Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Online

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Online

Flexible Online Courses, Rigorous Law Enforcement Training

BS in Criminal Justice | Program Highlights

Northern Michigan University offers an online bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice built with industry professionals for busy students like you. With our in-depth online program, you’ll be prepared for an advanced career in criminal justice while you continue to work and take care of your other life responsibilities. Prepare for a variety of careers in the criminal justice system and set yourself up for advancement in this rewarding field.

Flexible, Rigorous Online Curriculum

Transfer up to 90 Credits

Industry-Relevant Internships

Learn From Experts in the Field

Learn More About NMU’s Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

What will you learn in NMU’s Bachelor of Criminal Justice Program?

As a student in the criminal justice online bachelor’s degree program, you’ll learn the advanced processes by which justice is disturbed in our society and understand the functions and operation of our justice system which includes law enforcement, the criminal court system and corrections. You’ll understand the role that individuals play in the dispensation of justice.

  • Policing
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation
  • Media and Crime
  • Community-based Corrections
  • Forensic Photography
  • Criminal Law
  • Wildlife Crime
  • Native American Justice
  • Race and Criminal Justice
  • And so much more…

How much does an online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice cost at NMU?

The full program costs vary depending on student status. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships based on eligibility. A financial aid representative can help you make decisions about how to pay for college. Contact: Financial Aid Office: fao@nmu.edu or 906-227-2327

Criminal Justice Careers

Graduates of NMU’s Online BS in Criminal Justice are prepared for a variety of challenging and fulfilling careers or to continue their education as outstanding grad school candidates. Career opportunities include law enforcement, adult and juvenile corrections, detective, investigator and more. You may find opportunities within federal, state or local agencies.

Source Bls.gov

Police and Detectives


Forensic Science Technicians


Probation Officers and Correctional Specialists


Online BS in Criminal Justice Admission Requirements

Admission requirements differ depending on the status of the applicant (first-year student, transfer, etc.) and the level of academic program.

First-year/Freshman Applicants:

  • Applicants with a cumulative high school GPA of 2.25 or higher (4.0 scale) and documented high school graduation or GED/equivalency completion will be admitted to NMU.
  • Applicants with a cumulative high school GPA less than 2.25 will need additional review and may be either regularly admitted to the university, conditionally admitted, or admitted with restriction to a specific program.
  • Some academic departments may have additional requirements for admission to specific programs.

Transfer Students

  • Transfer applicants will be admitted if they have achieved a cumulative college GPA of 2.00 or higher in college-level courses taken at all post-secondary institutions attended after high school and are eligible to return to the last institution attended.
  • Transfer applicants with fewer than 12 semester credit hours (or 18 quarter hours) of college-level coursework after high school graduation will be reviewed based on both high school and college performance.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Curriculum

Total Credits Required for Degree60
General Education32
EN 111 College Composition I4
EN 211 College Composition II4
Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis Elective4
Social Responsibility in a Diverse World Elective4
Integrative Thinking Elective4
Human Expression Elective4
Perspectives on Society Elective4
Scientific Inquiry Elective4
Required Courses in Major24
CJ 110 Introduction to Criminal Justice4
CJ 212 Introduction to Policing or CJ 220 Introduction to Corrections4
Criminal Justice Electives*16
General Electives

*Other approved CJ course work (e.g., transfer credit or newly approved CJ courses) at the 200-400 level (except CJ 491 Internship), not listed, may be used to satisfy the requirements in the CJ elective area. CJ 491 Internship will count in the general elective area.

1.  No more than 4 credits of CJ 191 and/or CJ 298 may be applied toward this degree. CJ 191 and CJ 298 do not apply toward the major in the bachelor’s degree.
2.  This degree requires an overall 2.0 GPA.
3.   All criminal justice courses used in the major require a minimum grade of “C”.

