Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ)

Gain a rich understanding of criminal justice in the United States and abroad.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice students listen to their professor discuss class topics.

About this Program

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is designed as both a four-year major and as an affiliated program for students transferring from community colleges

  • Criminal Justice majors benefit from excellent academic training and experience through our classes and internship program.

The BS in Criminal Justice prepares students to take an active role in the fields of criminal justice and homeland security.

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    Program Information

    Program Type



    Master's Program

    Area of Study

    Social Sciences, Law, and Policy


    8 semesters


    B.S.C.J in Criminal Justice

    M.S. in Criminal Justice


    Homeland Security;
    Law Enforcement

    Required Credit Hours

    42 hours

    Degree Requirements

    The bachelor in criminal justice offers multiple degree emphases to choose from, corrections, homeland security, and law enforcement. For a full description of course requirements, please visit the online catalog.

    The B.S.C.J. degree requires 42 credit hours of criminal justice courses. The following 18 hours of coursework are required of all criminal justice majors:

    The remaining 24 hours of major coursework are taken under the student's chosen area of emphasis: corrections, homeland security or law enforcement.

    In Corrections, students are taught the skills they will need to manage prisoners, interact with adult parolees and probationers, and supervise juveniles in the community or secured juvenile facilities.

    • Students learn how courts and prisons work and different strategies for dealing with inmates, probationers and parolees, including rehabilitation efforts and counseling.

    Below you will find the main courses of the Corrections emphasis.

    The United States Department of Homeland Security comprises twenty-two federal agencies and employs approximately 180,000 employees.

    • The DHS organizational structure includes a wide-range of responsibilities ranging from emergency management, intelligence analysis to border and transportation security. The DHS offers many diversified career opportunities.
    It is strongly advised that anyone interested in a career with Homeland Security should visit the DHS website.

    Below you will find the main courses of the Homeland Security emphasis.

    The emphasis in law enforcement is designed to achieve educational requirements for entry level into local, state, and federal agencies and departments as well as private security. Many departments and agencies require a baccalaureate degree for supervisory and executive level positions.

    • The Law Enforcement Emphasis addresses a number of complex areas including effective patrol methods, criminal investigation, organized and transnational organized crime, intelligence-led policing, problem oriented policing, and community policing that have formed the modern policing system and expanded the role of police in a Democracy.

    Below you will find the main courses of the Law Enforcement emphasis.

    The Department of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies offers an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program for students currently admitted to the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (B.S.C.J.).

    This program offers our outstanding, advanced undergraduate students the opportunity to begin earning credit towards their graduate degree while they complete the final requirements for the undergraduate degree. 

    How many credit hours can I take towards a graduate degree while completing my undergraduate studies?

    12 credits. Students can take up to 2 graduate level courses per semester during their senior year. 

    What graduate courses can I take while in the 4+1 program? 

    • CJ 600: Criminal Justice Administration
    • CJ 601: Criminal Justice Statistics
    • CJ 602: Criminal Justice Research Methods
    • CJ 624: Theories of Criminal Behavior
    • CJ 620: Criminal Justice in American Society: Policy & Practice
    • CJ 621: Seminar in Law Enforcement
    • CJ 622: Seminar in Courts and Sentencing
    • CJ 623: Seminar in Corrections
    • CJ 641: Transnational Crime

    What are the eligibility requirements?

    Students will typically apply to the 4+1 program during their final semester of their junior year to start taking graduate level classes in their senior year of undergraduate studies. Students are welcome to apply as long as they have at least one semester of undergraduate coursework remaining. 

    Students interested in pursuing the 4+1 accelerated degree program, must meet the following eligibility requirements:

    • Be a Criminal Justice major
    • Must have completed 90 credit hours of undergraduate coursework completed
    • Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
    • Completion of Criminal Justice Communications (CJ 322) or Advanced Composition (Writ 250) (or equivalent writing course) with a minimum grade of B. 

    How do I get admitted to the 4+1 program?

    Interested students should first meet with the graduate program advisor, Dr. Kimberly Kaiser and the undergraduate advisor, Ms. Susan Tyler, to review their eligibility for the program. 

    • Students must be accepted into a Launch PAAD and complete the requisite GradSHARK Launch PAAD Application Form for the Graduate School (the form requires approval from your undergraduate advisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator for the area of graduate study you intend to pursue).
    • After the student is accepted into the Launch PAAD, the student will need to complete the GradSHARK Launch PAAD Course Enrollment Form each term (students will not officially be registered for graduate courses until this form is complete).    

    For more information about participation in the GradSHARK Launch PAAD, guidelines, financial aid and available areas of study, please see the GradSHARK Launch PAAD homepage.

