation operations and tactics.
  • Properly handle physical evidence.
  • Understand the nature of criminal and civil liability as they relate to criminal investigation.

Textbook: Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation

CJS255-Computer Based Crime  (3 credits)

Cyberspace is an environment favorable to committing some traditional crimes and to creating new ones.

Objectives:

  • Classify computer crimes in terms of targets, means, and incidentals.
  • Describe the processing of information at the scene, including taking pictures, making sketches, looking for trace evidence, locating evidence, and bagging and tagging.

Prerequisite: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Textbook: Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime

CJS260-Crisis Intervention  (3 credits)

Crises are a normal part of our lives. Whether it's a devastating flood, a terrorist attack, cancer, or a loss of primary income, crisis workers have to be able to help clients overcome negative feelings and painful emotions.

Objectives:

  • Deal with people in crisis in a culturally sensitive manner.
  • Describe the different types of crises experienced in adolescence.
  • Understand how to handle loss, posttraumatic stress disorder, and crises of victimization.

Prerequisites: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: A Guide to Crisis Intervention

CJS235-Multicultural Law Enforcement  (3 credits)

Examine the issues of crime and justice with respect to race and ethnicity.

Objectives:

  • Discuss how race and ethnicity affect the likelihood of being victims of crime or offenders.
  • Describe how people of various races and ethnicity are treated in criminal courtrooms and by the police.

Prerequisites: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: Race and Crime a Text/Reader

ECE210-The Child, Family, and Community  (3 credits)

Learn about the relationship among the child, the family, and community in a day care setting.

Objectives:

  • Identify components of high-quality care for young children.
  • Recognize forms of communication aimed at parents or caregivers, such as newsletters or a website that encourages and details fun family activities for learning.

Textbook: Child, Family, and Community

PLS213-Family Law  (3 credits)

This course will provide you with a solid foundation in the basic legal principles that apply to family law.

Objectives:

  • Describe the origin, development, and current trends in family law.
  • Define the elements of a valid premarital agreement.
  • Discuss the difference between a traditional ceremonial marriage and a common law marriage.
  • Explain the difference between a divorce and an annulment.

Textbook: Family Law

BUS315-Legal Environment of Business  (3 credits)

Explore the legal aspects of business today.

Objectives:

  • Understand the basics of the U.S. legal system and how it affects business on a daily basis.
  • Describe the sources of law.
  • Identify the elements of contracts and rules pertaining to contracts.
  • Identify and interpret laws pertaining to ownership and transfer of property.
  • Describe the formation of sales and lease contracts and the arising legal issues.

Textbook: Business Law


HUM104 Music Appreciation 3 credits

This course will help you understand and appreciate the art of music.

Objectives:

  • Explain the roles of the composer and the listener.
  • Describe music theory, instrumentation, and historical periods.
  • Distinguish various styles of music.

Additional Course Material:

  • Textbook: Listen to This
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 7

BUS340 Organizational Behavior 3 credits

Get an overview of management approaches.

Objectives:

  • Outline the process of human decision making.
  • Manage groups and conflict.
  • Structure, design, and organize groups.
  • Discuss power and influence.
  • Learn about the fundamental forces of change.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Organizational Behavior

CJS400 Administration of Justice 3 credits

For laws to achieve their intended purposes, they must be enforced by the hard-working men and women of the criminal justice system.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the policymaking function of justice administration.
  • Identify the administrative challenges and practices that apply to the employees of the criminal justice system.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Justice Administration

CJS415 Evidence 3 credits

Criminal evidence is crucial to the justice system. Evidence is what we use to prove or disprove a fact, a case, or a conviction.

Objectives:

  • Determine whether or not witness testimony is admitted into evidence during a criminal trial.
  • Describe the different types of evidence, such as crime scene evidence, documentary evidence, and scientific evidence.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Criminal Evidence

Free Criminal Justice Electives (Choose two) 6 credits

CJS220-Organized Crime  (3 credits)

Learn about organized criminal groups ranging from tight-knit outlaw motorcycle clubs to international groups that now operate on a global scale.

Objectives:

  • Outline the origins of American organized rim in various cities and among different ethnic groups.
  • Analyze the development of organized crime internationally.
  • Describe how law enforcement has responded to organized crime on a local, national, and international level.

Prerequisite: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Textbook: Organized Crime

CJS225-White Collar Crime  (3 credits)

White collar crime is financially motivated and nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. It is very different from other crimes, not only in the way the offenders are treated but also in the way it impacts society as a whole.

Objectives:

  • discuss various theories of white collar crime.
  • Describe occupational and governmental crime.
  • Explain how police attempt to regulate white collar crime.

Textbook: White Collar Crime: The Essentials

CJS215-Terrorism  (3 credits)

Terrorism became a major concern for all American citizens after the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially for law enforcement professionals.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the theory and practice of domestic and international terrorism.
  • Describe the world of the terrorist.
  • Understand the role of law enforcement and security to keep our country functioning and free of domestic terrorism.

Prerequisite: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: Terrorism and Homeland Security

CJS210-Crime Scene Investigation Basics  (3 credits)

Crime scene investigations entails mastering and practicing acceptable procedures and techniques, and it has become a growing concern in the law enforcement practice.