Total Credits Required for Degree
General Education
Required Courses in Major
Criminal Justice Core
CJ 110 Introduction to Criminal Justice

In this introduction to the criminal justice system, learn the various subcomponents of the
criminal justice system, including the police, courts and corrections. The course will illustrate the
importance of the criminal justice system and how components of the justice system work
together in the administration of justice in a democratic society. Discussions include current
problems faced by the criminal justice process.

CJ 212 Introduction to Policing

Explore the role of law enforcement in the criminal justice system and society at large.
Emphasis is placed on the history and current practices in policing, policing strategies, the
demands and rewards of law enforcement careers and the dilemma inherent in policing a free

CJ 220 Introduction to Corrections

Learn the philosophy, theory and practice involved in dealing officially with convicted offenders
in this introductory course. The course includes analysis of treatment and post-correctional
practices plus functions of parole and probation. Problems, trends and issues are identified.

CJ 213 Introduction to Criminal Courts

Learn about the criminal court system and criminal adjudication processes from setting bail to
criminal sentencing and appeal. Students analyze the role of the prosecutor, the role of the
defense attorney, the role of judges and the courtroom work group.

CJ 263 Criminology

Learn about the nature of crime, the causes of crime, the extent of crime and the methods of
treatment and prevention of crime and criminality. Emphasis is placed on theories and methods
of studying crime and criminal behavior as social phenomena.

CJ 315 Criminal Procedure

Learn about the rules of evidence, arrest procedure, and other legal procedures in important
areas such as use of force, search and seizure.

CJ 490 Professional Development and Assessment

Learn about the information and perspectives necessary for a successful career search in the
criminal justice field. It will encourage students to explore their values, skills and competencies
in order to come to a better understanding of the unique qualities and abilities that each may
contribute to their chosen profession. Finally, students will assist with the accomplishment of the
department’s assessment objectives by participating in select activities and discussions.


Criminal Justice Electives*

Choose from the following. At least 16 credits must be at the 300 level or above.
CJ 214 Criminal Investigation

Learn the theory of investigation, crime scene conduct, collection and preservation of physical
evidence. Students also are introduced to criminalistics and crime scene analysis and
processing. The course provides an overview of methods used in scientific interpretation of
evidence, pursuit of investigative leads and preparation of evidence for use in the judicial

CJ 221 Roles of the Corrections Client

Learn to study offenders in terms of their personal criminal background and definitional
dimensions. Attitudes, behavior and criminal careers are examined in this study of criminals to
help students develop realistic perspectives on crime and criminals.

CJ 223 Use of Force and Less Lethal Weapons

Students examine the use of force by law enforcement officers and the major court decisions
that dictate how and when force is appropriate. A significant focus is placed on less lethal
weapons and their placement within the force continuum through the use of a use of force
training simulator.

CJ 245 Legal Issues in Corrections

Learn about the major issues in criminal convictions, as well as the trends, political and social
dimensions of criminal convictions. Coursework includes an analysis of constitutional law, court
decisions, current legislation of the federal and state law affecting prisons and the judicial

CJ 250 Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation

Focus on planning, conducting and analyzing interviews and interrogations as part of
conducting investigations. Students learn fundamental theories in practical exercises including
detecting deception. The class will analyze and discuss key United States Supreme Court
decisions, particularly Miranda v. Arizona and the subsequent Fifth and Sixth Amendment cases
that guide current practices in public and private investigations.

CJ 255 Drugs, Crime and the Justice System

Learn the history and current state of the illegal drug problem in the United States from the early
1800s to present. This includes the nature of illegal drug use, the relationship between drugs
and crime, illegal drug production and trafficking, the structure of illegal drug enterprises, drug
user profiles, drug control policy and treatment programs, and the drug legalization debate.

CJ 273 Environmental Conservation Criminology

This course involves the scientific study of environmental crime, sometimes referred to as green
crime, including their forms, causes, victims, and efforts for prevention and control. The course
focuses on theoretical explanations of environmental or green crimes, offender behavior, victim
characteristics, greater social harms, and the role of specialized agencies within the justice
system that focus on prevention of environmental crimes.

