Columbia College 100% Online - master of arts in criminal justice

Format and Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice is earned completely online. Each class is five weeks long, and the average student finishes their degree in 36 months.

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Program Format

An online cohort begins every month. The benefit of a cohort is that you proceed through the program with the same set of students, building relationships and professional bonds with your classmates.

Each class lasts five weeks; a term consists of twenty-five weeks and includes five classes. Ten classes or thirty semester hours can be completed in twelve months.

Degree Requirements

B. A. Criminal Justice Degree Requirements
Program Requirements:
21 hours from: CJ 301, 302, 303, 304, 401, 402, 403
15 hours from: CJ 310, 320, 330, 340, 350, 351, 410, 420, 430, 440, 450
3 hour Leadership Course from: CJ 495, 496, or 497
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Electives: hours taken from other Emergency Management courses, Criminal Justice courses, and/or approved transfer credit earned from regionally accredited colleges and universities, the FBI National Academy, FEMA Emergency Management Institute, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, FLETC, National Academy of Criminal Justice, National Fire Academy, Criminal Justice Academy, South Carolina Fire Academy, or the Southern Police Institute 55
General Education Requirements:
CJ101, BIO 104, COMM 100, ENG 101, ENG 102, ENG 200, HIS 104, LA 104, MATH 120, PSY 102, REL 104
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Total Hours to Earn a Degree 127

Course Descriptions – CORE Program Requirements = 21 s.h.

CJ301 Introduction to Criminal Justice – This introductory course provides a comprehensive overview of the criminal justice system in America. The course examines the foundations of criminal justice, fundamental legal concepts in crime and punishment, history and structure of law enforcement, the court system and the corrections system. 3 s.h.

CJ 302 Introduction to Courts – The American court system is described in this course, with attention to the characteristics, jurisdiction and dynamics of state and federal courts. The roles of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and juries are examined. Case studies are used to illustrate the judicial process from arrest to arraignment, trial, and verdict. 3 s.h.

CJ 303 Introduction to Law Enforcement – This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the structure of American law enforcement and its characteristics at the local, state and federal levels. Practical considerations for entering the field of law enforcement are discussed, including hiring practices; required knowledge, skills and abilities; training; policies and procedures; internal affairs; and occupational issues. 3 s.h.

CJ 304 Introduction to Corrections – The history, philosophy and contemporary concepts of corrections are presented in this survey course.Topics include sentencing and criminal sanctions, institutional corrections, probation and community corrections, parole and rehabilitation, and career opportunities in corrections. Specific gender, race and ethnicity issues in corrections are discussed. 3 s.h.

CJ 401 Criminological Theory – This is a survey course on theories of the causes, prevention and punishment of crime. The course examines philosophical, biological, psychological and sociological theories and current integrative approaches. Emphasis will be given to key concepts for understanding crime in its social context. 3 s.h.

CJ 402 Ethics in Criminal Justice – This course provides an overview of philosophical and moral issues in human behavior and their implications for law enforcement and criminal justice. Topics include choices and values, the challenge of determinism, morality and moral development, self-interest, issues in police integrity, rights-based ethics, and the relevance of virtue in criminal justice. 3 s.h.

CJ 403 Statistics in Criminal Justice – This course provides an introduction to statistical methods in criminal justice. It covers descriptive statistics, variability, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion and probability distributions. 3 s.h.

Take 1 Leadership Course = 3 s.h.

CJ 495 Leadership – This is a seminar course on leadership in law enforcement. Students engage in extensive discussion of leadership challenges based on a case study and findings from a survey of law enforcement leaders on leadership style, personality characteristics and success. Disney’s Approach to Quality Service is presented as a model for establishing effective organizational leadership. 3 s.h.

CJ 496 Professionalism in Criminal Justice – This is a seminar course on professionalism in criminal justice. The course includes assessment of personal characteristics; setting priorities for personal values, knowledge and integrity; recognizing family and social influences on personal growth; and development of leadership qualities. 3 s.h.

CJ 497 Professional Leadership in Criminal Justice – This is a seminar course on leadership in criminal justice. The course is based on The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. Emphasis is placed on discussing and developing leadership qualities to meet the management challenges experienced in criminal justice organizations. 3 s.h.

Electives – take 5 = 15 s.h.

CJ 310 Community Corrections – This course is an exploration of community-based approaches to corrections, including probation, parole, treatment and rehabilitation programs. Topics include roles of probation and parole officers, and community corrections for specific populations including juveniles, sex offenders, mentally ill offenders, and drug and alcohol abusers. 3 s.h.

CJ 320 Community Policing – In this course, an overview is presented of the evolution of policing practices and crime prevention approaches in America with emphasis on current trends, issues and problems in community law enforcement. 3 s.h.

CJ 330 Introduction to Forensic Science – Crime scene investigation techniques and laboratory methods are examined. Emphasis is placed on crime scene protocols, documentation of evidence, fingerprinting and scientific analysis of evidence. The course covers legal issues including chain of custody, Fourth Amendment rights, and search procedures. Laboratory tests used in forensics are described with particular attention to DNA analysis, toxicology, hair and fiber analysis and fire scene analysis. 3 s.h.

CJ 340 Comparative Justice – A comparative survey of judicial systems in England, France, Sweden, Japan, Russia, China and Islamic Law contrasts these approaches to laws, the judiciary, law enforcement, and corrections with systems in the United States. 3 s.h.

