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A.S. Criminal Justice

Serve effectively with an online criminal justice associate degree

Program Note: The A.S. Criminal Justice is offered exclusively through Franklin University partnership agreements. Program applicants must meet the eligibility requirements specified as part of the partnership. 

For some, the words “criminal justice” conjure up CSI-type TV shows. For others, it means a post-military career opportunity. For still others, it represents the fulfillment of a long-held dream of creating a safer, better world.

From policing to victim advocacy, most careers in criminal justice require some higher education degree -- perhaps because few careers have the impact to literally change the world the way criminal justice does.

Earn an online associate degree in criminal justice and learn the inner workings of a system dedicated to righting wrongs, making a difference in the lives of others, and deterring crime. 

From law enforcement to corrections to homeland security, an online associate degree in criminal justice equips you with foundational knowledge and skills to jumpstart an exciting career in unique field that’s dedicated to protect, serve, and preserve social order and public safety.

Program not available in

On Site

A Model System

Examine the key components of the criminal justice process.

Real-World Practitioners

Learn from in-the-field criminal justice adminstrators.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Program Overview

Become a world-changer in your community

With Franklin University's A.S. Criminal Justice, you'll learn fundamental principles about the U.S. criminal justice system, including crime prevention, deterrence and control. 

You’ll be introduced to a theoretical framework of criminal behavior, intervention techniques, ethics and leadership, as well as compare and contrast the workings of its three sub-systems. More importantly, you’ll learn how to increase collaboration and improve working relationships across the entire criminal justice system.

And because our faculty are real-world criminal justice administrators, you’ll also benefit firsthand from their years on the job, learning not just the theories behind the principles, but also how apply them to real-life work.

At Franklin, you need just 60 credit hours of core, major and general courses to graduate. Plus, you can take 100 percent of your classes online and earn your degree, without disrupting your life or work schedule.

Get on the fast path to a career helping reduce crime with modern-day technologies and applied theories by earning your online associate degree in criminal justice from Franklin in less than two years. Plus, when you’re ready, we make it easy to seamlessly transition to Franklin’s bachelor’s degree program, B.S. Criminal Justice Administration, so you can take your career to the next level.

Earn your degree from a university built for busy adults

Earn your degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online or pursue available coursework at one of our Midwest locations. Regionally accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Our seamless transfer process and team of academic advisors will help ease your transition to becoming a student, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family, and life. Get started on your future today.

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Curriculum & Course Descriptions

60 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education Core (36 hours)
WRIT 120 - College Writing (4)
In this course, students acquire the writing competence necessary for conducting and presenting research. A variety of assignments, beginning with personal reflections, build upon one another, as students develop ideas that respond to, critique, and synthesize the positions of others. Students systematize and organize knowledge in ways that will help them in all of their courses. The course also emphasizes the elements of good writing style, appropriate grammar and mechanics, clarity of language, and logical and cohesive development. It culminates in submission of a documented research paper.
MATH 160 - College Algebra (4)
This course is designed to prepare students for Applied Calculus and Discrete Mathematics and to provide the mathematical background needed for the analytic reasoning used in other courses. Topics include functions and their graphs, including exponential and logarithmic functions; complex numbers; systems of equations and inequalities; matrices; basic principles of counting and probability; and other selected topics.
OR MATH 215 - Statistical Concepts (4)
This course introduces the student to statistics with business applications. The course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics included are: measures of central tendency; measures of dispersion; graphical displays of data; linear regression; basic probability concepts; binomial and normal probability distributions; confidence intervals; and hypothesis testing. These topics will be covered using a basic knowledge of algebra and Microsoft Excel. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.
COMM 150 - Interpersonal Communication (4)
By using applied critical and creative thinking, students in this course will develop a set of communication skills that will enhance their personal and professional relationships and endeavors. This course will focus on skill development in key areas such as self, perception, listening, verbal messages, conversations, relationships, conflict management, persuasion, and public speaking. Please note: A book fee will be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see /e-textbooks for specific charges.
OR SPCH 100 - Speech Communication (4)
This public-speaking course emphasizes the fundamentals of extemporaneous speaking. Skill-building activities and assignments focus on research, organization, reasoning, style and delivery of presentations as well as listening and audience engagement.
HUMN 211 - Intro to Ethical Analysis & Reasoning (2)
The goal of this course is to help you improve your ethical analysis and reasoning skills. You will be introduced to the art of formulating and assessing ethical arguments according to the standards of logical thinking and critical analysis. In this course, you will discover how to apply the following questions to your job and everyday life. Why do we need ethics if we have laws to govern our behavior' Does the majority view determine what is ethical and what is not' Are feelings, desires, and preferences reliable ethical guides' Is it ever appropriate to criticize another individual's (or culture's) ethical judgment' Are people always responsible for their actions' Do human beings have a natural tendency to good, a natural tendency to evil' both' neither' Is there a single moral code that is binding on all people, at all times, and in all places'