CJ 285 Race, Crime, and Criminal Justice

This course provides a survey of the intersection of race and ethnicity with the criminal justice
system. This course will emphasize the role of ethnicity and race in criminal justice in respect to
crime, victims of crime, offenders, defendants and criminal justice professionals.

CJ 295 Special Topics in Criminal Justice

This course focuses on special issues in criminal justice.

CJ 308 Media and Crime

Learn about the relationship between media and crime and how it impacts the criminal justice
system. Television, film, newspapers, the internet and social media shape our ideas and
responses while impacting the commission of crime. Key criminological theories and concepts
are utilized to analyze the construction of crime news and other popular media representations.

CJ 322 Institutional Corrections

Learn about the operation and history of prisons and jails in the United States and other
countries through in-depth analysis. The course covers management and operation of prisons
and jails from the perspective of both employees and inmates. This course also explores the
role of civil commitments as a form of involuntary incarceration in the prison system in America
and around the world.

CJ 323 Community-Based Corrections

Learn about non-institutional corrections and the contemporary means and philosophy of
positive intervention in the lives of selected offenders in an effort to facilitate improved social
functioning. Specific attention is given to such critical corrections issues as resource brokering,
problem solving, accountability and communication. Methods and techniques of service delivery
within the context of probation, parole, diversion, halfway houses and other community settings
are stressed.

CJ 333 Forensic Photography

Learn about the crucial role photographic documentation plays in the criminal justice system.
The knowledge of proper photographic techniques helps ensure that evidence is documented
correctly and admissible in a court of law. This course examines how forensic photography is
used within the criminal justice system in the investigation and prosecution of cases. Students
will learn and apply photographic investigative skills in practical exercises and study the law of
evidence as it applies to this practice.

CJ 340 Firearms and Violence

Learn about firearm ownership, use and gun violence in the United States. Topics include the
technical aspects of firearms, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the
research on firearm violence and the arguments for and against gun control.

CJ 350 Substantive Criminal Law

Learn about the body of United States common law and statutory law that defines criminal
offenses; regulates the apprehension, charging and trial of suspected persons; establishes the
legal defenses; and sets penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders.

CJ 370 American Street Gangs

Learn about the history of gangs, gang and gang member characteristics, gang life, female
gang members, reasons for joining and leaving gangs, gang violence, prison gangs and
strategies of gang control. This course also addresses definitional issues associated with
correctly identifying and classifying gangs and gang members.

CJ 383 Environmental Conservation Law

Learn about the specialized area of environmental crime law implemented to protect wildlife, the
natural environment and humanity. Students will examine the legislative history of laws
designed to protect the environment and study local, state and federal law including statutes
and court decisions that address wildlife conservation and other environmental issues.
International treaties such as the Conventional on the International Trade in Endangered
Species will be highlighted for study.

CJ 412 Crisis Intervention and Stress Analysis

This course examines the challenges and risks of crisis intervention in law enforcement,
including the various “front line” crisis intervention situations encountered by police and
corrections officers. Emphasis is on the dynamics of interpersonal relations and crisis
intervention techniques, especially in conflict-oriented situations. Alternatives available to
officers, as well as the relative roles of other legal and social agencies, will be discussed. The
second half of the course will focus on stress issues relative to police and corrections personnel.

CJ 414 Advanced Criminal Investigation

This course offers an in-depth study of advanced criminal investigation methods using the latest
research and the application of relevant crime scene technology and technology used in
complex investigations through realistic simulations and case studies.

CJ 426 International Crime and Comparative Criminal Justice Systems

This course explores the justice systems of various countries and compares the significant
similarities and differences between them and the United States. Both statutory law and
common law are analyzed, as well as crime rates by country, prevention, detention and judicial

CJ 429 Advanced Policing

Learn about the many important policing issues faced by modern law enforcement officers. This
class will examine many of the current policing issues in an effort to get students to begin
formulating possible solutions to these important problems.

