B.S. Criminal Justice Administration

Enforce your career goals with an online criminal justice degree

As a security-conscious society with one of the highest crime and incarceration rates in the world, the U.S. criminal justice system is on the precipice of a new era -- one that requires smart and savvy leaders who can challenge old conventions. With a transfer-friendly B.S. Criminal Justice Administration degree from Franklin, you'll be equipped to launch or advance your criminal justice career while helping deter criminal activity, resolve disputes or help those impacted by crime. 

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Award-Winning Curriculum

Learn from an AECT best practice distance educator.

Customizable Program

Tailor your program by choosing from a variety of electives.

Real-World Practitioners

Learn from in-the-field criminal justice adminstrators.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Hands-On Curriculum

Go beyond the classroom with broad-based, experiential learning tools.

Accredited Online University

Nearly 80% of our students take online courses.

Criminal Justice Degree Overview

Protect, serve, and preserve social order and public safety

Tackling today’s criminal justice challenges requires a new generation of leaders who are equipped with the knowledge, understanding, and analytical skills necessary to develop innovative, multisystemic solutions. Franklin University’s Criminal Justice Administration degree program can help you meet the changing educational requirements of this exciting and growing field. Whether you want to start a new career or advance your current public safety or post-military career, Franklin can prepare you for a position of leadership in the criminal justice administration arena.

And because our program was designated a 2014 Association for Education Communications and Technology (AECT) Division of Distance Learning Best Practice Award winner, you can be confident you’re receiving a degree from a university that’s dedicated to collaboration and innovation that impacts your learning and success.

With our online criminal justice degree, you’ll learn to preserve and maintain social order by gaining critical skills in these key areas: law enforcement; corrections, probation, and parole; juvenile justice, delinquency, and juvenile corrections; criminology theory and crime control; and criminal justice leadership and administration.

Learn best practices that decrease crime and increase public safety

At Franklin, you’ll become a critical consumer of criminal justice and criminology research, applying best practices from across the country. You’ll learn to analyze and synthesize scientific theories of crime control, evaluating and developing models specific to various correlates of crime.

In this bachelor's program, you’ll gain an understanding of both adult and juvenile justice systems, as well as the skills to apply innovative programmatic efforts. From due process to constitutional protections to the importance of case law in American criminal justice, you’ll be exposed to the specific legal and ethical challenges for each branch of the U.S. criminal justice system.

You’ll also learn new data-driven best practices to decrease crime and diminish reliance on mass incarceration practices that marginalize entire communities. Plus you’ll learn to use modern-day technologies, such as crime mapping, to prevent and control crime.  

Get practical experience with hands-on curriculum and assignments

With broad-based experiential learning tools and cutting-edge research beyond traditional classrooms, you’ll participate in unique multimedia-based learning experiences that include virtual field trips, offender accounts, and guest speakers.

In addition, you’ll apply and evaluate strategic prevention and law enforcement policies through a series of case studies, integrating your learning into an analysis that prepares you for realistic criminal justice challenges.

Designed with the inside knowledge of law enforcement professionals and U.S. court system leaders, and overseen by our expert Advisory Board including Ohio’s state inspector general, Franklin’s Criminal Justice bachelor's degree program curriculum meets the high professional standards prospective employers are looking for.

Earn a bachelor's in Criminal Justice from a university built for busy adults

Earn your degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online or pursue available coursework at our Main Campus. 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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Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degree Courses & Curriculum

120 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education Core (24 hours)
English Composition

Choose a minimum of 3 semester hours from:

ENG 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.

*If the course does not have a research paper component, ENG 130 Research Paper, two semester credits, is also required.


Select from:

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.

Choose MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite to MATH 160. Choose either MATH 140 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite to MATH 215.  Prerequisite course can count as a University Elective.


Sciences (6 hours)

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from the Science discipline.

One course must have a laboratory component.

Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 hours)
POSC 204 - American Government (3)
An overview of the structure and function of the American governmental system, including the roles of the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, the news media, public opinion, and public interest groups in the political system.

Also choose an additional course from Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Psychology, and Sociology.  Must select at least two different disciplines to meet requirements.

Arts and Humanities (6 hours)

Choose a minimum of 6 semester hours from:

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'

Choose an additional course from the Art, English Literature, Fine Arts, Humanities, Music, Philosophy, Religion or Theater disciplines.

