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Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

The online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice is designed for anyone seeking a career in the legal 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 online bachelor's in criminal justice prepares you with working knowledge of the criminal justice system (adult and juvenile) and the issues surrounding each portion of the process. You will learn to be an agile professional in this ever-evolving field by developing your knowledge of current criminology theories, ethical and moral considerations, emerging policies as well as effective communications strategies.

How Much Will I Pay?

Tuition & Aid    

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

Online BS in Criminal Justice Highlights

  • Engage in a learning process to gain theoretical knowledge and applied skills related to the criminal justice system.
  • Learn to apply ethical standards to decision-making practices through courses that bring contemporary topics, policies, and practices to life.
  • 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.



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 20 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

"Our goal is to provide students with a safe and quality learning experience. In the process, we hope to prepare them with the means to open the doors of opportunity-- enhancing their personal and professional lives—and empower them to be a catalyst in creating a more just society."

Heather Ouellette, PhD
Department Chair,
Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Criminal Justice

Online BS in Criminal Justice 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.

Online BS in Criminal Justice 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 BS in Criminal Justice 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 for BS in Criminal Justice Graduates

As a criminal justice undergraduate student, you may now be eligible to pursue our accelerated Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) 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.

What Will I Learn as an Online BS in Criminal Justice Student?

The expertise you’ll develop as a student in the criminal justice bachelor’s program will develop your understanding of law and evidence, criminal procedure, criminal behavior, history, ethics and more. Specific expertise gained from the program will include:

  • Broad understanding of the role and function of the police in America including the history, policing paradigms, police organizations and emerging issues in policing.
  • Introduction to the theory, research and findings of biological, psychological and sociological studies of criminality.
  • Awareness of the procedural aspects involved in developing and prosecuting or defending criminal cases—from investigation to arrest as well as through trial and appeal.
  • Understanding of the principles of criminal liability as well as the legislative and judicial processes by which acts and omissions are criminalized, investigated and prosecuted.

What Can I Do with an Online BS in Criminal Justice?

Careers available to BS in Criminal Justice graduates can be found in the following categories:

Law Enforcement

  • Conservation Officer
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Cybersecurity
  • Detectives
  • Emergency Management Directors
  • Federal Special Agents
  • Forensics
  • Gambling Surveillance Officers
  • Police Officer Supervisors
  • Police Officers
  • Private Investigators
  • Private Security
  • Public Safety Telecommunicator
  • Sheriff
  • State Police
  • Tax Investigator


  • Classification Officer/Interviewer
  • Community Outreach Specialist
  • Correctional Officers
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Corrections Officer Recruit
  • Corrections Supervisor
  • Corrections Technician
  • Corrections Transport Officer
  • Data Systems Analyst
  • Deputy Director
  • Juvenile Probation Counselor
  • Locksmith Administrator
  • Probation & Parole Officer
  • Research Specialist
  • Substance Abuse Program Coordinator
  • Warden


  • Administrative Specialist
  • Assistant Director
  • Budget Specialist
  • Court Administrator
  • Court Clerk
  • Court Referral Officers
  • Court Reporter
  • Judge
  • Law Clerk
  • Lawyers
  • Mediator
  • Paralegal
  • Policy Analyst
  • Prosecutor
  • Staff Attorney

Social Justice and Advocacy

  • Case Manager
  • Community Developer
  • Community Health Worker
  • Grant Writer
  • Lawyer
  • Legal Advocate
  • Policy Analyst
  • Program Officer
  • Recovery Advocate
  • Researcher
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Social and Human Service Assistants
  • Social Service Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Victim Advocate

The 2019-2029 occupational outlook for police officers and detectives is expected to grow 5% nationwide, which is faster than the average national occupation growth rate and have a median annual salary of $67,290 (bls.gov). The occupational outlook for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists within the same timeframe is expected to grow 4% nationwide, which is as fast as the national average and has a median annual salary of $55,690 (bls.gov).


Online BS in Criminal Justice Application Deadlines

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

Note: We admit students on a rolling basis. The preferred deadlines help you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We review applications as they become complete, and admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start. We recommend you work on and submit your complete application well in advance of the preferred deadline, as obtaining transcripts and other materials may take more time.

Steps to Apply for the Online BS in Criminal Justice

  1. Complete undergraduate application
  2. Submit $30 non-refundable application fee
  3. Submit official college transcripts from an accredited institutions attended
  4. Check for Scholarships


Online BS in Criminal Justice Admission Requirements

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

Transfer Credit for Online BS in Criminal Justice Students

Students may transfer up to 60 hours from a community college and up to 90 hours from an accredited 4-year college. Transfer applicants must have a minimum college GPA of 2.5 to be admitted in good standing. Complete the credit transfer pre-evaluation to get an idea of how many credits you'll be able to transfer in toward your UofL bachelor's degree, and visit our General Transfer Student page for more details.

Are you a KCTCS student? KCTCS students can transfer completed associate degrees in their entirety and begin immediately with online upper level coursework at UofL. Visit our KCTCS Transfers Page for more information.

See the UofL Transfer Credit Policy for more information.

