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Bachelor's Degree Program

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The criminology and criminal justice program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on preparing students for possible careers in law enforcement, the courts or other law-related occupations, institutional and community corrections, adult and juvenile counseling, research and analysis, security, and other related fields. One of the largest programs at SIU, the criminology and criminal justice program boasts a diverse student body as well as instructors who bring extensive experience and knowledge to the table.

Faculty members and advisors are eager to assist students in choosing required CCJ core courses, electives, additional majors and minors that best suit their needs based on time constraints, location, and a desire for advanced degrees in CCJ or law. The degree affords students the flexibility to choose a path that fits their career and educational goals and prepares them for careers in criminology and criminal justice.


The curriculum for a Bachelor of Arts in CCJ is formulated to provide students with a comprehensive overview of criminology and criminal justice.  Specialized areas of study can be explored through electives that are geared towards future career goals and specific interests.

  • Total Degree Requirements: 120 credit hours
  • University Core Curriculum: 39 credit hours
  • Criminology & Criminal Justice Requirements: 42 credit hours
  • Electives: 39 credit hours

View full degree requirements

Compass IconCheck out the Curricular Guide which helps you outline what courses you would want to take each semester for all four years. View all related undergraduate courses.

Online Option

The criminology and criminal justice degree can be accomplished entirely online learning at SIU. Available to both incoming freshmen and transfer students, the virtual platform is a convenient way to work towards a criminology and criminal justice degree from anywhere in the world. 

Students in the online criminology and criminal justice program receive top-notch instruction from the same highly qualified instructors who work on-campus at SIU. All CCJ courses, electives and core courses are offered online and deliver the same content as in-person classes with the added benefit of allowing students to work anytime, anywhere to achieve a degree in criminology and criminal justice.

forbes logoSIU’s online criminology bachelor’s program earns recognition from Forbes

Dual Degree Option

The Criminology and Criminal Justice program and the SIU School of Law offer a dual degree allowing students to earn both a bachelor’s degree in CCJ (B.A.) and a law degree (J.D.) in six years instead of the more typical seven. Students in the dual degree program save both time and money on their undergraduate and professional studies. Due to the need to plan course schedules to fulfill dual degree requirements, the option may not always be feasible for transfer students. Please consult your SIU academic advisor.  


Students may select Criminology & Criminal Justice as a major on their application to SIU and receive program entry with university admission.  Admission into the dual CCJ B.A./J.D. program is a separate process. Students interested in entering the dual degree program will complete the undergraduate curriculum as described below.

Students will apply to the Southern Illinois School of Law during your junior year. Applicants need a cumulative undergraduate GPA and a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score equal to or greater than the median for the previous year’s cohort (both numbers will be available from the SIU School of Law upon request). The School of Law will notify applicants of an admissions decision in a timely fashion to allow for scheduling senior year courses.



Students in the dual degree program must complete the following requirements:

  • Core Curriculum requirements.
  • CCJ program requirements with the exception that total number of program credits is 36 credit hours (instead of 42).
  • 21 credit hours of CCJ free electives (instead of 27 credit hours), with 6 of those hours at 400-level.
  • A minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework in the first 3 years as an undergraduate prior to beginning the law school curriculum.
  • 30 credits required to complete the 120 credits for the undergraduate degree earned by completing first-year law classes.


Criminology and Criminal Justice Minor

A minor in criminology and criminal justice complements a variety of majors to provide a specialization for careers in social sciences, psychology, business management, policy making and administration. To attain a minor, 15 hours of CCJ courses are required which must include:

  • CCJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice System
  • CCJ 290 Introduction to Criminological Theory

Nine of the 15 hours of coursework must be completed at SIU.

Forensic Science Minor

Also offered is a minor in forensic science that works well as an accompaniment to degrees in biology, law and criminology and criminal justice. The minor requires nine hours of Core Courses with the completion of the following three classes:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice System (CCJ 101)
  • Introduction to Forensic Anthropology (ANTH 231)
  • Introduction to Forensic Science (CHEM 173)

The remaining six hours of study consist of electives chosen from an extensive list of courses in areas such as philosophy, biology, psychology and political science.

Advisors can assist students seeking a minor in criminology and criminal justice or forensic science to find the best core courses and electives for any career goal.


In our criminology and criminal justice program, students have several opportunities for scholarships based on both academic performance and service to SIU.

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Contact Information

To learn more about the program or request information, contact:

Breanne Pleggenkuhle
Program Coordinator
Faner 4236
1000 Faner Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-6374

Matthew Giblin
School Director
Faner 4325
1000 Faner Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-6360

Student Organization

The registered student organization, Criminal Justice Association (CJA), is sponsored by the criminology and criminal justice program at SIU and encourages networking amongst current students, faculty members, alumni and professionals in the criminology and criminal justice workforce. 

Membership in the CJA offers students access to guest speakers and lecturers as well as social gatherings and study groups for students with majors and minors in CCJ. You can follow the group on Facebook.