Criminal Justice

Career and Program Description

People who choose to study criminal justice are people with a passion for helping, protecting and serving other people.  No matter what you are doing, you know you are making a difference in someone's life. Criminal justice prepares adults for the responsibilities in many important careers.

The criminal justice curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in many professions related to crime and justice. You will gain an acute understanding of crime-solving and public safety issues as you learn to not only navigate the intricate fields of criminal justice but also shape the future of our justice system.

Twenty-first century criminal justice is so much more than what you thought. The work goes on in local, state, and federal offices, community agencies and across a wide variety of jurisdictions.

  • Law enforcement and policing remain a major component of the field, but it now includes prevention, community building, investigative work, forensics specialist, statistical work to understand where, how and why crime occurs. 

  • Involvement with the judicial system is also a major component of the field; court reporting, paralegals, U.S Marshalls, special agents, victim advocates.

  • Corrections is the third major component of the field: probation officers, teachers and counselors in correctional facilities, rehabilitation counselors, health/addiction specialists, statistical work to evaluate policies of corrections

  • Prepares graduates for entry into a wide variety of positions in and victim services programs as well as professional settings involving work with victims of crime, their families, and the community at large.

A Criminal Justice major will give you an AAS degree that puts you on the path to a career in the field.  At the end you will meet qualifications for numerous jobs in the numerous justice areas of criminal justice.  You will also be ready to go further in your educational program if more specialized positions are your goal. If you have questions, please contact us.

Degrees and Certificates Offered

Associate of Applied Science Degree

Criminal Justice

Academic Prerequisites

  • None

Academic Requirements

  • Students must pass all prerequisite courses with a "C" or "P" or better in order to enroll in any CJA courses with a “200” or higher designator.

Non-Academic Prerequisites

  • None

Non-Academic Requirements

  • None

Criminal Justice AAS Degree

Minimum 90 credits. Students must also meet Associate Degree Comprehensive Requirements and Associate of Applied Science Requirements. Students must complete a total of four courses of General Education. Some courses specified within the program may be used as General Education. In addition to required courses in the program of study, students must satisfy MTH 58/65 competency. Students should consult with program advisors for course planning.

Criminal Justice Degree Courses

CJA 100Professions in Criminal Justice3
CJA 101Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice Professions3
CJA 111Introduction to Criminal Justice System - Police3
CJA 112Introduction to Criminal Justice System - Courts3
CJA 113Introduction to the Criminal Justice System - Corrections3
CJA 114Introduction to Juvenile Process3
CJA 210Arrest, Search and Seizure3
CJA 211Civil Liability in Criminal Justice3
CJA 212Criminal Law3
CJA 220Mental Health & the Law3
CJA 225Justice and Legal Rights3
CJA 230Police Report Writing3
CJA 244Tactical Communication in Crisis Incidents3
CJA 250Human Trafficking3
COMM 218Interpersonal Communication (COMM214=COMM218=COMM218Z) Z4
WR 121Composition I (WR121=WR121Z) Z4
Choose one of the following:4
U.S. Government *
U.S. Public Policy & Democracy *
State and Local Government *
Criminal Justice Communications Electives4
Human Studies Electives8
Justice Studies Degree Electives18
General Education: 2 courses
Total Credits90

Could be used as General Education


This course is part of Oregon Common Course Numbering. The following courses are equivalent:
COMM 214, COMM 218, and COMM 218Z
WR 121 and WR 121Z

Criminal Justice Communication Degree Electives

COMM 100Introduction to Communication (COMM100=COMM100Z) Z4
COMM 105Listening4
COMM 111Public Speaking (COMM111=COMM111Z) Z4
COMM 140Introduction to Intercultural Communication4
COMM 228Mass Communication and Society4
COMM 237Gender and Communication4

This course is part of Oregon Common Course Numbering. The following courses are equivalent:
COMM 100 and COMM 100Z
COMM 111 and COMM 111Z


Human Studies Electives

PSY 101Psychology and Human Relations4
PSY 201AIntroduction to Psychology - Part 14
PSY 239Introduction to Abnormal Psychology4
SOC 204Introduction to Sociology4
SOC 205Social Change4
SOC 206Social Problems4
SOC 213Diversity in the United States4

