[Skip to Content]

Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is designed for anyone seeking a career in the criminal justice system or looking to pursue an advanced degree in criminal justice or justice administration.

Offered by the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Louisville, the criminal justice online bachelor’s degree prepares you with working knowledge of the entire criminal justice process (adult and juvenile) and the issues surrounding each portion of the process. You will master the ability to make connections between theory and policy development, as well as gain the ability to understand, identify and apply legal issues relevant to justice administration.


Complete this degree on your own time with fully online classes and 24/7 access to learning tools.

Learn More

Transfer in your associate degree and complete only 18 courses at UofL to earn your bachelor’s.

Learn More

UofL's CJ faculty received research grants from agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. State Department.

Online learning video - Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

"I want students to go through this learning process with us, coming out with a better understanding of the justice process and a better understanding of who they are—and put those two together to get the job that they want."


How Much Will I Pay?

$539 per credit hour
$250 active duty military rate per credit hour

Tuition & Aid    

Tuition rate does not include costs associated with a specific course or program, such as textbooks.


  • Actively engage in the learning process as you gain theoretical knowledge and applied skills related to the criminal justice system.
  • Take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of 100% online criminal justice courses.
  • Transfer credits from your previous education or associate degree and complete your bachelor’s degree at UofL.
  • Build a strong foundation for further study through an online Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
  • Learn more about how you could get college credit for experience and military training.


The continued need for public safety is expected to lead to new openings for officers and other system employees, with demand varying by location. For example, employment of police and detective occupations is projected to grow 7% from 2016 to 2026. (BLS.gov)

For those looking to get started in the criminal justice field, earning a B.S. in criminal justice is a great way to get the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. For those already employed in the criminal justice system, a bachelor's degree can increase on-the-job performance and promotion opportunities.

Jobs in the criminal justice system include but are not limited to:

  • Criminal investigators
  • Criminal records managers
  • Corrections officers
  • Correctional treatment specialists
  • Court referral officers
  • Crime prevention officers
  • Detectives
  • Emergency management directors
  • Probation and parole officers
  • Police officers
  • Special agents
  • Victim advocates

To assist you in your career search upon your enrollment, we work closely with you and the University Career Development Center. We also hold an annual Criminal Justice Career Fair where you can meet Louisville area employers.

Priority Deadline* Term Start Date
July 1 Fall August
December 1 Spring January
April 1 Summer May/June

*This program admits students on a rolling basis. The priority deadlines listed are recommended to help you best complete the application process, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. The department will continue to review applications as they become complete, and will admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start.

Steps to Apply

  1. Complete undergraduate application
  2. Submit $25 non-refundable application fee
  3. Submit official college transcripts from all regionally-accredited institutions attended

Admission Requirements

  • High school diploma (for enrollment in lower-level coursework)
  • Associate degree or equivalent credit from a regionally-accredited institution (for enrollment in upper-level coursework)

Credit Transfer

You can transfer prior college credit from any regionally-accredited university to fulfill UofL’s enrollment requirements, or complete the first two years of coursework (general education courses) online at UofL or through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). If you have fulfilled all UofL GenEd requirements at a KCTCS school, you may transfer your credits in their entirety and begin immediately with online upper-level coursework at UofL.

For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.

The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice requires completion of 121 credit hours. All undergraduate degrees require completion of the university-wide General Education (Cardinal Core) Program. The typical degree path for earning a bachelor’s in criminal justice at UofL includes:

  1. General Education (Cardinal Core) – 31 credit hours (minimum requirement)
  2. Arts & Sciences – 13-15 credit hours (programmatic requirement)
  3. Criminal Justice Core Courses – 54 credit hours (minimum undergraduate requirement, including 24 hours of electives)

Arts & Sciences Programmatic Requirements

Courses Hours
General 101: A&S Orientation 1
Foreign Language (completion of the second semester of a single foreign language; hours will vary depending on language taken) 6-8
Electives in Humanities or Natural Sciences at 300 level or above (in addition to courses counted toward General Education) 6
Total 13-15

