Criminal Justice

Associate Degree

Program Outline

This outline covers all four semesters of your at-home degree program. You will receive credit for previous college coursework if you meet Penn Foster standards. If you wish to receive credit for previous coursework, contact the college you attended and ask that your transcripts be forwarded to Penn Foster for evaluation. All previous college work must have been completed with a grade of "C" or better, and as much as 75% of the required credits may be transferred. We will also credit your tuition for all the courses that are acceptable.

The first course, Basic Skills Assessment, is available online only, which allows you to start studying right away. You will not receive hardcopy program materials for these lessons. You can access your first course as soon as your tuition payment has been received. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program. Access to Microsoft® Office 365 is a requirement for this program.

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal
To prepare students for professional opportunities in the criminal justice field and for a wide array of entry-level positions in criminal justice, or to prepare for further training.

Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate effective quantitative skills
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts, natural sciences, and social sciences
  • Discuss the legal system in the United States, including the origins and history of the law, the development of common law, statutory law, constitutional law and how this affects the criminal justice system
  • Analyze the substantive and procedural operations of the criminal justice system with focus on the prosecutorial, judicial, and defense functions
  • Evaluate issues of justice, professionalism and ethics within law enforcement, the courts, and the private sector security industry
  • Examine the external and internal factors that control the dynamics of law enforcement from the police, prosecution, and defense perspectives as they apply to ethical, moral, and legal applications
  • Discuss the origins and development of the law of search and seizure on the federal and state levels, the ethical and legal issues surrounding the exclusionary rule as it impacts the Fourth and Fifth
  • Amendments, and the workings of an adversarial system of justice
  • Discuss the principles of criminal responsibility and the requirement of culpable mental states, the various defenses used to negate or to mitigate criminal liability, victims' interaction with the criminal justice system, and the prevailing theories and philosophies for criminal punishment including restitution, retribution, rehabilitation.
  • Discuss and compare recognized biological, psychological, and sociological theories about the causes of criminal behavior and the types of criminal behavior and methods for predicting future crime.
  • Analyze the management and organizational components in the modern police organization and the various methods and theories of policing, including reactive, proactive, problem-solving, community policing.

 

Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment
All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

Criminal Justice Orientation (1 credit)
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and become familiar with the criminal justice system.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
  • Describe how the police legal system and corrections system work together to solve crimes, make arrests, prosecute cases, and deal with convicted offenders.
  • Identify the different tasks that police officers, private security personnel, and federal law enforcement officers do in their jobs.
  • Outline the steps of the criminal justice process, starting with the arrest, moving through

Information Literacy (1 credit)
Get better at finding and using information!

Objectives:

  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.

Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits)
Begin your study of the exciting field of criminal justice.

Objectives:

  • Understand the nature of crime and victimization.
  • Describe the organization, role, and function of the police, as well as issues in policing.
  • Identify the goals of punishment and sentencing as well as the role of correctional institutions.
  • Discuss how society deals with juvenile justice issues.

Courts (3 credits)
Learn about the U.S. legal system and the law.

Objectives:

  • Understand how history has shaped the organization and structure of our contemporary courts.
  • Describe the structure of the court system.
  • Discuss the sources of law and the foundations of U.S. law.
  • Explain the differences between civil and criminal litigation and between litigation in the state and in the federal courts.
  • Outline the litigation process.

Computer Applications (3 credits)
This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.

English Composition (3 credits)
This course will allow you to polish and enhance your writing skills.

Objectives:

  • Effectively use free writing and brainstorming.
  • Perfect your ability to edit and revise your writing.
  • Apply techniques for getting the reader’s attention.
  • Write descriptive essays, first-person narratives, reflective essays, persuasive essays, and effective thesis statements.

Additional Course Materials:
Textbook: Successful College Writing
Supplement: The Little, Brown Essential Handbook

Essentials of Psychology (3 credits)
This course will introduce you to the relationship between biology and behavior. You will learn about the human development throughout the life span.

Objectives:

  • Identify major psychological theories.
  • Discuss consciousness, memory, thought, and language.
  • Define intelligence, personality, and stress.
  • Analyze the role of gender in psychology.
  • Explain how community influences behavior.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Psychology and Your Life

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 2

Criminology (3 credits)
Criminology is the study of the nature, extent, causes, and control of criminal behavior.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the many interrelationships of the criminal enterprise, the criminal justice system, and the study of the reasons for criminality.
  • Become familiar with the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
  • Identify the different types of research used in the criminal justice field.
  • Understand the purpose of research.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project on racial profiling, street gangs, motor vehicle theft and the fourth and fifth amendments.

