Program Overview

The bachelor of arts (BA) in criminal justice provides students with a broad analysis of the functions and operation of the criminal justice system as well as an examination of the relationship between law and society. An emphasis is placed on the interrelatedness of the components of the system including law enforcement, juvenile justice, court services (probation and parole), courts and corrections. To earn a BA with a major in criminal justice, students must complete the minimum bachelor's degree requirements (120 credits) including general education, liberal studies and criminal justice course work. All major courses must be completed with a grade of C- or higher.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the Criminal Justice major, students must submit a School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Undergraduate Program Declaration Form when the following is completed:

  • 30 credits
  • GELS/MNTC writing requirements
  • Cumulative Metropolitan State GPA of 2.25
  • SLC Pre-major Advising Workshop (PAW)

All criminal justice pre-majors should work closely with an advisor from the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (SLC)


Declare Your Program

Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right hand column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

All Metropolitan State University students must complete at least 30 credits in residency at Metropolitan State. All criminal justice students must complete 24 major credits (identified as containing a CJ or LAWE prefix) at Metropolitan State University which can be applied toward the 30 credit university residency requirement.

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

Requirements ( 55 total credits)

Core Courses (45 credits)

CJS 101 is the prerequisite for most required criminal justice classes. CJS 201 is the prerequisite for most upper division required law enforcement and criminal justice classes. CJS 301, CJS 320, CJS 360, and CJS 375 are prerequisites for CJS 489 and CJS 490. Either CJS 489 or CJS 490 should be completed during the student's last semester.

  • CJS 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
    3 credits

    As an introduction to the field of criminal justice, this course provides students with a brief but comprehensive overview of criminal justice institutions in American society. Students learn about the role of the criminal justice system in maintaining social order. The course also examines the duties and functions of criminal justice practitioners, including police officers, prosecutors, judges and correctional officials from the initial violation of the criminal law, to the punishment and release of convicted offenders.

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  • CJS 201 Foundations in Criminal Justice
    3 credits

    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of academic research and professional development related to the discipline of criminal justice and law enforcement. Students learn to search, locate, retrieve, evaluate, and document research sources as well as prepare research papers using writing and citations styles expected in criminal justice and law enforcement courses. The course will also broaden students' understanding of the direct and indirect criminal justice professional opportunities and equip students with the tools to begin to pursue careers in the field.

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  • CJS 210 Constitutional Law
    3 credits

    This course provides an overview and critical examination of constitutional law as it relates to criminal justice issues. A historical overview of the U.S. Constitution is covered along with how the Constitution works in the legal system including the role of the Supreme Court and constitutional interpretation. The first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments are emphasized. The course also examines how the Constitution protects the rights of those charged as well as the rights of law-abiding citizens.

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  • CJS 300 Corrections and Community Corrections
    4 credits

    Corrections is a primary component of the American criminal justice system. This course is designed to introduce students to the profession and academic discipline of corrections. Course work exposes students to the philosophy and procedures of punishment; the various components within the correctional community such as confinement, probation and parole, and community corrections. The course also addresses issues relating to prisoners, such as prisoners' rights and prison life and other issues relating to the American correctional system, such as capital punishment, rehabilitation, juvenile justice, and financial penalties.

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  • CJS 301 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    This course examines the scientific research methods used in criminal justice research. Students learn a variety of research methods and apply them to various types of research being conducted within the criminal justice system. This course examines both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

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  • CJS 305 The Criminal Court System
    4 credits

    This course is designed to expand students understanding of the role of criminal court at the federal, state, and local levels. As the intermediate step between law enforcement and corrections, courts are often criticized for providing a revolving door through which chronic offenders enter and exit without justice being served. We will explore the power and limitations of the judicial branch of government with regard to its role in the criminal justice system, as well as learn about the roles of various court professionals and develop a detailed understanding of the court process.