Core CJ Courses

Courses Hours
CJ 2001 Crime and Justice in the United States 3
CJ 2011 Law Enforcement in the United States 3
CJ 2021 Corrections in the United States 3
CJ 305 Criminal Behavior 3
CJ 306 Criminal Procedure 3
CJ 325 Research Design 3
CJ 326 Quantitative Analysis (fulfills QR general education requirement) 3
CJ 360 Juvenile Justice 3
CJ 395 Criminal Law and Evidence 3
CJ 4852 Seminar in Criminal Justice 3
Criminal Justice electives3 24
Criminal Justice Core Courses – Total Credit Hours Required 54

1 Fulfills General Education requirement

2 Fulfills WR requirement

3 Criminal Justice electives must be selected from approved departmental list at the 300 level or above. A minimum of 15 hours must be in Criminal Justice, but may not exceed 30 hours

Sample Course Descriptions

CJ 200 Crime and Justice in the United States – SB
This course focuses on the various processing stages, practices, and personnel in the criminal justice system. This course examines the problem of crime in American society. Both historical and contemporary components of the system, including the police, the courts, and correctional agencies are explored. This course is designed to provide the student with a broad-based understanding of both the effects of crime upon communities as well as the criminal justice system's response to crime in our contemporary society.

CJ 201 Law Enforcement in the United States – SB
The course focuses on evolution of policing including the history, policing paradigms, police organizations, and emerging issues in policing. This course examines the role of the police in the United States. Historical and modern forms of policing will be explored. The course provides students with a broad understanding of the role and function of the police in America.

CJ 202 Corrections in the United States – SB
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the history, practices, and issues related to the correctional function in American criminal justice. Topics included are: history of prisons; inmate subcultures and institutions; correctional issues such as overcrowding, stress, sexual violence, and administrative problems. Both adult and juvenile corrections will be covered.

CJ 305 Criminal Behavior
An introduction to the theory, research, and findings of biological, psychological and sociological studies of criminality. Topics included are: the history of criminal theories; societal reactions to crime; deviant subcultures; and criminal organizations and institutions in society.

CJ 306 Criminal Procedure
A course designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the procedural aspects involved in developing and prosecuting or defending criminal cases. The course focuses on the Constitutional issues involved during the various aspects of a criminal case, from investigation to arrest through trial and appeal. The concept of due process is examined. Specific attention is focused on the rights and limitations offered the prosecution and defense under the Bill of Rights. Topics included are: lineups, searches, arrests, "stop and frisk," bail extradition, preliminary hearings, arraignment, trials, sentencing, appeals, probation, parole, and the death penalty.

CJ 325 Research Design
Prerequisite: CJ 200 or consent of instructor. An advanced study of the principles, data sources, and methods appropriate for criminal justice. Topics included are: library research; research design, sampling, scaling; questionnaire construction; and survey research, interviewing, and participant observation.

CJ 326 Quantitative Analysis – QR
Prerequisite: Appropriate placement score or equivalent coursework. An introduction to the applications of quantitative research methods to the analysis of criminal justice practices and data. Emphasis is placed on the calculation, application and interpretation of statistical measures generated by computer software such as SPSS. Topics included are: measures of central tendency and dispersion; theories of probability and the normal curve; and parametric and nonparametric significance tests used in criminal justice research. Note: Credit may not be earned for this course and MATH 109, PSYC 301, SOC 301, or MGMT 201.

CJ 360 Juvenile Justice
Prerequisite: CJ 200 or consent of instructor. A study of the theories and philosophies underlying the evolution and maintenance of the juvenile justice system in America as well as the structure and processes of the contemporary juvenile justice system. Topics included are: the history of the juvenile and the legal system; issues in juvenile justice; and the roles of the police, courts, and corrections in implementing the juvenile justice model.

