Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice (Generalist and Investigative Forensic Options; Online Criminal Justice Generalist Program Available)

The Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice provides a broad background in studies related to law enforcement and criminal justice systems and practices. The program consists of a 45-semester hour core.

Students then select from two 18 semester hour options:

  • Option 1 -- Criminal Justice Generalist
  • Option 2 -- Investigative Forensics

The baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice is intended to provide students with the information, knowledge, and skills to enter a variety of criminal justice professions upon the student’s graduation. The Investigative Forensics concentration exposes students to important concepts in basic criminal investigation as well as basic and advanced crime scene investigation. The Criminal Justice Generalist concentration exposes students to critical foundation level information and skills while including advanced education in policing, police organizations, investigations, report writing, and probation and parole.

The Investigative Forensics concentration will expose students to important concepts in criminal investigation and crime scene investigation and processing. Proficiency in crime scene investigation and mastery of the techniques used to collect evidence are essential to success in the field. To foster this expertise, students pursue coursework including criminal investigation, investigative photography, basic and advanced crime scene investigation as well as foundations in the study of criminal justice.

The Investigative Forensics concentration combines a focus on classical theories of criminal investigation with developing ideas and approaches, as well as with contemporary strategies for investigating and processing crime scenes. Emphasis is placed on helping students to become critical thinkers about criminal and crime scene investigations. A primary goal of the concentration is to help students focus on becoming proficient in basic criminal investigative techniques and basic and advanced crime scene techniques.

The Criminal Justice Generalist concentration will expose students to a variety of advanced topics that build on courses taken within the Criminal Justice Core. Proficiency in topics related to policing, investigations, criminal justice organization, probation and parole, and advanced examination of theoretical explanation of crime will form the core of this concentration. The Criminal Justice Generalist concentration combines classical theories of crime and criminal investigation with theoretical approaches to organizational cultures and subcultures, strategies used in typical criminal investigations, an understanding of the role that probation and parole plays within the corrections discipline, and advanced skill development in criminal justice report preparation.

The specific objectives of the proposed program include:

  • Apply the scientific methods to analyze and compare physical evidence to determine its properties and possible origin.
  • Provide detailed analyses of the criminal justice system and process.
  • Create effective written documents and make effective oral presentations.
  • Identify, analyze, and compare various types of evidence utilized in investigative forensics.
  • Identify and utilize correct investigative techniques during forensic investigations.
  • Demonstrate the procedure for processing a crime scene and strategically planning a criminal investigation.

Why Study Criminal Justice at Oakland City University?

Variety in Criminal Justice Studies

The Criminal Justice Program is designed to produce graduates who can excel in various aspects of the field in leadership, service, research, and innovation. The program offers classes that cover focus on alternatives to corrections, crime scene investigation, conflict management in corrections, criminal law, criminology, drugs and criminal justice, juvenile justice, victimology, and much more. Criminal Justice students select from two criminal justice concentrations: a Generalist concentration or Investigative Forensics.

Hands-on Experience

OCU's Criminal Justice majors and minors are exposed to a variety of hands-on experiences in the classroom, as well as being provided the opportunity to participate in field trips and out-of-classroom experiences. In 2017, Oakland City University added the Crime Scene House and a vehicle processing garage to its experiential learning opportunities for criminal justice students. The Crime Scene House is a 1,200 square foot house on the eastern edge of campus in which students receive training in the analysis of simulated crime scenes, vehicle processing, and forensic ballistics.

The Criminal Justice faculty encourage all of their students to participate in internships in such fields as law enforcement, corrections, and juvenile justice or a research practicum where they can apply theoretical information in the real world. Students are also urged to attend academic conferences and workshops, as well as complete specific training courses offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Rural Domestic Emergency Preparedness Consortium.

Dedication to Academic Excellence

The Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with two concentrations along with a well-rounded education by viewing the study of Criminal Justice in two ways: 1) as scientific in nature and 2) including human interaction and societal reaction.

Faculty and Class Size

The OCU criminal justice faculty hold appropriate academic qualifications in their field of expertise, as well as many years of professional experience in law enforcement or corrections. Most classes range between 10 and 15 students.


Criminal Justice (Generalist): Online Program

Earn your Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice on your schedule with Oakland City University. This 100% online program gives students the opportunity to complete their studies anywhere, at any time, whether you are interested in starting your criminal justice degree, or you have already completed criminal justice credits or an associate degree, or have experience in the field. By taking your courses online, you'll be able to earn your degree at your own pace while still fulfilling your work and family commitments. Each course is five weeks long to keep learning single-subject focused and course units are designed to make it easy to transition from one course to the next. With this degree on in hand, you can be prepared to advance your career in such fields as law enforcement and other protective services, correctional services, crime analysis and support, and security management.


Professional Program: Pre-Law

If you are interested in entering law school in the future, there is no best pre-law major and it is actually recommended that your undergraduate course of study avoid narrow specialization in a specific field.  Indeed, your studies should help you gain competence in written and oral expression, acquire a knowledge of history, as well as an understanding of social, political, and economic problems of society. Several of our degrees will help you reach these goals.

Our Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (Criminal Justice Generalist concentration), Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Bachelor of Science in History, Bachelor of Science in Psychology. and Bachelor of Arts in University Studies provides a curriculum that offers interdisciplinary study opportunities with required and restricted elective courses in Art, Business, Communication, Criminal Justice, Economics, English and Literature, Government, History, Management, Marketing, Natural Sciences, Religious Studies, and Sociology.  In addition, unrestricted electives can be selected from areas beneficial to someone interested in law school after graduation.

Our baccalaureate degree offerings provide a solid foundation in the content and, just as important, enable students to acquire strong research, writing, and communication skills required of any lawyer. Opportunities to study Communications, Criminal Justice, Government, History, Sociology, Psychology, and many other disciplines.  All these disciplines are relevant to any future law studies. regardless of your selected academic major, your adviser will help you select courses most adapted to your future studies.

Admission to law school is competitive and the mere completion of an undergraduate degree does guarantee admission to a law school. Other factors, such as the results of the LSAT (Law Scholastic Aptitude Test) or other similar required tests play an important part. However, completion of a pre-law curriculum that includes an interdisciplinary focus with an appropriate blend of relevant courses and a high-grade point average will certainly put you on the right track.

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