Criminal Justice
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Online Degree Program

The Bachelor of Science online degree program in Criminal Justice is designed to assist students to develop an understanding of the theories and principles relevant to the field of criminal justice.

Designed For You

The California Coast University online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program was designed for complete flexibility for the student. All courses are self-paced and completed 100% online.

  • Low tuition with interest-free payment plans as low as $100/month.
  • Flexible programs designed to fit into your busy schedule. Self-paced study with no group projects, set meeting times, or exam dates.
  • The program is not structured in semesters, quarters, or terms. It is designed to allow students to begin their online studies at any time of the year.
  • CCU offers a tuition discount for Active Duty Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, Government Employees, and CCU Graduates.
    We also offer a 10% discount for Corporate Partner employees. For more information on how to become a Corporate Partner, see our Corporate Partnership Information Page.
    *Employment verification is required. Offer good for students who enrolled after April 2018 and were offered discount at time of enrollment. Offer is not retroactive for students already enrolled. Discount and/or prices subject to change and/or cancellation at any time without notice. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount(s).
View Program Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

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Explore The Program

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program consists of 42 total courses.
The required courses are comprised of: 14 Core > 14 General Ed > 14 Elective .
There are 126 total semester units in this program.

14 Core Courses

For the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (B.S.) degree program, the following 14 courses must be fulfilled. Click on course title to expand and read more.

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ID Course Name Units
BCJ 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice  3

Introduction to Criminal Justice aims to provide students with a general understanding of the criminal justice system’s response to crime in society. It is important to note that the general theme of this course involves the delicate balance between community interests and individual rights that criminal justice decision-making requires. This theme will be explored by examining the criminal justice process in some detail, focusing on how the system is structured to respond to crime.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explore the history of crime in America and corresponding changes in the American criminal justice system.
  • Explain how multiculturalism and diversity present special challenges to, and opportunities for, the American system of criminal justice.
  • Examine the development of criminological theory including the role of social research in that development.
  • Describe the development of American courts including the concept of the dual-court system.
  • Consider the history of punishments and its impact on the modern philosophy of corrections.
BCJ 210 Juvenile Justice  3

Juvenile Justice explores the history of juvenile justice, the juvenile justice system and special populations. It focuses on the system itself, the processes within it and the young people who become involved in it. A historical view of the juvenile justice system and how it relates to the entire criminal justice system is also presented.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Examine the historical context related to the field of juvenile justice.
  • Identify the risk factors associated with delinquency and other juvenile problem behaviors.
  • Examine the significance of key research and/or landmark cases impacting the field of juvenile justice.
  • Identify the key theories that underlie the field of juvenile justice.
  • Discuss the definition and attributes of crimes and punishments related to juveniles.
BCJ 230 Criminal Investigation  3

Criminal Investigation aims to provide students with an overview of the criminal investigation field. Course topics include the fundamentals of criminal investigation, follow-up investigative processes, methods for obtaining information, and how to approach the investigation of different types of crimes.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss the solvability factors in a criminal investigation.
  • Identify the qualities of a good investigative report.
  • Explain how to collect and search for evidence at a crime scene.
  • Examine the role of investigative analysis to solve crimes.
  • Identify the legal guidelines for conducting searches.
  • Differentiate between interviews and interrogations.
  • Distinguish between the criminal intelligence and criminal investigation functions.
BCJ 240 Procedures in the Justice System  3

Procedures in the Justice System covers the fundamental principles and procedures employed in the investigation of crimes. The course connects criminal procedure cases to the real world through innovative pedagogy and encourages critical thinking. This course is designed to help students develop a working knowledge of the steps of investigation, beginning with the initial security of the crime scene and concluding with the presentation of evidence and proper testimony in court in such a way as to make the concepts easy to apply to any state’s specific procedural laws.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss the law of constitutional criminal procedures.
  • Understand criminal procedures in its social, political, and historical contexts.
  • Review the purposes and rules that emerge from cases.
BCJ 245 Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime  3

Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime discusses computer crime in non-technological language while presenting all basic modern procedures needed to investigate and prosecute it. It covers both forensic and legal issues, addressing the First and Fourth Amendments, U.S. Patriot Act, international collaborations, identity theft, and much more.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explore the changes in society associated with the advent of technological changes and the introduction of the Internet.
  • Assess the challenges associated with the enforcement and prosecution of computer crime.
  • Analyze the basic language of computers and computer systems.
  • Assess traditional problems associated with the recognition and prosecution of computer crime.
  • Examine strategies to minimize the impact of computer-related crime.
BCJ 303 Terrorism  3

Terrorism examines terrorist events and groups, analyzes responses to terrorism and the resulting changes in terrorist strategies, and looks at current and future trends for each continent. We will explore the current threat from global jihadist groups, analyze the increase in suicide bomber attacks, and assess profiles of prominent individuals involved in terrorism and terrorist networks. In addition, we will also explore ways to mitigate risks and manage incidents.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the many different definitions of terrorism.
  • Discuss how suicide terror is not a new phenomenon but one that has been used by terrorists through the centuries.
  • Explain why the war on terror will likely continue for decades to come.
  • Discuss various global terrorist threats in the context of the international political environment.
  • Discuss why intelligence is such a key ingredient in the fight against terrorism.
BCJ 340 Criminal Behavior  3