CJ 350 Criminal Procedure – This course explores the foundations of criminal procedure, Constitutional law and doctrine, and Fourth Amendment rights and protections in theory and practice. 3 s.h.

CJ 351 Criminal Procedure – This course explores the topics of right to counsel, interrogation, and identification of suspects, pre-trial processes, and the trial process with review of illustrative case examples. 3 s.h.

CJ 410 Juvenile Justice – Social, historical, and legal perspectives on juvenile justice are covered in this course. Key concepts in the definition, social and family contexts, and correctional philosophy of juvenile crime are explored. Historical approaches to juvenile justice are contrasted with contemporary justice systems. Judicial processes for juveniles are examined, along with institutional and community-based corrections programs. 3 s.h.

CJ 420 Crisis Management – This course is an examination of organizational crisis management including strategies, planning, vulnerability assessment, organization, leadership, crisis communications and ethics. The course will emphasize the importance of the crisis management team and the roles and responsibilities of its members and will provide examples of consequence management as illustrated by case studies. 3 s.h.

CJ 430 Drugs & Criminal Justice – An overview is presented of historical and public policy perspectives on drug abuse, society and criminal justice in this course. Key topics include legal issues, drug related offenses, impacts on society, economic implications, and current issues in drug control and criminal justice. 3 s.h.

CJ 440 Police Administration – This course examines management principles for law enforcement. Key topics include administration and organization of police agencies, the context in which law enforcement agencies operate, organizational concepts, policies and procedures, the functions of management, human relations, communication, decision-making, evaluation, and information technology. Contemporary issues in police administration are reviewed, including homeland security and community policing. 3 s.h.

CJ 450 Victimology – This course will examine how the criminal justice system relates to victims of crime. Topics include victimology as a field of study; statistics about victimization; victims and the criminal justice system; and issues in restitution. 3 s.h.

Earn 55 s.h. of general electives from within the Criminal Justice program, other online courses offered by Columbia College, and/or approved transfer credit
General Education Courses = 33 s.h.

OL 101 Orientation to Online Learning – This course prepares adult learners for the online learning experience. It provides an overview of the Virtual Campus and a tutorial on the learning system. The Online Library is introduced. The Student Handbook is reviewed to explore the requirements and expectations of the program. Student strengths and weaknesses are assessed to establish a baseline for supporting successful online learning. 3 s.h.

ENG 101 Analytical Thinking, Writing, and Research I – This course prepares students for academic writing at the college level with special attention to exposition and argument. Students learn to focus, organize, support, and develop their ideas and to provide proper attribution for secondary sources. Individual sections of this course will focus on a particular theme – such as the family, education, pop culture, gender, ethnography, or film. 3 s.h.

ENG 102 Analytical Thinking, Writing and Research II – (Prerequisite: English 101) This course provides students with opportunities to hone the writing skills learned in English 101; to recognize the rhetorical strategies applied by scholars in one or more disciplines; and to research, synthesize, and incorporate scholarly sources into the students’ own arguments. 3 s.h.”

ENG 200 Survey of World Literature – (Prerequisite: English 101 and 102) A course designed to help the student appreciate literature as human experience and art. Selections from various periods, nationalities, and genres will serve as text materials. 3 s.h.

COMM 100 Introduction to Oral Communication – Introduction to the fundamentals of effective oral communication with emphasis on informative and persuasive speaking, and group communication and leadership. 3 s.h.

MATH 120 Liberal Arts Mathematics – This course covers basic topics in quantitative literacy. Numbers, sets, logic probability, and descriptive statistics are the core concepts. Additional topics such as financial mathematics, geometry, and algebraic modeling may be included at the discretion of the instructor. All topics will be placed in both historical and present-day contexts. Problem solving, communication skills, and applications will be emphasized. 3 s.h.

PSY 102 Introduction to Psychology – An introduction to the field of psychology and the psychological study of human behavior. Topics may include research methods in psychology, biological bases for behavior, perception, learning and cognition, motivation and emotion, personality, social bases of behavior, psychological disorder, and psychological treatment. 3 s.h.

BIO 104 Environmental Science with Lab – Investigation of the interrelationships between the biotic and abiotic environments which form the natural world. Topics include structure and function of ecosystems, the causes and consequences of human population growth, environmental pollution, and the importance of balancing utilization and conservation of natural resources. 3 s.h.

HIS 104 Contemporary World History-Post 1945 – This course considers the history of the world since 1945. Topics to be explained include, but are not limited to, the Cold War, the end of colonial empires, the rise of Islamic nationalism and fundamentalism, the creation and growth of the European Union, the United States as a superpower, the rise of China, and the fall of the Soviet Empire. 3.s.h.

REL 104 Contemporary Cultures and World Views – This course is designed to help the student identify the diverse cultures and worldviews in today’s society, develop an ability to assess the local cultures, and acquire an ability to respond to different cultures from a theistic perspective. This course will introduce the student to philosophical thought reflected in contemporary culture. Philosophies such as Postmodernism, Secular Humanism, Cosmic Humanism, Christianity, and Islam are investigated in light of their contributions to the major institutions of modern society. 3 s.h.

LA 104 Fine Arts in the Modern World – This course examines the human interactions between the artist, audience, and the work of art in a study focused upon the application of art forms such as theater, film, visual arts, music, architecture, and dance. 3 s.h.

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