How do I get a Good Education in Criminal Justice?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 January 2019
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There are four requirements to obtain a good education in criminal justice: select a criminal justice degree program, find the appropriate school, pay the tuition fees, and complete the course requirements. All four aspects are central to your selection of the right type of education in criminal justice program. It is important to clearly define your goals, level of commitment and priorities. These items have a huge impact on the success of your chosen career path.

There are three main parts to criminal justice: corrections facilities, courts, and law enforcement. All three play different roles in the criminal justice system and the level of education required for each is very different. Education in criminal justice through a degree program covers all three areas of the justice system. The field of criminal justice is quite new, having only really started in the 1920s.

Schools that offer an undergraduate degree in criminal justice may also offer master’s and doctoral programs in this discipline. These programs are popular with people who do not want to specialize in just one aspect of the system, but prefer to take a more holistic approach. The quality of the instructors is critical to the value of a criminal justice degree.


The number of universities offering a criminal justice program is quite small. Explore the options thoroughly and think about your long-term career goals. Review the quality of the student services and types of courses available.

Typically, a university offering graduate programs in this discipline will have a higher caliber of faculty than other schools. Explore the biographies of the faculty to determine their area of expertise. Read criminal justice journals and publications to identify the main areas of research among the faculty. The courses offered in an education in criminal justice program are usually managed within the faculty of arts and sciences. Check the course listing to get an idea of your options.

Many employers in the criminal justice industry provide financial support to employees who are upgrading their education. You can look at these options as a method of combining working experience with your post-secondary education. A part time degree will take longer, but it is possible to complete it without incurring any new debt.

The courses in a criminal justice degree program include court system structure, criminal law and pathology, police sciences and juvenile crime issues. In addition to core requirements, students must complete optional courses. There is a wide range of courses to choose from. Many people limit themselves to law or psychology courses instead of exploring other areas. Expand your knowledge base by taking courses in other disciplines. Economics, math, and general sciences can all enhance your perspective on criminal justice issues.



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