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  • CJS 320 Criminology and Public Policy
    4 credits

    This course focuses on theories, concepts, narratives, and myths of crime and delinquent behavior. Contemporary issues and controversies within the criminal justice field are explored in social, political, and economic context. Special emphasis is placed on the role of race, class, gender, and culture in relation to the etiology, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. This course is committed to general theoretical debate, examination of the interrelation between criminological theory and research, and empirical analyses of policy and practice.

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  • LAWE 330 Policing and Society
    4 credits

    This course provides an introduction to American policing and an overview of the critical issues which confront law enforcement officers and their agencies. Some of the issues which are examined include: the role of the police, management and policy development in law enforcement agencies; police selection, training and socialization; minorities and women in policing; psychological hazards and stress in policing; and police misconduct.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • CJS 350 Citizenship: Community Involvement
      4 credits

      The purpose of this course is to educate and encourage the development of globally competent citizens and leaders. The course is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be engaged, responsible, and effective members of a globally interdependent society. Most importantly, students will be asked to think deeply about their world (including its future, current issues, its impact on their local area, and our personal responsibility as global citizens). This course will have a service learning component.

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    • CJS 354 Restorative Justice
      4 credits

      This course is designed to allow students to develop a working understanding and knowledge of Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice looks at the concept of justice through nontraditional and alternative viewpoints. Rather than focus on "what is the crime, who did the crime and what should the punishment be," Restorative Justice focuses on "who has been harmed, what was the harm and who is responsible to repair the harm." Students will examine Restorative Justice from historical, sociological, criminological and psychological perspectives. Throughout the course, a wide range of specific "restorative practices" will be studied, reviewed and analyzed. Some of the concepts the course will explore are trauma and healing, conflict transformation, issues related to juvenile justice, and alternative processes such as Victim-Offender Dialogue and the Circle Process.

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  • CJS 360 Diversity in Criminal Justice
    0 credits

    This course provides an in-depth examination of the opportunities and challenges of providing criminal justice services in a multicultural society. The course provides students with a knowledge of the diversity that exists in communities and criminal justice agencies. It provides both theoretical and practical information to respond effectively to diversity issues. Examples of community issues include conflict resolution, crime prevention, victimization and strategies to improve relationships with the community. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

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  • CJS 375 Ethics and Professionalism in Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    Examines a range of moral dilemmas which criminal justice practitioners are likely to face in their duties. Using both moral theory and detailed case examples, students learn to apply moral principles and concepts to a given situation, recognize the relevance of moral principles and concepts, and apply their individual moral philosophy to resolving these situations in a satisfactory manner. This course meets corresponding learning objectives of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • CJS 489 Criminal Justice Capstone Internship
      4 credits

      With an emphasis on experiential learning, the capstone course allows students to combine an internship experience in a criminal justice setting with academic work to support career pathways, synthesize undergraduate experiences, and develop deeper understanding of criminal justice issues. During the semester, students must complete at least 160 hours of service at an internship field site. Note: With support from their academic advisors and ICES staff, students are responsible for securing their own internship opportunities and must do so one month prior to registering for CJS-489.

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    • CJS 490 Criminal Justice Capstone Research
      4 credits

      Using both a theoretical and practical framework, this experience is designed to help students integrate and synthesize their undergraduate experiences. An applied project demonstrates discipline mastery of a subject and serves as a vehicle for future work and study in the criminal justice field. Note: This course should be taken the semester the student graduates.

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Electives: Directed Electives (10 credits)

Criminal justice majors must select at least 10 directed elective credits (three courses minimum, 6 credits as LE/CJ, minimum 6 credits upper division) of criminal justice or law enforcement courses listed below. CJS 101 and CJS 201 are prerequisites for some CJS and LAWE directed elective courses. See course descriptions for more details.

