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Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

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The Scales of Justice

Achieve Real-World Results with our Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice

Gain knowledge of current topics in the field with courses that cover criminal law, corrections, policing, emergency management, homeland security, terrorism, hate crime, criminal profiling, victimology and violence with UMass Lowell's online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice.

Career Outlook

4.25M
Jobs (2021)
+0.4%
% Change (2021-2026)
70.9K/yr
Median Earnings
437,876
Annual Openings
Source: Lightcast, 2022

Occupations

  • Bailiff
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Correctional Officer
  • Court Clerk
  • Criminologist
  • Detective and Criminal Investigator
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Federal Agent
  • Paralegal
  • Police Officer
  • Private Security Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Public Safety Telecommunicator
  • Social Worker
  • Transit and Railroad Police
  • Victim's Advocate
Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 7% from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.*
* U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018

Key Takeaways

  • Understand current issues in the criminal justice system
  • Apply theory and research to real-world problems
  • Develop an understanding of ethical decision making and diversity awareness
  • Gain computer skills related to research methods, criminal justice statistics, crime mapping and data analysis
  • Apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to positions in the criminal justice field and graduate education studies

Massachusetts Police Career Incentive Pay Program

Our bachelor's in Criminal Justice is Quinn Bill-certified by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Providing educational incentives through salary increases for regular full-time police officers in participating cities and towns throughout the state, the Quinn Bill ensures that officers who graduate from eligible institutions and programs qualify for incentive pay.

Visit the Police Career Incentive Pay Program website to learn more.

"I'm graduating from UMass Lowell 20 years after high school. I'm a veteran, so that's why it took some time. I was able to complete my bachelor's degree because it was online. I had to stay focused, but I learned a lot. I still have some GI Bill funds left, and I plan to apply to law school."
Joseph K.
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
A CJ student

Best Bachelors US News and World Report Award Ranked as One of the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report
Best Online Bachelor's Program for Veterans in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report Ranked One of the Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

As a student in the Bachelor's program, you may increase your credentials upon graduation by completing a Criminal Justice certificate to fulfill elective credits. You may also choose to save money and advance your studies at an accelerated pace by taking advantage of our Bachelor's-to-Master's program

Curriculum Outline

- Minimum Credits: 120
- View Course Descriptions »

Note: A 2.2 cumulative average overall and a 2.5 average in the major are necessary for graduation. CJ Majors need a minimum of 36 CJ credits and cannot exceed 60 CJ credits.

University Core Curriculum Requirements (12 Courses / 36-38cr)

UMass Lowell's Breadth of Knowledge required courses are designed to provide students with a foundation that prepares them for continued work within their major and minor fields, as well as endowing them with intellectual habits that will enable them to become lifelong learners. For a list of approved Breadth of Knowledge courses, visit UMass Lowell's core curriculum website.

A Sampling of Criminal Justice Elective Courses for Reference

A more comprehensive list of Criminal Justice electives is available on our website (look for courses with the CRIM. course prefix).

