According to Wikipedia, Criminal justice is the delivery of justice to those who have committed crimes. This succinct definition does not do justice (pun intended) to the various modes and levels of fighting crime. There is law enforcement, the judicial/courts system, corrections, forensics, rehabilitation, criminal law, terrorism, and more. In this post, we examine some of these specific areas along with the respective degree. This information should demonstrate the choices you have under the umbrella of an undergraduate major in criminal justice.


A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (CJ) with a concentration in Corrections explores the programs and practices currently in use to rehabilitate criminals in correctional institutions and offenders in release programs. You will gain a solid foundation in the policies, laws, and regulations governing corrections and the treatment of offenders. You will learn about the sociological, biological, and psychological factors that may influence criminal activity. You will become versed in analyzing crime armed with your understanding of human behavior.

The above program is available online at Southern New Hampshire University. With a concentration in Corrections, you will graduate with a keen understanding of the prison system, offender rehabilitation, and correctional administration.

Similar programs with a Corrections concentration include courses in Probation and Parole, Victimology, Criminal Psychology, and Constitutional Law. Capella University also offers the specialty that explores topics is another school that related to incarceration, probation, parole, and counseling to gain an understanding of the corrections industry.

CSI smartCrime Scene Investigation

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice that specializes in Major Crime Scene Investigation Procedure studies the forensic techniques used at crimes scenes. Students will take courses in chemistry, biology, photography, and fingerprint collection and analysis. All of which expose students to the science of obtaining and preserving crucial evidence.

Aspen University offers a 120 credits program in this concentration. The classes provide an overview of law enforcement, communications, humanities, behavioral sciences, criminology, and criminal justice. As expected, the coursework leads to forensics. You will learn about forensic toxicology, physical evidence, analytical techniques for organic and inorganic materials, weapons, ammunition, tool marks, and fingerprints.

criminal psych smart 1Criminal Psychology

A Bachelor of Science in CJ-Criminal Psychology is a study of the criminal mind. By understanding criminal behavior, the graduate is able to assess and counsel. Also, you will learn about the mental health of criminals while also studying the processes in the criminal justice system.

A bachelor’s degree is probably not adequate to work in this field. You should plan on at least a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. A graduate program will provide coursework you can apply to the profession. Examples are in the psychology of violence, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, and abnormal psychology.

Criminal Justice and CriminologyCJ smart

These are not the same. Criminology is the study of the causes, consequences, and costs of crime. Criminal justice refers to established systems for dealing with crime, the detection of crime, detaining of criminals, as well as criminal prosecution and punishment. While both fields are different by definition, criminologists and criminal justice professionals work together in the criminal justice system to thwart crime.

UMass Lowell offers a Bachelor of Science in CJ and Criminology with the choice of five concentrations. You have the option to choose corrections, police, crime and mental health, violence, and homeland security. Graduates will have the skills to work in the justice system as an officer of the law or the analysis of crime.

homeland smart

Homeland Security

This concentration focuses not only on terrorist acts but also natural and human-made threats to society. The curriculum in a typical program includes the criminal justice system, law enforcement, crisis response, public safety, and infrastructure protection. The analysis leads to the development of effective response plans for natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other public safety threats.

Florida Tech offers an online B.S. in CJ with a Concentration in Homeland Security. This program combines a broad liberal arts education with career-specific criminal justice and homeland security courses. You will study policies and plans at all levels of government, from local to federal. Additionally, you will examine domestic and international terrorist acts and groups, civil liberties, and the importance of intelligence gathering and analysis, and counter-terrorism.


Your research should take you beyond these suggestions as you home in on the various concentrations in the realm of criminal justice. There is, of course, the CJ Generalist program. Students may study criminal investigation, drug usage on crime, forensics, terrorism, probation, and parole.

A career in law enforcement will always be in demand despite the FBI crime statistics showing that the violent crime rate fell 48% between 1993 and 2016 in the U.S. However, major cities like Chicago have seen an increase in murder rates.

Additional Resources: