An Exploration Into Criminal Justice Core Curriculum


The criminal justice industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that over the next decade this industry will grow by 22 percent each year. Because of the rise in the general population, there is a greater need for criminal justice professionals on all levels. While not every career within this industry requires a degree, if you wish to gain swift entry into the workforce with a higher-than average salary then you’ll want to obtain either an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Although the exact coursework you’ll be expected to complete will vary based upon the level of your degree as well as your concentration. This being noted, there are several universal courses all students within this degree program will be expected to complete.

#1 – Intro to the Legal System and Law

This is an introductory course discusses the various structures, processes and history of the United States legal system. It’s designed to be understood by entry-level students and is generally the prerequisite to more specialized coursework, such as constitutional, business or criminal law.

#2 – Criminal Procedure Law

Generally speaking, this coursework cover the various laws that govern the criminal/conviction process. Throughout the course, students will learn the various tasks associated with analyzing cases and interpreting various court opinions. Common topics within this coursework include property and person searches/seizures, the processes involved with interrogations as well as post-sentencing considerations.

#3 – Ethics in Criminal Justice

All criminal justice students – regardless of their degree level – will be required to undergo this course. Ethics plays a vital role throughout the criminal justice system. This course addresses the various ethical issues that will typically arise while working within the legal system. Students will learn a solid understanding of the various ethical and moral dilemmas and how these issues can be resolved without sacrificing ethical decisions while satisfying the various judicial requirements in sentencing.

#4 – Criminal Behavior Theories

This interdisciplinary examination delves into the various elements associated with criminal behavior. Although this is an entry-level coursework, students will explore various case studies to identify and illustrate the social, economic, psychological and biological corrections within criminal activity. The primary focus is to identify the primary theories of criminal behavior and applying these various theoretical notions in such a way so students can improve their fundamental understanding of criminal behavior/motivations.