CJ 395 Criminal Law and Evidence
Principles of criminal liability and the legislative and judicial processes by which acts and omissions are criminalized, investigated, and prosecuted. Topics include: crimes against persons, crimes against property, victimless crimes, and white collar crime. Exploration of issues related to legal capacity, defenses, and insanity. State and federal criminal rules of evidence identified and used to explain specific evidentiary issues relating to criminal law.

CJ 485 Seminar in Criminal Justice - WR; CUE
Prerequisite: CJ 200, CJ 325, and CJ 326; senior standing or consent of instructor. Senior level seminar designed to explore and discuss issues, problems, and challenges in the administration and management of criminal justice organizations. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication (WR).

College Credit for Experience

Learn more about how you could get college credit for experience and military training.

Student Organizations and Opportunities for Involvement

Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Phi Sigma will begin streaming their meetings as well as their lunch and learns beginning in Spring 2020. Visit our website to learn of any additional new ways that you, as an online student, can be connected with our on-campus students and faculty.

Community Service

Department of Criminal Justice faculty are involved in our community through service. This includes but is not limited to participation in the following organizations:

  • Metro Louisville Government
  • Metro Police Department
  • Education Committee Intervention Resource Center, Inc.
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Jefferson Count Medical Foundation
  • Family & Children First
  • Youth Alive
  • Kentucky Learning Disabilities Association
  • Louisville Metro Crime Commission
  • International Cultural Center
  • Kentucky State Police Trooper Island
  • Oldham County Police
  • Presbyterian Community Center
  • ProTecht, Secret Service Electronic Crimes Initiative
  • InfraGard, Public Private Partnership Security
    Coalition with FBI
  • Goodwill Industries

Department Grants

Our faculty has been awarded research grants totaling more than 4.5 million dollars. Granting agencies include:

  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. State Department
  • Kentucky Department of Corrections
  • National Institute of Justice
  • Louisville Metro Police Department
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections
  • National Institute of Corrections

Professional Organizations

The faculty are active members in the following professional organizations:

  • Southern Criminal Justice Association
  • American Society of Criminology
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • American Correctional Association (ACA)
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • National State Law Enforcement Accreditation Network
  • The Northeastern Association of Criminal
    Justice Education
  • American Society for Industrial Security
  • National White Collar Crime Center
  • National Association of State Judicial Educators
  • International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Alpha Phi Sigma
  • National Hispanic Science Network
  • Society for Study of Social Problems
  • Business and Professional Women/USA
  • Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency
  • Kentucky Women's Law Enforcement
  • Military Police Regimented Association
  • Southern States Corrections Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police
  • National Consortium for White Collar Crime Research
  • American Criminal Justice Association’s
    Lambda Alpha Epsilon

    Featured Faculty

    College Credit for Basic Military Training

    The Department of Criminal Justice may award transfer credit for military training based on an assessment of official military transcripts. Official transcripts must be sent to the Office of Transfer Services for evaluation and then the earned hours will be applied to appropriate requirements for the BSCJ degree.

    College Credit for Employees at Local Law Enforcement Institutions

    The Department of Criminal Justice may award up to 15 hours of transfer credit for completed law enforcement/correction academy training for graduates of Louisville Metro Police Academy, Metro Louisville Corrections Academy and Kentucky State Police Academy.* Completion of other agency sponsored training may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Internship Option for Online Bachelor’s Students

    Newly approved for online criminal justice students, the department’s internship coordinator will work with you to identify internship opportunities in your home community. For further information, please contact us at mailcj@louisville.edu.

    Accelerated MSCJ Program

    As a criminal justice undergraduate student, you may now be eligible to pursue our accelerated Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree online. You may be able to earn up to 9 hours of graduate credit applicable toward the master’s in criminal justice degree while you’re completing your bachelor’s. For additional information please contact mailcj@louisville.edu.