About The Program
Northern's criminal justice major, offered on campus and online, 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.
A criminal justice degree from Northern prepares you to succeed in law enforcement; various roles in municipal, state, and federal courthouses; probation; or correctional institutions.
You might pursue a career in the juvenile justice field as a juvenile detention officer, or work with court personnel monitoring juvenile probationers.
You'll also be prepared to work in victim services or in an advocacy role with victims, or work with people with substance abuse problems.
Other career options include pursuing a law degree or graduate-level education in criminal justice and related fields, such as clinical mental health counseling.
For more information on careers in your major or help choosing a major, contact Career Services.
For criminal justice students seeking hands-on experience, Aberdeen is a convenient center of local, state, and federal law enforcement organizations, including the Aberdeen Police Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
As the county seat, Aberdeen also features the Brown County Courthouse, which houses a Court Services office.
If you're a highly motivated criminal justice student, you could land an internship with one of these organizations - and possibly receive academic credit while gaining real-world experience and making an impact.
“I originally transferred to Northern so that I could be near my mom. Once I toured the campus, it became clear to me just how different Northern was to the school that I was previously at. At my old school, I quite literally just felt like a number. Even when I was signing up for classes, I was only given a number and didn’t really get any help figuring out what classes I should be enrolled in. At Northern, however, I can have an actual connection with my professors, advisors, and classmates. If I ever have questions, I know I can reach out to any of the people around me and that they will do their best to help me however they can. Northern has also given me the opportunity to study music and criminal justice. I think a lot of what music stands for is more peaceful, and I think a lot of what criminal justice needs is more peace and trying to think outside the box. People usually think it’s a weird combination of degrees, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Overall, I have felt embraced and cared about by everyone at Northern, and that has been really special.”—Melissa Ulber, Riverside, Calif. #beNORTHERN #unleashYOURpotential #NorthernStateU #WhyNSU #WolvesMaskUp
For more information about this degree, call 605-626-2267. Or, contact NSU Admissions at 605-626-2544 or email@example.com.
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.
CJUS 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CJUS 203 Policing in a Free Society (online)
CJUS 380 Research/Data Analysis in Criminal Justice
CJUS 433 Criminal Procedure (online)
SOC 455 Juvenile Delinquency (online)