Online Criminal Justice Degree Overview

The criminal justice field needs professionals who can analyze, think critically, and solve problems facing law enforcement, corrections, victim’s advocates, and the judicial process. The fully online Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice offered by the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado prepares you for a wide array of career opportunities, ranging from law enforcement officers to private sector security administration.

This online criminal justice degree acts like a professional degree by developing well-rounded graduates who also have practical skills for real-world jobs. By gaining a foundation in criminal justice theory and research methods, you will be equipped to develop innovative solutions for today’s complex legal systems and problems.

  • Examine current theories and global trends in criminology.
  • Develop valuable interpersonal skills for interacting with diverse populations.
  • Learn how courts and law enforcement work together.
  • Explore the differences between careers in government, non-profit, and private sectors.

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Offered By:

School of Public Affairs


Cost Per Credit:


* To get this rate, students must elect College Opportunity Fund (COF)

Cost Per Credit:


Credit Hours:


Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree Program Details

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is offered fully online through CU Denver, which means faculty from the CU Denver campus will be your instructors. This flexible program allows you to study at the place and time that works best for you—no need to put your life on pause to earn your degree.

Build Career-Focused Skills

  • Relevant knowledge regarding crime and justice
  • Research skills to help you study problems and design solutions
  • Critical thinking skills to make informed judgments and contributions
  • Effective communication skills for interacting with diverse populations and professional and academic audiences
  • Diversity and cultural literacy to evaluate different points of view and appreciate a range of perspectives in your practice

You’ll also learn to identify the social and behavioral contributors to crime and delinquency, understand ethical concerns within criminal justice, study the impact of public policy, and hone your interpersonal and leadership skills. Start applying what you learn to your current profession immediately—the valuable skills you develop can prepare you to pursue an entry-level position or an advanced degree.

Criminal Justice Degree Concentrations

Focus your studies in a specific area of study within criminal justice. The BA in Criminal Justice program offers two concentrations and a general track, all offered fully online.

Law Enforcement

Students will take 12 credit hours in law enforcement-specific courses with 10 courses to choose from such as Police-Community Relations, Juvenile Delinquency, Crime Analysis and GIS, and more.

Victims and Victim Services

Students will take 12 credit hours in courses focused on victimology and other related topics, with two categories of electives: Violence Focus and Professional Setting. The Violence Focus provides a more in-depth study into violence, whereas the Professional Setting courses help students sharpen skills related to professional service, including trauma-informed care, program design, and management.

General Track

Students choose three criminal justice elective courses based on their own specific career goals.

Online Criminal Justice Program Curriculum

120 credit hours are required to graduate with the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from CU Denver. For most programs, courses last 15 weeks, plus one week for finals. Students must also complete a minimum of three credit hours of internship to satisfy the program’s internship requirement.

Required Courses

  • CRJU 1000 - Criminology and Criminal Justice: An Overview
  • CRJU 2041 - Criminological Theory
  • CRJU 3100 - Research Methods
  • CRJU 3150 - Statistics for Criminal Justice
  • CRJU 4042 - Corrections
  • CRJU 4043 - Law Enforcement
  • CRJU 4044 - Courts and Judicial Process
  • SOCY 1001 - Understanding the Social World
  • CRJU 4939 - Internship (CRJU 4939 is required as one of the electives for the major unless officially waived by the BACJ Program Director.)

Criminal Justice Internship Details

Internships involve a career-related supervised experiential course in a criminal justice or related agency. Students must first apply and gain permission from their advisor and an instructor to enroll in an internship. The internship is a minimum of 3 credit hours and a maximum of 9 credit hours.

Students who have previous full-time, professional work experience in the criminal justice field may request a waiver of the internship requirement. International students may also have their internship waived. Students who have their internship waivers approved will take a 3-credit-hour Criminal Justice elective in place of the internship.

Sample Courses

This course examines the nature and causes of crime and policies within and outside the criminal justice system to predict, prevent, and correct criminal, delinquent, and deviant behavior.

