Department of Psychology, Criminal Justice, & Law Enforcement

Criminal Justice

Criminal justice students
Department of Psychology, Criminal Justice, & Law Enforcement

Criminal Justice

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

PSEO/Early College online classes

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

PSEO/Early College online classes

A criminal justice degree builds on a foundation of psychology and practical knowledge of law enforcement. You will examine the policies, principles, and social dynamics that shape the system of law. You will be prepared with the foundation for further graduate study in law or social work.

Criminal justice may be the right degree for you if you

  • have a passion for serving the public
  • desire to understand the minds of criminals
  • want a career working in law enforcement
  • have an interest in law

Why study criminal justice at Northwestern?

At Northwestern, you'll approach law enforcement and criminal justice with a heart of ministry. Our small classes allow our faculty to encourage you to grow in your faith while you minister to others.

You can choose from two different tracks: General Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement. Northwestern’s criminal justice program is POST-certified (Police Officer Standards and Training). Northwestern is one of 30 schools in the state of Minnesota that offers this certification. After you complete your coursework through Northwestern, you will be approved for the academic component of the Professional Peace Officer Education (PPOE). Students will still be required to complete a fitness test with an outside agency after graduating. 

Our criminal justice professors are former or current practitioners. They will help you build professional contacts and explore areas of interest. Through a required internship class, you'll collaborate with federal, state, county, and local agencies to provide hands-on training and experience.

Past internships include Minneapolis Police Department, Roseville Police Department, St. Paul Police Department, Juvenile Detention Center, St. Paul, Anoka County Juvenile Probation, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, United States Postal Investigation Service, Hennepin County Adult Field Services/Family Court Services, Metro Police Departments, Alexandra House working with victims of domestic violence, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Careers in criminal justice

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in criminal justice.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Corrections, probation, parole
  • Juvenile justice
  • Victim’s assistance or advocacy
  • Social work (often requires additional training)
  • Prevention services
  • Court appointed guardian ad litem or advocate
  • Private security and investigations
  • Surveillance or intelligence
  • Police work (often requires additional training)
  • Attorney (often requires additional training)
  • Investigator

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Federal, state and local government agencies
  • Military branches
  • Defense agencies
  • Security companies
  • Private investigative services
  • Retail stores
  • Mid- to large-size corporations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Law firms
  • Private probation
  • Social and human services organizations
  • Offender monitoring companies
  • Victim advocacy programs
  • Nonprofit organizations

Strategies for success:

  • Many criminal justice professions require candidates to possess strong oral and written communication skills. The ability to speak a second language is also desirable.
  • Obtain experience through volunteer, practicum, or internship opportunities.
  • Supplement program of study with courses in business, psychology, anthropology, or sociology. Course work related to the hard sciences (biology, chemistry, or biochemistry) is necessary for career opportunities in forensics.
  • Internet Security is a rapidly growing area with a wide variety of career opportunities. Supplement course work with computer science and technology courses to gain entry into this field.
  • Depending upon one’s career goals, earn a master’s degree in disciplines such as criminal justice, forensic science, social work, counseling, or business to obtain positions involving therapy, higher levels of administration, forensics, or research.
  • Be prepared to complete physical and psychological testing, fitness evaluations, and other evaluative tools for entry into law enforcement and related careers.
View Career Guide

of Northwestern’s criminal justice graduates felt professionally prepared by their education


POST-certified—Police Officer Standardized Training program


of seniors view the faculty as available and accessible

What will I learn?

You will learn to analyze and develop critical thinking skills and an appreciation for the law.

Still have questions about this program or how to apply?

Our team is ready with answers!

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Professors at Northwestern are focused on their students first. Our faculty include experts in their respective fields who want to help you grow in your faith while you earn your degree.

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