Criminal Justice Courses: Building Blocks For Your Career

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Criminal Justice Courses: Building Blocks For Your Career

Criminal justice courses offered in colleges and universities help build the foundation for a better understanding of criminal justice. These criminal justice courses are usually divided into basic and advanced courses.

Whether you are taking up a criminal justice associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, these are the most common in all curriculum, with individual variations per educational institution. The same courses are offered even for online criminal justice degree programs.  

Depending on the degree you are working towards, the number of criminal justice courses you need to complete for your program will vary. Some criminal justice classes are electives. Most are required. And once you have decided which particular area you want to concentrate on professionally, you can choose which courses are suitable for your needs.

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Basic Criminal Justice Training Courses

Most criminal justice degrees, such as a criminal justice associate degree or bachelor degree, will include the following introductory courses:

Introduction to Criminal Justice

Provides a broad overview of the United States criminal justice system. This introduces students to criminal justice, including the law, legal theories, and administrative challenges. It discusses the entire process of arrest through conviction, incarceration, and re-entry into society.

Introduction to Law Enforcement

Discusses the history and significant functions of modern law enforcement agencies and their people. It also provides an overview of careers and opportunities.

Criminal Procedure and evidence 

The course is a comprehensive review and in-depth analysis of evidence and criminal procedural law rules in the United States. Emphasis is on arrest, search and seizure, confessions and admissions, the privilege against self-incrimination, the right to counsel, the exclusionary rule and its exceptions, burden of proof, and procedural due process.

Juvenile delinquency and justice

Tackles the judicial approaches to handling minor criminal offenders, the sociological and cultural aspects of delinquency, and its causes, potential deterrents, and modes of rehabilitation.

Family Law 

Explores the relationship between family, judicial, and social services systems in the United States. Specific topics include family, marriage, parent-child relationships, divorce, property division, and child custody, among others.

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Advanced Criminal Justice courses

Criminal law

This is an introductory study of criminal law and general legal principles. Students will learn the concept of crime and the development of criminal law, defences to criminal charges, and the specific types of crimes.

Correctional treatment strategies 

The course addresses issues and treatment strategies relative to intervention with criminal offenders. It teaches the classification of offenders based on their needs and the various treatment programs available.


The course defines crime, what causes crime, and its consequences. It deals with crime and punishment and offers an understanding of crime in the social context.


The social scientific study of criminal victimization. It explains crime from the viewpoint of the victims of crime. It may include research and theories on victimization, consequences of victimization, and practical responses to victimization. 

Judicial process

Will focus on the many aspects of the judicial process, from concepts of law and courts, and an examination of the American legal system, including the courts’ power.

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Organized crime 

The course tackles the origins and development of organized crime in America. It shall examine the different structures of organized criminal enterprises and various models used to describe an organized crime.

There are other courses on homeland security, policing, investigation, forensic science, drug crimes, and even international crime studies. They can be offered under a single program or variations of them, depending on the school you attend.

Criminal justice courses, especially those at introductory levels, will give students an overview of the various aspects of criminal justice. As security issues and legal matters become more complex, focused training is also developed and incorporated in every curriculum of criminal justice degree programs.

What is essential is that all criminal justice courses offered in colleges have accreditation and will lead to a better understanding of this discipline.

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