Students double majoring in law enforcement and criminal justice may not use required core law enforcement
courses as directed electives. To earn a law enforcement and criminal justice double major, a minimum of 24 credits (residency requirements) is required for each discipline, LAWE and CJS, and must be completed at Metropolitan State University. Any student awarded an associate’s degree in a law enforcement major/program may not double major in law enforcement and criminal justice at Metropolitan State University.

Program note: LAWE 104 is not accepted as a direct elective.

  • CJS 110 Careers in Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    This course introduces students to an array of career paths taken by criminal justice students throughout the public, private, and non-profits sectors. The course broadens students' understanding of the direct and indirect criminal justice professional opportunities through presentations by professionals in the field and research of possible career choices. This course also focuses on the selection process, including resume development and job interviewing.

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  • CJS 310 Introduction to Security Management
    4 credits

    This course explores the past, current and future trends in security management. The basic concepts, tools and practices that comprise security management are examined. Students learn how to identify and minimize risk in a private setting. They also learn the basics of physical security and access control as well as how to identify potential liability in the security field. In addition, this course examines various career opportunities in security management.

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  • CJS 315 Sexual Violence and Child Exploitation
    4 credits

    This course examines the causes, effects, treatment, and prevention of all types of violence against women and children. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, incest, sexual harassment, physical child abuse and sexual exploitation, infanticide, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery.

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  • CJS 318 Women and Crime
    4 credits

    This course will be comprised of material on three main topics: women as offenders, women as victims of gendered violence, and women working in the criminal justice system. Women's involvement in criminal activity has been ignored by traditional criminological theories/theorists. This course will examine the frequency and nature of women's involvement along with the more modern theories which we can use to understand these phenomena. Students will also learn about the issues surrounding gendered violence including stalking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Finally, students will learn about the special issues surrounding women's work in the traditionally male-dominated fields of corrections and law enforcement.

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  • CJS 325 Inside-Out: Prison Exchange Program
    4 credits

    The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is an opportunity for a small group of students from Metropolitan State University and a group of residents who are in area correctional facilities to exchange ideas and perceptions about crime and justice, the criminal justice system, corrections and imprisonment. It is a chance for all participants to gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system through the marriage of theoretical knowledge and practical experience achieved by weekly meetings extended throughout the semester.

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  • CJS 333 Gangs
    4 credits

    This course examines the nature and extent of gangs in America. It addresses the history of gangs, when they exist, when they are illusory, and public reactions to them. It considers variations among street gangs, and contrasts these with other extra-legal groups, including prison gangs and mafias. Attention is focused on individual-level correlates and risks associated with gang membership, group processes in gangs, and macro-level correlates of gangs and gang behaviors. The role of the community and criminal justice system in gang prevention, intervention, and suppression is also considered.

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  • CJS 335 Homicide Studies
    4 credits

    This course offers a global perspective on homicide with cross-cultural and international comparisons. Students analyze trends in homicide offending and victimization and predictors of lethal violence. Special emphasis is given to the profiles and motivations of serial killers and mass murderers. Homicide clearance rates, investigative techniques that enhance the probability of offender identification, gun control, and the deterrent effect of capital punishment, among others, are topics examined in this course.

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  • CJS 340 Comparative Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    This course provides students with international perspectives on criminal justice. Through a comprehensive review of cross-national research data, students examine the features, successes and failures of various distinct criminal justice systems around the globe and use that information to evaluate the American criminal justice system. By exploring justice institutions in other parts of the world, students learn that criminal justice systems are shaped by the values, norms, customs or standards of behavior characteristic of the society in which they are found.

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  • CJS 344 Terrorism and Counterterrorism
    4 credits

    This course explores the emergence and manifestation of terror and terrorism from a range of historical, political, sociological and cultural perspectives. It further explores the interpretation of, and response to, contemporary manifestations of terror and terrorism. Emphasizing the diverse and contested nature of terror as both concept and practice, a number of case studies are highlighted in order to explore the complex connections between order, power, authority, security and terror. The organizational form and objectives of terrorist organizations, and the range of strategies available in response to the demands and challenges posed by terror in an era of globalization are also considered.

