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Prepare For A Criminal Justice Career

Northern Arizona University’s respected Criminology and Criminal Justice bachelor’s degree program offers a diverse range of specializations to prepare you for a career in the courts, corrections, juvenile justice, or law enforcement. This degree is also an excellent option if law school or graduate school is your goal. Learn about the nature of crime and the purpose, operations, and consequences of the justice system, at home and abroad.

Complete Your Criminology & Criminal Justice Degree Online

Kaplan’s College Guidebook ranks Northern Arizona University as a top school for preparing graduates to enter the hot criminal justice field. NAU faculty members are criminal justice experts and know what skills and knowledge you need to make smart decisions in real-world situations.

Among the criminal justice careers expected to see job growth of more than 20% through 2020:

  • Border Patrol Agent
  • CIA Agent
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Detective
  • EPA Officer
  • FBI Agent
  • Probation Officer

Catalog Information

Learn more about the program options by viewing the catalog information below. Catalog information is displayed for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Campus Locations

globe This program is available Online
Degree Information
120 units
Maximum Transfer Units

University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 36 units of major requirements
  • At least 18 units of minor requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Mathematics Required MAT 114
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate Required
University Honors Program Optional
Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan
Student Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The undergraduate degree programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCJ) combine foundational knowledge of criminal justice with a critical understanding of its institutions, processes and operations. CCJ students learn how social forces influence lawmaking, approaches to criminal justice, perceptions and experiences of justice; and how, in turn, criminal justice trends influence society. In accordance with our commitment to promote a more just society, CCJ students develop a firm understanding of the cultural, political, economic and moral complexities surrounding the creation and enforcement of law, and are prepared to become practitioners, advocates and defenders of social justice. CCJ students accomplish this through critical examinations of how power and privilege shape the social realities of criminal justice globally, nationally and locally and by utilizing the latest in legal and social science research to develop critical understandings of how these realities impact diverse groups of people. In addition, CCJ students investigate how social and cultural identities are related to differential experiences of criminalization, victimization, offending, and justice work. 
We use the latest theories, research and investigative traditions in our interdisciplinary field to explore contemporary real world issues and their impacts on policy, public opinion and criminal justice work. Through direct contact with leading scholars and respected practitioners of justice, CCJ students obtain career and academic mentoring that facilitate connections between their classroom learning and real world experience. Both in and out of the classroom we place a high priority on collaborative and experiential learning so that students can practice the skills needed to succeed within a justice related setting. CCJ students apply their writing, intercultural, research and analytic skills to demonstrate specialized knowledge about a subject area most related to their future aspirations.
Criminology and Criminal Justice graduates use their knowledge of criminology and justice to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers with integrity. Our graduates are critically informed citizens, who value diversity and social justice, and use this knowledge to advance the cause of justice.  
Students will be able to: 

  • Identify the key stages of criminal justice processes and at each stage locate the core institutions involved and the key roles performed by those who inhabit them
  • Summarize and differentiate the major theories about crime, criminalization and victimization and then apply theories to critically analyze contemporary injustices
  • Describe the differences between popular perceptions of criminal justice institutions and the lived realities of victims, criminals and justice workers
  • Recognize how social forces affect the perception and pursuit of justice in the U.S. and around the world
  • Critically assess how power and privilege impact law making and law enforcement
  •  Use criminal justice theories, methods or investigative techniques to assess patterns of crime, criminalization and victimization and to establish justification for a course of action.
  • Through written or oral communication describe differential impacts on diverse members of society and provide sustained, focused justifications for the value of diversity for a more just society
  • Apply collaborative skills, ethical reasoning, analytic skills and knowledge about crime and justice to address an injustice, advance causes of justice.
  • Pursue advanced professional training and/or a meaningful justice-related career


Major Requirements
  • Take the following 36 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course:

    Note: You may apply up to 15 units of criminology, criminal justice, or administration of justice coursework taken at other institutions toward your criminology and criminal justice degree at Northern Arizona University.

Minor Requirements
  • You must complete a minor of at least 18 units from those described in this catalog. In consultation with your advisor, you should select a minor that's appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
  • Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Plan Option

    This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan.  Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree, which may allow them to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by applying 6 units toward both degrees.  Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Programs to be considered for admission.  Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year.  Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.
  • Bachelor/Juris Doctor 3+3 Program

    This plan is eligible for NAU’s 3+3 program offered in conjunction with the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.  This program allows outstanding students to substitute their final year of undergraduate studies with their first year of law school and earn an undergraduate (BS or BA) and law (JD) degree in six years instead of seven years.  Please refer to the Bachelor/Juris Doctor 3+3 Program for more information.

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Department Information
Learn more about this program and the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice.