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Bachelor of Criminal Justice

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.

It offers students with technical education backgrounds an academic program to broaden their education, helping them qualify for careers in law enforcement administration, parole and probation, forensic science, adult and juvenile corrections, and police administration.

Program Description

The upper-division Criminal Justice major program is designed exclusively for students who have previously completed an associate degree program in a technical area related to criminal justice, such as law enforcement, corrections technology, police administration, legal assisting, or human services. If you hold such a degree from a technical or community college, or from a regional campus of Ohio University, you are eligible to bypass the pre-BCJ and be admitted directly to the Criminal Justice major program. 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.

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.

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.

The BCJ curriculum is available on the Ohio University Undergraduate Catalog.


The BCJ curriculum is available in the Ohio University Undergraduate Catalog. Our interdisciplinary curriculum allows flexibility in pursuing your individual educational goals. The curriculum is composed of general courses from the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, as well as a specific core of professional courses. Depending upon the number of credit hours you're bringing to Ohio University, you may also choose electives outside your major, or pursue a minor.

The BCJ program is offered through both the Athens and regional campuses, and individuals may enroll on a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students on the Athens campus, and full-time students completing articulation agreements are likely to complete the program in four semesters. 

In addition, the BCJ degree can be completed entirely or in part through Ohio University Online.

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Criminal Justice is intended for students who have already completed an applied associate degree program in the criminal justice field from an accredited community college, regional campus, or technical college, and who wish to pursue a baccalaureate degree. The guiding premise of the program is that the criminal justice system can be improved by providing high-quality, liberal education to students who have already earned an associate degree in a related field.

The criminal justice major requires:

  • 30 semester hours at the 3000-4000 level
  • Fifty percent of the major must be completed through Ohio University
  • A minimum 2.0 or higher GPA in the major and overall is required to graduate

The Criminal Justice major requires a completed associate degree in a related area (e.g., law enforcement technology). New students may enter OHIO as pre-BCJ (ND2210) majors and work toward the Law Enforcement Technology associate degree (AA5505) and BCJ requirements simultaneously.

The BCJ curriculum is available in the Ohio University Undergraduate Catalog


If you are not currently enrolled at Ohio University, you will need to complete an application for admission through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, or through a student services office at one of the regional campuses.

The BCJ major is available on all campuses and online through OHIO Online. Nearly all BCJ majors will be required to complete online coursework.

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.

Internal Student Transfer

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 University College, 140 Chubb Hall, or 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.

Student and Alumni Testimonials

Nick Freisthler

“Ohio University’s faculty takes the time to set up their courses so that the student can learn outside the traditional classroom. Each faculty member utilizes multiple forms of media to create the best learning environment possible. I was very impressed at how my advisor broke down every degree requirement from the time I applied to the time I completed my degree. With the help of my advisor, I was able to map out every semester from start to finish. I was even able to obtain a minor in communications studies.

—Nick Freisthler, Detective, Troy Police Department, BCJ OHIO Online ‘2020

Sarah Sizemore

Sarah Sizemore’s criminal justice degree helped her qualify for her license Chemical Dependency Counselor through the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board. She now works as a counselor supporting people in recovery through individual counseling, group counseling, and case management. As a student in the Law Enforcement Technology program at Ohio University Southern she had the opportunity to intern with the Ashland Police Department and later worked in corrections for STAR Community Justice Center in Franklin Furnace, Ohio.

—Sarah Sizemore, Counselor, Mended Reeds Mental Health Case Manager at Ross County Adult Probation Department, BCJ ‘2020

Josie Lott

"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

Lucas Stemen

“From professors like Lisa Taylor and Dr. Jennifer Steele I learned theory, skills, and confidence. I gained an understanding of multiculturalism and diversity which will serve me well when dealing with individuals in the criminal justice field. The criminal justice degree helps you understand the human mind and focus on the small details that other people might not recognize.”

—Lucas Stemen, visitation monitor, Fairfield County Job and Family Services, BCJ student

Departmental Honors

Bachelor of Criminal Justice students may earn departmental honors through University College.

  • Students must earn a 3.5 accumulative GPA to earn departmental honors.
  • An honors thesis is required.

Guidelines and an application are available from an adviser.

Degree Planning

Review and print the Criminal Justice degree planner below.

Criminal Justice Degree Planner [PDF]

Faculty and Advisor Information

BCJ students should triage their Tier I math sequence, and then immediately pursue their statistics and then research methods requirements.

BCJ students should also triage their BCJ Core requirements, taking any prerequisites for their sociology, political science, or psychology track their first term. The sociology courses are offered sequentially once a year, so careful planning up front is necessary.

BCJ students should plan for and complete their Area II Group B (Political and Legal Issues) course earlier in their academic career, as a course is not always offered in this area each term.

Should a BCJ course substitution be necessary (ie a new course or seminar), please work with your advisee to submit a Substitution Form to Julie Cohara. Forms are reviewed and updated weekly.


University College is home to the Bachelor of Criminal Justice program. You may contact the college office or the Director of Degree Programs with questions, or reach out to an advisor below:

Athens Campus

University College
Chubb Hall 140

Regional Campus Contacts


Dr. James McKean (

Eastern & Zanesville

Dr. James Taylor (


Dr. Jen Steele (


James Stephens (

OHIO Online

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