Course Descriptions

This course presents a brief history of the Criminal Justice System and an analysis of its structure and function. This course required of all CJ majors and is a prerequisite for all other courses in criminal justice. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA). 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course will encompass the study and relationship between those entities and institutions necessary for the protection of the United States. Course instructional material will examine the components of Federal, State and Local Police Agencies, as well as the role of Private Security and Emergency Responders needed to facilitate the implementation of the Homeland Security Act. Particular attention will be focused on Policy, Plans and Procedures at governmental and community levels. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course provides an examination of the historical development of police work with special emphasis on the conflicting role expectations facing police officer. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course provides an overview of the American correction system including the history of corrections, probation, incarceration, community corrections, the prison experience and release. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course is designed to inform students about the legacy of bias, discrimination, and inequality in the United States, and how this is particularly reflected in our criminal justice system. Drawing on a number of disciplines the course will explore theories of bias and discrimination both individually and collectively, what common stereotypes and misconceptions exist, and how they impact contemporary criminal justice practices. Evidence-based solutions to the reduction of these systemic issues will be discussed. 3 credits.
This course is designed to introduce students to the latest innovations in the applications of new technological advances in the criminal justice system. Topic areas include an examination of the new technology of crime commission, and the corresponding new technology of crime control strategies. Our focus will be on the application of both "hard" technology (e.g. equipment, hardware, devices, etc.) and "soft" technology (e.g. computer software programs, information systems, classification devices, and other problem-solving applications) in each of the following areas: crime prevention, police, courts, institutional corrections, community corrections and the private sector. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the various ways in which a corporation and local municipality can plan for a disaster before it occurs. Topics covered include risk identification and assessment of multi-hazards whether natural and man-made, violence in the workplace, development of crisis and disaster incident management programs, and business/agency continuation planning. 3 credits.
The definition and nature of crime, criminal statistics, and theories of crime causation are included. Required of all CJ majors. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
The historical origins and development of criminal law from the early common law to contemporary decisions and statutes. Constitutional and statutory factors as they pertain to criminal responsibility, capacity, crimes against persons and property, defenses to criminal charges and sentences. Sections of the Massachusetts Criminal Code and other statutes will be covered where applicable. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This laboratory course will cover basic procedures in arrest, search and seizure, and the gathering and evaluation of evidence as to admissibility, weight, and competence. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course is a continuation of Criminalistics I. It is intended to familiarize the student with various types of physical evidence that can be found at the more violent crime scenes. Methods of identification, preservation, collection and analysis of physical evidence relating to specific criminal activities shall be stressed. Topics shall include Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, DNA Typing, Crime Scene Reconstruction, Point of Origin Determination and evidence associated with Death Investigations, Sexual Assaults, Bombings, Arsons, Motor Vehicle Homicides, Robberies and Burglaries. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course acquaints the Criminal Justice student with the concept of terrorism at both the international and domestic levels. Topics include the history of terrorism, terrorism today and terrorism in the future. Counter measures taken to respond to terrorist threats are also examined. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
An examination of causative factors in the development of youthful offenders and the development and philosophy behind treatment and rehabilitative practices. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Addresses the basic interdisciplinary principles of security management including planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. This course will also cover marketing security services to management, risk management, civil and criminal liability, and labor relations. Each aspect of the course is designed to prepare security managers to face the new challenges as broader and more cost-effective protection is required with fewer resources. The course will also bring about greater awareness and understanding of the various options available in security and loss control. It will identify a number of risk areas and outline various deterrent and preventative methods. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course examines prejudice as a motivation for criminal behavior. The criminological theory for hate crime is reviewed, as well as historical perspectives of this crime category. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course provides students with an in-depth analysis of the courses, context, and control of a wide range of violent crimes. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM 1010 or CRIM 2210 Pre-req

This course provides an introduction to international perspectives on crime and crime control policy in Western countries. International developments and cross-national research on crime and victimization, criminal justice, and crime prevention policy, and current issues will be examined. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

44.101 pre-req

This course provides an overview of the development and character of the many types of offenders who become criminal psychopaths. The course explores the various methods used in classifying and predicting criminal behavior derived form the field of Criminology, Psychology and Forensic Science. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM majors only

This course is concerned with contemporary efforts to change police agencies, particularly in the United States. Contemporary reform revolves mainly around what we now know as "community policing" and this course will dwell at some length on these initiatives. Other innovations, some of which may complement community policing, and all of which are narrower in scope, are also considered. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

44.141 pre-req

This course will examine the scientific and technological details of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons; the proliferation of these weapons and international CBRN prevention efforts (like the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Biological Weapons Convention); and the threat of terrorist groups seeking to acquire and use CBRN weapons, and explore ways to improve our response to this complex threat. 3 credits.
A comprehensive review of community-based sanctions and community-based, early-release mechanisms. In addition to traditional probation and parole reviews, "new" intermediate sanctions such as electronic monitoring, intensive supervision, boot camps, day fines, day reporting centers, and community service sentences. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

44.151 pre-req, CJ majors only

This course examines gender and racial implications of criminal laws, criminal justice practices and programs will be examined. The position of women and racial/ethnic minorities will be assessed from the different perspectives of victims, offenders, and criminal justice practitioners. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course provides an introduction to the principles of administration, including planning, budgeting, grantsmanship, and evaluation as they relate to the criminal justice manager. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM.1010.

