BS in Criminal Justice - Curriculum

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The online criminal justice program at Southern New Hampshire University bridges the gap between theory and application. Upon completion of the BS in Criminal Justice, you will be competent in:

  • Applying criminological theories of human behavior to the analysis of crime causation, including biological, sociological, and psychological factors and influences
  • Applying principles of criminal law to promote ethical policing strategies and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens
  • criminological scientific methods of inquiry to arrive at reasoned decisions regarding professional practice, problem-solving, sound operational decisions and critical evaluation
  • Analyzing how organizational culture, behavioral theory, planning and community relations impact and inform criminal justice leadership strategies and practice
  • Evaluating the impact of emerging technologies on crime investigations, as tools for criminal enterprise, investigation, and on the operations of criminal justice agencies
  • Evaluating transnational criminal enterprises and the impact that globalization of crime has had upon policing in the United States

Required Core Courses

School of Arts and Sciences Required Courses

POL-210: American Politics
This course offers a broad introduction to the structure and function of the American political system at the national level, including the roles played by the president, Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, political parties, interest groups and the mass media in the policy- making and electoral processes. This course places special emphasis on how the efforts of the framers of the Constitution to solve what they saw as the political problems of their day continue to shape American national politics in ours.
PSY-108: Introduction to Psychology
This course provides students an introduction to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Students prepare for more advanced concepts in upper-level Psychology courses by learning the basics of how to evaluate research and exploring various areas of specialization within the discipline. Offered every semester.
SOC-112: Introduction to Sociology
Is one's identity individually or socially constructed? Are all stereotypes invalid or can there be value in generalizations? Is globalization widening the gaps or homogenizing the world? In this course, students will grapple with these essential questions in examining the world through the lens of a sociologist. Sociology offers an empirically-based methodology for critically evaluating society-from issues of individual agency to the roots of global institutions. Culture, norm stratification, systems, structure, social institutions, social change, the organization of social behavior and its relationship to society and social conditions are emphasized. Students will challenge their own preconceived notions and evaluate these constructs in terms of their relevancy to contemporary issues and problems.

School Core Credits: 9

Major Courses

CJ-104: Ethics and the Criminal Justice Leader
This course examines the subject of ethics as it relates to leadership in the criminal justice profession. It provides for an in-depth understanding and application of ethical decision-making processes at all levels of the criminal justice organization.
Take JUS-101
CJ-202: Writing for the Criminal Justice Profession
This course will equip the criminal justice student with the skills and assets necessary for writing with the precision, coherence, and integrity that are crucial to the demands of the profession and the criminal justice system.
Take ENG-123 and JUS-101
CJ-480: Capstone in Criminal Justice
This capstone course is the culmination of the criminal justice student's academic experience. It serves to synthesize the knowledge gained from prior courses within the criminal justice curriculum and will prepare the student for graduate studies and for direct application to criminal justice careers. The student will prepare a criminal justice research project for an agency of their choosing and with the approval of the instructor. Students will have completed 111 credits.
Complete 111 credits
JUS-101: Introduction to Criminal Justice
This course covers the nature, scope and impact of crime in the United States, independent and interdependent operations and procedures of police, courts and corrections, and introductory theories of crime and delinquency. The course introduces the justice model in a systematic way whereby students delve into the numerous components of the justice system including law enforcement, legal and judicial process and correctional operations. Career opportunities will be fully covered throughout the course.
JUS-224: Legal and Justice Research Methods
A criminal justice exploration of the specialized methods and sources of legal and justice research in these areas. Justice publications and resources, case collections, computer-assisted research, constitutional materials, legal history, legal periodicals, legislative history, practice and procedures, and social science materials related to law. Application of legal research strategies will be required.
JUS-261: Judicial Administration
An examination of the American judicial system, highlighting state, local, and federal tribunals, including an assessment of their hierarchy, subject matter jurisdiction, and administration. Also reviewed will be judicial reasoning, judicial process and the chief personnel responsible for judicial operations. More particularly the course will expose the various phases inherent in civil and criminal litigation including the concepts of jurisdiction, venue, parties and the pleadings that guide advocacy. Typical case calendars and dockets will be examined throughout the course so that students may acquire a complete understanding of the litigation process.
JUS-305: International Criminal Justice
This course compares and contrasts the criminal justice system of the United States with the systems of other countries on a substantive and procedural basis. A thorough examination of other cultural models of law and justice in order that differences in justice processing and definition become apparent. Some emphasis is placed on international policing and legal enforcement, whether through INTERPOL, treaty or other regulation.
JUS-331: Juvenile Justice System
This course covers the juvenile justice system, with special emphasis on the way it procedurally differs from adult offender adjudication. The parts of the juvenile justice system, hearings, due process standards and constitutional mandates are fully reviewed. Status offenders and other youth classifications are considered, together with a historical summary of juvenile court philosophy. New trends in the procedural disposition of juveniles especially transfer to adult jurisdiction, types of punishment, suitability of the death penalty are discussed.
JUS-375: Criminal Law
An introduction to substantive criminal law that reviews the social, philosophical, and legal foundations of criminal codification. In addition, the course covers the historical development of criminal law in the U.S. Other subject matters include parties to crimes including principals/accessories, criminal capacity, criminal elements, e.g. mens rea, actus rea, and the specific crimes against person, property, and public order. Lastly, the course captures criminal law from the defendant's perspective by reviewing the accuser's mental states, potential defenses and uses of mitigation.
JUS-455: Legal Traditions
This course encompasses a complete examination of the law, its origins, roots and underpinnings in a jurisprudential context. Coverage includes a focused examination of classical, medieval and contemporary legal thinkers. Problems of personal privacy, sexual freedom, procreative control, the imposition of penalties, and notions of good will be considered. Course participants will consider these questions: What is law? Is law related to religion and morality? What are the foundations of law in Western Culture? Can law, ethics and morality be differentiated? How can a legal system be just? Can law shape morality or does morality shape law? How does Western legal tradition resolve ethical questions such as abortion, suicide, euthanasia, and the death penalty? Is there a unified vision of law that consists of the good, of virtue and the idea of justice?