Objectives:

  • Describe general crime scene investigation operations and tactics.
  • Properly handle physical evidence.
  • Understand the nature of criminal and civil liability as they relate to criminal investigation.

Textbook: Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation

CJS255-Computer Based Crime  (3 credits)

Cyberspace is an environment favorable to committing some traditional crimes and to creating new ones.

Objectives:

  • Classify computer crimes in terms of targets, means, and incidentals.
  • Describe the processing of information at the scene, including taking pictures, making sketches, looking for trace evidence, locating evidence, and bagging and tagging.

Prerequisite: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Textbook: Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime

CJS260-Crisis Intervention  (3 credits)

Crises are a normal part of our lives. Whether it's a devastating flood, a terrorist attack, cancer, or a loss of primary income, crisis workers have to be able to help clients overcome negative feelings and painful emotions.

Objectives:

  • Deal with people in crisis in a culturally sensitive manner.
  • Describe the different types of crises experienced in adolescence.
  • Understand how to handle loss, posttraumatic stress disorder, and crises of victimization.

Prerequisites: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: A Guide to Crisis Intervention

CJS235-Multicultural Law Enforcement  (3 credits)

Examine the issues of crime and justice with respect to race and ethnicity.

Objectives:

  • Discuss how race and ethnicity affect the likelihood of being victims of crime or offenders.
  • Describe how people of various races and ethnicity are treated in criminal courtrooms and by the police.

Prerequisites: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: Race and Crime a Text/Reader

ECE210-The Child, Family, and Community  (3 credits)

Learn about the relationship among the child, the family, and community in a day care setting.

Objectives:

  • Identify components of high-quality care for young children.
  • Recognize forms of communication aimed at parents or caregivers, such as newsletters or a website that encourages and details fun family activities for learning.

Textbook: Child, Family, and Community

PLS213-Family Law  (3 credits)

This course will provide you with a solid foundation in the basic legal principles that apply to family law.

Objectives:

  • Describe the origin, development, and current trends in family law.
  • Define the elements of a valid premarital agreement.
  • Discuss the difference between a traditional ceremonial marriage and a common law marriage.
  • Explain the difference between a divorce and an annulment.

Textbook: Family Law

BUS315-Legal Environment of Business  (3 credits)

Explore the legal aspects of business today.

Objectives:

  • Understand the basics of the U.S. legal system and how it affects business on a daily basis.
  • Describe the sources of law.
  • Identify the elements of contracts and rules pertaining to contracts.
  • Identify and interpret laws pertaining to ownership and transfer of property.
  • Describe the formation of sales and lease contracts and the arising legal issues.

Textbook: Business Law


Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 8

BUS350 Supervision and Leadership 3 credits

The process of leadership involves more than having a supervisory title or a managerial position within an organization. Leadership involves evaluation, methodology, psychology, and influence.

Objectives:

  • Discuss relevant leadership issues, theories, and principles.
  • Identify the major approaches to leadership.
  • Describe the role of leadership as it relates to culture and globalization.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Leadership: Theory and Practice

MAT415 Research and Statistics 3 credits

Statistics are the language of communication in the research field.

Objectives:

  • Apply scientific methods of inquiry to various research goals.
  • Use research methods to evaluate criminal justice theories, applications, and policies.

Additional Course Material:

Textbook: Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology

Free Criminal Justice Electives (Choose two) 6 credits

CJS220-Organized Crime  (3 credits)

Learn about organized criminal groups ranging from tight-knit outlaw motorcycle clubs to international groups that now operate on a global scale.

Objectives:

  • Outline the origins of American organized rim in various cities and among different ethnic groups.
  • Analyze the development of organized crime internationally.
  • Describe how law enforcement has responded to organized crime on a local, national, and international level.

Prerequisite: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Textbook: Organized Crime

CJS225-White Collar Crime  (3 credits)

White collar crime is financially motivated and nonviolent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. It is very different from other crimes, not only in the way the offenders are treated but also in the way it impacts society as a whole.

Objectives:

  • discuss various theories of white collar crime.
  • Describe occupational and governmental crime.
  • Explain how police attempt to regulate white collar crime.

Textbook: White Collar Crime: The Essentials

CJS215-Terrorism  (3 credits)

Terrorism became a major concern for all American citizens after the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially for law enforcement professionals.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the theory and practice of domestic and international terrorism.
  • Describe the world of the terrorist.
  • Understand the role of law enforcement and security to keep our country functioning and free of domestic terrorism.

Prerequisite: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: Terrorism and Homeland Security

CJS210-Crime Scene Investigation Basics  (3 credits)

Crime scene investigations entails mastering and practicing acceptable procedures and techniques, and it has become a growing concern in the law enforcement practice.

Objectives:

  • Describe general crime scene investigation operations and tactics.
  • Properly handle physical evidence.
  • Understand the nature of criminal and civil liability as they relate to criminal investigation.

Textbook: Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation

CJS255-Computer Based Crime  (3 credits)

Cyberspace is an environment favorable to committing some traditional crimes and to creating new ones.

