Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice degree program provides general knowledge of the methods and theories of social science, along with a specialized understanding of criminal activity, policing, corrections, criminal court procedures, and social policy as it relates to crime control. The specialization core courses, electives, and related courses introduce students to critical thinking, computer applications, and quantitative analysis in relation to criminal study.

Students who complete the bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice will be able to demonstrate:

  • Proficient knowledge of theoretical perspectives of crime causation and their implications and applications for public policy and practice.
  • Specialized knowledge of content areas connected to domains within the administration of justice (law, policing, adjudication, and corrections) and specific crime- and justice-related social problems.
  • A foundation for conducting, interpreting, and evaluating research designs, as well as the quantitative and qualitative analytical methods for understanding crime- and justice-related social problems.
  • A capacity to recognize and analyze legal and ethical constraints, their implications for criminal justice policy and decision-makers, and the effect of justice policy and practice on diverse sets of values and groups in society.
  • An ability to synthesize, evaluate, recognize implications, and communicate effectively using scholarly sources of information connected to crime theory and policy.

A total of 48 credits is required.

English

  • MET EN 104 English Composition
  • MET EN 201 Intermediate Composition

Mathematics

  • MET MA 113 or MET MA 213

Computer Science

  • MET CS 101 Computers and Their Applications

Natural Science

  • Eight credits in the natural sciences (N)

Literature

  • Four credits in a 100- or 200-level MET EN literature course or MET HU 221

Philosophy

  • MET PH 150 or a similar philosophy course dealing with ethics

History

  • Four credits

Additional Courses

Four credits in the Humanities (H)
Eight credits in the Humanities (H) or Natural Sciences (N)

View undergraduate courses.

A total of 16 courses (64 credits), completed with a grade of C or higher, is required.

Required Courses

(Six courses/24 credits)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the criminal justice system (law enforcement, the courts, and corrections) while developing students' critical thinking skills. In addition to class lectures, the course provides multiple venues for learning, to include group activities, guest lectures, a prison tour, and carefully selected films that highlight some of the most contentious issues in criminal justice today.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND CAS 237 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This course provides a foundation for understanding the implications of policing in the United States. The course examines the historical development of policing in the U.S., the role of police in our society, police organizations and decision-making, policing strategies, as well as issues of authority and accountability. Throughout the course, several contemporary issues and controversies facing the police will be discussed including: police discrimination, police use of force practices, and other special topics.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course provides an overview of models of punishment and rehabilitation from the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences, including a review of correctional practices and procedures, institutional treatment, probation, parole, prison conditions, programs for juveniles, and comparative systems. Correction administration topics are covered including personnel, legal, operating practices, overcrowding, and planning.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND CAS 222 R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Theory and practice of criminal law, including sanctions, individual liability, limitations on state action, criminal and victim rights, evidence, defense, deterrence, mandatory sentencing, decriminalization, intent, entrapment, vagueness, and capital punishment. Case studies of recent court decisions.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND MET B02B T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Federal, state, and local criminal courts and their relationship to contemporary social and political issues. Historical background of the current criminal court system. Institutional functions of the courts. Role of the courts in reducing crime. Judicial process and criminal procedure, case studies and court decisions.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND CAS 324 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Scientific method, measurement, experimentation, survey research, observational methods, projective techniques, and content analysis used in social science research.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND CAS 218 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Choose an additional seven courses (28 credits) from the following (at least 16 credits must be at the 300 level or higher):

Analysis of criminal and delinquent behavior. Evaluation of current theories and research into causes and sociological implications of these behavior patterns. Examination of criminal justice systems, including police, courts, and corrections.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND CAS 227 M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This course will look at American family violence across the life span including child abuse, teen dating violence, wife battering and elder abuse. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse will be examined. We will consider how family violence differs by class and ethnic group and its differential impact on women. Institutional responses to family violence in the legal, medical and social service systems will be included as well as the role played by the women's shelter movement. Ideological supports for family violence in gender expectations, religious teaching and the media will also be studied.  [ 4 cr. ]