Major Credits: 30

Major Electives

Select four of the following:

CJ-303: Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Serial Killers
This course is an examination of two antisocial personality disorders and the behavioral traits shared by both. The course will help the student understand the commonalities as well as the unique differences. It will culminate in a thorough examination of infamous serial killers and the disorders attributed to them.
Take JUS 101
CJ-330: Leadership/Management in Criminal Justice Organizations
This course will cover the vital and progressive information concerning workplace performance in the criminal justice profession. It will entail a discussion and analysis of the traits and characteristics of criminal justice professionals at work, along with analysis and development of performance evaluations, assessment and desired objectives for the practitioner.
Take JUS 101
CJ-331: Effective Patrol and Community Policing
This course will cover the principles and effective practices of police patrol and operations. It will analyze and discuss the preparation and the expectations of patrol and how to effectively perform all duties and functions. In addition, the course will entail an awareness and understanding of the fundamental aspects and best practices of community policing.
Take CJ-330
CJ-332: Crisis Intervention for Police
This course will introduce the student to crisis theory, concepts, intervention and strategies required for the first responder. The student will learn how to be personally effective, recognize threat levels, active listening, conduct effective mediation and negotiation for application to situations such suicidal persons, hostage taking and barricaded subjects to cite but a few.
Take CJ-330
CJ-400: Crime Analysis and Effective Police Service
This course provides the student with the assets and tools of progressive crime analysis techniques and the intrinsic relation to the delivery of effective police services. Theory, data collection methods and basic use of statistics will be introduced and applied to various goals of policing.
Take CJ 202, 300, 330, and JUS 101
CJ-401: Emergency and Disaster Management
This course will cover the issues related to crisis and disaster management including history of the topic, integrated emergency management and the methods honed since the 9-11 attacks. The course will focus on the events ranging from natural disasters to the potential use of weapons of mass destruction and the most effective strategies available.
CJ-430: Terrorist Techniques
This course provides the student with the latest and most effective information pertaining to the strategies, tactics and methods used by terrorists. It will discuss and analyze methods of financing used by terrorists, choice of weaponry, and the criteria used for target selection. In addition, the course will cover the most up-to-date and progressive responses to acts of terror as well as preventive measures used by the military and criminal justice professionals.
JUS 305
CJ-467: Threat Assessment Fundamentals
This course will introduce the student to the basic aspects of attack prevention, identification and assessment of various threats, intelligence- gathering, protection management and counterterrorism techniques used by the military and criminal justice professionals.
CJ 430
CJ-468: Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
This course covers the processes involved in culling data as it relates to intelligence gathering and the methods of analysis. Students are introduced to the various techniques of analysis, evaluation of sources, and testing the validity of terrorism-related intelligence. In addition, the course will cover the tactics of surveillance, intelligence gathering, and the methods used to thwart illegal activities.
CJ 430
CJ-469: Counterterrorism Techniques
This course will introduce the student to the most effective strategies, techniques and tactics used to combat terrorism. In addition, the course will cover the organization of counterterrorist organizations, task forces and operational entities, the tools of the trade, along with analysis of counterterrorism policies.
CJ 430
JUS-103: Correctional Systems
This course examines the management, structure, and organizational design of correctional institutions. Correctional planning, construction, program evaluation and community interaction will be considered and improvement strategies for correctional operations will be debated and critiqued. The course provides a broad based overview of the correctional system which incarcerates and confines, treats, and reclaims criminal personalities and protects and serves the state and the community by removing threats to the social order.
JUS-201: Criminal Investigation
This course is a comprehensive examination of civil and criminal investigations in both public and private modes, including most major felony processes and relevant civil actions. Focus is on the fundamentals of the investigative process and the range of skills necessary for successful performance and management of investigations, including evidence gathering and analysis, witness assessment, field techniques, and linkage between investigative and prosecutorial agencies.
