Curriculum: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

March 15, 2022
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curriculum icon Curriculum at a Glance

Our online BS in Criminal Justice curriculum provides a robust outlook on many aspects of the criminal justice field. The coursework spans across the breadth of criminal justice and criminology. The courses offered in this program can be key to finding leadership positions policy reform and a broad spectrum of law enforcement and criminal justice settings.

The classes offered through our online criminal justice program will develop your understanding of the challenges inherent in criminal justice, explore ethics and morality in criminology, and dissect research on violence and crime in America. By graduation, students will have a thorough understanding of the many complex theories that comprise the field of criminal justice.

In addition, the University of Cincinnati’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice is consistently ranked among the nation’s very best.

Introduction to Criminal Justice

This is an introductory course which examines criminal justice in the United States. The course describes and examines the agencies responsible for the control and prevention of crime. While examining the formal crime control processes in the United States, the students will be introduced to how we examine those processes and their impact on victims, offenders and society. The course provides an overview of the criminal justice process including the police, courts, and corrections.

Introduction to Criminology

This introductory level course examines the measurement and nature of crime, the major theoretical explanations of criminal behavior, andthe policies used to reduce the crime problem.

Introduction to Courts

The class provides a dynamic analysis of the American courts beginning with an analysis of the evolution of American Courts and an overview of court structure and practice. All levels of courts at all levels of government are assessed and described. The course includes an emphasis on criminal court practices and decisions and on issues in the criminal courts.

Criminal Justice in Film

The purpose of this course will be to analyze the images of crime and the criminal justice system infilm. Specifically, students will examine how crime films portray crime and the criminal justicesystem (i.e., the police, the courts, the administration of criminal law, and the correctional system). Furthermore, the fundamentalrole played by film in defining what constitutes deviance and criminality in American society will be discussed. As such, comparisons will be made with actual crime statistics.

Juvenile Justice System

Examination of the U.S. juvenile justice system including the processing of the juvenile offender from the delinquent act through treatment. Students will examine the strategies of preventionand effective treatment and the manner in which the social scientist researches, analyses, and evaluates such methods.

Corrections in America

Familiarizes the student with the history, currentpractices, and future directions of corrections. The course will examine how criminal justice social scientists develop, examine and evaluate the impact and successes of the various treatment practices in our correctional system.

Criminal Punishment

The course introduces students to theories and philosophies of criminal punishment. This course examines the major theories of punishment and corrections, including retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, restorative justice, and rehabilitation. The development of these theories historically and how they have been shaped by the prevailing social and ethical context are explored. Sentencing and punishment structures andpractices are described and compared. The impact of punishment theories on criminal justice policy and practice is discussed.

Introduction to Criminal Investigations

This course is an introductory-level course designed to present the techniques, skills and limitations of the modern crime laboratory. Students will become familiar with the nature of physical evidence along with the limitations of technology. In addition, students will learn the most common items of physical evidence encounteredat the crime scene, along with the general services of a crime lab, and the processing and legal considerations concerning this physical evidence. Students will address the testimonial, documentary and real evidence as it relates to theFederal Rules of Evidence to assure its admissibility in court. Students will understand the importance of evidence procedures to CJ personnel.

Policing in America

This is an introductory course devoted to the examination of the police and law enforcement in the United States. The course describes and examines the number and variety of policing agencies, their development and evolution, and theoperations of police and law enforcement organizations. The course examines the range of U.S. police agencies, with an emphasis on local police. The course also introduces the student to how the discipline of criminal justice examines those roles and operation and evaluates their impact on society.

American Violence

This course is designed to examine historical, comparative, and social structural aspects of violent crime, including (but not limited to) homicide, robbery, rape and assaults. This class focuses on trends and patterns in criminal violence, the role of firearms, the victim-offender relationships, post-arrest processing of offenders in the criminal justice system, and strategic violence reduction initiatives.

Kids Who Kill

This course will include an analysis of the history and demographics of homicidal children and adolescents; theories and debates about psychosocial, genetic and metaphysical causation; legal issues and debates about punishment; evolution of the homicidal youth character in literature, film and television. The course will include a variety of speakers including researchers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. Students will visit an incarceration facility for violent youth offenders.