Additional General Education Requirements (12 hours)
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.
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.
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.
ENG 220 - Research Writing: Exploring Professional (4)
This is an intermediate course focusing on the composition of research papers. Students in this course prepare to be active participants in professional discourse communities by examining and practicing the writing conventions associated with their own fields of study and work. By calling attention to the conventions of disciplinary writing, the course also prepares students for upper-division college writing and the special conventions of advanced academic discourse. Course activities include three extended research papers, semi-formal writing addressing interdisciplinary communication, and readings fostering critical engagement with disciplinary conversations.
  • General Education Electives (2)

Professional Core (12 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 340 - Evidence Based Practice & Research (4)
This innovative approach to research describes best practices and data driven solutions in criminal justice research including quantitative, qualitative, and program evaluation research. Students will be good consumers of research and will have the fundamental knowledge necessary to evaluate research studies, evaluate their value toward their field of interest, and evaluate their usefulness for making sound decisions in the field.
Major Area (28 hours)
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.
CJAD 330 - Juvenile Justice & Delinquency (4)
This course will address the history of the U.S. juvenile justice system and the nature and extent of youth crime. It will focus on the correlates and theoretical perspectives used to explain juvenile delinquency all within a framework of current research and strategies used to prevent, treat, and control youth crime. Students will analyze and apply these concepts to the structure within which juveniles are taken into custody, treated, processed, rehabilitated or punished in an integrated and collaborative environment. Finally, students will examine basic criminal justice research methods and the role of science and inquiry in criminal justice.
CJAD 450 - Criminal Justice Management & Admin (4)
This course will examine the basic concepts of management and administration as applied to agencies in the criminal justice system. Emphasis will be placed on issues related to the effective management and administration of criminal justice agencies. Topics covered will include environmental influence; conflict, power, and ethical issues; motivation, leadership, and communication. The concept of the service quality approach will also be considered.
CJAD 455 - Ethics in the Criminal Justice System (4)
This course will address the topics of ethical and moral values as they pertain to the criminal justice system. Topics covered will include ethics and the police, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the purpose of punishment, ethics in corrections, and the ethics of criminal justice policy making.
CJAD 495 - Criminal Justice Administration Capstone (4)
The Criminal Justice Capstone will be the final course completed by students in the Criminal Justice Program. The capstone course will include a practicum that will allow students to apply the theories, principles and knowledge obtained throughout the criminal justice program to a real-life problem or project in a criminal justice agency. For students who may not be associated with a criminal justice agency; an alternative to the practicum will be a research project that identifies and examines a current criminal justice issue or problem. Students will complete a research paper with recommendations for addressing the identified problem. The recommendations will be based on the theories, principles and knowledge obtained throughout the criminal justice program. Prerequisites: Completion of all Professional Core Courses.
Major Electives (8 hours)

Select 8 hours of any courses from within or across the suggested pathways listed.