Specific analysis of the management of contemporary police forces, including staffing, scheduling, training, collective bargaining, community relations, and other related issues. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM 1010, CRIM 1410 pre-req

An advanced course of study and examination of a variety of current issues and topics in criminal justice. Students without a sufficient background in criminal justice courses should not attempt this course. Subject matter to be announced in advance. Visit the current semester schedule on the Continuing Studies website for more details. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

44.221 and CJ majors pre-req

This course will explore the psychological dimensions of criminal thinking and behavior. The course will cover the psychological origins and types of crime, the multidimensional influences on criminal behavior, developmental criminal pathways, diagnoses, assessment and treatment approaches and a description of the continuum of psychopathic behavior. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM 1010 or CRIM 2210 Pre-req

An introduction to research methods for the criminal justice professional including terminology, standard methodologies, and elementary statistics. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Information Literacy (IL). 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course is an extension of concepts learned in 44.390 (Introduction to Criminal Justice Research Methods). Statistics will be utilized as a mathematical language for interpreting the interrelation of social forces impacting criminality and deviance. The course will focus on how various statistics are calculated, but more importantly, the meaning of these figures for criminal justice scholars and practitioners will be discussed. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CJ Junior/Seniors Only

This course examines the use of new technologies to analyze crime patterns and develop crime prevention strategies. Students study theories that explain the geographic distribution of crime and learn how to use Geographic Information Systems to study crime in ways that draw upon theory as well as how to apply GIS techniques in the law enforcement and corrections fields. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM 3900 or PSYC 2690 pre-req

The student is introduced to computer software packages (i.e. SPSS) used to analyze large quantitative data sets common in criminal justice/criminology. This course is seen as the capstone to the research methods/technology component of the major, and is intended for upper level students, especially those preparing for graduate study. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM.3950 Pre-req

Covers the problems posed by substance use/abuse and examines the role and impact of the legal, criminal justice, and public health systems, as well as current treatment/intervention approaches. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM 1010 or CRIM 2210 Pre-req

This course examines the patterns of victimization, the characteristics and lifestyles of crime victims, and the impact of their victimizations. The treatment of victims by the criminal justice system will be examined along with possible reforms in these approaches. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

CRIM 1010 or CRIM 2210 Pre-req

This course examines the causes and consequences of domestic violence and the latest research regarding the responses of the criminal justice system. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

Junior or Senior Standing Only

This course introduces students to empirical findings and theoretical perspectives concerned with the maltreatment of Children and youth. One of the major course goals is to balance the view of children and youth in the criminal justice system by focusing of their victimization instead of exclusively on their offending behavior. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
This course is designed to provide criminal justice majors with a capstone experience emphasizing integration of knowledge acquired in previous courses on the causes of criminal behavior and responses to it, particularly the institutions, policies and practices of the criminal justice system. Students engage in the development and production of a senior level research paper grounded in relevant criminology and criminal justice literature. 3 credits. Pre-req: CRIM.1010 Criminal Justice System, CRIM.2210 Criminology l, CRIM.3900 CJ Research Methods and Senior-level standing.
Prerequisites:

CRIM.1010 Criminal Justice System, CRIM.2210 Criminology l, CRIM.3900 CJ Research Methods and Senior-level standing.

Specific practice in the definition, design, and execution of a research project, and an analysis of the impact of contemporary criminal justice research on policy development. 3 credits. For permission numbers and questions regarding the Undergraduate Criminal Justice Program, please email Christopher_Harris@uml.edu
Prerequisites:

Junior or Senior Status

A workshop course that thoroughly explores the writing process from pre-writing to revision, with an emphasis on critical thinking, sound essay structure, mechanics, and academic integrity. Students will read, conduct rhetorical analyses, and practice the skills required for participation in academic discourse. Students will write expository essays throughout the semester, producing a minimum of four formal essays. 3 credits.
A workshop course that thoroughly explores the academic research writing process with an emphasis on entering into academic conversation. Building on the skills acquired in College Writing I, students will learn to write extensively with source material. Key skills addressed include finding,assessing, and integrating primary and secondary sources, and using proper documentation to ensure academic integrity. Students will produce analytical writing throughout the semester, including a minimum of four formal, researched essays. 3 credits.
An introduction to descriptive statistics, graphing and data analysis, probability laws, discrete and continuous probability distributions, correlation and regression, inferential statistics. No credit in Sciences (except Biology and EEAS) or Engineering. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Quantitative Literacy (QL). 3 credits. MATH.1115 or equivalent; MA; Previously 92.183