Criminal Justice Research Methods

This course is designed to provide an overview of methods used by scientists to advance our understanding of crime causation and "what works" to meet the goals of crime control and justice. All stages of the research process except for data analysis will be covered, from the development of research questions through the collection of data to answer these questions. To more fully understand the methods covered in this course, we will assess their applications in some of the more important criminal justice studies conducted to date. Ethical considerations that must be made when conducting related research will also be reviewed.

Politics of Criminal Justice

The course examines political influences on criminal justice practice and policies including "partisan politics" and politics more broadly understood as a process of social decision-making.The course examines the role of elective politics on criminal justice policy, the selection of criminal justice actors, and how criminal justice topics are understood and communicated.

Ethics in Criminal Justice

The course examines the ethical considerations in law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. We will explore in depth the ethical foundations of punishment, and ethics for the criminal justice professional and practitioner.

Criminal Law

This course examines the development, interpretation and application of substantive criminal law. Using primarily the Ohio Revised Code, the course material will include homicide, assault, sex, arson, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, theft, drug and conspiracy related offenses.

Race, Class, and Crime

The criminal justice system is charged with defining criminal conduct, the creation of laws, enforcement and punishment. This course addresses the issues of racism and classism as they are played out in the American criminal justice system. We will explore and discuss the various research presented on race, class, and the criminal justice system.

Drugs and Crime

Examines issues regarding the relationship betweendrugs and crime to include theoretical explanations, historical trends, issues pertinent to specific types of substance abuse, social and economic costs, and policy responses.

Women and Crime

This course is designed to provide students with a systematic introduction to the study of gender in criminal justice as well as the nature and extent of female criminality.

Family Violence

This course is an overview of the problems relatedto family violence and the criminal justice professional's intervention in these situations. The student will explore the complex nature of these situations and the difficulties faced when handling family violence.

Correctional Rehabilitation

This course discusses the history of the rehabilitative ideal in corrections, and introduces students to counseling strategies in correctional settings. Specifically, students willlearn about the principles of effective intervention in corrections and cognitive-behavioral interventions. Treatment options for special populations of offenders (e.g., sex offenders, juvenile offenders, female offenders) will also be discussed.

Community Corrections

The course will examine how criminal justice social scientists develop, examine and evaluate the impact and successes of the various community corrections programs. Examines community corrections, probation and parole, treatment philosophies, and strategies for supervision. Practice in use of presentence investigation and examination of evidence-based, effective community-based correctional programs.

Institutional Corrections

This course provides an evaluation of theory and research on confinement facilities for criminal offenders in the United States. The history and organization of prisons will be reviewed in conjunction with the changing philosophies of punishment and how this evolution has influenced institutional corrections today. The problems within these facilities will be examined, with special attention paid to inmate adaptation, problems faced by facility officers, and the (in)effectiveness of institutional treatment programs. We will focus primarily on state and federal prisons, but some attention will be paid to local jails as well.

Criminal Investigation

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the art and science of Crime Scene Practices and Procedures. The course will cover investigative techniques, interviewing and interrogation skills, evidence collection and criminal case preparation.

Police Organization and Management

The purpose of Police Organization and Management is to encourage students to think about the role of law enforcement in society and organizational responsibilities to community, employees, and government as well as personal responsibilities toagency and community. The course will look at how and why agencies are organized in a specific way and how this organization is changing.

Police and the Community

This course introduces the student to the complexities of police/community relations. We will examine the role of a law enforcement officeras a community and civil leader. We will consider the role of community in the criminal justice system. We will identify and assess problems and solutions in the relationships between the police and the communities they serve.

Police Effectiveness

This course examines the way social scientists evaluate the effectiveness of police at reducing crime and examines the specific police tactics that have been shown to be effective or ineffective. The course will cover police patrol tactics, criminal investigation, drug control, domestic violence, as well as other police tacticsand problems.

White-Collar Crime

The course provides and in-depth examination of the nature, causes, costs, and control of corporate and white-collar crime.

Gangs and Crime

This course provides an overview of the history ofgangs and an exploration of the various types of gangs and their differing organizational structures. The course also explores reasons why gangs arise and thrive. Finally, the course examines policy and practice aimed at reducing gang-related crime.