World Civilizations (3 credits)
This course serves as an introduction to many of the major events of the fifteenth through twenty-first centuries and examines the causal relationships between events and trends.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Understanding World Societies: A Brief History, Volume 2: Since 1450

Police Studies (3 credits)
Looks at the role of policing in America; discusses the existence of a police subculture, the role of management, and the nature of patrolling; considers different strategies for investigating and solving problems; includes a discussion about ethics, civil liability, and possible directions for policing in the future.

Objectives:

  • Explain the roles and functions of police in American society
  • Describe the development of policing, and recognize how it shaped policing in the modern era
  • Describe the processes involved in police training, selection, and development, including the impact of race and gender
  • Discuss the structure of police organizations, and describe levels of administration and supervision
  • Explain how various police operations are carried out, including those performed by patrol, investigations, traffic, and paramilitary units
  • Discuss the issue of police discretion, including how and when police officers use discretion and its effects
  • Define police use of force, and discuss the patterns and legal requirements for use of force
  • Describe the major perspectives of police behavior, and discuss why the police can be seen as a subculture
  • Describe the role of ethics within police operations, and list several forms of police deviance
  • Discuss the nature of criminal and civil liability as they relate to police operations
  • Describe the factors that impact the relationship between the police and the public, and explain the concepts of crime prevention and community policing
  • Discuss the nature and extent of the drug problem in the United States, and describe the nation's strategy in terms of police planning and operations
  • Discuss the issues associated with terrorism and homeland security as they affect society and the institution of policing

Textbook: Policing in America

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project regarding the investigation and analysis of “victimless” crimes.

Criminal Law (3 credits)
With this course, you'll review the history of criminal law, from its start in the common law (and the principles of applying case law) to its contemporary forms of statutory and regulatory law. You'll look at crimes and their underlying elements, consider what a prosecutor needs to show in order to secure a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, examine the traditional form of criminal law as well as strict liability and victimless crimes, discuss a range of criminal offenses, such as inchoate and property-based crimes, crimes of violence and administrative crimes, and consider the excuses, justifications, and defenses to the prosecution of such activities.

Objectives:

  • Explain the principles of criminal responsibility
  • Distinguish between morality and law
  • Describe how crimes are classified
  • Cite the origins of criminal law
  • Describe the police power of government
  • Analyze constitutional limitations on criminal liability
  • Cite the basic elements of a criminal act
  • Deconstruct inchoate, or anticipatory, crimes, crimes against the person, and crimes against property, habitation, and public morality
  • Outline the various defenses and punishments

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project where you’ll assume the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer in two high-profile murder cases.

Ethics in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
Responding to situations ethically is crucial to public protection and the integrity of the legal profession.

Objectives:

  • Describe morality and ethics within the context of human behavior.
  • Discuss issues of ethics and law enforcement.
  • Discuss the ethics of both punishment and correction.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project and provide ethical solutions to five given scenarios.

Core Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS130-Police Management
This course discusses aspects of law enforcement management and supervision.

Objectives:

  • Discuss community policing and problem-oriented policing adopted by progressive police agencies.
  • Describe the latest research on supervision, organizational theory, and police administrative policy.

CJS135-Introduction to Private Security
Private security departments must focus on the delivery of competent service to organizations and communities. 

Objectives:

  • Compare private security to public law enforcement.
  • Describe how the private security industry is regulated.
  • Identify when a private security officer may make an arrest.
  • Identify when the use of force and deadly force are justifiable.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 3

Criminal Procedures (3 credits)
Become familiar with the procedures used in criminal cases.

Objectives:

  • Outline the framework for studying criminal procedures.
  • Handle matters involving arrests, search warrants, and probable cause.
  • Describe exceptions to search warrant requirements.
  • Discuss admissions, confessions, and pretrial identification.

Course Assignment:

  • Complete a research project and apply what you’ve learned about criminal procedures to a real-life criminal justice case as chronicled in the book, The Innocent Man.

Science Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

SCI120 - Introduction to Biology
This course will allow you to explore the origin of life and the relationships among all living things.

Objectives:

  • Explain how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

SCI140 - Nutrition This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

SCI110 - Earth Science
This course will allow you to learn about planet Earth and the various aspects of the environment.

Objectives:

  • Describe specific characteristics of Earth.
  • Describe different types of rocks and minerals.

