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Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice

bachelors in criminal justice.

A 360° look into Criminal Justice.

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is a versatile choice, and new jobs are always being created in this advancing field. Students at William Woods University study criminal justice because of a desire to gain insight through a well-rounded, liberal arts curriculum that motivates purpose and perspective. It is a respected program in its combination of study of theoretical principles put to real, tangible application.

At William Woods University, we will connect you with thought leaders of current topics, very often right here on campus, and our passionate faculty who teach 100% of our courses, and have experience in various careers in the criminal justice field. You will learn to think critically and ethically, to investigate thoroughly, to become a better verbal and written communicator, and to develop your knack for research and analysis.

Criminal justice majors may choose from one of three areas of emphasis:

Special opportunities

  • Get involved in Criminal Justice Club, and participate in the conversations around today’s societal and criminal justice issues. Organize on-campus events to raise awareness about current issues
  • Attend national conferences in homeland and industrial security
  • Work with our faculty in scholarly research
  • Gain experience with internships at the federal, state and local levels — including work with police departments, state highway patrol, industrial security and more
  • Prepare for careers in law enforcement, agencies, industrial security, corrections, and the judicial system
  • Compete for a chance to have your research published in our own department journal!

Our Criminal Justice degree at work

Our bachelor’s in criminal justice alumni have found successful careers in leading agencies, companies and firms:

  • Noble Biocare International
  • Bell & Watson, PLLC, Memphis, TN
  • Cox Health Systems
  • Missouri Secretary of State
  • Homeland Security
  • National-level intelligence agencies
  • North Star Resource Group
  • Columbia Police Department
  • United States Marine Corp
  • General Motors
  • Province of Ontario
  • Pate's Law Group, Orlando FL
  • William Woods University
  • Boomerang Strategies, McKinney, TX
  • State of Missouri
  • Spectrum Brands, Inc.
  • McAdams, LTD
  • DeVry Education Group, Government Relations Department
  • Midwest Litigation Services
  • Veteran's United Home Loans
  • Missouri Division of Youth Services
  • New Bloomfield Schools
  • United States Senate, Office of the Press Secretary for the Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Legislative Lobbyist firm for the KC Chiefs and others
  • Central Trust & Investment Company
  • Boone County Circuit Clerk
  • Florida GAL Foundation
  • Dinsmoer & Shohl, Commercial Litigation, Kentucky
  • Prosecuting Attorney office, Lincoln County and others
  • Kathy J. Weinman Children's Advocacy Center, St. Louis, MO
  • Scholastic
  • High Caliber Stables, North Carolina
  • Chelsea Meadows Equestrian Center

Some graduate and law schools attended by political/legal studies and criminal justice bachelor’s grads:

  • University of Missouri Law School
  • University of Missouri Master's and Doctorate program in Political Science
  • University of Missouri Master's in Education
  • Oklahoma City Law School
  • St. Louis University Law School
  • American University Law School, Washington, DC
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Master's program in Political Science
  • Barry University Law School - Florida
  • William Mitchell College of Law
  • Master's of Liberal Arts in Journalism, Harvard
  • University of Denver Law School

Alumni Perspectives

Being a part of the William Woods legal studies department has really been a pleasure. My professors care about me as an individual and are always willing to go the extra mile if I need it. The criminal justice program has prepared me for a career in homeland security with a wide variety of specialty classes. From forensic evidence to intelligence management and threat assessment, my education through the criminal justice-homeland security program has kept me up-to-date with the ever-changing worlds of law and national security. I feel that my experiences at William Woods and with the criminal justice-homeland security major are invaluable.

— Megan Grissom, legal studies-criminal justice graduate

The professors in the criminal justice program are extremely knowledgeable in their field and have always been there for help when I needed it. They have made my college experience exciting and have given me the foundation for a job in criminal justice.

— Trevor McBride, legal studies-criminal justice graduate


Courses you may take

CMJ 110 - Introduction to Criminal Justice -S - 3.00

This introductory course will examine crime in America with a focus on the role of police, courts, and correctional institutions. Students will consider the balance between freedom and security issues and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the American justice system as it adapts to cultural, political, and societal changes.