Introduction to the sociology of a wide range of legal and illicit drugs. Examines social definitions of drugs and conditions of their use. Considers deviant drug use and effects of social control on definitions and use.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND CAS 426 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Independent study on special projects under faculty guidance.   [ Var cr. ]

CJ510 is the designation for "Special Topics in Criminal Justice". The subject matter for CJ510 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one CJ510 can be offered in a given semester. For course descriptions, please contact the Department or the Graduate Student Advisor, Professor Cronin, at swcronin@bu.edu.

Fall 2016 -- Special Topic: "Mental Health & Justice"

The intersection of mental health and criminal justice systems has become a major contemporary issue in our society. This course explores the history of mental health policy as situated within the criminal justice system. Both historical and contemporary impacts of justice policy are addressed with an understanding of how justice policy impacts treatment within criminal justice settings. Examines treatment and policy issues within the domains of policing, courts, corrections, and community reentry. Topics addressed include mental health law, the impact of mass incarceration on mental health, and contemporary prevention strategies. Explores ethical issues in the delivery of forensic mental health services. Students gain valuable understanding of these important areas through case studies, site visits, guest speakers, and other active learning assignments.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND CAS 426 R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Community re-integration following imprisonment has long been recognized as a significant problem. Longer sentences and rapid changes have created new problems for both returning inmates and those who provide services both inside and outside the criminal justice system. This course will examine rehabilitation philosophy in theory and practice. Lectures and seminars will address such issues as: the special problems in providing rehabilitation and education in the correctional system, the effect of inmate subculture on rehabilitation, and balancing demands for custody and rehabilitation.   [ 4 cr. ]

Critical and technical review of theories on intellectual and social development of infants and children. Emphasis is on the role of early experiences and biological factors in the later formation of personality and intellectual motivational behaviors. Discusses the work of Erikson, Piaget, and Freud.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND CAS 208 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Provides a conceptual framework for understanding the development, organization, and change of the normal individual according to such diverse theoretical positions as the psychoanalytic, humanistic, and social learning schools.   [ 4 cr. ]

Manner in which the behavior, feelings, and thoughts of one individual are influenced and determined by the behavior and/or characteristics of others. Attraction, attitudes, aggression, person perception, and groups. Readings cover theories, experimental research, and application.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND CAS 218 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Relationship between individual and society in the postindustrial world. Problems in areas of work, education, cities, inequality, sexism, medicine, and law. Broad coverage of concepts dealing with alienation, institutional malaise, and societal ills.   [ 4 cr. ]

Relations among various racial, national, cultural, and religious groups, emphasizing the development of black-white relations in American society. Also covers the problems of contemporary minority peoples in America and other societies.  [ 4 cr. ]

Examination of current theories and research bearing on relationship between personality and social structure; contributions and convergent developments in psychology, anthropology, and sociology.   [ 4 cr. ]

Relationship between technology, environment, and social life. Impact of actual cases of technological development and environmental degradation. Emergence of social problems, and strategies for their solution.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to urban affairs and urban problems, including an overview of prominent theories about the nature and causes of urban problems. We will examine the metropolitan area as a complex system with interdependent institutions and problems and consider present as well as future urban policy options in areas such as housing, transportation, crime, education, environment and economic development.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND SHA 201 M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Additional courses may be chosen with academic counselor’s approval.

Related Courses

Three courses (12 credits) from any department, with at least one at the 300 level or higher, selected with the advice and approval of the Criminal Justice Advisor, to supplement the curriculum to allow students to develop further specialization in such areas as computer sciences, foreign languages, psychology, sociology, and other closely related fields.

Usually four courses (16 credits), but possibly more depending on transfer credits, chosen with the advice of an academic counselor.

View undergraduate courses.

View all Criminal Justice undergraduate courses.