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Criminal Justice & Criminology BS

Criminal Justice & Criminology - Bachelor of Science 

A long history of excellence:

In 1962 Guillermo "Bill" Davila was a true visionary and began the Department of Law Enforcement at Central Missouri State College.  He served as its only faculty member.  As one of only a handful of degree programs at the time, the curriculum combined practical and theoretical concepts but was narrowly focused on training police officers.  In 1971 the program adopted the name Department of Criminal Justice Administration to better reflect not only the changing curriculum that now included a required criminological theory course, but the changing nature of policing and its focus on professionalism – as well as the inclusion of other aspects of the discipline such as corrections and legal studies.  By 1982 the program had grown significantly and continued to be one of the best and largest in the nation.  The curriculum also continued to evolve to meet the more rigorous requirements for post-secondary education as well as the development of Criminology into a research-based profession. 

While the program has evolved to meet the changing needs of students and employers (from Typewriting in 1968 to Introduction to Computer Crime Investigation in 2019) it has never wavered from the systems approach or the merging of theory and practice that Davila implemented.  Current students can expect to learn about all aspects of the system: law enforcement, criminal law, legal procedure, and corrections, as well as victimology, juvenile justice, and international justice.  Currently the department employs 13 full time faculty, many with practical experience in the criminal justice field.  Research and teaching interests within the department include a wide range of topics, including policy analysis, prison programs, criminal gangs, biosocial correlates of crime, and many more.

A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology from the University of Central Missouri will provide you with the knowledge and skills to excel in your chosen career field.  Our learning outcomes provide Criminal Justice & Criminology majors with the ability to:

  • Identify moral and ethical issues inherent in the administration of justice and the practice of criminal justice.
  • Explore the importance of the history, development, and current operation of our principal criminal justice institutions and their relationship to each other, the causes and prevention of crime, and the process of criminalization.
  • Produce articulate, comprehensible, and grammatically correct oral and written communications using appropriate criminal justice information and resources.
  • Analyze and critique qualitative and quantitative social science research. 
  • Analyze problems and develop solutions of issues regarding diversity and discrimination situations found in the criminal justice system.

See a Calendar of Course Offerings

Be a Success

At UCM, you will gain knowledge and skills that will prepare you for a criminal justice career.

  • Use real data sets to investigate research questions and problems: Dr. Cho, along with current and former students, is investigating youth delinquency from the Korean Youth Survey.
  • Participate in paper competitions, research presentations, and earn scholarships with student groups:  Arika S. won first place for her poster titled, "The Impact of Corrections on Society"
  • Complete FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Independent Study courses in Incident Command and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) 
  • Get hands-on experience using crime scene software, ArcGIS for crime mapping, and SPSS statistical software to solve problems.
  • And many more!

Which option is right for you?


Support Every Step of the Way

At UCM, you will be surrounded by resources to ensure you are successful:

  • Academics:
    • CJC faculty are highly accessible and available to talk about class work or career choices
    • First Generation Mentor (Are you the first one in your family to attend college?  Dr. Chenault was and he can help you navigate!)
    • Computer lab/study space for CJC students
    • Dedicated Success Advisor to help you schedule courses to ensure you graduate on time
    • Learning Commons provides help with writing, study habits, and more
  • Getting involved:
  • Specifically for you - every student has a team of advisors assigned: 
    • Financial Aid (for help with the FAFSA, accepting awards, etc)
    • Career Services (resume writing, interview prep, etc)
    • Success Advisor (scheduling courses and degree completion plans)
    • Faculty Mentor (CJC career and professional advice)

Online Criminal Justice Program Details

The Criminal Justice & Criminology program at the University of Central Missouri offers a 100% online Criminal Justice bachelor’s degree completion program so busy students can finish their degree without sacrificing quality or affordability.  You can finish faster with most required courses offered in 8 week sessions, or take classes in the more traditional 16 week schedule.

The field of criminal justice is broad and encompasses many career paths.  Our alumni are employed in numerous police and corrections agencies, as judges, attorneys, juvenile justice professionals, professors and chief administrators in all parts of the world.

Students choose this program because they desire flexibility and are determined to complete their education.  To be successful in any criminal justice career you must be skilled in critical thinking, the ability to work in a team, and have strong written and verbal communication skills.  Students enrolled in online classes gain these skills and receive the same quality instruction as students enrolled in classes on campus.  In addition, students are given the tools needed to be successful in their search for employment upon graduation.

Program Overview:

Degree requirements for the online degree completion program are exactly the same as those for on-campus students.

All core Criminal Justice courses are offered online every semester (fall and spring).  Summer and 8 week courses are offered in a stable rotation.  Check out the schedule and course descriptions.

Program Requirements:

Students seeking admission to the online degree completion program must meet the following requirements:

  • Successfully apply and be admitted to the University of Central Missouri (be sure to click that you are interested in “online” education!)
  • Complete the “Online Compatibility Assessment” (Save your scores, you will need them later in the application process!)
  • Reside outside Johnson County, Missouri and/or
  • Be a non-traditional student* and/or active duty military or veteran
  • Take classes exclusively through UCM’s Extended Campus (online or at the Summit Center) 
  • Complete the Online Application Form

* Am I a non-traditional student? Are you:

  • Married?
  • A single parent?
  • Over 24 years old?
  • Have a gap of more than 5 years since you graduated high school?
  • A Veteran?

If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, you are considered a “non-traditional student!”

If you have additional questions contact the Criminal Justice & Criminology program at 660-543-4188 or the Office of Online and Learning Engagement at 660-543-4984.

Which Minor Should I Choose?

