10 Captivating Criminal Justice Courses to Expect

student working on a criminal justice course with justice icons on the right

You know one thing for sure—your interest in criminal justice goes much deeper than your love of true-crime podcasts. You want a career that puts you directly in the justice system while applying your quick-thinking skills and strong sense of integrity.

That’s one of the reasons you’re considering a Criminal Justice degree program. But what can you actually expect to find covered in your coursework? We can help answer that! In this article we’ll take a closer look at five standout Criminal Justice courses from both the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs at Rasmussen College.

5 Associate’s degree Criminal Justice courses to expect

From understanding the legal system to developing the skills you need to navigate it, these Associate's degree courses are a great introduction to the world of criminal justice. 

Policing in America

In this course, you can be sure that mastering the basics is far from boring. As you learn about the criminal justice system, you’ll start with the frontlines. Ride along with a law enforcement professional and gain an up-close perspective on crime prevention and community-oriented policing. Expect to address contemporary issues and develop your interpersonal and problem-solving skills along the way.

Criminology: Motives for Criminal Deviance

Examine crime through a scientific lens. From social to behavioral issues, there is a complex network of factors that motivate people to break the law. By understanding those forces, you can learn to better anticipate and prevent criminal actions. This course is a great way to broaden your perspective and see both sides of the story.

Practical Psychology for the Criminal Justice Professional

Professionals in this field utilize the principals of psychology in almost every aspect of their careers. From the emotional intelligence required of interviewing victims to managing the stress of their own experiences, they must see beyond the surface of any situation. Learn to identify what theories are at play and what strategies you can use to respond most effectively.

Introduction to Corrections

The corrections system—our jails, prisons and other diversionary programs—plays a massive role in criminal justice. In this course students will learn more about the historical and theoretical origins of our corrections system, how the criminalization of behaviors has evolved, the goals of criminal sentencing and emerging alternatives to incarceration. This course sets the stage for how the correctional system has taken form to-date and helps students understand what is (or what isn’t) working as the field evolves.

Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice Capstone

This course will address current issues facing law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Not only will you study the systematic history behind these problems but you’ll examine how each branch of the criminal justice system has evolved over time. By learning what you can do in response to these challenges, you’ll be well prepared to enter the workforce as an effective agent of change.

5 Bachelor’s degree Criminal Justice courses to expect

At this level, you’ll find more discussion on what it takes to become an effective leader in every position you hold.

Constitutional Law

In this course, you’ll take the law to its source material and dive deep into the Bill of Rights. You’ll examine case studies and learn how different amendments and court rulings have shaped the justice system. Far beyond an impartial survey, this class will allow you to apply your studies in relevant fieldwork scenarios.

Communication Strategies for Criminal Justice Professionals

Be prepared for almost any situation with the skills you take away from this course—including de-escalation, crisis intervention and conflict resolution techniques. Media relations are another big topic to cover as you’ll examine how they affect the criminal justice system. Soon you’ll understand why communication is often the most powerful tool in hand. 

Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Criminal Justice

Analyze the intersection of mental health and substance abuse as they impact those in the justice system. This course will examine why collaboration is so important as you discuss emerging trends and challenges in this area. Learn how to identify the needs of different populations and be prepared with research-based solutions.

Criminal Justice Leadership & Management

Regardless of your career path, a course like this will help you develop valuable skills. Understand what goes into communicating a vision, planning, and goal development. Examine various leadership theories and practices by interviewing a leader in your field. This is a great way to explore possible career options and may help you stand out among other candidates later on.

Criminal Justice Seminar

Want to explore the correlation between afterschool programs and juvenile crime rates? Are you dedicated to reducing traffic accidents? Whatever it is that sparked your passion for criminal justice, now is the time to investigate it. In this seminar class, you will have the freedom to choose a topic related to your field and research it in-depth for your final project.

Ready to get in the action?

There’s a lot that goes into any criminal justice career. Behind every case, sentence, or probation there are dedicated professionals, working to understand and protect the people they encounter.

Now that you’ve had a behind-the-scenes look at a few criminal justice courses, can you see the education these professionals use on a daily basis? If you’re interested in experiencing that kind of training, learn more about our program by visiting the Rasmussen College Criminal Justice program page.

Note: The Criminal Justice Programs at Rasmussen College are not designed to meet the educational requirements for professional licensure or certification in any states. This means that these program are not intended to lead to law enforcement, corrections, or other licensed careers. For example, these program do not meet the standards established by the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board for persons who seek employment as a peace officer in Minnesota, and do not meet the requirements to Certified Law Enforcement or Tribal Law Enforcement careers in Wisconsin.

Each federal, state, or local agency determines its own requirements for licensure of law enforcement careers, and may change these requirements at any time. Licensed law enforcement careers include police officer, corrections officer, parole officer, crime scene investigator, and other positions.

Minimum educational standards for licensure in these careers range from a high school diploma to a college degree, and can vary widely (even within the same state). Some agencies require graduation from an agency-approved academic program or training academy. These programs are NOT a training academy or approved program with any federal, state, or local agency. Other non-academic requirements are also required for licensure, which may include additional training, experience, graduation from an academy, physical fitness standards, background checks (certain results are often disqualifying), and other requirements.

Before enrolling, it is important to understand whether licensure is required for a desired career by consulting the appropriate federal, state, or local agency requirements.

Hannah Meinke

Hannah Meinke is a writer at Collegis Education. She enjoys helping people discover their purpose and passion by crafting education and career-related content on behalf of Rasmussen University.

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