Core Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS220-Police: Organized Crime
This course opens with a consideration of the development and structure of organized crime, looks at the different types of criminal activity typical to organized crime, reviews international organized crime, and closes with a consideration of the tools and means available to law enforcement to battle organized crime.

Objectives:

  • Discuss organized crime and the different theories offered to account for its existence
  • Summarize the origins of American organized crime in various cities and among different ethnic groups
  • Analyze the development of organized crime internationally Explain the varied activities of organized crime
  • Describe the response of law enforcement to organized crime on a local, national, and international level

CJS225-Security: White Collar Crime
Understand how white collar crime is financially motivated and nonviolent and is committed for illegal monetary gain.

Objectives:

  • Identify white-collar crime
  • Explain the costs and victims of white-collar crime
  • Contrast various theories of white-collar crime
  • Explain occupational and governmental crime
  • Summarize various state-corporate crimes, finance crime, and technocrime
  • Analyze attempts to police and regulate white-collar crime
  • Critique and defend legal approaches to white-collar crime

Prerequisites:

Courts - CJS123
Criminal Law - CJS238

Criminalistics (3 credits)
Forensic experts have tremendous responsibilities.

Objectives:

  • Outlines the duties of a criminalist.
  • Describe the functions of a crime lab.
  • List the types of evidence, analysis, and instruments used for investigative testing.
  • Secure and process a crime scene.

Course Assignments:

  • Complete a research project and apply what you’ve learned about criminalistics. Investigate and write about the use of the internet to solve crimes.

Arts and Humanities Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

HUM102-Art Appreciation
In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.

Objectives:

  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

HUM104-Music Appreciation
In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.

Objectives:

  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

ENG115 - Introduction to Literature
This course will allow you to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your knowledge of literature.

Objectives:

  • Identify themes and forms of literature.
  • Define the main genres of literature—poetry, fiction, and drama.

Intermediate Algebra (3 credits)
This course introduces basic algebraic concepts that you’ll need to be successful in your career.

Objectives:

  • Understand the systems of equations, polynomials, and radicals.
  • Factor polynomial expressions.
  • Simplify rational expressions.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Intermediate Algebra

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 4

Multicultural Law Enforcement (3 credits)
Examine the issues of crime and justice with respect to race and ethnicity.

Objectives:

  • Discuss how race and ethnicity affect the likelihood of being victims of crime or offenders.
  • Describe how people of various races and ethnicity are treated in criminal courtrooms and by police.

Prerequisites:

  • Police Studies – CJS120

Core Criminal Justice Electives (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS210-Police: Crime Scene Investigation Basics
Crime scene investigation entails mastering and practicing acceptable procedures and techniques, and it has become a growing concern in the law enforcement practice.

Objectives:

  • Describe general crime scene investigation operations and tactics.
  • Properly handle physical evidence.
  • Understand the nature of criminal and civil liability as they relate to criminal investigation.

CJS245-Security: Security/Loss Prevention
This course covers the primary functions of private security personnel.

Objectives:

  • Use proven strategies to prevent and reduce loss that normally results from crime, accidents, fire, error, disasters, and mismanagement.
  • Maintain order on private property.
  • Protect people and property against crimes and disasters.

Free Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS205-Juveniles and the Legal Process (3 credits)
Juvenile justice is a field for criminal justice professionals that offers a great deal of hope for permanent rehabilitation.

Objectives:

  • Explain the philosophies and theories of the juvenile justice system.
  • Identify the risk factors for delinquency.
  • Discuss the different types of corrections available to juvenile offenders.

CJS307-Victimology (3 credits)
For every crime committed, there's a victim. Study the social science of victimology

Objectives:

  • Identify a victim's rights.
  • Describe the relationship between the victim and the criminal justice system.
  • Discuss how the criminal justice system might be changed to better serve victims.

CJS211-Correctional Institutions (3 credits)
Explore the American correctional context, correctional practices, and a number of correctional issues and perspectives.

Objectives:

  • Describe how the penitentiary form of imprisonment can aid in offender rehabilitation.
  • Identify the factors involved in deciding whether to release an offender.
  • Explain how offenders are managed in the community.

CJS215-Terrorism (3 credits)
Terrorism became a major concern for all American citizens after the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially for law enforcement professionals.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the theory and practice of domestic and international terrorism.
  • Describe the world of the terrorist.
  • Understand the role of law enforcement and security to keep our country functioning and free of domestic terrorism.

Core Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS350-Police: Community Corrections
Not all offenders who break society’s laws are incarcerated in jails or penitentiaries. Many such offenders stay in the community and have their behavior monitored by long-standing systems such as probation, parole, house arrest, or other programs.