HUMN Elective (4) 

Minimum of six semester hours of Sciences (two science courses, with one having a laboratory component)

Minimum of six semester hours of Social and Behavioral Sciences (which must be in at least two different disciplines) - Choose PUAD 295 American Government in Action and also choose one from the Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology disciplines.

PF 121 - Basic Learning Strategies (2)
This course introduces students to the Franklin University community and provides strategies for successful transition to and participation in that community. Topics include University resources and procedures, strategies for advancing communication skills, the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments, and the development of an academic and career plan.
OR PF 321 - Learning Strategies (2)
This course prepares students to be successful lifelong learners both academically and in their chosen careers. Franklin courses require a high level of self-directed learning and focus on skills required in the workplace and the classroom that are easily transferable between the two environments. The course includes strategies for advancing communication skills, including the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments. The assignments and activities in the course are created to closely simulate teamwork found in the workplace.

General Education Electives (2)

Take 6 hours of Social & Behavioral Science

Major Area (24 hours)
CJAD 210 - Intro to Criminal Justice Administration (4)
This is an introductory course designed to expose students to the various Major elements of the criminal justice system (police, courts, and corrections). Students will learn about the ways in which the various systems interact, the processing of offenders, the various forms of punishment and the alternatives to punishment. The future of the criminal justice system will also be discussed.
CJAD 240 - Introduction to Criminology (4)
This course will focus on theories of crime and types of offending. Topics related the causation, control and prevention of criminal behavior will be addressed in this course.
CJAD 310 - Courts and Criminal Procedure (4)
This course addresses the requirements for processing criminal offenders through the court system. Topics include structure of the court system in the U.S., evidentiary standards, constitutional protections, the role and importance of case law, and the role of the prosecutor and defense attorney in the courts.
CJAD 315 - Policing in America (4)
This course will provide the student with an overview of the philosophy and history of policing in America. Students will learn about personnel and management issues related to policing. Students will also be exposed to topics including police discretion, police use of force, civil liability, police culture, and the impact of the war on terrorism on police operations and practices.
CJAD 320 - Corrections in America (4)
This course considers contemporary corrections in America. This course will include a review of recent corrections-related research and a discussion of the role corrections plays in the criminal justice system. Topics covered will include a historical overview of corrections in America, alternatives to incarceration, types and functions of various prison systems in corrections, and various categories of inmates within the corrections system.
SEMT 240 - Disaster Planning & Response (4)
Students will explore the nuances of planning for and responding to catastrophic disasters. The course will involve discussion of domestic and international approaches to planning and responding to such disasters. Students will view issues from the perspective of an Emergency Manager who spends most of their time in the field planning for critical incidents and disasters and who understands the key components to a good plan that involves many agencies at all levels of government and at different stages of the event. Students will explore the logistics of mass care, mass evacuation, and critical infrastructure damage.
Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) and either Speech Communication (SPCH 100) or Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) prior to enrolling in any other course at the 200 level or above. Either PF 121 or PF 321 must be taken prior to the first BLF course, or it may be taken concurrently with the first 15-week BLF course. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) in place of Learning Strategies (PF 321). Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.

Program Details

Career Opportunities

Victim’s Advocate

Found in a variety of settings including police stations, courts or nonprofit organizations, victim’s advocates present options and information in order to support decision making.

Police officer

Police officers ensure public safety by preventing and detecting criminal activity that can adversely affect  both people and property.

Private Investigator

Private investigators conduct systematic and thorough investigations on behalf of individuals or groups and report their findings on cases involving fraud, false claims, civil proceedings and more.

Border patrol agent

Border patrol agents are federal employees hired to detect and prevent people and illegal contraband, like weapons and drugs, from entering the country.

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers plan, develop and coordinate rehabilitative programs in order to prepare offenders for release from the justice system.

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