Objectives:

  • Classify computer crimes in terms of targets, means, and incidentals.
  • Describe the processing of information at the scene, including taking pictures, making sketches, looking for trace evidence, locating evidence, and bagging and tagging.

Prerequisite: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Textbook: Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime

CJS260-Crisis Intervention  (3 credits)

Crises are a normal part of our lives. Whether it's a devastating flood, a terrorist attack, cancer, or a loss of primary income, crisis workers have to be able to help clients overcome negative feelings and painful emotions.

Objectives:

  • Deal with people in crisis in a culturally sensitive manner.
  • Describe the different types of crises experienced in adolescence.
  • Understand how to handle loss, posttraumatic stress disorder, and crises of victimization.

Prerequisites: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: A Guide to Crisis Intervention

CJS235-Multicultural Law Enforcement  (3 credits)

Examine the issues of crime and justice with respect to race and ethnicity.

Objectives:

  • Discuss how race and ethnicity affect the likelihood of being victims of crime or offenders.
  • Describe how people of various races and ethnicity are treated in criminal courtrooms and by the police.

Prerequisites: CJS120-Police Studies

Textbook: Race and Crime a Text/Reader

ECE210-The Child, Family, and Community  (3 credits)

Learn about the relationship among the child, the family, and community in a day care setting.

Objectives:

  • Identify components of high-quality care for young children.
  • Recognize forms of communication aimed at parents or caregivers, such as newsletters or a website that encourages and details fun family activities for learning.

Textbook: Child, Family, and Community

PLS213-Family Law  (3 credits)

This course will provide you with a solid foundation in the basic legal principles that apply to family law.

Objectives:

  • Describe the origin, development, and current trends in family law.
  • Define the elements of a valid premarital agreement.
  • Discuss the difference between a traditional ceremonial marriage and a common law marriage.
  • Explain the difference between a divorce and an annulment.

Textbook: Family Law

BUS315-Legal Environment of Business  (3 credits)

Explore the legal aspects of business today.

Objectives:

  • Understand the basics of the U.S. legal system and how it affects business on a daily basis.
  • Describe the sources of law.
  • Identify the elements of contracts and rules pertaining to contracts.
  • Identify and interpret laws pertaining to ownership and transfer of property.
  • Describe the formation of sales and lease contracts and the arising legal issues.

Textbook: Business Law


CJS450 Senior Capstone: Criminal Justice 4 credits

Apply your criminal justice skills and write about how search-and-seizure laws relate to a specific instance and how the law would apply in your state. Then address the debate about individuals’ rights—of both the accused and the victim.

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. 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, Microsoft® Office 2013, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

NOTE: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.
Although this outline covers all eight semesters of your program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Credits earned in Penn Foster programs may transfer to some, but not all, learning institutions. If you are planning to continue your education with another school after you earn your degree from Penn Foster, you should check with that school regarding credit transfer policies.
Microsoft, Windows, Excel, and PowerPoint are registered trademarks and Word is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Criminal Justice sample lesson, click here.

Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Program Details

Penn Foster will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need:

  • Nature of crime, law, and criminal justice
  • How courts and corrections systems operate
  • Police management
  • Theories of crime causation
  • Criminal procedures regarding private security and juveniles

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists, on the Internet here (visited February 18, 2014).

Criminal Justice graduates are prepared to respond to crises, security issues, and criminal investigations, using studies in public policy, corrections, criminology, and victimology. Here are a few qualities that effective criminal justice professionals have in common:

  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and analyze a situation.
  • Dependable: Clients and law enforcement rely on you to be organized and prepared.
  • Persistent: You work well under pressure and in the face of obstacles.
  • Honest: You are honest and ethical in investigations and security concerns.
  • Cooperative: You are pleasant and listen to what others have to say regarding projects and tasks.

Before I came to Penn Foster I was a security officer, and I didn’t have any type of goals or anything I could look forward to. I came to Penn Foster, and Penn Foster changed my whole entire life.

- James T., Criminal Justice graduate

After earning my degree I received a pay increase and a promotion to a supervisor position. In my opinion, Penn Foster College ranks among the top online colleges in the world. The instructors are superb, helpful, and there with you every step of the way. Also, the student services representatives are courteous and understanding; they are there to answer any questions you may have. After each assignment I completed, the staff of Penn Foster always had encouraging statements that helped me to stay on course. Congrats to Penn Foster College on being the best and bringing the best out of me.

- Shawn C., Criminal Justice graduate

After attending several on- and off-campus universities and colleges in the last 30 years, and having already served as a police officer for almost 30 years, I can attest that Penn Foster is as professional, or more so, than any institution of academia I've attended. I'm more than pleased with my Penn Foster learning experience.

- Robert H., Criminal Justice graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Criminal Justice academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Are webinars included in the Criminal Justice degree programs, and how do I sign up for webinars?

Yes, there are several webinars for Criminal Justice students. Students register for webinars through the student portal. More information on webinars can be found on our Community.

Can you transfer credits from the Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program to the Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Program at Penn Foster?

Yes, credits earned in the Associate Degree in Criminal Justice are transferable to the Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice.

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