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Online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice curriculum

Our online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice curriculum covers the fundamental principles of governing criminal law and the penal system, the U.S. Constitution, juvenile justice, domestic violence, and more. Each course is developed with the input of legal professionals, focusing on real-world knowledge and skills for exceptional career relevance.

Semester 1

OR110 - Achieving Academic Excellence 

Achieve your true potential! This course will help you sharpen existing skills, build on your strengths, and discover the best ways to learn. You'll identify your learning styles, learn new behaviors to ensure college success, and maximize your learning as you complete your program of study.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Identify personal strengths and traits used to succeed in motivating and setting goals to complete higher education.
  • Describe the requirements for successful online learning.
  • Discuss the value of goal setting and time management.
  • Explain methods to achieve effective reading comprehension and note-taking.
  • Recognize effective academic writing and types of plagiarism.
  • Describe strategies for online testing.
  • Explain the role of critical thinking in problem solving.
  • Identify the necessary skills for successful online research.

Credit Hours: 3

C10 - Introduction to Computers  

Introduction to Computers provides you with foundational skills and knowledge needed for today's technology-based careers. You'll study the components of systems — from the CPU and memory to input devices and peripherals — and how these components interact with an operating system to perform critical tasks. Keeping current with fast changing computer technologies, this course will discuss the computer technologies today that allow the creation of a virtualized mobile workforce. It will explore how computers connect to the internet, what services can be found online, and what dangers exist in the form of viruses, Trojans, and other malware. The course will also familiarize you with the basics of today's office productivity applications and help to establish a foundation for working with these different types of applications, including spreadsheets and presentation-creation tools.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Identify all of the major types of computing devices and their internal and external components.
  • Compile a list of the various computer operating systems that are used today and identify characteristics about each one.
  • Relate the various cloud-based technologies to the virtual and remote abilities that are available for working professionals today.
  • Discuss the various office productivity suite applications today.
  • Illustrate basic office software tasks using Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • Characterize how the networking of computers is so vital today and identify the various networking technologies that are used today.
  • List the hardware components, software applications, and IT protocols that make the internet possible today.
  • Apply basic maintenance tasks on your computer to combat viruses, malware, and computing inefficiencies.

Credit Hours: 3

EN120 - English Composition I  

This course introduces basic writing skills that are especially relevant to academic assignments. The course focuses on APA paragraph development and organization in conjunction with a review of basic grammar and mechanics. The course also covers basic techniques for critically editing and revising your work.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Use appropriate style, grammar, and mechanics in writing assignments.
  • Compose a strong paragraph with attention to the following: topic sentences; unity, coherence, and different approaches to ordering ideas; effective use of transitions.
  • Identify and use a variety of essay structures, including expository, descriptive, narrative, comparison and contrast, and persuasion/argumentative.
  • Organize, develop, and produce a fully developed 5-paragraph essay.
  • Differentiate and apply correct techniques for prewriting, writing, and proofreading using a variety of styles.
  • Correctly apply the rules of APA for use in direct or indirect quotations and reference citations.

Credit Hours: 3

SO245 - Social Impact of Technology  

This course provides an overview of technological advances over the span of human history. Topics include the interrelationship of technology and culture; ethics and morals as they relate to technological progress; energy; ecology; demography; war and politics; and the unintended consequences of globalization, including social inequality, climate change, and global warming.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain how technology and culture are interrelated, and outline technological advances from ancient times to the present.
  • Discuss different perspectives on ethics and morals as they relate to technological applications.
  • Explain basic concepts related to energy, including the pros and cons of nonrenewable and renewable sources of energy.
  • Discuss basic concepts of ecology, including the environmental challenges of global warming and climate change.
  • Explain basic concepts of demography, especially as they apply to population growth.
  • Describe how war and politics have affected nations as they adapted to advances in technologies.
  • Explain the origins of global inequality, including colonialism and capitalism.
  • Discuss different approaches to measuring the evolution of technologies, the unintended consequences of globalization, and the prospects of a paradigm shift.

Credit Hours: 3

J01 - Introduction to Criminal Justice  

Introduction to Criminal Justice, examines the past, present, and future of the American criminal justice system. Topics discussed include how laws are created, the history and types of law enforcement, structure of the court system, and the changing philosophies of the American correctional system. You'll also examine the role of legal precedent, the death penalty, prison life, and the juvenile justice system.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the purpose, components, and methods of the criminal justice system.
  • Describe the purpose, sources, types, and enforcement of laws.
  • Describe the methods of and challenges associated with enforcing the law.
  • Describe the role of the courts and the adjudication process in the US criminal justice system.
  • Explain the role and methods of corrections in the United States.
  • Describe the juvenile justice system.
  • Describe how drug abuse and drug crimes are handled in the criminal justice system.
  • Identify issues and emerging trends in criminal justice.

Credit Hours: 3

Semester 2

EN130 - English Composition II  

The ability to communicate well is essential to success in any professional environment. This course is organized to provide you with a broad understanding of multiple types of written communication. Far from being just academic exercises, formal writing skills allow you to relate to the world in ever increasing ways. Simply put, good writing is good thinking. As you master various techniques of effective writing, you'll note a change in the way you process information, and those around you (including your employer) will also note the transformation.

EN130 begins with the assumption that you've attained basic writing skills through completion of EN120. So, in fact, EN130 is a continuation of EN120. In that light, you'll be expected to access and review basic concepts covered in EN120 and, in particular, the sections on grammar and mechanics.

English Composition II begins by offering you tips on college writing, active reading, and study strategies at the college level. Next, you'll explore the framework for drafting a college essay, including elaborated explorations for finding a topic, assessing your audience, and determining the purpose of your essay as you identify its thesis and craft a thesis statement.