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  • CJS 345 Organization and Administration in Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    This course examines the operation of criminal justice organizations and provides students with a conceptual foundation to explore the workings of the criminal justice system. Emphasis is placed on understanding internal and external influences on the operations of criminal justice agencies including the people, practices and events that shape criminal justice administration.

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  • CJS 346 Victimology
    4 credits

    This course is designed to prepare criminal justice and law enforcement students to work with victims and to understand the complexity of victim issues. This course will look at victimization from a sociological, psychological, as well as, legal perspective. Students will be exposed to current research, ethical considerations in victim response, psychological phenomena common to crime victims, legal obligations for victim service providers, and resources available to victims.

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  • CJS 350 Citizenship: Community Involvement
    4 credits

    The purpose of this course is to educate and encourage the development of globally competent citizens and leaders. The course is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to be engaged, responsible, and effective members of a globally interdependent society. Most importantly, students will be asked to think deeply about their world (including its future, current issues, its impact on their local area, and our personal responsibility as global citizens). This course will have a service learning component.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • CJS 354 Restorative Justice
    4 credits

    This course is designed to allow students to develop a working understanding and knowledge of Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice looks at the concept of justice through nontraditional and alternative viewpoints. Rather than focus on "what is the crime, who did the crime and what should the punishment be," Restorative Justice focuses on "who has been harmed, what was the harm and who is responsible to repair the harm." Students will examine Restorative Justice from historical, sociological, criminological and psychological perspectives. Throughout the course, a wide range of specific "restorative practices" will be studied, reviewed and analyzed. Some of the concepts the course will explore are trauma and healing, conflict transformation, issues related to juvenile justice, and alternative processes such as Victim-Offender Dialogue and the Circle Process.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • CJS 356 Violence in America
    4 credits

    Students will explore the nature and extent of the violence problem in the United States using a tripartite approach, which incorporates patterns, explanations, and interventions. The course will cover the history and epidemiology of violence; roots of violence, including biological, psychological, and sociological causes; specific types of violence; media portrayals of violence; the physical, emotional, social, economic, and political consequences of violence; and ways to control and prevent violence in our communities, including criminal justice and public health approaches.

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  • CJS 358 Community Building for Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    This class will examine the processes and dynamics necessary for criminal justice agencies and their personnel to play an active, direct role in identifying and organizing the community and fiscal resources necessary to build effective partnerships. Once formed, these partnerships will result in the development of a cooperative problem-solving community. Students will review case studies, visit a community meeting, evaluate current and historical social movements, and develop recommendations on issues they face in their communities. Modern theoretical application will provide the basis for the foundation of the necessity for these problem solving partnerships to emerge and grow. The students will study how the criminal justice system shapes and influences particular parts of the community including schools, business organizations, faith communities, social service agencies, and grassroots groups and how these organizations in turn shape the criminal justice system.

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  • CJS 365 Media in Criminal Justice
    4 credits

    Students in this course explore the roles and responsibilities that the electronic and print media have in reporting crime and criminal justice news. Students identify and analyze the nature of criminal justice agencies and media relationships with various criminal justice agencies.

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  • CJS 366 The U.S. Intelligence Community
    4 credits

    This course provides an overview of the U.S. Intelligence Community and examines how the community supports national security, foreign policy, and homeland security. Students examine the intelligence cycle and the structure, constraints, and oversight of the agencies that comprise the intelligence community. Specific attention is given to collection operations, analysis, and dissemination of finished intelligence products to consumers, with emphasis on how global intelligence is used to protect and police local communities. How intelligence products build a common operational picture for national security management at top levels of government and how intelligence analysis also supports Homeland Security by assisting federal, state, and local political leaders and law enforcement officials is explored. Students also discuss such topics as human intelligence operations, counterintelligence, UAV (drone) operations, interrogation and detention, and the moral, ethical, and legal framework inside which those disciplines and operations are practiced.