CJAD 425 - Probation and Parole (4)
This course addresses the role of probation, parole and community corrections in the U.S. corrections system. Topics include management and supervision of a full range of intermediate alternatives to prison and jail including pretrial release, diversion, economic sanctions, probation, residential supervision, and other unique alternatives. Philosophies and theories of offender treatment and punishment will be analyzed within the context and application of public policy. Parole will be examined and various programs will be compared and contrasted in light of best evidence and economic policies in the U.S. A particular focus will be paid to successful reentry and wraparound programming. Risk assessment will be integrated throughout as a contemporary and data-driven means of individualized rehabilitative and treatment models that seek to lower recidivism and improve public safety.
CJAD 430 - Juvenile Corrections (4)
This course will present students with an introduction and history of juvenile corrections. More in-depth coverage will focus on contemporary sentencing and correctional strategies including alternative sanctions. Students will be exposed to treatment and rehabilitative programmatic trends both inside and outside secure institutions. Additional topics will include correctional staff training, risk assessment, and evaluative studies both quantitative and qualitative.
Homeland Security
CJAD 360 - Intro: Terrorism & Intelligence Analysis (4)
This course examines intelligence analysis and its indispensable relationship to the management of terrorist attacks, man-made disasters and natural disasters. It also explores vulnerabilities of our national defense and private sectors, as well as the threats posed to these institutions by terrorists. Students will discuss substantive issues regarding intelligence support of homeland security measures implemented by the United States and explore how the intelligence community operates.
CJAD 420 - Cybercrime (4)
"Most assets escape exploitation not because they are impregnable but because they are not targeted." (Herley, 2014 p.70) Cybercrime is perpetrated all over the world and results in tremendous financial loss to many individuals, businesses, and countries of the World. This course sets out to accomplish several learning outcomes but also to develop a level of literacy about cyber related crime that will help to diminish or mitigate the problems associated with these types of crimes. The awareness of cybercrime-related activity as it pertains to your everyday life is important to your ability to navigate away from this serious criminal activity that is just beginning to grip our society. This course is designed as a literacy course and although it has critical terminology is not fundamentally a computer forensics or technical course. Herley, C., (2014). Security, Cybercrime, and Scale. Communications of the ACM, 57,(9). DOI:10.1145/2654847
Law Enforcement
CJAD 360 - Intro: Terrorism & Intelligence Analysis (4)
This course examines intelligence analysis and its indispensable relationship to the management of terrorist attacks, man-made disasters and natural disasters. It also explores vulnerabilities of our national defense and private sectors, as well as the threats posed to these institutions by terrorists. Students will discuss substantive issues regarding intelligence support of homeland security measures implemented by the United States and explore how the intelligence community operates.
CJAD 415 - Contemporary Policing Strategies & Issue (4)
Students will review contemporary policing strategies to include: Community policing, Problem Oriented Policing and other strategies related to crime prevention and crime reduction. Students will also be exposed to current issues related to both the internal and external environments of police agencies. Issues related to police deviance and ethical issues will also be addressed.
Public Administration
PUAD 420 - Government & Nonprofit Budgeting (4)
Students learn fundamental budgeting, accounting, and financial management concepts and techniques necessary for planning, analysis, and decision making in government and nonprofit organizations. Students also examine the competing values and politics that underlie and impact the budget process and financial decisions. Finally, students apply skills for effectively communicating financial analysis methods and conclusions with colleagues, elected officials, the media, and the public.
PUAD 305 - Introduction to Public Administration (4)
Students are introduced to the field and profession of public administration. Students learn to think and act as ethical public administration professionals by developing a broad understanding of the political and organizational environment in which public administrators work and by applying fundamental analytical, decision- making, and communication skills. The professional knowledge and skills explored in the course provide a foundation for subsequent public administration courses.
Special Populations
CJAD 335 - Case Management (3)
This course focuses on the importance of the case manager's role in the mental health community support services. Included is information on the history of mental health services, the nature of mental health problems, the social service network, as well as the entire range of available client entitlements and legal rights. There is a focus on skills necessary for relating to clients, helping to set goals and solve problems, learning when and how to intervene in crisis situations and how to be effective advocates while drawing on the strengths of the community.
CJAD 445 - Victimology (3)
This course is a seminar/survey course in violent victimization in the United States. Emphasis is placed upon the impact of these victimizations upon the victims and society. In addition, the response of the criminal justice system and of society to these victimizations will be explored. Theories of crime prevention and victimization will be discussed throughout the semester to encourage students to analytically consider the factors which cause victimization, and which factors can possibly prevent victimizations from occurring.
CJAD 440 - Sociology of Deviant Behavior (4)
Students will become familiar with the various theories of deviant behavior and discuss deviance in terms of both criminal and non-criminal behavior. Topics covered in this course will include types of deviance, deviance and crime, stigma, physical disabilities, mental disorders, and recent forms of deviance.
University Electives (36 hours)

Any undergraduate courses offered by the University except developmental education courses.

Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), and either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) prior to enrolling in any course at the 200 level or above. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass PF 121 Basic Learning Strategies in place of PF 321 Learning Strategies. Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) or Speech Communication (SPCH 100) must be taken prior to enrolling in any course at the 300 level or above. Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.

Criminal Justice Program Details

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Criminal Justice Jobs & Career Opportunities


Bailiffs maintain courtroom order and security, ensure that courtroom occupants abide by the rules, and protect judges and juries from public contact.

Correctional Officer

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

Court Clerk

Court Clerks manage courtroom dockets, pleadings and documents filed in cases pending before the court, regulating access to filings and responding to requests for document copies.

Criminal Investigator

Criminal Investigators obtain and verify evidence of criminal activity, observe and interview suspects and witnesses, and record and document investigative findings.

Criminal Justice Administrator

Criminal Justice Administrators oversee the daily operations of criminal justice agencies, setting and enforcing policies, overseeing budgets, and ensuring program requirements.

DEA Agent

DEA Agents control and enforce federal drug laws, investigating the manufacture, diversion, distribution, and use of illegal drug activity.

FBI Agent

FBI Agents examine interstate and national criminal activity, including bribery, cyber crime, drug trafficking and terrorist threats, investigating and solving cases involving violations of federal statutes.

Juvenile Corrections Officer

Juvenile Corrections Officers prevent disturbances and enforce discipline in juvenile detention facilities, maintaining the safety and security of detained and convicted youth.

Law Enforcement Intelligence Analyst

Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts conduct research and use data to identify patterns of criminal activity to provide information useful in the prevention of crime and/or apprehension of offenders.

Law Enforcement Officer

Law Enforcement Officers prevent, detect, and investigate criminal activity, apprehending violators, making arrests, and responding to emergencies.

Probation Officer

Probation Officers meet with, monitor and report on the activities of convicted criminals sentenced to a period of supervision, ensuring they meet the conditions of probation.


Sheriffs oversee county jail operations, transport prisoners, investigate illegal activities, supervise deputies, and command field operations as necessary.

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.

Criminal Justice Knowledge & Skillsets

Gain in-demand skills sought by employers with curriculum that teaches you:

About the Criminal Justice Major

Criminal Justice Degree Frequently Asked Questions

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