This course consists of an overview of the field of penology and corrections. Attention is paid to conflicting philosophies of punishment, criminological theory as it applies to the field of corrections, the selectivity of the process through which offenders move prior to their involvement in correctional programs, institutional corrections, alternative correctional placements, and empirical assessments of the short and long-term consequences of one's involvement in correctional programs.

Relying on ecological systems theories, this course will introduce students to families and family systems. Students will investigate how families experience (in)justice in the areas of access to education, community services, and employment.

Criminal Justice Career Data

One of the benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is the large number of career options available to graduates. From 2021 to 2031, protective service occupations are projected to grow two percent (2%) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Protective services are needed in industries like local and state government, investigation and security services, schools, and more.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Law enforcement is likely the first career path that comes to mind, but depending on your interests and the focus of your studies, your degree could lead to a wide range of opportunities. In general, jobs can be divided into the categories of law enforcement, advocacy and social services, corrections, and security. Below are some of the possible career paths for criminal justice graduates.

  • Forensic Interviewer
  • Crime Analyst
  • Victim Advocate
  • Substance Abuse Counselor (may require an advanced degree)
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Investigative Reporter
  • Probation or Parole Officer

Police and Sheriff’s
Patrol Officers

Detective or Criminal

First Line Supervisor of
Police and Detectives

Private Investigator /

Fish and Game Warden

Corrections Officer / Jailer

Mean salary data retrieved from the BLS as of May 2021.

After graduating, you could choose to enter a training academy to become an officer if you are not already working in the law enforcement field. With experience and a criminal justice master’s degree, you could also move into supervisory positions or pursue a career with agencies like the FBI.

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at CU Denver is a high-quality and affordable option for learners of all types. Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in.

Tuition is determined based on which CU Denver program is chosen, undergraduate or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page for more information.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.


Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on the program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first-time student, a transfer student or an international student. Learn more about CU Denver admissions requirements below.

Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting our Enrollment Teamcontacting our Enrollment Team today.

Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Program Completion Time

Although many students choose online degrees for the flexibility and the opportunity to complete a degree program at their pace, the online BACJ degree can be completed in four years with a full course load. You also have the option of taking fewer credits and completing the program over more time.

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Ready to get started?

Connect with our Enrollment Advisors to learn more about this in-demand online program and start your admissions process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Law enforcement isn’t the only option for criminal justice graduates. With your bachelor’s degree, several possibilities open up where you can apply your new skills and knowledge. You could also continue your education to earn an advanced degree and pursue a teaching career. Aside from becoming a police officer, you could explore jobs like:

  • Forensic Interviewer
  • Crime Analyst
  • Victim Advocate
  • Substance Abuse Counselor (may require an advanced degree)
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Investigative Reporter
  • Probation or Parole Officer

CU Denver’s BA in Criminal Justice can be completed at the same pace as any traditional undergraduate degree or at your own pace. One of the main benefits of an exclusively online education is flexibility. You can take as many classes as you can fit into your schedule and complete the program at your speed. Though you can complete many of our undergraduate degrees in four years by taking a full course load, you also have the option of taking fewer credits and completing the program over more time.

Online learning will offer you the flexibility to study at the best place and time for you. You can choose a pace that is sustainable for your lifestyle, which can help you take into account your current career, family, and other commitments outside of school.

Additionally, our online programs are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, which means you’re earning the same high quality degree as students on campus, and your diploma will not mention that your degree was earned online.

The BA in Criminal Justice is offered fully online, which means you will not be required to take courses at our campus. Our fully online classes are recorded rather than streamed live, so you’ll be able to learn on your schedule. We welcome students from Denver, Colorado, throughout the United States, and internationally.

A relevant master’s degree can help increase your earning potential and expand your opportunities. CU Denver offers an online Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) program to help you advance your education. This program offers the option of adding a concentration in Crime Analysis; Disasters, Hazards and Emergency Management; and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The online Master of Public Administration from CU Denver might also appeal to you if you have career aspirations in local government, environmental policy and management, public policy, non-profit management, emergency management, and other related areas.