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Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Serve and protect your community through careers in corrections, law enforcement and the court system. The Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) program is designed for students who have already completed an applied associate degree in a related area such as law enforcement, human services technology, corrections technology, or police administration.

Since a bachelor's degree is rapidly becoming a minimum requirement for employment in this field, your chances for employment and advancement are strengthened greatly by this program. Over 80% of our BCJ students are non-traditional students employed full-time in the criminal justice field.

Student to faculty ratio for classroom instruction at OHIO Chillicothe
OHIO Chillicothe first-year students received financial aid in Fall 2021*

Criminal Justice Courses

The multidisciplinary curriculum comprises a broad range of courses from the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and professional disciplines, all of which make a contribution to the complex field of Criminal Justice. You may individualize your program of study through elective courses.


Sample Courses

Area I: Basic Skills

  • COMS 1030 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking
  • PHIL 3300 - Ethics
  • LET 3555 - Quantitative Applications in Criminal Justice Research
  • SW 3870 - Research Methods in Social Work

Area II: Cultural, Legal and Political Issues

  • AAS 2540 - History of Injustice in the United States
  • SW 3602 - Social Welfare Policy

Area III: Understanding Human Behavior and Social Problems

  • SOC 4650 - Social Change
  • SOC 3670 - Corporate and Governmental Crime

Area IV: Professional and Organizational Skills

  • POLS 2000 - American Politics, Policy, and Administration
  • LPA 4860 - Public Budgeting

    Potential Careers

    The Criminal Justice program offers students with technical education background the opportunity to broaden their exposure to a liberal arts curriculum while training for careers fields like parole and probation, adult and juvenile corrections, and police administration. Criminal justice students might also prepare for law school or for further study in graduate or professional schools.

    • The median annual wage for police and detectives nationally in 2022 was $69,160 with 3% growth in employment demand from 2022-32.
    • The median annual wage for Forensic Science Technicians in Ohio in 2022 was $63,740 with 9% growth in employment demand from 2022-2032.

    Tuition and Fees

    The OHIO Guarantee takes the guesswork out of budgeting for college and provides a fixed rate table for tuition and most fees for four years (or 12 consecutive semesters). 

    Financial aid for undergraduate students (regardless of discipline) is available in the form of scholarships, grants and student loans. Visit our Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships to learn more.


    West Virginia and Kentucky Residents

    Exploring the Southern or Eastern Campus? Residents of West Virginia can now qualify for in-state tuition. Kentucky residents in nearby counties can qualify for in-state tuition at OHIO Southern or Athens. Access the resources of a large, public university at an affordable, regional campus rate.


    Learning Environment

    The BCJ major is available on all campuses and online through OHIO Online. Nearly all BCJ majors will be required to complete online coursework. The program is intentionally designed to be completed in two years. Contact your transfer advisor to see if your college has an articulation agreement with our BCJ program.

Program Admission Requirements

First-Year Students

Completion of an applied associate degree in a related technical field (criminal justice, paralegal, human services, law enforcement, corrections, police science, police administration, security/safety, forensic studies) is required for you to qualify for admission to the BCJ program. If you have not earned an applied associate degree, you may first enroll in and complete the Law Enforcement Technology applied associate degree program at Ohio University.

Transfer and Current OHIO Students

To internally transfer into the criminal justice program, you must:

  1. Achieve a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  2. Earn an applied associate degree in a criminal justice related technical field. The degree completion must be posted on a student’s DARS report for admission to the BCJ.  
  3. Declare the BCJ major via the Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degree Program Application Form. The application form is available from any regional campus student services office. You may also fill out the application online.

To internally transfer into the criminal justice pre-major program, you must:

  1. Achieve a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  2. Be enrolled in an applied associate degree program in a criminal justice related technical field. OHIO’s Law Enforcement Technology (LET) program is recommended if you are not enrolled in another criminal justice related associate program. Declare the LET program major code (code: AA5505) by completing this form. An applied associate degree in a criminal justice related technology must be earned prior to admission to the BCJ program.
  3. Declare the pre-BCJ major via the Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degree Program Application Form.

Students may complete this application to declare the pre-BCJ or BCJ major at any time.

My degree allowed me to gain

real-world experience by opening doors to different job opportunities. After graduating I obtained a job as a fraud investigator for the Highland County Department of Job and Family Services. In this position I was able to build upon my studies by conducting actual investigations and pursuing criminal charges against individuals who participated in welfare fraud. When I decided to look for a job closer to home, I was able to pursue my current position as a case manager for the Ross County Adult Probation Department because I held the BCJ degree.

—Josie Lott, Case Manager at Ross County Adult Probation Department, BCJ ‘2017

BCJ grad Josie Lott

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* Includes scholarships, grants, loans, federal work student and CARES/HEERF funding.