Criminal Behavior provides a detailed look at crime, what may lead to it, and how criminal behavior may be prevented—all from a psychological perspective. This course offers a comprehensive look at this complex field by focusing on serious crimes, particularly those involving violence.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Investigate the multiple causes, manifestations, and developmental pathways of criminal behavior.
  • Become aware that the study of criminal behavior and delinquency, from a psychological perspective, has shifted from a personality focus toward a more cognitive and developmental focus.
  • Identify social, family, and psychological developmental risk factors that lead to delinquency and crime.
  • Explore the genetic and biological aspects of criminal behavior.
  • Analyze the relationship between alcohol abuse and crime and delinquency.
BCJ 351 Forensic Science  3

Forensic Science explores the forensic investigation process and procedures. Students will learn how to identify, gather, and analyze multiple types of evidence through contemporary case studies. This course is designed to make the subject of forensic science comprehensible to a wide variety of students who are, or plan to be, aligned with the forensic science profession.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Define and distinguish forensic science and criminalistics.
  • Describe proper techniques for packaging common types of physical evidence.
  • Understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  • Understand the use of DNA computerized databases in criminal investigation.
BCJ 355 Homeland Security  3

Homeland Security reviews basic issues of homeland security, the history and context of the field, and what the future of the field might hold. Central issues surrounding homeland security including policy concepts and political and legal responses will be covered.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze common themes of homeland security as found through the homeland security bureaucracy, concepts, strategy, mission, goals, and areas of emphasis.
  • Examine the components of terrorism and what differentiates it from regular crime.
  • Examine the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and the myriad laws it contained.
  • Assess how the intelligence and security communities interact with the criminal justice system.
  • Examine the different types of threats (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives) facing the United States.
  • Analyze the challenges faced by homeland security in the future.
BCJ 360 Criminal Law  3

Criminal Law provides students with an overview of general legal principles and an understanding of the historical development of criminal law and its contemporary form and function in American society today. This course offers a comprehensive study of the historical background, social values, moral standards, and political realities that give direction to the American system of justice.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Examine basic criminal law terminology.
  • Compare the types of defenses, including perfect and imperfect defenses.
  • Differentiate physiological, psychological, and sociological excuse defenses.
  • Distinguish types of murder and manslaughter.
  • Describe the crimes of assault and battery.
  • Analyze how criminal law could control terrorism.
BCJ 400 Theory and Practices of Law Enforcement  3

Theory and Practices of Law Enforcement discusses the historical background and development of the law enforcement field as we know it today. The course presents a detailed view of law enforcement philosophies, operations, tactics, strategies, and processes and highlights the essential critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills necessary for law enforcement practitioners as they provide services to increasingly diverse communities. The course emphasizes the multi-jurisdictional complexities of policing in the United States and abroad and the need for inter-agency cooperation in sharing accurate, timely, and relevant information in a post-9/11 world.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss traditional policing and police professionalization.
  • Compare and contrast basic policing functions and units.
  • Apply the laws of search and seizure, arrest, and interrogation.
  • Apply the principles of investigation and evidence collection.
  • Examine policing in multicultural communities.
  • Analyze the advances in policing and new technologies.
  • Examine the concepts of community policing and problem solving.
  • Outline the standards required for police recruitment and retention.
BCJ 403 Theory and Practices of Corrections  3

Theory and Practices of Corrections provides students with an overview of our past and present corrections system, the evolving manner in which inmates have been treated, and the controversies that still remain in the corrections system today. By the end of this course, students should be more knowledgeable about the corrections system and its participants, as well as more are of the different perspectives of various members of society regarding the U.S. corrections system.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the variety of ways society punishes people who break criminal laws.
  • Identify the theoretical underpinnings of correctional systems and understand how correctional practices are shaped by these theories.
  • Explain the benefits, drawbacks and competing considerations involved in different correctional methods.
  • Think critically about our correctional practices and develop informed ideas about how our justice system should respond to people who break the law.
BCJ 450 Domestic Violence  3

Domestic Violence serves as an introduction to the field of family and intimate partner violence. It focuses on the criminal justice perspective, bringing together the causes and consequences, along with an in-depth examination, of this type of violence.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explore the early social-legal history of family violence.
  • Examine the current global concern over the treatment of women within the home and outside.
  • Discuss the value of research to understanding family and intimate partner violence.
  • Assess the consequences of family violence on subsequent juvenile behaviors.
  • Critique domestic violence protection orders, along with examples of available remedies allowed by the states.
BCJ 470 Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology  3

Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology provides an introduction to the techniques used in criminal justice research. The goal of this course is to help students develop an understanding of the kinds of research conducted in the criminal justice field, the role of the researcher, general steps in the research process, and research design and statistical analysis. In addition, attention will be given to the ethical issues the researcher must consider when designing research. Finally, the course will explore the application of research findings to real world situations.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Assess the research process including the various types of research utilized in the criminal justice field.
  • Differentiate between quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.
  • Examine the role of the researcher in criminal justice research.
  • Examine the ethical research principles to consider when conducting research in the criminal justice field.
  • Analyze the role of surveys, participant observations, case studies, and unobtrusive measures in conducting research in the criminal justice field.
  • Consider the application of research findings to the criminal justice field.
14 General Ed. Courses

For the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (B.S.) degree program, the following 14 courses must be fulfilled. Click on course title to expand and read more.