Justice Studies Degree Electives

AD 109Justice Systems and Addiction3
CJA 117Introduction to Homeland Security3
CJA 213Evidence3
CJA 214Criminal Investigation3
CJA 215Forensic Science and Criminalistics3
CJA 217Interviewing and Interrogation3
CJA 224Women, Gender & Crime3
CJA 2283
CJA 231Crime Scene Photography3
CJA 246Fish and Wildlife Enforcement3
CJA 265Community Reentry for Offenders3
CJA 266Intro to Probation & Parole3
CJA 280ACooperative Education: Criminal Justice 13
PL 100Professions in the Law3
PL 140Immigration Law for Paralegals3
PL 208Family Law3
PL 210Legal Protection for Vulnerable People3

Department permission required prior to registration.

CJA 100. Professions in Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

Provides overview of the various careers in the public safety professions, including police, corrections, parole and probation, juvenile and adult casework, private security, loss prevention, and private investigator. Prerequisites: Placement into WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 101. Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice Professions. 3 Credits.

Provides introduction and familiarization with communication styles, customs, language and behavior patterns of various cultures, ethnic groups and marginalized populations as employed by and encountered by criminal justice professionals. Prerequisite: Placement into WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 111. Introduction to Criminal Justice System - Police. 3 Credits.

Provides an overview of the role of police in society. Introduces theories of crime causation and their implication on agency policy and practice. Examines crime trends, organizational structures, policies, strategies and tactics employed to ensure police effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Prerequisite: Placement into WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 112. Introduction to Criminal Justice System - Courts. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on the United States criminal court systems including state, federal and miscellaneous other jurisdictions. It covers roles and functions of participants in the adjudication process including the prosecutor, defense attorney, defendant, victim, judge, jury, police and more. Also examined various criminal court procedures from arrest and arraignment through trial and sentencing. Prerequisite: Placement into WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 113. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System - Corrections. 3 Credits.

Covers theories and current practices in correctional treatment, crime prevention, contemporary criminal justice services and treatment methods, and professional career opportunities. Prerequisites: Placement into WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 114. Introduction to Juvenile Process. 3 Credits.

Introduces history and philosophies of juvenile adjudication and corrections. Covers current programs in Oregon available to juveniles who are or have been involved in the justice system. Provides a focus on integrating theories of causation, juvenile law, and procedural requirements. Prerequisites: WR 121Z or any writing course for which WR 121Z is a prerequisite or instructor permission. Audit available.

CJA 117. Introduction to Homeland Security. 3 Credits.

Introduces Homeland Security and its function of coordinating efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to secure the nation from terrorist threats or attacks. Agencies associated with Homeland Security along with their duties and relationships are covered. Explores historical events, laws, issues, communications, critical threats and other topics related to protecting the national infrastructure. Prerequisites: Placement into WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 210. Arrest, Search and Seizure. 3 Credits.

Covers issues and procedures regarding stops, frisks, searches, and seizures. Reviews the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon State Constitution. Includes stops, arrests, privacy issues, search warrants and warrantless searches, and seizures. Reviews case law, current events, and statutory law from the Criminal Code of Oregon. Recommended: CJA 112 and WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 211. Civil Liability in Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

Explores the conduct and ethics of criminal justice practitioners that give rise to civil liability. Focuses on aspects of risk management to help prevent legal claims. Recommended: WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 212. Criminal Law. 3 Credits.

Introduces substantive criminal law including basic principles of criminal liability, constitutional aspects, defenses and accomplice liability. Covers elements of specific crimes. Analyzes court decisions interpreting statutes. Prerequisites: WR 121Z or any writing course for which WR 121Z is a prerequisite. Audit available.

CJA 213. Evidence. 3 Credits.

Explores the rules regarding the use of evidence according to state and federal laws. A wide variety of topics are introduced relating to evidence including collection, preservation, chain of custody, admissibility and exclusion at trial. Prerequisites: CJA 111; WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 214. Criminal Investigation. 3 Credits.

Introduces modern investigative methods, including the collection and preservation of physical evidence, scientific aids, sources of information, interviews, follow-up and case presentation. Includes techniques of interview and interrogation. Prerequisites: CJA 111; WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 215. Forensic Science and Criminalistics. 3 Credits.

