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Justice Studies Program

Whether your goal is to earn a degree or certificate in criminal justice, homeland security or forensic criminal investigation, explore current events or transfer to another institution, COD has a Justice Studies program for you. 

Justice studies courses are designed to help you develop excellent communication skills, gain an understanding of human behavior, and prepare you for careers in public service including law enforcement, law, corrections, forensics, emergency management, restorative practices, national security professions and more.

Determine Your Path

Learn career-ready skills in the state-of-the-art Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center which houses a mock courtroom, forensics lab, street scene and more.

You want to attend a college that stands out from the rest. At COD, you'll discover:

  • Dedicated instructors with years of academic and professional experience.
  • Instruction utilizing top-notch facilities, equipment, and resources.
  • Affordable programs to help students achieve success without creating overwhelming debt or draining a savings account.
  • Small class sizes that ensure students receive personalized attention. 
  • A convenient and affordable 3+1 transfer program with Lewis University which enables students to complete their Associate in Arts (AA) degree and then take additional courses taught by Lewis professors at a lower tuition rate. 

Watch a video to learn more about the Justice Studies program. 

Criminal Justice Transfer Pathway, Associate in Arts

The Criminal Justice Associate in Arts degree combines courses in communication, social and behavioral sciences, humanities and other areas with criminal justice elective courses. This provides students pursuing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and law enforcement with a two-year foundation of coursework.

Criminal Justice, Associate in Applied Science

The Criminal Justice Associate in Applied Science degree prepares students for careers in state, county and local law enforcement and entry-level corrections and private security positions.

This requires students to incorporate studies in written and oral communication, social and behavioral sciences, and specialized courses in constitutional law, criminal procedure and investigation.

Homeland Security, Associate in Applied Science

The Homeland Security Associate in Applied Science degree is designed to increase knowledge of personnel working in the areas of federal service, public administration, public safety, public health, law enforcement and security management. This degree provides an in-depth analysis of man-made threats including terrorism, global unrest, weapons of mass destruction and cyber warfare, as well as natural disasters and other catastrophic events.

Students explore best practices behind threat assessment, security planning and emergency management as they pursue careers in homeland security.

Homeland Security

The Homeland Security certificate is designed to enhance understanding of modern threats and associated security concepts for personnel working in areas of public administration, public safety, law enforcement, government and private sector security management.

Students focus their studies on one or more homeland security emphases including counterterrorism, intelligence, emergency management, critical infrastructure protection and private security. 

Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice certificate provides a comprehensive understanding of criminal justice in America. Students focus their studies on one or more criminal justice emphases including policing, law, corrections and investigations. 

Forensic Criminal Investigation 

The Forensic Criminal Investigation certificate is designed to increase knowledge and skills of students and professionals who either have an interest or are currently employed in the field of criminal justice or private investigations. Students are introduced to the study and techniques of forensic science as it relates to crime scene investigations. 

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Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in criminal justice is to apply for admission

Our Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a timeline based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Justice Studies program graduates will: 

  • Articulate the theories, philosophy, policies, practices, processes, and reforms of the major institutions of criminal justice.
  • Explain how the major components of the criminal justice system (i.e., police, courts, corrections, and homeland security agencies) are inter-dependent, and how the political, legal, ethical, and socioeconomic environments in which they operate affect them as well as the implications of these relationships for victims, offenders, defendants, justice professionals, and society.
  • Analyze the contemporary and major historical issues that the criminal justice system encounters, including events, policies, information, programs, and concepts that affect the operation of criminal justice agencies and actors, as well as issues that affect communities in respect to racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and gender diversity.
  • Evaluate the nature, extent, causation, and prevention of crime, including the ability to apply and critique the major theories relevant to those causes.
  • Apply the skills and methods in criminal justice research, including the acquisition, analysis, interpretation, dissemination, and policy implications of both quantitative and qualitative data, and, where appropriate, various skills and methods for conducting basic forensic investigations or crime analysis.
  • Apply the theories, philosophy, and principles of substantive, procedural, and evidentiary criminal law that regulate and guide the criminal justice system and the individuals that work within and/or are affected by system.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and demonstrate basic knowledge of information technology as applied to criminal justice research and practice.
  • Understand the concepts of: multiculturalism; cultural differences in American society; the complexity of the relationship between the process of criminal justice and the multicultural society it is intended to serve; and the sociocultural challenges that impact criminal justice personnel and the criminal justice system
  • Analyze contemporary geo-political issues, the global threat landscape, and how those factors influence U.S. homeland security policy and practice.

COD has innovative transfer agreements with several other institutions, enabling you to save money and complete your degree. Transfer opportunities are available with both private and public institutions in Illinois and around the United States.

Lewis University Criminal Justice 3+1 Program

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice 3+1 program with Lewis University allows students to take three years of courses at College of DuPage and then transfer into Lewis University as a senior. All Lewis courses will be taken on the COD campus at a discounted tuition rate. 

Elmhurst University Criminal Justice 2+2 Program

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice 2+2 program with Elmhurst University offers guaranteed admission for students that meet additional requirements and helps students save money on tuition cost by maximizing transfer credit. 

DePaul University Criminology 2+2 Program

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology 2+2 program with DePaul University allows students to focus their COD studies on the discipline of criminal justice at COD, and then transfer into the DePaul program as a junior. This transfer agreement provides scholarship opportunities through the DePaul Admissions Partnership Program (DAPP).

National Louis University Criminal Justice 2+2 Program 

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice 2+2 program with National Louis University requires students to complete a Criminal Justice Associate in Applied Science degree at College of DuPage in order to be eligible for the program.

University of West London Criminal Justice 2+2 Program

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice 2+2 program with the University of West London requires students to complete a Criminal Justice Associate in Applied Science degree at College of DuPage in order to be eligible for the program. This agreement provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to complete their criminal justice education abroad while immersing themselves in the culture and history of the United Kingdom.

View information about this program, including estimated cost and employment opportunities.

 

Unique Learning Facilities

Street Scene

Learn and train in a full-scale street scene, mock courtroom, command center, forensic lab and rappelling tower in Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center (HEC).

Justice Studies Careers

Take the next step in your career search and discover job titles of recent graduates, places where alumni are working, estimated salary and more through Career Coach. Browse justice studies career data.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are answers to common frequently asked questions regarding the Justice Studies program.

Students who major in justice studies find themselves to be motivated to complete a task and curious to discover how things work. Students in this program aren't just communicators -- they enjoy working with a team, helping others and knowing that no two days will be a like.  

Along with justice studies courses you'll need to earn the degree, students in this field are encouraged to take writing courses. Writing effective reports is a skill sought after by criminal justice agencies. The quality of a report can greatly affect the outcome of a case.

The Suburban Law Enforcement Academy (SLEA) is a basic police officer training school. SLEA fulfills the 11-week basic police training required of all new police officers. The academy is only open to newly sworn police officers. 

The Justice Studies program is for students who want to enter the criminal justice field.