CMJ 120 - Intro to Corrections, Prbtn &Parole - 3.00

This introductory course will examine how evidence-based practices are used in corrections and how theory is linked to treatment and punishment of offenders, and encourages critical thinking about community corrections, prison life, treatment of offenders, reentry, legal issues, the death penalty, and juveniles in corrections.

CMJ 180 - Criminology -T - 3.00

This introductory course will explore the cause and major theories of criminal behavior. Students will learn the various research techniques that have been used to study criminal behavior and examine connections to social, environmental and ethnographical factors. Students will gain a more complete understanding of crime and how it relates to human social life. Finally students will apply the knowledge gained in their studies to examine current policy trends and the methods used to address crime and proscribed social behavior.

CMJ 240 - Introduction to Homeland and Industrial Security - 3.00

This course will provides a comprehensive overview of the Department’s history, mission, organization, and programs designed to reduce America’s vulnerability to attack and quickly recover from disaster. We will discuss emergency preparedness, critical infrastructure, intelligence and terrorism.

CMJ 260 - Emergency Management & Disaster Pln - 3.00

This is an introductory course in the field of emergency management and disaster planning. This course will cover topics such as: the history of the field, hazard risk management, an in depth analysis of natural and man-made disasters, development of incident management plans, critical infrastructure protection, and mitigation strategies. Students will also develop a deeper understanding of how natural and man-made hazards represent a threat to the security and stability of the nation and to develop critical thinking skills.

CMJ 270 - Criminal Law - 3.00

This course involves the study of substantive and procedural criminal law including due process, probable cause, statutory and case law authorities governing criminal law and rules of criminal procedure. This course will also provide a foundation for further work in the Criminal Justice field, and host an in-depth examination of the crimes committed by suspects, and actions taken by criminal justice professionals to deal with those crimes.

CMJ 280 - Criminal Procedure - 3.00

This introductory course begins with first contact with the police, all the way through to appeal. We will discuss Search and Seizure; Interrogations, Confessions, and Identification Procedures; The Beginnings of Formal Proceedings; Trial, Conviction, and Beyond. This course presupposes no legal expertise, connects criminal procedure cases to the real world through innovative pedagogy, and encourages students through numerous decision making exercises to be critical thinkers by putting them in the position of judge.

CMJ 320 - Terrorism - 3.00

This course will examine the history and status of domestic and international terrorism. We will emphasize different regions of the world and the terrorist groups in each region. As well as examine terrorist events, groups, responses to terrorism, changes in terrorist strategies, and current and future trends.

CMJ 355 - Criminal Investigations & Crime Scn - 3.00

This is an introductory course in the field of criminal investigation and crime scene processing. There are two related areas this course will explore. First, this course will examine some of the practical methods and overall considerations of processing a crime scene as well as other issues involved in the actual collection and preservation of evidence. The second area this course will explore is the area of criminal investigations and the methods, techniques and legal considerations involved in the overall criminal investigation process.

CMJ 370 - Drugs and Crime in Society - 3.00

We will examine the major facts and issues concerning criminal justice and drug-taking behavior in America today. We will explore the social problems associated with drug use, abuse, drug control policy, the role of Law enforcement and the courts and the impact on society.

CMJ 380 - Research Mthds in Criminal Justice - 3.00

In this course we will discuss contemporary research methods applied to criminal justice and criminology. We will demonstrate how research is relevant to the field and what tools are needed to actually conduct that research. We will examine qualitative research and quantitative research and discuss real-life examples and explain how to competently critique as well as create research-based knowledge. Prerequisite: CMJ180 and MAT114

CMJ 440 - Cybercrime and Information Warfare - 3.00

Issues addressed in this course include descriptions of the types of crimes and terrorist acts committed using computer technology, theories addressing hackers and other types of digital criminals, an overview of the legal strategies and tactics targeting this type of crime, and in-depth coverage of investigating and researching digital crime, digital terrorism, and information warfare. Additionally, upon completion of the course, students should find themselves better prepared for further study into the growing problems of crime, terrorism and information warfare being committed using computer technology.


Admissions Information

Learn more about undergraduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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