CJ 432 Violent Crime and Victimology

This course provides an examination of criminal victimization in the United States via an
overview of current theory, research and trends within the context of specific victimization types.
Particular attention is paid to violent crimes. Students examine specific types of violent crime,
the impact of crime on victims and society, the relationship between offenders and victims, the
role of victims within the criminal justice system, specific remedies, and victim rights and

CJ 435 Domestic and International Terrorism

Learn about the history and current state of the problem of domestic terrorism and international
terrorism. This includes the types and nature of terror; profiles of the individuals, organizations
and nation states involved in terrorism; their motivations and targets; the attacks against the
United States; strategies currently used to control and prevent terrorism; and the prospects for
the future.

CJ 440 Discretionary Justice

Learn about the use of discretion in criminal justice taught in seminar style. Students are
required to participate in realistic simulated decision-making situations that reveal subjective
and subtle influences on the decision makers. Police, institution classification and parole
decision issues are emphasized.

CJ 454 Wildlife Crime

This course focuses on crimes against wildlife, flora and fauna, both endangered and thriving.
Topics include the nature of the wildlife trade; legislation used to control and prevent the illegal
commercialization of wildlife; analysis of specific aspects of crime, including poaching and
wildlife trade; the role of public and private zoos and animal brokers; and examination of
successful and unsuccessful international conservation programs.

CJ 460 Native American Justice

Learn the important distinctions between ordinary criminal justice systems (CJS) and criminal
justice systems operating in Indian country. Typical criminal justice courses neglect these
differences and fail to fully prepare students for careers in the CJS field. Therefore, this is a
unique comparative criminal justice course in that comparisons of CJS components are
examined in Indian country as compared to those components operating in larger American

CJ 465 Problem Solving in Criminal Justice

This course focuses on the art and science of problem-solving. Students will be instructed in
use of the SARA model of problem solving that is currently utilized by law enforcement and
corrections agencies nationwide.

CJ 470 Liability Law in Criminal Justice

Learn about the statutes, constitutional law and case law contrasted against factual
backgrounds that give rise to liability. Emphasis will be placed on understanding strategies for
minimizing the potential administrative, civil and criminal liability exposure to individuals and

CJ 480 Cybercrime

This course examines the history of cybercrime and the current state of domestic and global
cybercrime. The situation involves exploring various types of crimes committed with computers,
the internet and electronic devices. Students learn investigative techniques and legal issues
related to the investigation of cybercrimes. Also, forensic issues addressed will include
recognition of leads, tracking cybercriminals as well as the collection and preservation of
computer-related (digital) evidence.

CJ 491 Internship in Criminal Justice

Supervised field experience through university-arranged criminal justice internship placements
in law enforcement, corrections, loss prevention or other criminal justice agencies.

CJ 495 Special Topics in Criminal Justice **

The study of special issues in criminal justice at a more advanced level. Sometimes used to
accommodate the training of visiting lecturers.

CJ 497 Teaching/Research Apprenticeship ***1-4
CJ 498 Directed Study ***1-4

*Other approved CJ course work (e.g., transfer credit or newly approved CJ courses) at the 200-400 level, not listed, may be used to satisfy the requirements in the CJ elective area. Up to 4 credits of CJ 491 Internship may count toward the major. Additional CJ 491 credits will count in the general electives area.

**No more than 8 credits of CJ 495 may be counted toward the major.
***No more than 4 credits of CJ 497 and/or CJ 498 may be counted toward the criminal justice major.

1. This degree requires an overall 2.0 GPA.
2. All criminal justice courses used in the major require a minimum grade of “C”.
3. CJ 191, CJ 298 do not apply toward the bachelor’s degree program.

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