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  • CJS 367 Exploring Forensic Science
    0 credits

    This course will provide the student with a general overview and a better understanding of the wide range of disciplines found within the forensic sciences. Fundamental topics such as forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, forensic pathology, and forensic accounting will be discussed. In addition 'traditionally' recognized topics in forensic science such as DNA, Trace Evidence, Impression Evidence, Drugs, and Questioned Documents will be covered. The course instructor will utilize multi-media in a lecture format, utilizing case-studies, video supplements and expert guest speakers.

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  • CJS 377 Criminal Justice Practicum
    0 credits

    This field practicum involves the student in the day-to-day function of a criminal justice agency. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to translate the theoretically-oriented classroom experience into practical application.

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  • CJS 382 Topics in Criminal Justice:
    0 credits

    This course provides students an opportunity to study specific issues and concerns in criminal justice and law enforcement. A variety of contemporary and relevant course topics are offered for in-depth analysis based on student interest and demand.

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  • CJS 387 White Collar Crime
    4 credits

    This course presents an overview of white collar crime. Students explore theories of white collar crime and corporate criminal liability. The investigation, prosecution and sentencing of white-collar offenders are examined. "Crime in the suites" is compared to "crime in the streets." Issues related to diversity are explored.

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  • CJS 388 Crime Analysis
    4 credits

    This course is intended to develop the student's skills and knowledge in the field of crime analysis. Students will become familiar with the variety of tasks and issues encountered within the public and private sectors by a crime analyst. Students will also participate in group activities to build knowledge and skills associated with the different functions of a crime analyst.

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  • CJS 465 Criminal Justice Response to the Mentally Ill and Other Special Populations
    4 credits

    This course will focus on how to manage special populations in the criminal justice system. The types of special populations we will focus on will include the mentally ill, the physically ill and disabled, juveniles, the elderly, women, GLBT individuals, and immigrants. We will consider both offenders and victims within each of these special populations.

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  • LAWE 280 Juvenile Justice
    3 credits

    This course presents a juvenile justice system overview, with emphasis on Minnesota Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure. The historical and philosophical development of the juvenile justice system is discussed, along with a comparative analysis of U.S. juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. Students learn about resources available to criminal justice practitioners and addresses the specific needs of juveniles in crisis.

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  • LAWE 312 Emergency Management for Law Enforcement
    4 credits

    This course examines the fundamental principles and practices of emergency management including how it functions within the homeland security enterprise. Mass shootings, acts of terror, infrastructure collapse, and natural disasters all are examples of emergencies examined in this course. This course also explores the human and economic costs of emergencies and the intended and unintended consequences of intervention.

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  • LAWE 329 Technology and Modern Policing
    4 credits

    This course examines the growth of technology in modern society and how the use of that technology is affecting law enforcement practices in the United States. The course further examines the types of technology, its impact on policing practices, and the impact on the use of technology on civil rights including the public perception of the violation of individual privacy.

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  • LAWE 339 Violent Crime Investigation
    4 credits

    Students will learn about criminal investigations and critical techniques to enhance solving cases. Student will learn how to identify the different types of violent crimes, and how to systematically investigate each type of violent crime. Students will learn how to develop a criminal profile, and gain insights to what motivates criminal behavior.

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  • LAWE 431 Police Culture
    4 credits

    This course will explore the complex interactions between police culture and issues relating to integrity and ethics for the police. It will examine the underlying values of the police culture and how those affect police behavior. Loyalty, racism, and use of force issues will be examined.

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  • LAWE 445 Law Enforcement Leadership: Contemporary Issues
    4 credits

    The course explores contemporary leadership, motivation, teambuilding, change, and working with difficult people, along with the roles and responsibilities of the first line supervisor within a law enforcement agency.

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