Criminal Justice (A.S.)

Division of Social Sciences — Curriculum Code: 0898

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

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, homeland security, criminology, social sciences research, careers in the courts, forensic science, criminal justice policy/reform, and sky marshal.

Fall 2021 – Classes have begun!

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About this A.S. in Criminal Justice degree

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.

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: Rutgers University, New Jersey City University, Kean University, William Paterson University, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. These institutions admit as juniors students who complete their A.S. degree. This means you can complete your freshman and sophomore years at affordable Essex County College, and then transfer and graduate with the same bachelor’s degree, which is awarded to students who started at the four-year institution, for a fraction of the cost. 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 a Social Sciences academic advisor (faculty member) or the ECC Transfer Coordinator to review specific requirements for gaining junior status upon transfer.

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

If you do not need developmental coursework and you register for an average of 17 credits each semester, you can complete the degree in two years.  You may shorten the time required by taking courses during the winter intersession and/or summer sessions.

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.

Notice: This Criminal Justice program curriculum is new and applies to students who entered this major during or after Summer II 2016. If you were continuously enrolled in this major before Summer II 2016, then this is the wrong curriculum. Please consult the “CATALOG ARCHIVES” section for your correct catalog.

Where should I direct specific questions about this program?

Call the Division at (973) 877-3250 or the Program Coordinator at (973) 877-3052.

Program Requirements

General Education Requirements

Written & Oral Communication (6 credits)
ENG 101 (3 credits)
ENG 102 (3 credits)

Quantitative Knowledge & Skills (4 credits)
Choose one of the following mathematics 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 101BIO 102, BIO 103BIO 104, or BIO 121BIO 122 (two 4-credit courses total)

Society & Human Behavior (6 credits)
POL 104 (3 credits)
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)
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)

Major Course Requirements

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 any two of the following Criminal Justice (CJI) course 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)

Additional Course Requirements

Choose one language course: SPN 101 or FRN 101* (one 3-credit course)

Literature elective – choose anyadditional (non-repeated) 200-level ENG course (one 3-credit course)

History elective – choose the HST course needed to complete the general education requirement history course sequence (one 3-credit course)

Choose any free elective (one 3-credit course)

*Note: See program advisor for other language options such as Arabic.
**Note: Students are strongly encouraged to complete their language sequence by taking SPN 102 Elementary Spanish II or FRN 102 Elementary French II (one 3-credit course). Otherwise, it is recommended that students choose one 3-credit courses offered in the following discipline: Psychology (PSY), Education (EDU), Sociology (SOC), Criminal Justice (CJI), Political Science (SOL), Health (HLT), Religion (REL) or three 1-credit Physical Education (PHE) courses. While it is recommended that students choose from the disciplines above, students are free to choose classes from other areas of the College to fulfill this free elective.

Recommended Sequence of Courses

First Semester
CJI 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)
ENG 101 College Composition I (3 credits)
Historical Perspective 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)
Criminal Justice elective (3 credits)
Free elective (SPN 102 Elementary Spanish II or FRN 102 Elementary French II strongly recommended) (one 3-credit course)
Quantitative Knowledge & Skills mathematics requirement

Society & Human Behavior requirement (3 credits)

Summer Session
History elective requirement (3 credits)
Humanistic Perspective art or music requirement (3 credits)

Third Semester
CJI 136 Criminology (3 credits)
Criminal Justice elective (3 credits)
Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning biology course requirement (to complete the Biology course sequence) (4 credits)
Literature elective (3 credits)
POL 104 American Government (3 credits)

Fourth Semester
CJI 202 Crime and Delinquency (3 credits)
CJI 205 Criminal Law (3 credits)
Criminal Justice elective (3 credits)
Humanistic Perspective literature elective (3 credits)
Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning biology course requirement (4 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, English, and Mathematics as well as other pre-requisites and co-requisites for some of the courses, as listed in the Course Descriptions section.

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