Criminal justice - society’s system to address crime - is a multi-stage process that spans arrest, investigation, trial and punishment. Active in this process are law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Northern's criminal justice program will help you achieve your personal and professional goals within the field. Whether you want to be a state or federal law enforcement officer, legal professional, corrections officer, probation officer, juvenile detention officer or victim advocate, our program provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities you need to excel.
A criminal justice degree provides wide-ranging foundational knowledge of the U.S. criminal justice system. In this program, you'll learn about criminal law and procedure, policing, the judicial system, the correctional system, and criminological theory.
Our program offers answers to criminal justice questions, including:
- What does it mean for an offender to get off on a technicality?
- What's the difference between murder and manslaughter?
- Why do people commit crimes?
- How are victims served and supported in the criminal justice process?
Northern's AA degree in criminal justice is available entirely online.
Choose a Specialized Track
Northern's bachelor's degree in criminal justice was built with you in mind. Since the criminal justice field offers so many unique career opportunities, we recognize that students will benefit from maximum flexibility in course choices. Select one of three distinct academic tracks to best suit your career goals: if you'd like to attend law or graduate school, you might choose the law and policy track and add a legal studies minor. Or, to graduate and get right to work in public service, you'd choose the law enforcement and homeland security track or corrections and juvenile justice track.
Law and Policy Track
On this track, you'll choose from classes on public administration, courts and judicial politics, criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, international human rights and international law and organizations. You'll gain a thorough understanding of specialized areas of law; learn legal research and writing; and become familiar with the U.S. legal system, legal terminology and constitutional law and procedures.
Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Track
This track offers classes on U.S. homeland security, policing in a free society, crime scene investigation, criminalistics in the classroom and lab, criminal procedure and cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Students on this track analyze crime and justice and study American police, court and corrections systems and homeland security.
Corrections and Juvenile Justice Track
Included in this track are classes on social work, victimology, prisons and penology, community corrections, juvenile delinquency, and child abuse and neglect. Classes present the U.S. human and social service systems and their role in criminal justice; the correctional and juvenile justice systems; programs for juvenile and adult offenders, victims, and their families; and ways to advocate for offenders, victims, and correctional, juvenile and social service system officials.