    A minor in criminal justice consists of 18 credit hours in criminal justice courses including the following required courses: 

    Students must complate 3 additional courses at the 300 level or above.

    A minimum grade of C- is required in all courses for the minor. Law Studies majors can minor in Criminal Justice. 


    What does Criminal Justice look like in the job market?


    Median income for Police Officers in 2022.


    Median income for Criminal Investigators in 2022.


    Connect with a Criminal Studies major

    Nia Danielle Jones

    Nia Danielle Jones

    Why did you choose UM?

    See Nia Danielle’s Answer
    Gentry  Friend

    Gentry Friend

    Why did you choose your major?

    See Gentry ’s Answer
    Jaleah  Boyd

    Jaleah Boyd

    What are your career goals?

    See Jaleah ’s Answer
    Kaleigh Johnson

    Kaleigh Johnson

    Why is your department a special place?

    See Kaleigh’s Answer

    What do criminal justice majors do?

    • Police Officer
    • Private Investigator
    • Correctional Officer
    • Criminal Profiler
    • Crime Scene Investigator
    • Drug Enforcement Administration Agent
    • State Trooper
    • Homicide Detective
    • FBI Agent

    Criminal Justice Scholarships

    Scholarship range from $500 to $2,000 distributed over the fall and spring semester. Check out the scholarships available to Criminal Justice Majors below!

    Robert Langley Memorial Scholarship Endowment

    • Criteria: The recipient shall be a full time Criminal Justice/Law Studies, demonstrate financial need, and have a minimum GPA of 2.25.
    • Selection Process: Committee comprised of the Dean, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Department Chair, and Criminal Justice and Legal Studies faculty.

    Chief Richard Michael Popernik and Joan Grisham Popernik Legal Studies Scholarship Endowment

    • Criteria: The recipient shall be a full time Junior or Senior Criminal Justice and Law Studies major.
    • Selection Process: Recipients shall be selected based on academic excellence, community involvement, integrity, and commitment to the program. Selection shall be made by a committee which consists of the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies chair, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies professors and Joan Popernik or her designee in consultation with the Dean of the School of Applied Sciences.

    Columbus B. Hopper Scholarship Endowment

    • Criteria:  The recipient shall be a full time Criminal Justice/Law Studies major, classified as a senior for the fall semester prior to applying.  Minimum GPA of 3.75.
    • Selection Process:  Recipients will be selected by the department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies faculty scholarship committee and approved by the Department Chair.
    • Deadline: Application must be submitted by February 1.

    Robert T. Warren Outstanding Criminal Justice Student Award Endowment

    • Criteria:  The recipient shall be a Criminal Justice/Law Studies major.
    • Selection Process:  Recipient shall be selected based on academic excellence, integrity, and commitment to the program.  Selections shall be made by a committee which consist of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies faculty.

    Korah Pounds Omega Defense Scholarship Fund

    • Criteria:  The recipient shall be a Criminal Justice major.
    • Selection Process:  Recipient shall be selected based on being an incoming freshman enrolled full-time.  Recipients must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.75 or higher, be pursuing a degree in criminal justice, and contribute to the diversity of the Department of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies.

    Gary T. Hargrove Forensic Science Scholarship Fund

    • Criteria:  The recipient shall be a Criminal Justice major, enrolled full-time, and who has taken or is enrolled in CJ450 (Criminal Justice Research Methods).
    • Deadline: Application must be submitted by April 15.

    Scholarship Application Information

    Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 to apply for Criminal Justice Scholarships. Some scholarships may have more rigorous GPA requirements. 

    To start their application process, students must complete the Department of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies Scholarship Application. 

    Students must submit a one-page essay that outlines the reasons why they are applying for the scholarship.

    • Many scholarships require proof of financial need. Students should complete and submit the FAFSA.
    • Selection and awarding of the scholarships will take place on or before May 1 of each year.

    Students must also include an unofficial transcript to their application (found on myOleMiss.)

    All scholarship applications will be reviewed by a Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Awards Committee.
    • Applicants are judged on scholarly achievement, extracurricular activities, essay summary and financial need or the selection process specified by the specific scholarship.

    If selected to receive a scholarship, the recipient must write a thank you letter for the scholarship donor before the scholarship can go into effect. Instructions will be sent by email.

    • Recipient must be enrolled for the fall semester, following application.

    Remember: Students can only submit one (1) application per academic year. 

    If students have any questions about the application process they can contact the Department of Criminal Justice.

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    Pamela Demetra Norwood

    Meet your success team

    We are here to answer any questions you may have about a degree in Criminal Justice.

    Pamela Demetra Norwood

    Academic Advisor Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

    Susan Carol Tyler

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    Whether your interested in learning more about professors, classes, or minors, we're here to help.

    Susan Carol Tyler

    Academic Advisor

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