Criminal Justice & Criminology pairs well with many other programs to ensure you are career-ready and have the knowledge you need to land your dream job.  You can select one of the degrees offered by the CJC program (corrections, juvenile justice, law enforcement, legal studies, terrorism & homeland security) or one of these excellent programs:

Check out all of UCM's degree programs in our Undergraduate Catalog

Hands On Learning

The Criminal Justice & Criminology faculty are world class, but you will also learn from other experiences:

Guest Speakers:

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

  • Missouri Juvenile Justice Association

  • Municipal Police and Sheriff's Departments

collage of students and guests

On and Off Campus Experiences:

  • Missouri Western District Court of Appeals Oral Arguments on campus

  • Local field trips (courts, correctional facilities)

  • Regional field trips (Jefferson City, Oklahoma City)

  • International and Domestic Study Tours (Germany, Belize, UK, NYC)

  •  Academic conference participation (UCM, regional, national, and international)

  •  Alumni events


Get Involved with a Student Group


Alpha Phi Sigma - Gamma Chapter (CJ Honor Society)

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.2
  • Members attend the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Annual meeting
  • Facilitate CJC Mentorship Program 
  • Active since 1968

Lambda Alpha Epsilon - GED Chapter 

  • Regional and National competitions (physical agility, mock crime scene investigation, firearms, and written academic examinations)
  • Community Service project each semester 
  • Named after G.E. "Bill" Davila, the founder of the CJC program in 1962
  • Active since 1966

Pre-Law Student Association

  • For all students interested in the law 
  • Host guest speakers, law school trips, and LSAT information sessions 
  • Multi-disciplinary faculty mentor students on law school preparation and application 

Mock Trial Team

  • Interdisciplinary (students from CJC, Political Science, and others)
  • Local, regional, and national competitions
  • Learn skills to help you succeed in law school

Juvenile Justice Association 

  • Organize and host juvenile and criminal justice related events during the year
  • Guest speakers and trips designed for those interested in working with youth

NAMI On Campus (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 

  • Grassroots effort to educate the public and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
  • Interdisciplinary (students from CJC, Education, Psychology, and others)
  • Established by UCM students in "Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems" class in 2015

Strong Internship Program

You will gain real-world experience as well as college credit by completing an internship.  The department has a vast network of local, state, and federal internship venues so you can choose from a wide variety of opportunities.  Our dedicated Internship Coordinator, Professor Carmack, will use her contact list to help you land the perfect internship for you.

Examples of previous internship experiences include:

Police and Sheriff’s Departments

Missouri State Highway Patrol

Federal Agencies (Secret Service, U.S. Marshals)

Worlds of Fun Security

U.S. Postal Inspector

Legal Services of Missouri

Prosecutor’s Offices

Missouri Department of Corrections – Probation and Parole

Missouri Division of Youth Services


Internships are not required but strongly recommended

Officer during a traffic stopPresident Obama at UCMVictim Advocate speaking to clientsFront of St. Louis Family Court Juvenile Division Building

Criminal Justice SHIP

The SHIP (Special Housing Interest Program) is an opportunity to live with other first-year criminal justice students.  The CJC SHIP is located in the University Conference Center on the east side of campus.  Like all other residence halls, the SHIP is suite-style, with two students per room sharing a bathroom with another room (4 students per suite).  Private rooms are available. 

A computer lab is located on the first floor and for the exclusive use of CJC students.

Benefits for students living on the SHIP include:

  • Better grades
  • Easier adjustment to college life
  • Programs and activities centered around your interests

For more information about the CJC SHIP and how to apply, see the Residence Hall Living webpage.

International Opportunities

The Criminal Justice & Criminology program offers unique international experiences:

Faculty led study tours:  Faculty from the program lead 7 - 10 day tours all over the world.  Recent trips include Belize, Japan, Italy & France, South Korea, and Turkey.  UCM offers various scholarships to assist with program costs.

Study in Spain:  The CJC program partners with the Franklin Institute at the Universidad de Alcala near Madrid, Spain.  Join students and faculty from UCM and other U.S. universities and earn a semester of college credit in less than 90 days.  All classes are in English, taught by U.S. professors.  You will be immersed in Spanish culture and live with a host family in the community.  

The UCM Study Abroad Office hosts dozens of other opportunities, as well!

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Criminal Justice & Criminology offers many major-specific scholarships.  All students enroll in the UCM Scholarship Finder and are automatically considered for all relevant scholarships based on major, financial need, student activities, and other criteria.  Scholarships specific to criminal justice include:

  • Bill P. Colvin CJ Scholarship
  • Guillermo “Bill” Davila Scholarship for CJ
  • Paul Joseph “Jack” Lashbrook Scholarship
  • Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Scholarship
  • Robert I. Jaquith Law Scholarship

Distinguished Alumni

Criminal Justice & Criminology has awarded a Distinguished Alum award since 2013 and an Outstanding Recent Alum award since 2015.  These individuals are just a few of the exceptional alum from our nearly 60 year history.  Several alumni return to campus every year as guest speakers, participants of the Alumni Showcase, or just to visit!

Distinguished Alum



Tom Gentry, PIO Independence Police Department


Betsy Kreisel, Associate Dean HCBPS


Stephan Wharlan, Kansas City Missouri Crime Lab


Guy Morice, Retired Investigator, Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms


Charles Iseman, Grandview Police Chief


Paul Schlup, Special Investigator, Cole County Prosecutor’s Office


John Ham, PIO Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms



Outstanding Recent Alum



Kim Case Hassler, Victim Advocate, Missouri Sheriff’s Association


Rick Dierenfeldt, Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University


Erica Lemuth Guyer, U.S. Government


Te’lor Joyner, Fraud Investigator, American Express


Marijana Maja Kotlaja, Assistant Professor, Missouri State University




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