JUS-215: The Victim and the Justice System
This course will examine issues surrounding the central character in a criminal act - the victim. Contents are designed to develop an understanding of what it means to be victimized, including the physical, psychological, and economic impact of crime upon victims, their families, and society in general. Special consideration will be given to specific victim populations (i.e. survivors of homicides, sexual assault, and family violence), secondary victimization by the criminal system, victim assistance programs, and future trends in this field. A full review of how the American justice system has responded to the needs of victims is part of the course content and includes a look at victim testimony at sentencing and parole and probation hearings, victim notification, Meghan's law, victim advisory and protection services, and other means in which the judicial system assures victim participation during the adjudicative phase.
JUS-309: White Collar Crime
This course considers crime committed by corporations as well as white collar criminals; how such crimes are defined, who commits or is victimized by it, which moral, ethical, legal and social contexts promote it and how society responds. Procedural and policy considerations in the investigation and enforcement of relevant statutes will also be covered, including the concept of legal privilege, the role of the grand jury and other pre-trial processes, evidentiary questions, litigation strategies, and potential sanctions and other punishments.
JUS-325: Law, Justice and Family
A full-fledged review of the justice system's response to the establishment and maintenance of family in the American culture. How the family is defined, its heritage of rights and protections and the differentiated roles of parent and child are central considerations. Further review includes a look at family dissolution, divorce, custody and support disputes and the ongoing problems of visitation. The emerging problems of spousal and child abuse will be keenly analyzed and how the legal systems provide protection from these abuses will be closely scrutinized.
JUS-429: Terrorism
Examines current terrorism, its origins and ideological bases, with particular attention to its relation to political institutions and the criminal justice process. Specific attention is given methods and means of the terrorist, motivations and modus operandi trends and predictability and law enforcement's multi-faceted reactions to its many devious forms. Legislative efforts to curb the scourge of terrorism are also highlighted.
JUS-496: Administrative Law
Course exposes participants to administrative law theory and the practical aspects of administrative law practice, both within and outside the administrative agency. Coverage equips the student with the necessary skills to understand, apply, and research relevant statutory and regulatory provisions at the federal and state level, to read, interpret and draft proposed rules and regulations, to become familiar with the process known as the administrative law hearing, the concept of administrative discretion and corresponding remedies. Preliminary drafts of documents, briefs, and opinions relative to the appellate stage of an administrative law proceeding will also be covered.
PSY-205: Forensic Psychology
Students will learn how psychology, as a science and a practice, applies to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. Emphasis will be placed on witness testimony and the social psychology of the courtroom. Topics will include recovered memories, adolescent violence and murder, strategies for interviewing witnesses, expert testimony, and factors influencing the credibility of witnesses, victims and offenders.
PSY-108 or PSY-108H
PSY-215: Abnormal Psychology
This course offers students an opportunity to better understand human behavior. It also studies the similarities and differences between normal and abnormal reactions to environmental stimuli. Offered every year.
PSY-108 or PSY-108H
PSY-310: Criminal Psychology
This course will provide the student with insights about crime from a psychological perspective. Specifically, the course will focus on how a criminal offender is influenced by multiple systems within the psychosocial environment. This course examines and evaluates the role of psychological factors in understanding the motives behind antisocial acts. Throughout the course, students will acquire knowledge and practice in the application of psychological methods to understanding criminal behavior.
SOC-324: Sociology of Crime and Violence
The course examines the nature, causes, and consequences of crime and violence to a society. Applying a legal and sociological perspective, the course examines: 1) the structure of the law and the criminal justice system; 2) the nature and causation of criminal behavior; and 3) the various types of crime and criminality.

Elective Credits: 12

Free Elective Credits: 24

Total Credits: 120

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