Criminal Justice & Legal

What is a Criminal Justice and Legal Degree?

Criminal justice and legal degrees teach students the knowledge required to succeed in various elements of the justice system (practice of law, the judicial system, law enforcement, and corrections). Criminal justice and legal degrees will teach students many different concepts including the history of the justice system, its implementation, and the ramifications of policies. The curriculums vary depending on the level of degree studied and the major.  

What Kinds of Majors are Available for a Criminal Justice and Legal Degree?

A criminal justice and legal degree provides a large amount of possibilities for students to major in. Some of the disciplines studied under this degree include:

Criminal Justice and Legal Degree Curriculum

Most criminal justice and legal degree curriculums are relatively similar. They are composed of a general education section and a larger section devoted to the student's major. The general education piece takes about 1/3 of the curriculum and provides students with a well-rounded course load across different subjects. These subjects include mathematics, history, English, and science. The rest of the curriculum will be geared towards the student's major. Most courses involve significant amounts of writing essays. One curriculum that is significantly different, however, is a law degree.

A law degree curriculum is quite different from that of other majors since it is highly specialized. Students spend a majority of their time reading cases and writing briefs (summaries of the case) on them. Many obtain positions as law clerks to gain some experience in the field while studying.

What Levels of Education are Available for a Criminal Justice and Legal Degree?

A criminal justice and legal degree is offered at all levels. An associate's degree in the criminal justice field takes about two years to complete. It is mostly a general education program which gives an overview of criminal justice. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice or legal  provides more than an overview of the field and goes into specifics regarding the student's topic of study. Those wishing to advance in their careers can obtain master's degrees or doctorate degrees. Students who are trying to become lawyers must obtain a juris doctorate (JD).

Skills Learned in a Criminal Justice and Legal Degree Program

Criminal justice and legal degree programs teach students the following skills:

  • Ability to use logic and reasoning to solve a number of differentiated problems
  • Critical thinking skills that can be applied to many other disciplines
  • Ability to analyze situations and determine the various factors affecting them
  • Variety of knowledge including history, English, and mathematics through liberal arts classes
  • Understanding of the foundations behind our justice system, how it came to be and where it is headed
  • All aspects of the law from family issues to corporate governance
Where Can I Get a Criminal Justice and Legal Degree?

Criminal justice and legal degrees are offered at a variety of locations. They can be earned at any university with an accredited criminal justice and legal program. Those who do not want to attend a brick and mortar school can earn their criminal justice and legal degrees online through various online universities.

Possible Careers for Criminal Justice and Legal Degree Holders

Graduates of criminal justice and legal degree programs can become a number of different professions. The law enforcement field is a viable option as graduates can become police officers, correctional officers, FBI agents, among others. Graduates may find work in government creating policy or running for elected office. Those who obtain a law degree can become lawyers, while less advanced degree holders may become paralegals or clerks.

Learn More About Criminal Justice & Legal Programs

Criminal Justice and Corrections

Criminal justice and corrections programs offer general and advanced academic training in fields such as law enforcement, probation, parole, juvenile delinquency, forensics and youth and adult offender treatment.

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Fire Protection

The curriculum will vary somewhat depending on which degree program the applicant chooses. The Associate’s degree in Fire Protection may include the following:

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Homeland Security

Homeland security degree programs prepare you to recognize and prevent physical, electronic and financial acts of terrorism and aggression made against domestic entities and American persons and properties on foreign soil.  Academic programs cover areas that impact the safety of American citizens such as infrastructure protection, domestic and international relations, intelligence and management and leadership.

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Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services, Other

Choosing a Bachelor's degree that focuses on law enforcement will teach students to maintain law on both a large and small scale while protecting the public at the same time. The curriculum will help them sharpen their skills in criminal justice, information security and loss prevention.

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Law programs are generally administered through law schools at top colleges and universities like Harvard, Yale and Princeton.  Pre-law programs are offered at two and four year postsecondary schools.  Coursework requirements include criminal law, torts, patent law, copyright, securities regulation, public law and employment law.

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Legal Professions and Studies, Other

Some of the courses the students may need to pursue include the following:

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Legal Research and Advanced Professional Studies

Because the needs of students and their academic backgrounds are highly diverse, this degree program is not specific to an individual career. The curriculum is designed to help students pursue a career option or advance in their current careers.

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Legal Support Services

Legal support services college and university programs prepare you to gain employment as a paralegal, legal assistant, legal transcriptionist or court reporter.  Areas covered in the programs are administration, law, preparing attorneys for court cases, subpoenas and research.

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Non-Professional General Legal Studies (Undergraduate)

Students who enroll in this program will need to take basic and specialized courses that may include the following:

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Paralegal programs generally roll up to Business or Law departments at accredited colleges and universities.  Major focus areas in the programs are paralegal studies foundational skills and paralegal studies authority, research and writing.

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