About the Department

The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Department of Criminal Justice will prepare you for a challenging and exciting career in federal, state, county, and municipal justice systems. Criminal justice majors also use their degree as a stepping stone to graduate school, including law school.

While criminal justice careers are demanding, few other professions offer such challenges and interesting work assignments. UNK Criminal Justice majors have been successful in establishing careers in a wide variety of exciting fields. In fact, we routinely hear back from our graduates that their Criminal Justice education at UNK prepared them well for the experiences and tasks they have encountered in their careers.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in either a Comprehensive or CJ major option which can be completed entirely online, or traditionally in a physical classroom. The Criminal Justice Minor (24 hours of coursework)  attracts associated students from Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, and Political Science.

The University of Nebraska is proud to partner with the State of Nebraska in supporting Nebraska law enforcement officers who are completing their baccalaureate degrees. Under the Nebraska Law Enforcement Education Act, sworn officers may be eligible for a 100% waiver of their resident tuition charges. This waiver is available to officers for up to five years. 

Joel Kreifels

"My reason for transferring was that I wanted a bachelor's, rather than an associate's degree. I'm committed and focused to obtain this goal. As a non-traditional student and transfer, I choose UNK because of the price. I also enjoyed hearing that most classes in your core studies consist of smaller class sizes, so I would feel recognized by my professors. These smaller class sizes made the transition from community college to university easier. Professors will help you along the way and become great references. It's a very friendly campus with many resources to help you succeed."

Joel Kreifels

Criminal Justice Major, Philosophy Minor

Beyond the Classroom

In the University of Nebraska at Kearney's Criminal Justice Department, you will learn all the different aspects of the criminal justice system. Our students have the opportunity to develop their skills further through student organizations, internships, and more. The department also hosts an annual Criminal Justice conference and career fair that offers hands on opportunities to meet with a multitude of justice representatives from across the nation.
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Student Organizations

  • Criminal Justice Student Club The Criminal Justice Student Club is a student organization that promotes professionalism and career development in the criminal justice field of study.
  • Criminal Justice Honor Society Established in 1942, an invitation to join Alpha Phi Sigma is the highest national scholastic recognition offered to criminal justice majors.
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Careers & Internships

  • Criminal Justice Annual Conference Each year the Criminal Justice Department hosts an annual conference in the Fall. The career fair provides students with the opportunity to meet with representatives from dozens of justice agencies at the federal, state, and local level, in Nebraska and across the Midwest.
  • Internships The University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Department of Criminal Justice considers an internship a career enhancing experience. Internships integrate academic studies with work in a practical arena. In addition to bridging the gap between formal schooling and work, they often function as a launching pad for careers.