Criminal Justice, A.S. (University College)

Program Code: 2CJUC_AS

Program Description

Students receiving an associate degree in criminal justice should understand each of the three main components of the criminal justice system and their interrelationships. This program includes study in law enforcement, courts, and corrections individually and as components of a system, plus work in theories of crime causation, and crime control policy. Students should expect reading, writing, and critical thinking skills to be rigorously applied and developed throughout the degree program. The Associate in Science degree in Criminal Justice prepares students for entry-level positions in criminal justice or for study at the baccalaureate level.

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice is the study of the adult and juvenile justice systems, including law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. It is interdisciplinary and includes understanding the intersections of law, public policy, and behavioral science, in an effort to understand crime as a social problem and improve these systems for the good of society.

You Might Like This Program If...

You have an interest in working in corrections, courts, court administration, law enforcement, or probation and parole. Students completing this course of study are prepared for entry level positions in the criminal justice system or to complete the baccalaureate level.


Entrance to Major

Students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA to change to this Associate degree after admission to the University.

Degree Requirements

For the Associate in Science in Criminal Justice, a minimum of 64 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 21
Electives 26
Requirements for the Major 29

12 of the 21 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 3 credits of GH courses; 3 credits of GQ courses; 6 credits of GS courses.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CRIMJ 100Introduction to Criminal Justice Keystone/General Education Course3
CRIMJ 210Policing in America3
CRIMJ 220Courts and the Prosecution Process3
CRIMJ 230Corrections in America3
PHIL 103Ethics Keystone/General Education Course3
SOC 12Criminology Keystone/General Education Course3
SOC 119NRace, Ethnicity and Culture Keystone/General Education Course4
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CRIMJ 2503
or SOC 207 Research Methods in Sociology

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all associate degree students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 3 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 3 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Note: Up to six credits of Inter-Domain courses may be used for any Knowledge Domain requirement, but when a course may be used to satisfy more than one requirement, the credits from the course can be counted only once.


  • Any General Education course (including GHW and Inter-Domain): 3 credits

University Degree Requirements

Cultures Requirement

3 credits of United States (US) or International (IL) cultures coursework are required and may satisfy other requirements

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 60 degree credits must be earned for a associates degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 60 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Program Learning Objectives

  • Communicate: Demonstrate ability to effectively communicate practical and theoretical criminal justice issues through papers, posters, and oral presentations
  • Do Research: Demonstrate ability to formulate research questions, implement basic quantitative and qualitative research methods, and collect and analyze limited data
  • Know Context: Demonstrate understanding around the relationship between culture, social class, race and ethnicity and criminal justice involvement
  • Know Structure: Demonstrate understanding around the history, structure and function of the three branches of criminal justice (Courts, Law Enforcement, Corrections)
  • Know Theory: Demonstrate understanding of core theories in criminology and the sociology of deviance and their relevance to different types of offenses and offenders
  • Think Critically: Demonstrate ability to solve criminal justice problems through an understanding of context, the identification of appropriate evidence, and appreciation of potential barriers and limitations

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


Greater Allegheny

Katherine McLean
Associate Professor, Administration of Justice
Main Building, 109C
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132


Jennifer C. Gibbs, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator
Olmsted Building, W160
Middletown, PA 17057


Mary Ann Probst, Esq.
Program Coordinator/Assistant Teaching Professor
Cypress Building 103, 3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601

World Campus

Undergraduate Academic Advising
301 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2024-25 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition.

Criminal Justice, A.S. at Greater Allegheny Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 1513SOC 119N*†4
CRIMJ 100*3SOC 12*†3
General Education Course3CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
Elective3General Education Course3
 15 16
Second Year
STAT 200*‡†4CRIMJ 250W or SOC 207*3
PHIL 103*†3CRIMJ 230*3
CRIMJ 210*3CRIMJ 220*3
Elective3ENGL 202A or 202D13
 16 18
Total Credits 65

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement


Suggested Electives for students moving into a Baccalaureate (Bachelor of Art or Science in Administration of Justice) degree program are ENGL 15 and ENGL 202 or other General Education or major requirements in consultation with an academic adviser.

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.


Greater Allegheny

Main Building, 109C
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132


Elm Building 103, 3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601


Olmsted Building W160
Middletown, PA 17057
717-948-6648 or 717-948-6046 or

World Campus

Olmsted Building, W160
Middletown, PA 17057
717-948-6648 or 717-948-6046 or