Associate in Science in Criminal Justice

Division of Social Sciences — Curriculum Code: 0898

Will Earn Upon Program Completion: Associate in Science (A.S.) Degree


Call 973.877.3052 For More Information

Why major in Criminal Justice?

The program is designed to prepare each student to transfer upon graduation to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field or to enter the job market directly. The program offers students preparation to enter and/or progress in the fields of professional law enforcement, pre-law, corrections, probation, parole, corporate security, juvenile youth services, and sky marshal.

If I major in Criminal Justice, can I transfer to an upper-division college or university?

Yes. Essex County College, through the NJ Transfer Program, has entered into transfer/articulation agreements with all of the following four-year colleges and universities in the state: Rutgers University, New Jersey City University, Kean University, William Paterson University, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. These institutions admit students who complete their A.S. degree as juniors. This means you can complete your freshman and sophomore years at affordable Essex County College. There is also an articulation agreement with Thomas Edison State College, which offers an alternate route to a Bachelor’s degree. This program features blended courses, online classes, and continued study at ECC for satisfaction of the four-year degree requirement. Consult with your academic advisor or the ECC Transfer Coordinator to review specific requirements for gaining junior status upon transfer.

Are there any requirements I must satisfy before I start taking courses in my major?

Based on your placement tests scores, you may be required to take developmental courses in reading, English, and/or mathematics before taking the core curriculum courses in your major.

How long will it take for me to complete this degree?

If you do not need developmental course work and you register for an average of 17 credits each semester, you can complete the degree in two years.  You may shorten the time by taking courses in the summer sessions.

Where should I direct specific questions about this program?

Call the Division at (973) 877-3250.

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:
  • Describe the functions of the various components of  the criminal and juvenile justice system (i.e., law enforcement, courts, and corrections) and explain the interrelationship of these components;
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of criminal law and the rights of individual citizens;
  • Describe the role and ethical responsibilities of the criminal justice professional in the community and the organization and administration of the various entities in the criminal justice system;
  • Analyze the nature of crime and criminal behavior (e.g., theories, policies, and research);
  • Explain the social, political, economic, and cultural factors within society that influence the development of criminological theory, corrections, laws, and criminal justice practices and their application to criminal behaviors and sanctions;
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills within the context of evaluating the complexity of criminal justice issues; and
  • Communicate effectively with accurate ‘criminal justice’ terminology in written and/or oral form, with a demonstrated proficiency in the use of technology.



(33 credits)

Written & Oral Communication (6 credits)

ENG 101 and ENG 102 (two 3-credit courses)

Quantitative Knowledge & Skills (4 credits)

Choose one of the following math courses: MTH 100, MTH 101, MTH 103, MTH 113, MTH 119, MTH 120, MTH 121, MTH 122, MTH 127, MTH 221, or MTH 222 (one 4-credit course)

Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning (8 credits)

Choose one of the following biology course sequences: BIO 101 – BIO 102, BIO 103 – BIO 104, or BIO 121 – BIO 122 (two 4-credit courses)

Society & Human Behavior (6 credits)

POL 104 (one 3-credit course)

Choose one of the following courses: ANT 101; PSY 101; or SOC 101 (one 3-credit course)

Humanistic Perspective (6 credits)

Choose one of the following literature courses: ENG 205, ENG 208, ENG 215, ENG 221, ENG 222, ENG 232, ENG 237, ENG 238, ENG 242, ENG 250, ENG 263, or ENG 264 (one 3-credit course)

And choose one of the following art or music courses: ART 100, ART 101, ART 102; MUS 100, MUS 108, MUS 109, or MUS 117 (one 3-credit course)

Historical Perspective (3 credits)

Choose one of the following history courses: HST 101, HST 102, HST 111, HST 112, HST 121, HST 122, HST 131, HST 132, HST 134, HST 135, HST 136, HST 137, HST 161, or HST 162 (one 3-credit course)



(21 credits)

CJI 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)
CJI 121 Introduction to Corrections (3 credits)
CJI 136 Criminology (3 credits)
CJI 202 Crime and Delinquency (3 credits)
CJI 205 Criminal Law (3 credits)
Choose two of the following Criminal Justice electives: CJI 102 Police Role in the Community, CJI 103 Probation and Parole, CJI 111 Police Administration and Organization, CJI 112 Police Management, CJI 120 Prison Subcultures and Lifestyles, CJI 123 Correctional Administration, CJI 203 Principles of Criminal Investigation, CJI 204 Evidence, CJI 210 Forensic Science, and/or CJI 250 Current Issues in Criminal Justice (two 3-credit courses)


(12 credits)

SPN 101 Elementary Spanish I and SPN 102 Elementary Spanish II or FRN 101 Elementary French I and FRN 102 Elementary French II* (two 3-credit courses)
Literature elective – choose any 200-level ENG course (one 3-credit course)
History elective – choose the HST course needed to complete the history sequence (one 3-credit course)

*Note: See program advisor for other language options such as Arabic.

Total Credits Required for Degree: 66




First Semester
CJI 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)
ENG 101 College Composition I (3 credits)
Math requirement (4 credits)
History requirement (3 credits)
SPN 101 Elementary Spanish I OR FRN 101 Elementary French I (3 credits)

Second Semester
ENG 102 College Composition II (3 credits)
Biology (Lab Science) requirement (4 credits)
Criminal Justice elective (3 credits)
SPN 102 Elementary Spanish II OR FRN 102 Elementary French II (3 credits)
Historical elective (to complete the history sequence) (3 credits)

Summer Session
Society & Human Behavior requirement (3 credits)
Art or music requirement (3 credits)

Third Semester
CJI 121 Introduction to Corrections (3 credits)
CJI 136 Criminology (3 credits)
Biology (Lab Science) requirement (to complete the Biology course sequence) (4 credits)
Literature requirement (3 credits)

Fourth Semester
CJI 202  Crime and Delinquency (3 credits)
CJI 205  Criminal Law (3 credits)
POL 104  American Government (3 credits)
Criminal Justice elective (3 credits)
Literature elective (3 credits)


(1) The two General Education Integrated Course Goals, Ethical Reasoning & Action and Information Literacy, are both addressed by the required curriculum described above, regardless of specific choices made by the individual student.
(2) This plan assumes the completion of all required developmental courses in reading, writing, and mathematics as well as other pre- and co-requisites for some of the courses, as listed in the Course Descriptions section.

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