General Education Requirements
Foundation Courses: 15 hours
Core Courses: 24 hours
Selectives: 18 hours
Electives: 26 hours
Total: 120 hours
Full Program Requirements
Why Study Criminal Justice?
What makes Governors State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree unique is that it explores the causes of crime by understanding several theoretical approaches. The program explores how crime impacts multiple social groups within society, particularly, race, class, and gender.
You’ll use the skills and qualifications you gain to protect your local community. A Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice at Governors State University offers you the skills you need to prepare for a career in law enforcement, corrections, security, or advocacy. If you’re not sure which area best suits your goals, or you’re unsure which position best highlights your existing skills, work with an advisor at GSU as you pursue your BA degree in Criminal Justice.
A bachelor’s degree is a great starting point for recent high school graduates. It’s also a popular track if you already have an associate’s degree or years of work experience. We can help you tailor your degree to reflect your values and life experience. Furthering your education is an excellent way to improve your career efficiency or start a new career, so explore our course offerings today to see if a BA in criminal justice is right for you.
The criminal justice field encompasses a wide range of professions and roles in a community. Whether seeking a position as a law enforcement officer or an advocate in community correctional institutions, find out how a criminal justice degree from Governors State University can help you reach your career and life goals. A degree isn’t just about your career path but is a chance to explore a critical area of society and work to improve it.
Explore the coursework, available concentrations, career prospects, and benefits of studying at our tight-knit campus. Prepare for your chosen career with small class sizes, one-on-one support, and affordable tuition rates in Chicago’s Southland. We’re committed to providing exceptional education in a welcoming environment.
Reach Your Career Goals
With a degree in criminal justice, students will be qualified for employment in the fields of law enforcement and investigative services, community and institutional corrections, criminal court systems, advocacy, or in the private/non-profit field addressing crime prevention, research, or community engagement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, criminal justice is a field with projected growth over the next decade. Between 2016 and 2026, policing and detective fields are projected to grow 7%, and the probation, court services, and correctional treatment field is anticipating a 6% growth rate.
A strong career growth rate means these positions will be in demand in the future. As part of your coursework in preparation for these jobs, our program equips you with the following areas:
- ● Criminological and restorative theoretical perspectives
- ● Social justice approaches to community-based problems and crime prevention
- ● Professionalism, diversity, and ethics in criminal justice
- ● Analytical skills through inquiry and research design
Foundation courses in corrections, juvenile justice, policing, and the judicial process help you understand the essential knowledge and theory behind criminal justice. Because of the broad base of knowledge you’ll receive in our Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice program, you’ll be prepared to start a career, change careers or explore multiple roles within related fields.
Every course is supplemented with discussions, lectures, and additional assignments to expand your practical and theoretical knowledge of the subject. At GSU, we’re proud of our highly qualified professors. They offer a blend of real-world experience and rigorous academic knowledge that helps you compete in your chosen career path.
The Criminal Justice program offers classes at the Triton
College University Center, 2000 5th Ave., River Grove, IL.
Restorative Justice Concentration
GSU Criminal Justice majors have the option to choose a concentration in restorative justice, a relational model of justice that is founded on principles and practices that focus on addressing harm, inclusion, and reintegration. This new and contemporary form of justice allows the re-entry of formerly incarcerated citizens and youth back to society without causing further stigma and harm. Restorative justice addresses trauma and shame to those involved in and affected by transgressions and can be a transformative model of justice at the community level.
Coursework in restorative justice includes mediation, peace circles, restorative justice in schools, and special topic options. Course offerings can vary, so check with your advisor about the availability of specific options. This concentration culminates in an internship opportunity to work hands-on in your chosen field.
Jobs and Salaries You Can Get With a Criminal Justice Degree
Because of the range of fields included in criminal justice, job titles and salaries can vary. Here are some of the most popular positions and average salaries that students can expect upon completing their course. Average yearly salaries are from 2019 data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- ● Police officers: $63,150
- ● Detectives: $83,170
- ● Fish and game wardens: $57,500
- ● Probation officers: $54,290
- ● Correctional officers: $45,180
- ● Postsecondary criminal justice teachers: $62,860
Many of these jobs are in the government sector at the state and federal levels, though some work for local offices, nonprofit organizations, or as security officers for businesses. Typical duties in a criminal justice job can include research, advocacy, and educational activities, or they can be more hands-on.
Police officers respond in-person to emergency situations, perform traffic stops, and work to keep community spaces safe. Correctional officers work in a correctional facility, courtroom, or transition space to monitor individuals and assist police officers.
If you’re interested in education and fascinated with the theoretical features of criminal justice, consider a career as an educator or community advocate. Teaching criminal justice at the college level is a rewarding experience that allows you to train the future generation of police officers and correctional officers. Criminal justice advocacy professionals work with community support groups and nonprofit organizations. They work to promote changes in the law enforcement and correctional process to create more transparency and better dialogue within the community.
There are many careers not listed here that you can start with a degree in criminal justice. Whether working hands-on, helping to reduce crime, or working behind-the-scenes to promote lawful and safe spaces for your community, criminal justice graduates are positioned in critical areas to improve their community.
Start Your Journey With GSU
Discuss your passions or career plans with an academic advisor today to see how GSU can help you launch your career in criminal justice. Apply today to take the next step in your BA in criminal justice journey. Whether you’re starting your career, looking to move ahead in your field, or transitioning to a new job, our BA degree in criminal justice offers you opportunities to give back to your community.
Director, Academic Advising Center
Dr. Daniel Cortese
Professor of Sociology and Program Coordinator
Governors State University's partnership with Triton College offers transfer students a seamless transition into the final semesters of their undergraduate program. Learn more about our university partnership with the videos below: