Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many Criminal Justice courses do I need to take to complete the major?
For students whose catalog year is Fall 2013 or later: You'll need 12 courses (36 units) plus 1 upper division writing requirement (3 units) for a total of 13 courses (39 units). For students whose catalog year is Spring 2013 or earlier: You'll need 11 courses (33 units) plus 3 courses in the correlated curriculum (9 units), plus 1 upper division writing requirement (3 units) for a total of 15 courses (45 units)
2. What are those Criminal Justice courses? Which ones are required?
Catalog Year Fall 2013 or later: Click on 2013 - 2015 Catalog Homepage to download a map of the requirements for the major.
Catalog Year Spring 2013 or earlier: Click on 2011 - 2013 Catalog Homepage to download a map of the requirements for the major.
3. Is there a minimum final grade necessary for courses taken for the major?
Yes—a big yes. In order to earn a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice all students who begin the program after the Fall 2005 semester must earn a grade of at least "C" (2.0 grade-points; "C-minus" does not count) in all courses in the curriculum. The same standards apply to the minor in Criminal Justice. Courses that don't meet this standard must be repeated and completed with a final grade of C for the major to be completed.
4. I took a criminal justice course in community college. Will this course count toward my Criminal Justice major?
For students whose catalog year is Fall 2013 and later: Yes. You can use an introductory criminal justice course to count in lieu of CRJU 100. Please consult a criminal justice advisor to obtain approval. This is the only course in the Criminal Justice major that can accept transfer credit from a community college. All other courses in the major are made up of upper division classes. For students whose catalog year is Spring 2012 and earlier: No, it won't. Community colleges do not offer upper division courses, and the CSUF Criminal Justice major is made up entirely of upper division classes.
5. What are the upper division correlated curriculum courses (required for catalog year Spring 2013 and earlier only)?
These courses are designed to help you to broaden your understanding of criminal justice or are courses that involve methods that are similar to those used in criminal justice. Generally these are courses in the social sciences. You have to take three of them—9 units worth—and all of them have to be upper-division courses. Click here to download a list of approved correlated curriculum courses. If you take any of these, you won't need an advisor's approval. If you have any other courses in mind, you'll need to talk to an advisor. Please note: Courses that are designated as such can meet both our correlated curriculum as well as your 9 units of upper division general education requirements.
6. How many units do I need to graduate?
You'll need 120 total units. Completing the units for your major plus General Education units won't be enough until your total units is 120. That total of 120 units is a university rule.
7. Which courses should I begin with?
Start with Criminal Justice 100 as a freshman and sophomore and then take 300 as early as your second semester of your sophomore year. CRJU 300 is a prerequisite for the remaining CRJU courses, but can be taken concurrently with other CRJU courses (with instructor consent) and then you can take any combination of core and elective courses depending upon your scheduling needs, etc. Generally, it is ideal to work your way through the core curriculum courses prior to beginning electric courses as the core courses will provide a good foundation for other courses.
8. Should I get all my GE out of the way before I start taking courses in the major?
If you're a CSUF four year student: You should generally complete all of your 42 unit lower division general education requirements during your first four semesters on campus. Ideally, you should take CRJU 100 during your first or second year and you can take Criminal Justice 300 during the second semester of your second year. You can then concentrate on your major and other upper division electives, including your 9 units of upper division general education requirements, during your remaining semesters. If you're a transfer student: If you have any lower division general education requirements when you arrive at CSUF you should complete them as soon as possible. Ideally, you should take Criminal Justice 100 & 300 during your first year at CSUF. You can then concentrate on your major and other upper division electives, including your 9 units of upper division general education requirements, during your remaining semesters.
9. Is there a writing requirement for the major? How do I meet it?
All students are required to complete an upper division writing requirement. The approved courses for Criminal Justice are English 301(Advanced College Writing), or English 365 (Legal Writing). English 301 is the recommended class as it is more readily available and addresses general writing skills, which are a growing need among university students.
10. Are there prerequisites for 300 or 400 level courses?
Criminal Justice 300 is the primary prerequisite for many other 300 or 400 classes. Generally, enforcement of the prerequisite is left to the discretion of individual instructors. Often instructors will permit you to take an upper division Criminal Justice course if you are concurrently enrolled in CJ 300. Others may require that you complete the course prior to enrolling in their course. Some 400 level courses, e.g., "Advanced Corrections" may require that you complete both Criminal Justice 300 and Criminal Justice 345 (Corrections) prior to enrolling. Finally, some correlated courses (in other departments) may require that you complete a prerequisite prior to enrolling in a specific class.
11. Do I need to have a formal concentration within the Criminal Justice major?
No, though many students do that informally by taking courses they're most interested in.
12. Must I have a minor?
No, a minor is not required for graduation. A minor demonstrates that you have taken several courses within a given field and is often used to complement your major.
13. How can I obtain a criminal justice minor?
The criminal justice minor consists of 18 units. You must complete: CJ 300 Introduction to Criminal Justice CJ 310A Criminal Law: Substantive CJ 330 Crime & Delinquency Plus any other 3 core and/or elective criminal justice courses.
14. Can I double major or minor in Public Administration, or Political Science, along with my Criminal Justice major?
15. What are the rules for minors and double majors?
12 units must be unique to the minor and not used for the major; and 24 units must be unique to the major (no double counting). GE courses may be used for the minor and for one of the majors.
16. Can a course meet the Criminal Justice major and General Education requirements?
Well, yes and no. If you're a Criminal Justice major, you cannot take a Criminal Justice class --that is, a course with a CRJU designation-- both to meet the requirements for the major and have it apply to a particular category of GE. Basically, if you're a Criminal Justice major you cannot use any Criminal Justice course to meet a GE requirement. But, if you take a non-Criminal Justice course to satisfy the correlated curriculum requirement (catalog year Spring 2013 and earlier students only)—and remember, these courses must be outside of Criminal Justice--then the course can qualify for GE credit. But in this case, don't assume that taking a three-unit course that qualifies for both the Criminal Justice correlated curriculum requirement and GE credit somehow turns those three units into six. It doesn't. If you double-major, one of your two majors is designated, by you, as your primary major. You can't use courses from your primary major to complete GE requirements, but you can use courses from your secondary major for GE credit.
17. After I finish the General Education and Major Requirements what do I take then?
Whatever you like. These courses are called free electives and allow you to take other courses in your major, obtain a minor or explore other academic areas of interest to you and to get you up to the 120 units needed to graduate.
18. Can I take graduate courses?
Yes, if you are a senior (90 units completed), have the academic preparation for the course, and have the permission of the instructor and are permitted by the Division.
19. Do I need to take an internship? How many internship courses can I take?
An internship is an elective and is not required for the Criminal Justice major, but most students find them to be a valuable experience and often a help in finding a job later. For students whose catalog year is Spring 2013 and earlier, you are limited to a total of 3 units in internships. For students whose catalog year is Fall 2013 and later, you are allowed a total of 6 units in internships.
20. What is an Independent Study? Do I need to complete one? How many independent study courses can I take?
An independent study is an academically oriented project between a student and a supervising full-time faculty member. An independent study is an elective and is not required for the Criminal Justice major. While there are a variety of projects that can potentially be approved by the Chair of the Division of Politics, Administration & Justice, traditional independent study courses typically involve significant scholarly research and writing. You are limited to a total of 3 units of independent study courses. If you are interested in completing an independent study, you must receive approval from a supervising faculty member.