Computer Criminology: Cybercrime and Digital Security

This course is designed to provide students with a broad introduction to some of the various types of criminal conduct associated with computers and the Internet. As a student in this class you will be exposed to various types of cybercrime and threats to digital security, techniques associated with cybercrime detection, and will assess criminological theories of crime as they relate to digital crime and cyberterrorism. Additionally, you will examine a number of the national and international laws and policies related to cybercrime including the diverse steps that have been taken to increase digital security around the globe. Familiarity with computers and the Internet will help you progress through the course, but expertise is not required nor expected.

Criminal Procedure

The course material will include the constitutional aspects of criminal procedure. It will specifically examine the appellate process, the history and development of due process, the exclusionary rule, search and seizure, rules of arrest, pre-trial identification, bail, sentencingand interrogation.

Criminal Justice Statistics

Basic introduction to research and statistics in acriminal justice setting. Emphasis on measurement,descriptive, and inferential statistical methods.

International Criminal Justice

This course introduces students to a global, comparative approach to the scope and nature of crime and its management and prevention. Students will be exposed to different theoretical approaches to understanding and managing crime across various countries in different regions of the world. Specifically, students will learn how criminal justice systems operate in other countries and how these operations are influenced by each country's history, religion, and politics. They also will gain an understanding of special topics in international criminal justice, learning about such things as human trafficking, war crimes, and the drug trade.

Computer Criminology: Cybercrime and Digital Security

This online course is designed to provide studentswith a broad introduction to the various types of criminal conduct associated with computers and theInternet. As a student in this class you will be exposed to various types of cybercrime and threatsto digital security, techniques associated with digital forensics, and will assess criminological theories of crime as they relate to digital crime and cyber terrorism. Additionally, you will examine a number of the national and internationallaws and policies related to cybercrime including the diverse steps that have been taken to increasedigital security around the globe. Familiarity with computers and the Internet will help you progress through the course, but expertise is not required nor expected.

Special Topics in Criminal Justice

Seminar in selected topics in Criminal Justice

Special Topics in Corrections

Seminar in selected topics in Corrections.

Special Topics in Policing

Seminar in selected topics in Policing.

Psychology of Criminal Behavior

This course introduces students to the applicationof psychological theories (i.e., developmental, biological, and social learning approaches) to criminal behavior. The research on the effectiveness of treatment programs in correctionsas well as the psychological effects of imprisonment will also be discussed. In addition, students will learn about the relationship betweenmental illness and crime.

Life Course and Developmental Criminology

Examine the nature of individual involvement in crime from the perspectives of life-course and developmental criminology.


The materials presented in this course provide an overview of key topics to understanding the field of victimology. Among the goals of this course are to provide students with a critical understanding and appreciation of the development and current state of victimology theory, measurement, empirical results both generally and specific to different types of crimes.

Contemporary Criminological Theory

Examines recent theoretical developments in the explanation of criminal behavior.

Crime Prevention

This course is designed to provide an exploration of various methods of community crime prevention. Relevant theory and research related to environmental design, neighborhood watch, media campaigns, community policing, school crime prevention, and other situational prevention measures will be explored critically. As such, this course aims to provide a foundation for a better understanding of the theoretical objectivesof various crime prevention efforts as well as theproven effectiveness of these various strategies. Students will apply classroom knowledge to real-world crime prevention scenarios through hands-on critical analysis of local places, including neighboring communities and campus buildings and structures.

Special Topics in Crime Prevention

Seminar in selected topics in Crime Prevention.

Special Topics in Criminology

Seminar on selected issues in Criminology

Directed Studies

Directed readings, study, research and conferences related to specific areas of criminal justice.

Digital Investigations in a Cyberworld

Do not worry if you cannot tell the difference between a monitor or an hard drive. You will, after this class, become (1) knowledgeable with the role of a forensics investigator, various tools in the field, the evidentiary concepts surroundings the legal proceedings of digital evidence, and the forensic implications of technologies that are emerging; and (2) be positioned to help support forensic investigations from occupational backgrounds of corporate, legal, government, and law enforcement.

Introduction to Loss Prevention and Corporate Security

Learn more about the rapidly expanding world of Private Security & Loss Prevention
and how their partnership with Law Enforcement at the local, state, federal, and even
international levels is becoming a critical part of the criminal justice system
infrastructure. Learn about the ever-evolving technology and strategies used in this
industry and the various methodologies the private industry utilizes to protect their
assets and investigate crimes.

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