Criminal Justice, B.A. or B.S.

Degree: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science

The criminal justice undergraduate program offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, each of which provides a comprehensive curriculum so that graduates can enter the job market prepared to fully participate as informed, educated criminal justice professionals.

The criminal justice undergraduate program has articulated discipline-specific knowledge, skills, behavior and values outcomes; critical thinking outcomes; communication outcomes; and assessment of criminal justice outcomes that are specified in our Academic Learning Compact.

The official program of study for the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Criminal Justice is available online in the UCF Undergraduate Catalog.

Exceptional students may consider applying to the undergraduate program’s Scholar’s Track. A Senior Scholar Program is also available.

The Department of Criminal Justice is committed to its students and to helping them achieve success.

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice is the system of law enforcement, the bar, the judiciary, corrections and probation that is directly involved in the apprehension, prosecution, defense, sentencing, incarceration and supervision of those suspected of or charged with criminal offenses.

The term criminal justice refers to an interdisciplinary field that draws upon the knowledge bases of criminology, sociology, psychology, law, public policy, computer technology and other related disciplines to develop insights into the causes and prevention of criminal behavior. It is an area of knowledge concerned with understanding and controlling crime.

The contemporary criminal justice system in the United States is monumental in size. It includes more than 55,000 public agencies employing more than 1.5 million people. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it has a budget of more than $60 billion for agencies, 6,000 correctional operations. There are approximately 18,000 police agencies, 17,000 courts, 8,000 prosecutorial agencies, 6,000 correctional institutions and almost 4,000 probation and parole departments.

If you are not sure if this is the right major for you, you may want to enroll in “Careers in Criminal Justice,” an introductory course into the numerous careers available as a criminal justice graduate.

Undergraduate Program

The criminal justice undergraduate program at UCF is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of crime and society’s control mechanisms as well as prepare them for professional careers in criminal justice and related agencies.

As a multidisciplinary field of study, criminal justice incorporates the substance and perspectives of psychology, sociology, political science and law. The curriculum draws on the methods of the social sciences and requires students to take several supporting courses outside of criminal justice. The department provides an opportunity for an internship experience for students in various criminal justice settings. This gives students the opportunity to affirm their career decision as they relate class material, presentations and discussions to the real world. Many students use the degree as preparation for graduate school.

Max Thedy, a 2014 graduate who participated in the Scholar’s Track as a student, completed a law enforcement internship at Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa.


In addition to the required completion of UCF’s General Education Program and Foreign Language requirements, the following courses are suggested, but not required, for entrance into the criminal justice program:

  • American National Government
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Economics

Program of Study

All students are required to take core courses in the areas of policing, courts, corrections, and research. Students will also take additional hours of upper-division course work from various criminal justice restricted electives and supporting electives outside the criminal justice program with aid of an advisor. As part of the criminal justice undergraduate program of study, students will be required to take classes in such subjects as:

  • Careers in Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Crime in America
  • Prosecution and Adjudication
  • Corrections and Penology
  • Police and Society
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Data Analysis for Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Ethics: Capstone Experience

Students seeking a Bachelor of Arts are required to successfully complete one year of one foreign language in college (or equivalent proficiency exam) prior to graduation. Students seeking a Bachelor of Science are required to successfully complete two years of one foreign language in high school (or equivalent proficiency exam) prior to graduation.

Seniors can use a limited number of internships and/or directed independent studies credits toward fulfilling the supporting course requirement. However, all program standards must be met to be eligible for either internship or independent study credit.

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