Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

51 units

Azusa Pacific’s bachelor’s completion program in criminal justice is designed for transfer students who have at least 15 units and are interested in completing a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at the Inland Empire, Murrieta, or San Diego regional campus. Students gain hands-on field experience as they learn about the criminal justice system, preparing them to make a difference in the lives of others.

Azusa Pacific’s bachelor’s completion programs allow students who began a program of study at another higher education institution to finish their degree at APU. In order to graduate, students must complete the required program units and General Education units, for a minimum total of 120 units.

No more than 10 percent of the criminal justice major credits may be completed through knowledge-based examinations (e.g., CLEP). All credit earned through examination must be clearly documented on the student’s official transcript by specific course designations and numbers, including the source of the credit. Awarding blanket credit for criminal justice courses in a “block” is not allowed (e.g., “12 hours criminal justice credit”).

Students must earn at least 50% of major course credits at Azusa Pacific University to graduate with a degree in criminal justice. 

Core Courses
PRMA 130Introduction to Statistics 13
PRCJ 110Intro to Criminal Justice 23
PRCJ 220Police and Society3
PRCJ 240Introduction to Corrections: Jails and Prisons3
PRCJ 250Juvenile Justice3
PRCJ 280The American Court System3
PRCJ 310Criminological Theories3
PRCJ 340Victimology3
PRCJ 350Race, Ethnicity, and Crime3
PRWR 262Writing 2: Criminal Justice Research Methods 33
PRCJ 362Writing 3: Criminal Justice Research Design 43
PRCJ 496Writing 3: Senior Capstone in Criminal Justice 43
Elective Courses15
Criminal Justice, Civic Engagement, and Social Responsibility 5
Criminal Law
Introduction to Criminal Law
The Criminalization of Youth
Criminal Procedure
Constitutional Law: Fundamental Freedoms
Gender and Crime
Sex Crimes
Forensic Psychology for Criminal Justice Professionals
Criminal Justice Internship 6
Special Topics in Criminal Justice
Introduction to Criminal Law
Constitutional Law: Fundamental Freedoms
Studies of Terrorism
Family Violence
Total Units51

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Demonstrate comprehension of traditional and contemporary criminology theories.
  2. Critique how major components of the criminal justice system respond to crime, criminals, and victims from theoretical and practical perspectives.
  3. Employ data and methods of social science research to respond to contemporary criminal justice issues.
  4. Illustrate ways in which social inequalities are linked to differential justice within criminal justice systems.
  5. Demonstrate a Christian worldview in recognizing, understanding, and applying ethical reasoning skills in criminal justice.

PRCJ 110, Intro to Criminal Justice, 3 Units

This course provides an overview of the field of criminology/criminal justice as an academic discipline involving the scientific study of theoretical perspectives on crime and justice. Students consider the respective roles of law, rehabilitation, public health, morality, and justice in the study of why crime occurs, how society responds to crime, and the scientific methods criminologists use to measure the extent of crime. The people who commit crime, the crimes they commit, and society's response to those actions cannot be fully understood outside the context of the larger criminal justice system, how it operates, the differential treatment of certain racial/ethnic groups, and the system's necessity in society, and these issues are discussed throughout this course. Meets the General Education Requirement: Social Science. 

PRCJ 200, Criminal Justice, Civic Engagement, and Social Responsibility, 3 Units

This course provides an experiential introduction to the criminal justice system, preparing students to address important 21st-century issues of ethics, justice, and poor relations between criminal justice professionals and community members. Students are introduced to types of civic engagement in a democracy as it relates to the criminal justice system, and organize community forums to address issues in policing, the courts, and the reintegration of offenders into the community. Meets the General Education Requirement: Civic Knowledge and Engagement. 

PRCJ 220, Police and Society, 3 Units

This course introduces students to the history of policing and examines major trends in contemporary law enforcement. By comparing community policing, problem-oriented policing, evidence-based policing, and other types, students identify the legal framework of policing and administration of police work. This course also includes an in-depth examination of police behavior, police discretion, and societal attitudes toward law enforcement.

PRCJ 240, Introduction to Corrections: Jails and Prisons, 3 Units

Prisons are total institutions that exert control over inmates' daily lives, and this course provides an in-depth introduction to the historical evolution and current state of incarceration and detention in the United States. By focusing on the theories and ideologies informing punitive practices, the goals of deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation are explored. Students take a critical look at life in prison, exploring how incarceration affects inmates and the potential consequences for society. Special emphasis is given to current controversies in jail and prison policy, such as overcrowding and violence.

PRCJ 250, Juvenile Justice, 3 Units

This course familiarizes students with the juvenile justice system, including types of delinquency, causes of delinquency (why a minor would engage in delinquent behavior), gang culture, social problems contributing to delinquency, law enforcement agencies that address delinquency, court proceedings, and court orders. Course material also addresses interventions that can be utilized with children who engage in delinquency, and prevention programs that reduce the risk factors contributing to delinquency.

PRCJ 251, Criminal Law, 3 Units

This course introduces students to the concepts of criminal law, including history and development, constitutional limitations on crimes and punishment, principles of criminal liability, criminal defenses, inchoate crimes, and elements of crimes against persons, property, and habitation.

PRCJ 255, The Criminalization of Youth, 3 Units

This course explores the criminalization of youth and its effects in today's society. The criminalization of youth refers to the myriad ways in which youth in the U.S. are ignored, mistreated, or otherwise excluded and incarcerated by society long before they are sentenced to time behind bars. The study of the criminalization of youth seeks to investigate U.S. systems and structures that treat young people like criminals, police their bodies, and hold young people accountable for larger systemic and institutional failures. The course begins with an investigation of the overpolicing of young people, especially young people of color, in communities and schools. Then, by examining these issues, students search for possible alternatives to the criminalization of youth.