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

All bachelor's degree candidates are required to earn a minimum 2.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA), to present a minimum of 120 semester hours, to fulfill the residency requirements, to conform to the general regulations and requirements of the University, to satisfy the regulations and academic standards of the colleges which exercise jurisdiction over the degrees for which they are matriculating, to satisfy the curriculum requirements established by the departments or programs in their major, and to complete the University's Core Curriculum requirements, which are listed within the program's curriculum outline. For additional information regarding the University's general policies and procedures, transfer credit information and residency requirements; please refer to our Academic Policies & Procedures.

Tuition & Fees

At UMass Lowell, we believe that students should have as much information as possible up front so they can make informed decisions before enrolling in a degree program or signing up for a course.

Tuition for all undergraduate courses offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition for all online graduate courses is also the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition is priced per credit. To calculate the tuition for a course, simply multiply the per-credit tuition by the total number of credits per course. Exception: If the total number of course contact hours is greater than the total number of credits, the per-credit tuition is instead multiplied by the total number of contact hours.

Spring 2023 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*

Undergraduate

Online $380 $1,140
Online Business $385 $1,155
On Campus Lowell $340 $1,020
On Campus Haverhill $300 $900
*If the number of contact hours exceeds the number of credits, tuition is calculated by multiplying by the total number of contact hours.
**Applies to ACCT, BUSI, ENTR, FINA, MGMT, MKTG, MIST and POMS courses.
***Applies to CHEN, CIVE, EECE, ENGN, MECH, PLAS and MSIT courses.
****Applies to graduate online education courses in the Ed.D. and Ph.D.

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Late Fee $50
Undergraduate Degree Application $60

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice FAQs

Is a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice right for me?

If you enjoy helping others and your community, a B.S. in Criminal Justice may be for you. Additionally, a Criminal Justice degree may be ideal if you work within a law enforcement agency and seek a promotion.


What is the difference between a degree in Criminal Justice and a degree in Criminology?

Criminal Justice is the study of the justice system, which includes laws and agencies such as the police, lawyers, courts, and prisons. By contrast, Criminology is the study of crime and criminals. A degree in Criminal Justice will prepare you to work on the front lines, whereas a degree in Criminology is concerned with profiling and researching illegal activity.


Can I work for the FBI with a degree in Criminal Justice?

If your goal is to work for the FBI, a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice is one of several applicable majors to choose from. FBI agents must earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and an educational background in Criminal Justice will improve your critical thinking and communication skills, as well as help you better appreciate the complex role law enforcement plays in our democracy.


Can I complete a Criminal Justice certificate within an online bachelor's degree curriculum?

Graduate, Online & Professional Studies students may simultaneously complete a Criminal Justice undergraduate certificate to fulfill elective credits within the online degree curriculum and increase credentials upon graduation.


Applying into an Undergraduate Degree Program

Complete the Online Undergraduate Degree Application Form (preferred), or print, complete and submit the Undergraduate Degree Application .pdf form. Please note: Your application will be processed once we have received your $60 application fee. Return your completed application along with your application fee to:

University of Massachusetts Lowell
Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies
GPS Admissions
839 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01854

Questions? See our helpful Step-by-Step Guide to the Application Process.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for acceptance into a bachelor's degree program offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies, students must hold a high school diploma or have passed either the GED® or HiSET®. Graduate, Online & Professional Studies operates on a rolling admissions basis and each application is reviewed when the student's file is complete. Students must be admitted to a degree or certificate program in order to be eligible for most financial aid.

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Questions Regarding Your Undergraduate Application?

Email OCE_Admissions@uml.edu or call 978-934-2474.

For General Assistance:

Call the Advising Center at 978-934-2474 or 800-480-3190. Our academic advisors are here to help!

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