Next, because college essays often require research, you'll be introduced to strategies for finding and using sources. Based on this preparatory foundation, you'll be challenged to analyze essays in all of the various rhetorical modes, which, in turn, will prepare you to write college-level essays for these different patterns of development.

The balance of this online text is devoted to the specifics of reading, analyzing, and writing college-level essays, including description, narration, illustration, process analysis, comparison and contrast, classification and division, definition, cause and effect, argument, and business applications.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe the nature of academic writing at the college level.
  • Understand and apply the principles of active reading.
  • Comprehend and apply the structure of a college essay.
  • Develop an essay thesis that's supported by facts, authorities, and examples.
  • Apply the principles of revision and editing.
  • Write an academic essay supported by relevant and credible sources.
  • Critically evaluate essays in all of these patterns of development, including: Narrative, Descriptive, Illustration, Process, Comparison and contrast, Definition, Classification and division, Cause and effect, Argument.
  • Create effective, engaging, and informative essays in all of these patterns of discourse through: A deep understanding of the writing process; Organizing an essay in terms of space order, time order, or order of importance; Creating attention-getting introductions and memorable conclusions; Using facts, logical reasoning, examples, and authorities to support your thesis; Identifying and avoiding logical fallacies; Effectively applying the techniques of persuasion; Blending two or more patterns of development in a single essay.

Credit Hours: 3

General Education Elective (Science 100-200 Level)   J02 - Criminal Law  

This course examines criminal law in the US. It offers an overview of the criminal court system. The course provides a foundation in criminal offenses, as well as defenses that are available to those accused of committing criminal acts. Terrorism and crimes involving multiple offenders are also highlights of this course. Throughout, early common law is compared to modern law.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain the elements needed to execute a crime, including mens rea, actus rea, and concurrence.
  • Outline the elements of various degrees of murder and manslaughter.
  • Identify the property invasion crimes of burglary, trespass, vandalism, and criminal mischief.
  • Discuss the differences between common law multiple offenders and modern-day accomplice statutes.
  • Summarize vice crimes and drug offenses.
  • Distinguish among treason, sedition, espionage, sabotage, criminal syndicalism, and other offenses against the state.
  • Distinguish among several types of defenses, including perfect and imperfect defenses.

Credit Hours: 3

J03 - Criminal Procedure  

This course provides an overview of the procedures used to lawfully investigate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals suspected of and accused of violating criminal laws.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Examine the constitutional basis for criminal procedure.
  • Explore remedies for violations of the Constitution, including the Exclusionary Rule.
  • Analyze searches and seizures within the context of the Fourth Amendment.
  • Compare arrest warrants and search warrants.
  • Evaluate the issues involved in warrantless searches and seizures, including the situations in which warrantless arrests may be made.
  • Compare and contrast "stop" and "frisk."
  • Summarize the varieties of regulatory and special needs searches.
  • Examine the constitutionality of interrogations, confessions, and identifications.
  • Construct the pretrial process once a person has been arrested and the roles of the prosecutors, grand juries, and defense attorneys.
  • Evaluate plea bargaining and guilty pleas and the Constitutional protections for the defendant at trial and beyond.

Credit Hours: 3

J10 - Criminal Investigation  

In this course, you'll thoroughly examine the investigation process and situations in which police officers apply specific investigative and information-gathering techniques to meet the evidentiary requirements of specific crimes.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Outline the history of criminal investigation.
  • Explain how a crime is legally established by a criminal investigation.
  • Describe the investigative process and stages of criminal investigation.
  • Describe the various types and forms of physical evidence.
  • Summarize interview and interrogation requirements and techniques.
  • Explain the role of the crime laboratory and forensic sciences.
  • Describe the investigation of violent crime scenes.
  • Outline the investigation of property crime scenes, including computer crime.

Credit Hours: 3

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Program Description

The Associate of Science in Criminal Justice program is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education by combining a core set of general education courses with specialized courses in criminal justice. The program lays the foundation for a broad base of knowledge with general education courses in a variety of subject areas. In addition, courses within the program discipline, such as Criminal Law, Criminal Investigation, and Juvenile Justice focus on preparing students for careers within the criminal justice field.

Program Objectives

After completing the Criminal Justice program, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss how laws are created, the history of law enforcement, the court system, and the changing philosophies of the American correctional system.
  2. Use critical thinking, creative and logical analysis, strategies, techniques, and the application of theory to solve complex problems related to police officer responsibilities.
  3. Discuss the ideals of justice and the ethical behavior that criminal justice professionals should exhibit in the furtherance of justice.
  4. Explain the investigation process and apply specific investigative and information- gathering techniques to meet the evidentiary requirements of specific crimes.
  5. Demonstrate a foundation of computer and information systems knowledge, technical skills, and a basic understanding of computer applications.
  6. Identify and apply the fundamental principles of public speaking, speech criticism, audience analysis, and effective delivery techniques.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the broad implications of technological innovation on social organization in terms of personal, political, economic, and environmental issues.
  8. Demonstrate proficiency with English composition, including the ability to develop essays, revise and edit one's work, and conduct academic research.
  9. Demonstrate basic mathematical skill by describing mathematical reasoning and logic as the basis for data analysis, and by applying the major concepts of college-level algebra.
  10. Be prepared to enter Ashworth College’s bachelor’s degree programs without any additional academic preparation.

Boot camp for career prep

The Associate Degree in Criminal Justice program can help you develop the knowledge and confidence you need to reach for your career goals. By integrating job search prep into your studies, Ashworth College gives you a hand along the way. Take a closer look at how we help you get there by visiting the Career Services page.

Advance your career in our online API Program Name program. Call 1-800-957-5412