Explores how scientific principles help in crime detection and solution. Familiarizes students with analysis of fingerprints, DNA, body fluids, and other evidence that may be contained at a crime scene. Prerequisites: WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 217. Interviewing and Interrogation. 3 Credits.

Presents knowledge and working skills in the art of interviewing and interrogation. Prerequisites: CJA 100, 111; WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 220. Mental Health & the Law. 3 Credits.

Introduces mental health and disability issues arising in connection with the legal system. Covers challenges facing legal system employees including police, attorneys, and others in both their professional and personal lives. Encourages critical thinking and the use of best-practice solutions when responding to situations involving people with mental health issues. Recommended: WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 224. Women, Gender & Crime. 3 Credits.

Examines the challenges that women face as victims, perpetrators and professionals within the justice system. Discusses the sources of data collection for women and crime. Introduces feminist criminology and its contributions to the research on women and the justice system. Prerequisites: WR 121Z or any writing course for which WR 121Z is a prerequisite. Audit available.

CJA 225. Justice and Legal Rights. 3 Credits.

Examines the Bill of Rights with a focus on rights associated with government intrusion during police contact and investigation. Covers rights related to free expression, privacy, searches, seizures, self-incrimination and others. Introduces remedies available for unlawful police conduct. Recommended: CJA 112 and WR 121Z or any writing course for which WR 121Z is a prerequisite. Audit available.

CJA 230. Police Report Writing. 3 Credits.

Introduces police report writing. Covers appropriate narrative structures necessary for operational police reports. Includes critical legal aspects, content, organization, and grammar. Focuses on producing a quality police report capable of withstanding courtroom scrutiny. Prerequisite: WR 121Z or any writing course for which WR 121Z is a prerequisite. Audit available.

CJA 231. Crime Scene Photography. 3 Credits.

Introduces crime scene photography skills to aid in crime scene and evidentiary documentation. Includes camera operation, exposure control, proficiency in relational photos, close-up photography, lighting, flash control and videography. Prerequisite: WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 244. Tactical Communication in Crisis Incidents. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on police intervention in the lives of people in the midst of an emotional or physical crisis in the manner designed to minimize or prevent violence while gaining control of the situation. Emphasized are verbal and non-verbal communication techniques and skills utilized to calm the client and gain compliance helping to lead to a successful and safe resolution. Prerequisites: Placement into WR 121Z (or instructor permission). Audit available.

CJA 246. Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. 3 Credits.

Covers fish and game laws and their relation to wildlife management. Focuses on enforcement processes and techniques including investigation, fish and wildlife forensics, evidence handling, proper citation and report completion in preparation for courtroom presentation. Prerequisites: CJA 111 and WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 250. Human Trafficking. 3 Credits.

Introduces the dynamics of human trafficking. Addresses impact on survivors and society through control, manipulation and exploitation of victims from a third party exploiter. Explores the complicated dynamics of human trafficking (especially sex trafficking), including how to identify it and best practices when working with survivors. Investigates how intersections of oppression contribute to trafficking. Prerequisites: WR 121Z or any writing course for which WR 121Z is a prerequisite. Audit available.

CJA 265. Community Reentry for Offenders. 3 Credits.

Provides an overview of the role and responsibilities of the community jail and prison in preparing offenders for reentry into a lawful place within the community. Covers the steps necessary to prepare the offender for release, offender skills assessment processes, brokering employment opportunities and resources as well as other methods to support offenders while returning to positive lawful roles in the community. Prerequisites: CJA 113 and WR 121Z. Audit available.

CJA 266. Intro to Probation & Parole. 3 Credits.

Introduces evidence-based practices in community corrections. Examines the practice of assessment, risk prediction and risk management for individuals on probation and parole. Introduces both a theoretical understanding and practice of tools used in needs-based reentry and case management of criminal offenders. Examines the typology of specialized offenders. Explores cultural sensitivity issues within corrections staff. Audit available.

CJA 280A. Cooperative Education: Criminal Justice. 1-3 Credit.

Students participate with various public sector criminal justice agencies to learn about their structure and function. The field placement must be program-related. Department permission required prior to registration. Prerequisite: CJA 100 and (CJA 111 or CJA 113).