criminal justice areas of study

Key Areas of Study in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is an ideal major for advocates and critical thinkers seeking to better their communities and be of service to society. With a criminal justice degree covering judicial process, prevention, research, and theory, graduates are equipped to ensure the criminal justice system operates as smoothly and safely as possible.

A postsecondary criminal justice program typically encompasses three main sectors of the criminal justice field — corrections, court systems, and law enforcement agencies. Criminal justice areas of study also instill professional integrity while strengthening interpersonal and investigative skills.

Working toward a degree in criminal justice, students may debate and discuss topics like ethics and legal issues, homeland security, psychology, and public safety. In addition, the specialized training educates tomorrow’s criminal justice leaders about the historical, social, and societal elements that guide modern emergency response, investigative, law, and security professions.

Are you interested in making an everyday impact in your career? Read below to discover more about this major and the primary areas of study in criminal justice.

Criminal Justice Classes and Coursework

Industry-Expert Instructors

Criminal justice instructors at career-focused institutions like Goodwin University are authorities with extensive field experience. Educators range from attorneys and detectives to military veterans, police commanders, and state troopers — coaching student success while sharing valuable lessons learned in the field.

The Criminal Justice Curricula

The associate degree in Criminal Justice offered by Goodwin University requires students to pass 21 general education courses and eight core curriculum classes, including an internship, to graduate. Of the eight core courses, four fundamental classes are taken during the student’s first year, while the remaining four are completed in their second year of study.

A breakdown detailing the eight core criminal justice classes can be seen below.

First Year

1. Introduction to Criminal Justice and the Law

This course contains an introduction to the criminal justice system, career opportunities in the field, federal and state criminal law, elements of a crime, and types of crimes and their respective penalties.

2. Investigative Report Writing

Class content covers fundamental guidelines regarding investigative arrest and crime reporting and note-taking — such as describing persons and property, search warrants, and common issues in report writing.

3. Criminal Procedures

This course curriculum explores the United States Constitution, the rights of victims and offenders, and the processes and procedures to protect guaranteed rights.

4. Introduction to Corrections

This class examines the history and applications of corrections and punishment, the foundations of corrections, and contemporary correctional issues.

Second Year

5. Criminology

This course encompasses major criminological theories from biology, psychology, and sociology to emphasize understanding why people commit crimes and the elements associated with criminal behavior and prevention.

6. Criminal Law

This class content comprises the theory, history, and purposes behind common law and statutory law offenses with supplementary discussion on the federal and state penal code.

7. Juvenile Justice in America

This course incorporates the history, philosophy, and current practices of the juvenile justice system, including the psychological processes that characterize misbehavior and the diversion of youth from the justice system.

8. Internship

This practical field placement experience consists of 150 supervised hours. The internship site can include corrections, fire service, law enforcement, public or private security, or other protective service environments.

Flexibility and Scholarships: A Foundation for Success

Designed so students can attend classes on their schedule, Goodwin created its criminal justice program to be inclusive, innovative, and intentionally convenient. Criminal justice courses are offered during the day and evenings, with available internship site suggestions across the state.

It gets even better!

At Goodwin, select students enrolled in the associate degree in Criminal Justice program or bachelor’s degree in Public Safety and Security are eligible to receive a public service scholarship of up to 30% off student tuition. Please note that certain conditions apply.

Program Outcomes that Open Doors

Students who complete Goodwin University’s Criminal Justice program requirements produce results that make a real-world difference. For instance, prepared graduates can explain the functions and structure of the American criminal justice system, corrections, and the federal and state court systems. Alums can also articulate significant theories that may explain criminal behavior, the development of criminal law and procedure, and the problems in policing, courts, and corrections in America.

Career Areas in Criminal Justice

If you’re a people-person who can stay calm under pressure, is interested in the law, or
seeking to rehabilitate and reduce recidivism for justice-impacted individuals, considering a career in criminal justice could catapult your success.

Examples of potential career titles for criminal justice graduates include:

No matter your preferred career path or area of study in criminal justice, you will be eligible for exciting careers in the following sectors:

Additional Advantages of an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

Obtaining an associate degree enables learners to continue their education, allowing graduates to earn distinctions like a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety and Security, a master’s degree, and beyond.

In addition to opportunities for higher education and elevated earning potential, criminal justice professionals also routinely receive promising health and retirement benefits.

The Association for Career and Technical Education® (ACTE) stated that the law, public safety, corrections, and security career cluster employed 4.5 million professionals nationally in 2021. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics also projected protective service occupations to have 72,600 new job openings within the next decade. The time is now to pursue this lucrative career path.

Are you ready to effect meaningful change across communities? Find out more about a rewarding future in the criminal justice field!