Prerequisite: PRCJ 250

PRCJ 280, The American Court System, 3 Units

Students in this course analyze the structure, process, and personnel involved in the American court system. By examining state and federal courts, students discover the relationship between the judiciary and other criminal justice functions. Special emphasis is given to current court reform programs and the role of technology in the courtroom.

PRCJ 310, Criminological Theories, 3 Units

In this course, students identify different perspectives of crime causation and critically assess why people commit crimes. Included are the ideas, worldviews, and theories common to criminal justice professions regarding criminal motivation, what is considered a criminal act, how those acts should be handled, and the role of professionals in the criminal justice system.

PRCJ 340, Victimology, 3 Units

This course provides advanced study and critical appraisal of the theories and recent research on victims of crime. Such analysis focuses on the physical, emotional, and financial harm people suffer because of criminal activities, and the role of the victim in the criminal justice system. By exploring the relationships between the offender, the victim, and the criminal justice system, students gain a greater understanding of the frequently forgotten victims of crime. Students also discuss the programs and policies that have resulted from society's increasing concern about the rights of victims.

PRCJ 350, Race, Ethnicity, and Crime, 3 Units

Race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, and age are critical factors in the administration of criminal justice in the United States. Students in this course critically examine race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class within the U.S. criminal justice system as they explore the experiences of different racial and ethnic groups with different facets of the criminal justice system (e.g., policing, juvenile justice, sentencing, courts, etc.). Course material also introduces theories about the treatment of the poor compared to that of the nonpoor in criminal offending, and students examine theoretical issues of race and justice. Empirical understandings of the relationship between race, class, and gender and the criminal justice system are also discussed.

Prerequisite: PRCJ 220, PRCJ 240, PRCJ 280

PRCJ 351, Criminal Procedure, 3 Units

Students in this course study specific criminal procedural concepts, such as the right to counsel, exclusionary rule, search warrants, permissible warrantless searches, stop and frisk, entrapment, wiretapping, confessions, lineups, jury selection, voir dire, negotiated pleas, and postconviction relief.

Prerequisite: PRCJ 110 or instructor consent.

PRCJ 355, Gender and Crime, 3 Units

Students in this course explore the intersection between gender (with special focus on women) and crime. Topics include gender differences in offending, theoretical explanations for female offending, the social construction of offending, women as victims of crime and violence, the sexualization and criminalization of women's bodies, women's experiences with prison and the criminal justice system, and women working in criminal justice fields.

PRCJ 362, Writing 3: Criminal Justice Research Design, 3 Units

The course focuses on the nature, purpose, and value of doing and communicating research in the field of criminal justice. Material builds on students' understanding of research methods (as learned in PRWR 262) and focuses on teaching students basic concepts and tools for designing a research project, collecting and analyzing data, and writing for an academic and professional audience. Students develop and conduct a methodologically sound empirical research project and craft a well-written scholarly research paper that communicates their research and findings. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

Prerequisite: PRWR 262

PRCJ 395, Sex Crimes, 3 Units

This course focuses on sex crimes, sex offenders, the criminal justice system response, and policy, and begins with an overview of the types of sex crimes that occur and their prevalence. Criminological theories and theories specific to sex offending are identified. Three broad types of sex crimes are assessed: (1) rape, (2) child sexual abuse, and (3) child pornography. An emphasis is placed on typologies, which emphasize the heterogeneity that exists among sex offenders. Attention is also given to specialized groups of sex offenders: (1) juvenile sex offenders, (2) female sex offenders, and (3) those who sexually abuse in the context of an institution (school, church, daycare, etc.). Recent trends in investigation strategies, assessment tools, treatment approaches, and legal responses are reviewed and discussed. Students have the opportunity to explore problems with current trends and discuss related issues. Emphasis is placed on critical research disputing commonly held myths regarding this population of offenders.

PRCJ 450, Forensic Psychology for Criminal Justice Professionals, 3 Units

This course provides an in-depth introduction to the science of psychology applied to the criminal justice system. Students explore the psychological principles related to eyewitness testimony, lineups, police interrogations, jury decision making, competence, insanity, and future dangerousness. Special emphasis is given to current research findings in forensic psychology.

PRCJ 460, Criminal Justice Internship, 3 Units

The internship program allows students to apply their learning and gain work experience within a professional criminal justice setting. Assignments help students view professional experiences through the lenses of multiple criminal justice professionals (e.g., law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, etc.), and allow students to network with professionals and gain experience for inclusion on resumes and job applications. Classroom time is spent in small groups with facilitated discussions, and focuses on processing learning in the field; addressing questions, challenges, or concerns regarding the experience; and encouraging thinking about professional and graduate work in related fields. Meets the General Education Requirement: Integrative and Applied Learning. 

PRCJ 495, Special Topics in Criminal Justice, 3 Units

This course addresses topics of current interest in criminal justice not covered by core and elective courses. Topics vary by semester and may reflect new issues in the criminal justice system, theories, or faculty research interests in the field. This course may be taken more than once, as topics change.

PRCJ 496, Writing 3: Senior Capstone in Criminal Justice, 3 Units

This course provides students an opportunity to combine their learning experience from multiple courses in criminal justice into a research project that demonstrates their learning. This course will focus on writing instruction for students entering criminal justice professions. Students will expound on a contemporary issue in criminal justice and present their findings to professionals in the criminal justice field. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

Prerequisite: PRWR 262 (Writing 2) and a minimum of 90 units