Northern's online associate degree in criminal justice will prepare you to deal with the complex issues facing today's criminal justice professional.

    About The Program

    Format: Online or On Campus


    With Northern's online associate degree in criminal justice, you'll be well-equipped for a career in the criminal justice profession, gaining a background in the foundational terminology of the criminal justice system.


    You'll be exposed to introductory-level courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, criminology and the correctional field. This online associate degree in criminal justice - also offered on campus - will illuminate the intricate relationships among the police, the courts and corrections. You'll come to understand how the criminal justice system addresses the needs of all its actors, including offenders, victims, the families of victims and perpetrators, society, and criminal justice personnel.


    When applying for a job, a degree from Northern's online associate program will make you more competitive for entry-level employment in local, county and state law enforcement and correctional agencies in South Dakota and throughout the Midwest. While a candidate for employment in criminal justice requires only a high school diploma or GED, more agencies are requiring a minimum of 60 hours of post-high school education as a condition of employment.




    The state of South Dakota has a multitude of criminal justice positions for which it routinely hires: highway patrol trooper, highway patrol motor carrier services, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) special agent, correctional officer, parole agent, probation agent, juvenile corrections agent, conservation officer, and Game, Fish & Parks law enforcement officer. Similarly, South Dakota counties and cities are in the market for deputy sheriff and local law enforcement officers.


    NSU professors can help guide you regarding career opportunities in the region.


    An internship is not required as part of this online program; however, internship credits will count as elective credit if you choose to complete an internship experience.


    NSU professors are happy to guide you regarding internship placements.

    Sample Plans of Study
    Contact Information

    For more information about this degree, which is offered online or on campus, call 605-626-2267.

    Ph.D., Sociology, University of Michigan, 2016

    B.A., Sociology, Indiana University, 2010



    Dr. Christopher Near joined Northern State University in 2020 as an assistant professor. He taught previously at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


    Courses Taught

    CJUS 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice

    CJUS 203 Policing in a Free Society (online)

    CJUS 380 Research/Data Analysis in Criminal Justice

    CJUS 401 Law and Society (online)

    CJUS 433 Criminal Procedure (online)

    SOC 351 Criminology

    SOC 455 Juvenile Delinquency (online)


    Research Interests

    White-collar crime and corporate wrongdoing

    Family structure and children's behavior problems


    Recent Publications