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14 Elective Courses

For the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (B.S.) degree program, you will select 14 courses to take from the list of courses below. Click on course title to expand and read more.

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Prerequisites to Admission:

The applicant should meet the following prerequisites in order to be admitted to the program: An applicant must be at least 18 years of age and have successfully obtained a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent.

FAQ About Coursework

Required units may be satisfied in the following ways:

  • California Coast University has developed comprehensive Study Guides, for each course, that are designed to coordinate and sequence the learning materials within the required textbook. The following points will help to illustrate how the Study Guides are designed:

    • Study Guides are based on specific college level textbooks, which may be obtained from local bookstores, the publisher, or the University's Rental Library.
    • Each Study Guide is organized with a complete syllabus, along with instructional materials to guide the student chapter by chapter through the corresponding textbook.
    • Each Study Guide contains an overview and summary of all textbook chapters, along with a listing of important keywords (with definitions), and self-tests (with answers) on key points.
    • Study Guides include 4 unit exams equally spaced throughout the instructional materials, one writing assignment per unit, and the final examination.
    • Examinations are designed to test the student on the information contained within the preceding chapters.
    • All tests have no time limit and may be completed as open book tests.
  • California Coast University recognizes that not all learning occurs through a college or university. Therefore, it is possible to receive academic credit based on previously completed specialized training. The following guidelines are utilized when evaluating specialized training:

    • Documented training such as those a student may have completed through their employer, company, organization, military training experiences, professional or personal licensure requirements or other documented training experiences may be eligible for academic credit.
    • Eligibility for specialized training is assessed at the application stage of the enrollment process. All supporting documentation of prior training is reviewed for equivalent elective credit.
    • Students have 45 days from the date of enrollment to submit documents for specialized training credit. If applicable, credits will be awarded and tuition will be adjusted accordingly.
    • For specialized training documents received after the initial 45 days, there will be a re-evaluation fee of $75.00 charged. Any academic credit awarded will be applied to the student's program, but there will be no tuition adjustments made after the initial 45 days of enrollment.
    • Specialized training credit can be utilized to meet elective course requirements only.

    *Savings based on the ability to satisfy 10 elective courses using specialized training credit.

  • Transcripts of previously completed academic work are evaluated and credit may be transferred to meet existing coursework requirements. The following guidelines are utilized when accepting transfer credit for a bachelor's degree program:

    • The University will accept transfer credit from applicable courses completed at colleges or universities accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or foreign equivalent.
    • Bachelor degree students may receive transfer credit for up to 93 semester units.
    • To be eligible for undergraduate academic credit, transfer grades must be equivalent to a letter grade of C (2.0 GPA) or higher.
  • During the admissions process, all professional experience is reviewed to determine if an applicant has sufficient occupational experience to warrant completing a Challenge Examination in lieu of a Study Guide for a particular course. The following factors are considered:

    • An applicant may be offered an opportunity to complete a Challenge Examination if the candidate's occupational expertise appears to be comparable to the objectives identified for a particular course.
    • Successfully passing a Challenge Examination will demonstrate an acceptable level of competence for that course.
    • If a student does not pass a Challenge Examination they are assigned a Study Guide for completion.
    • The maximum amount of Challenge Examinations allowed for each program level are: Associate 4; Bachelor's 10; Master's 2; Doctorate 0; and Certificates 1.
  • Experiential learning allows undergraduate students to receive credit for experiential learning in the major field of study (core courses) only. The following guidelines are utilized when offering the opportunity for experiential learning credit:

    • Eligibility for experiential credit is determined at the application stage of the enrollment process.
    • The applicant’s educational background and work history are reviewed and an assessment is made indicating which courses may be eligible for credit by experiential learning.
    • If it is determined that a particular course is eligible for credit by experiential learning, the student will submit supporting information on past professional experience and training to justify the award of academic credit. This information may be provided any time during the academic program.
    • Regular tuition applies for all courses offered through experiential credit.
    • If a student has been offered the opportunity to request experiential credit, but would prefer to complete a challenge examination or study guide, he or she may do so by making a request in writing to the Student Success Center.
    • No letter grade is given for experiential credit courses.
    • Bachelor level students may receive up to 30 semester units of credit for core courses.
    • No experiential credit is awarded to students enrolled in a certificate, master’s or doctoral program.