Criminal Justice

Degree Programs

The Department of Criminal Justice is committed to preparing students for challenging and exciting careers within federal, state, county, and city justice systems. Serving students since 1975, the department has the largest number of majors of any single discipline within the College of Natural and Social Sciences. Located in Founders Hall, the Department of Criminal Justice provides quality instruction in preparing students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, and juvenile justice professions.
Career possibilities include:

  • private security
  • Para-legal
  • administrative positions within the courts

Criminal justice majors also find their degree to be an excellent stepping stone to graduate school, and many have gone on to law school.

Some of the more common occupation and interest areas include:

  • Police Officer
  • Special Agent
  • State Police Officer
  • Probation or Parole Agent
  • Security Investigator
  • Correctional Officer
  • Youth Home Counselor/Supervisor
  • Legal Assistant
  • Judicial Administrator
  • Military Officer with criminal justice speciality
  • and many others!

In addition to offering over 26 specific courses, the department sponsors an active criminal justice club and annual Criminal Justice Conference/Job Fair in which leading justice professionals from across the nation address majors. 

Criminal justice careers are very challenging, demanding only the most qualified applicants. Successful job applicants must be of the highest character, and be prepared to have their backgrounds and medical/psychological fitness investigated by prospective employers. While criminal justice careers are demanding as to commitment, work hours, and character qualification, few other professions offer such challenges and interesting work assignments. 

The faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice seeks to accomplish the following academic objectives:

  • To provide a broad academic and multidisciplinary background for students
  • To prepare students of high character and ethical standards for leadership positions within the employment areas of law enforcement, corrections, probation, parole, private security, and the courts.
  • To assist students in gaining employment within paralegal and criminal law career fields
  • To cultivate in students a realistic awareness of present and historical trends of crime and criminal methodology
  • To stimulate an awareness of deviant and abnormal human behavior of concern to criminal justice practitioners
  • To acquaint students with current literature and research pertaining to the administration of justice

Program of Study

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Criminal Justice. This can be achieved by following one of two degree tracks.

Criminal Justice Comprehensive Major Option
Students may elect to take the Criminal Justice Comprehensive Major Option which requires 54 credit hours in the area of criminal justice. Students following the comprehensive option are not required to select a minor, but have the option to do so.

Criminal Justice Comprehensive Option Degree Requirements

Criminal Justice Major Option
Students may also select Criminal Justice Major Option. This option includes a minimum of 36 credit hours in Criminal Justice. Students are required to select a minor (or a second major). While students can minor in any field that interests them, a number of fields complement those who are interested in Criminal Justice, including Biology, Chemistry, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work.

Criminal Justice Option Degree Requirements

Criminal Justice Minor
Students from a variety of majors find a minor in Criminal Justice attractive. Associated majors include but are not limited to Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, and Political Science. The Criminal Justice Minor includes 24 hours of Criminal Justice coursework.

Criminal Justice Minor Requirements

Criminal Justice Courses
Over thirty courses are currently being taught by Criminal Justice faculty at UNK. To see a list of Criminal Justice courses, and their associated descriptions, please follow the link below.

Criminal Justice Course list