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Criminal and Justice Studies Program

Whether your goal is to earn a degree or certificate in criminal justice, homeland security or forensic criminal investigation, explore current events or transfer to another institution, COD has a Criminal and Justice Studies program for you. 

Justice studies courses are designed to help you develop excellent communication skills, gain an understanding of human behavior, and prepare you for careers in public service including law enforcement, law, corrections, emergency management, restorative practices, national security professions and more.

Determine Your Path

Learn career-ready skills in the state-of-the-art Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center which houses a mock courtroom, forensics lab, street scene and more.

You want to attend a college that stands out from the rest. At COD, you'll discover:

  • Dedicated instructors with years of academic and professional experience.
  • Instruction utilizing top-notch facilities, equipment, and resources.
  • Affordable programs to help students achieve success without creating overwhelming debt or draining a savings account.
  • Small class sizes that ensure students receive personalized attention. 
  • A convenient and affordable 3+1 transfer program with Lewis University which enables students to complete their Associate in Arts (AA) degree and then take additional courses taught by Lewis professors at a lower tuition rate. 

Watch a video to learn more about the Criminal and Justice Studies program. 

Criminal Justice Transfer Pathway, Associate in Arts

The Criminal Justice Associate in Arts degree combines courses in communication, social and behavioral sciences, humanities and other areas with criminal justice elective courses. This provides students pursuing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and law enforcement with a two-year foundation of coursework.

Criminal Justice, Associate in Applied Science

The Criminal Justice Associate in Applied Science degree prepares students for careers in state, county and local law enforcement and entry-level corrections and private security positions.

This requires students to incorporate studies in written and oral communication, social and behavioral sciences, and specialized courses in constitutional law, criminal procedure and investigation.

Homeland Security, Associate in Applied Science

The Homeland Security Associate in Applied Science degree is designed to increase knowledge of personnel working in the areas of federal service, public administration, public safety, public health, law enforcement and security management. This degree provides an in-depth analysis of man-made threats including terrorism, global unrest, weapons of mass destruction and cyber warfare, as well as natural disasters and other catastrophic events.

Students explore best practices behind threat assessment, security planning and emergency management as they pursue careers in homeland security.

Homeland Security

The Homeland Security certificate is designed to enhance understanding of modern threats and associated security concepts for personnel working in areas of public administration, public safety, law enforcement, government and private sector security management.

Students focus their studies on one or more homeland security emphases including counterterrorism, intelligence, emergency management, critical infrastructure protection and private security. 

Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice certificate provides a comprehensive understanding of criminal justice in America. Students focus their studies on one or more criminal justice emphases including policing, law, corrections and investigations. 

COD Stories

Ebra Buah

"I encourage students to talk to faculty and professors about your career goal, because none of this would have been possible without support, recommendations and the connections I have made with people at College of DuPage.” - Ebra Buah

Ebra's COD Story

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Leah Gormaz

"I am grateful for all the help I received from faculty at College of DuPage, because at COD, I figured it out." - Leah Gormaz

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Laz Perez

"At COD, I was taught by a cadre of committed professionals who inspired me to become the guardian for those who could not take care of themselves.” - Laz Perez

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Joshua Schweitzer

"College of DuPage has helped me toward my goals by providing excellent teachers, engaging courses, and a system of meaningful support." - Joshua Schweitzer

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Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in criminal justice is to apply for admission.

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Criminal and Justice Studies program graduates will: 

  • Articulate the theories, philosophy, policies, practices, processes, and reforms of the major institutions of criminal justice.
  • Explain how the major components of the criminal justice system (i.e., police, courts, corrections, and homeland security agencies) are inter-dependent, and how the political, legal, ethical, and socioeconomic environments in which they operate affect them as well as the implications of these relationships for victims, offenders, defendants, justice professionals, and society.
  • Analyze the contemporary and major historical issues that the criminal justice system encounters, including events, policies, information, programs, and concepts that affect the operation of criminal justice agencies and actors, as well as issues that affect communities in respect to racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and gender diversity.
  • Evaluate the nature, extent, causation, and prevention of crime, including the ability to apply and critique the major theories relevant to those causes.
  • Apply the skills and methods in criminal justice research, including the acquisition, analysis, interpretation, dissemination, and policy implications of both quantitative and qualitative data, and, where appropriate, various skills and methods for conducting basic forensic investigations or crime analysis.
  • Apply the theories, philosophy, and principles of substantive, procedural, and evidentiary criminal law that regulate and guide the criminal justice system and the individuals that work within and/or are affected by system.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and demonstrate basic knowledge of information technology as applied to criminal justice research and practice.
  • Understand the concepts of: multiculturalism; cultural differences in American society; the complexity of the relationship between the process of criminal justice and the multicultural society it is intended to serve; and the sociocultural challenges that impact criminal justice personnel and the criminal justice system
  • Analyze contemporary geo-political issues, the global threat landscape, and how those factors influence U.S. homeland security policy and practice.

College of DuPage has several justice studies transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


Unique Learning Facilities

Street Scene

Learn and train in a full-scale street scene, mock courtroom, command center, forensic lab and rappelling tower in Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center (HEC).

Career Information

Explore careers based on your interest, location and salary range or view top occupations by income.


Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your frequently asked questions regarding the Criminal and Justice Studies program.

Students who major in justice studies find themselves to be motivated to complete a task and curious to discover how things work. Students in this program aren't just communicators -- they enjoy working with a team, helping others and knowing that no two days will be a like.  

Along with justice studies courses you'll need to earn the degree, students in this field are encouraged to take writing courses. Writing effective reports is a skill sought after by criminal justice agencies. The quality of a report can greatly affect the outcome of a case.

The Suburban Law Enforcement Academy (SLEA) is a basic police officer training school. SLEA fulfills the 11-week basic police training required of all new police officers. The academy is only open to newly sworn police officers. 

The Criminal and Justice Studies program is for students who want to enter the criminal justice field.