Criminal Justice

NSU's criminal justice degree prepares you to make a positive impact on community safety through study of criminology, sociology and criminal law, and data analysis.

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About The Program
College of Arts and Sciences

Criminal Justice

A criminal justice degree provides wide-ranging foundational knowledge of the U.S. criminal justice system. In this program, you'll learn about criminal law and procedure, policing, the judicial system, the correctional system, and criminological theory.


Our program offers answers to criminal justice questions, including:

  • What does it mean for an offender to get off on a technicality?
  • What's the difference between murder and manslaughter?
  • Why do people commit crimes?
  • How are victims served and supported in the criminal justice process?

Northern's AA degree in criminal justice is available entirely online.


Also, NSU criminal justice majors are now eligible for priority admission into Northern's counseling master’s program!



Choose a Specialized Track

Northern's bachelor's degree in criminal justice was built with you in mind.  Since the criminal justice field offers so many unique career opportunities, we recognize that students will benefit from maximum flexibility in course choices.  Select one of three distinct academic tracks to best suit your career goals: if you'd like to attend law or graduate school, you might choose the law and policy track and add a legal studies minor. Or, to graduate and get right to work in public service, you'd choose the law enforcement and homeland security track or corrections and juvenile justice track.


Law and Policy Track

On this track, you'll choose from classes on public administration, courts and judicial politics, criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, international human rights and international law and organizations. You'll gain a thorough understanding of specialized areas of law; learn legal research and writing; and become familiar with the U.S. legal system, legal terminology and constitutional law and procedures.


Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Track

This track offers classes on U.S. homeland security, policing in a free society, crime scene investigation, criminalistics in the classroom and lab, criminal procedure and cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Students on this track analyze crime and justice and study American police, court and corrections systems and homeland security. 


Corrections and Juvenile Justice Track

Included in this track are classes on social work, victimology, prisons and penology, community corrections, juvenile delinquency, and child abuse and neglect. Classes present the U.S. human and social service systems and their role in criminal justice; the correctional and juvenile justice systems; programs for juvenile and adult offenders, victims, and their families; and ways to advocate for offenders, victims, and correctional, juvenile and social service system officials.




A criminal justice degree from Northern prepares you to succeed in law enforcement; various roles in municipal, state, and federal courthouses; probation; or correctional institutions. 


You might pursue a career in the juvenile justice field as a juvenile detention officer, or work with court personnel monitoring juvenile probationers.


You'll also be prepared to work in victim services or in an advocacy role with victims, or work with people with substance abuse problems.


Other career options include pursuing a law degree or graduate-level education in criminal justice and related fields, such as clinical mental health counseling.


For more information on careers in your major or help choosing a major, contact the NSU Career Center.


For criminal justice students seeking hands-on experience, Aberdeen is a convenient center of local, state, and federal law enforcement organizations, including the Aberdeen Police Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the county seat, Aberdeen also features the Brown County Courthouse, which  houses a Court Services office. If you're a highly motivated criminal justice student,  you could land an internship with one of these organizations - and possibly receive academic credit while gaining real-world experience and making an impact.


NSU College of Arts and Sciences Internships

Contact Information 

For more information about this degree, call 605-626-2267.

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