Objectives:

  • Describe the role and function of probation and parole.
  • Discuss the issues involved with community-based corrections for the drug and alcohol addicted, the mentally ill, sex offenders, women, and juveniles.

CJS255-Security: Computer-Based Crime
Cyberspace is an environment favorable to committing some traditional crimes and to creating new ones.

Objectives:

  • Classify computer crimes in terms of targets, means, and incidentals.
  • Describe the processing of information at the scene, including taking pictures, making sketches, looking for trace evidence, locating evidence, and bagging and tagging.

Prerequisites: CJS101-Introduction to Criminal Justice

Free Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS205-Juveniles and the Legal Process (3 credits)
Juvenile justice is a field for criminal justice professionals that offers a great deal of hope for permanent rehabilitation.

Objectives:

  • Explain the philosophies and theories of the juvenile justice system.
  • Identify the risk factors for delinquency.
  • Discuss the different types of corrections available to juvenile offenders.

CJS307-Victimology (3 credits)
For every crime committed, there's a victim. Study the social science of victimology

Objectives:

  • Identify a victim's rights.
  • Describe the relationship between the victim and the criminal justice system.
  • Discuss how the criminal justice system might be changed to better serve victims.

CJS211-Correctional Institutions (3 credits)
Explore the American correctional context, correctional practices, and a number of correctional issues and perspectives.

Objectives:

  • Describe how the penitentiary form of imprisonment can aid in offender rehabilitation.
  • Identify the factors involved in deciding whether to release an offender.
  • Explain how offenders are managed in the community.

CJS215-Terrorism (3 credits)
Terrorism became a major concern for all American citizens after the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially for law enforcement professionals.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the theory and practice of domestic and international terrorism.
  • Describe the world of the terrorist.
  • Understand the role of law enforcement and security to keep our country functioning and free of domestic terrorism.

Core Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

CJS260-Police: Crisis Intervention
Crises are a normal part of our lives. Whether it’s a devastating flood, a terrorist attack, cancer, or a loss of primary income, crisis workers have to be able to help clients overcome negative feelings and painful emotions.

Objectives:

  • Deal with people in crisis in a culturally sensitive manner.
  • Describe the different types of crises experienced in adolescence.
  • Understand how to handle loss, posttraumatic stress disorder, and crises of victimization.

Prerequisites: Police Studies – CJS120

CJS265-Security: Management
The security manager functions in the roles of loss prevention specialist, administrator, investigator, educator, team player, risk assessor, planner, budget master, and troubleshooter.

Objectives:

  • Outlines the goals of security management.
  • Describe regulations in the security industry.
  • Discuss the major threats to safety and security.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Electives

Free Criminal Justice Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

SSC125 - Introduction to Sociology
This course is designed to introduce you to social structure and social interaction through groups, networks, and organizations. Study politics, the economy, population, social movements, technology, and social change.

Objectives:

  • Describe deviance, crime, and social control.
  • Discuss the effects of stratification, racial and ethnic inequality, sex, gender, and sexuality.
  • Examine the role of health, family, education, and religion in human behavior.

CJS307-Victimology (3 credits)
For every crime committed, there's a victim. Study the social science of victimology

Objectives:

  • Identify a victim's rights.
  • Describe the relationship between the victim and the criminal justice system.
  • Discuss how the criminal justice system might be changed to better serve victims.

CJS211-Correctional Institutions (3 credits)
Explore the American correctional context, correctional practices, and a number of correctional issues and perspectives.

Objectives:

  • Describe how the penitentiary form of imprisonment can aid in offender rehabilitation.
  • Identify the factors involved in deciding whether to release an offender.
  • Explain how offenders are managed in the community.

CJS215-Terrorism (3 credits)
Terrorism became a major concern for all American citizens after the September 11, 2001 attacks, especially for law enforcement professionals.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the theory and practice of domestic and international terrorism.
  • Describe the world of the terrorist.
  • Understand the role of law enforcement and security to keep our country functioning and free of domestic terrorism.

CJS205-Juveniles and the Legal Process (3 credits)
Juvenile justice is a field for criminal justice professionals that offers a great deal of hope for permanent rehabilitation.

Objectives:

  • Explain the philosophies and theories of the juvenile justice system.
  • Identify the risk factors for delinquency.
  • Discuss the different types of corrections available to juvenile offenders.

 

A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this degree program. Although this outline covers all four semesters of the Criminal Justice Degree Program, you'll receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.

Note: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.

We reserve the right to change the program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

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