Online BS in Criminal Justice Courses

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:

  • General Education (Cardinal Core) Requirements: 31 credit hours
  • Arts & Sciences Requirements: 13-15 credit hours
  • Supporting Course Requirements:
    • Criminal Justice Electives: 24 credit hours
    • Free Electives: 21-23 credit hours

General Education Requirements

Courses Credit Hours
General Education Requirements* 31
The following courses are required by the program and can satisfy the respective General Education Requirement:
CJ 200 Crime and Justice in the United States (or CJ 201 or CJ 202)
CJ 326 Quantitative Analysis
Minimum Total Hours 31

Arts & Sciences Requirements

Courses Credit Hours
GEN 100 Student Success Center First Year Experience OR
GEN 101 Arts & Sciences First Year Experience
Foreign Language1 6-8
Electives in Humanities or Natural Sciences at 300 level or above2 6
WR—two approved courses at the 300 level or above3
Minimum Total Hours 13-15

Program/Major Requirements

Courses Credit Hours
Department of Criminal Justice - Required Core Courses 30
CJ 200 Crime and Justice in the United States4
CJ 201 Law Enforcement in the United States4
CJ 202 Corrections in the United States4
CJ 305 Criminal Behavior
CJ 306 Criminal Procedure
CJ 325 Research Design
CJ 326 Quantitative Analysis4
CJ 360 Juvenile Justice
CJ 395 Criminal Law and Evidence
CJ 485 Seminar in Criminal Justice5
Criminal Justice Electives (see approved list below)6 24
Minimum Free Electives7 21-23
Graduation requirement or culminating undergraduate experience (CUE) requirement that’s fulfilled by completing CJ 485 Seminar in Criminal Justice5
Minimum Total Hours for Graduation 121

*All degrees require the completion of the university-wide General Education Program. Some General Education requirements may be met in the requirements for the major or supporting coursework, in which case additional electives may be required to complete the minimum hours for the degree.
1 Completion of the second semester of a single foreign language; hours will vary depending on the language taken.
2 In addition to courses counted toward General Education.
3 May be incorporated into other degree requirements.
4 Fulfills General Education requirements.
5 Fulfills 3 hours of the 6-hour 300+ WR requirement.
6 Criminal Justice electives must be from the 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
7 Students who satisfy General Education Requirements by courses defined by the program will require additional electives to complete the minimum hours for the degree.


Online BS in Criminal Justice Course Descriptions

Networking and Partnership Opportunities for Online BS in Criminal Justice Students

Online BS in Criminal Justice Student Organizations and Opportunities for Involvement

Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Phi Sigma stream all of their meetings as well as their lunch and learns. 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.

Partnerships/Internships for the Online BS in Criminal Justice Student

The Department of Criminal Justice faculty actively engage in community service. These partnerships provide opportunities for internships and networking that enhance the student experience.

  • Metro Louisville Government
  • Alcohol Beverage Control
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
    Firearms & Explosives
  • Anne Braden Institute of Social Justice
  • Center for Women and Families
  • Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Crime Analysis/Real Time Center
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Department of Corrections
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • International Service Learning Program
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
    (JCPS) Advisory Board for Public Safety
  • Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training
  • Kentucky Department of Insurance Fraud Investigation
  • Office of Homeland Security
  • Kentucky Court of Justice
  • Kentucky Derby Festival
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Louisville Metro Police Department
  • Medical Examiners Office
  • Public/Private Security/Loss Prevention
  • Restorative Justice
  • Think IR
  • UL Police Department
  • U.S. Marshal Service
  • U.S. Postal Inspectors
  • U.S. Secret Service

Online BS in Criminal Justice Department Grants

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

  • Vanderbilt University
  • John Jay College
  • Office of the Attorney General-Kentucky
  • Kentucky Administrative Offices of the Courts
  • DHHS Department of Homeland Security
  • Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice
  • University of Maryland
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Kentucky Department of Corrections
  • National Institute of Justice
  • Louisville Metro Police Department

Online BS in Criminal Justice Professional Organizations

The faculty are active members in the following professional organizations:

  • National Sheriff's Association
  • Midwest Criminal Justice Association
  • NSA-Education
  • NSA-Cyber Security
  • European Society of Criminology
  • Southern Criminal Justice Association
  • American Society of Criminology
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • American Correctional Association (ACA)
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Alpha Phi Sigma
  • Society for Study of Social Problems
  • Kentucky Council on Crime and
  • American Bar Association
  • Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police
  • American Criminal Justice Association

Online BS in Criminal Justice Success Team

    Online BS in Criminal Justice Featured Faculty

    Online BS in Criminal Justice Success FAQ

    • What is the criminal justice or legal system?

      Many people automatically think of police officers, but the field encompasses much more than law enforcement. The legal system includes law officers, court systems, corrections, and victim advocacy.

    • Will I earn my degree from UofL?

      Yes. The “Bachelor of Science” will be granted by the University of Louisville and represented as such on the diploma.

    • Is UofL’s BS in Criminal Justice program accredited?

      Yes, the University of Louisville is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).

    • When can I begin this program?

      This program offers 3 starts per year: Fall, Spring and Summer.

    • Is financial aid available? How do I apply?

      Yes. Financial aid is available to students who qualify. Please contact our enrollment counselor who will connect you with the financial aid representative for more details regarding your financial aid application.

    • Is Tuition Assistance available for active-duty military?

      Yes, Tuition Assistance (TA) is currently available for active-duty military at the rate of $250 per credit hour (subject to change without prior notice).