The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice (BACJ) degree was designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of today’s criminal justice system and provide a foundation for you to launch a career in the criminal justice industry. Whether you’re interested in serving as an advocate for victims of crime, working for a non-profit that focuses on criminal justice policy, serving as a probation officer, or working in a court system, the BA in Criminal Justice degree program can help.

The BACJ program will provide you with broad knowledge of the criminal justice system including such topics as the role of technology in criminal justice, how the corrections system works, how courts and law enforcement work together, and criminal justice theory. When you graduate with a BACJ degree, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to propel you into a career in the criminal justice system whether that’s in government, nonprofit, or the private sector.

Through the flexibility of this program, you will be able to learn what you want, when you want. Not only is the program offered entirely online for your convenience, but we also allow you the flexibility to specialize in areas of criminal justice that interest you most. 

Additionally, we can assure you that the online CU Denver Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program is the same great program as the on-campus version. In fact, it’s exactly the same as the on-campus program, you’re just taking classes in a different way.

Are you ready to jump into the interesting and ever changing world of criminal justice and prepare yourself for a career? Then, the online BA in Criminal Justice is the right degree for you.

Program Details

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program is a liberal arts undergraduate degree that acts like a professional degree. Unlike other liberal arts degrees, the BACJ program focuses on developing critical thinking and analytic skills in combination with the core competencies of a standard undergraduate degree to provide you with skills and expertise that you can use every day in your criminal justice career.

Upon completion of the program, you will:
  • be able to draw on multiple disciplines and research traditions to identify and understand the social and behavioral contributors to crime and delinquency;
  • have a comprehensive understanding of the institutions in the criminal justice system and how politics and policy making affect these institutions;
  • have effective critical thinking, oral and written communication skills;
  • have a comprehensive knowledge of the ethical concerns of the criminal justice field;
  • understand how perceptions of the criminal justice system vary cross-culturally, and how such differences influence policy and public perception;
  • understand the impact and interplay of public policy on the trends, solutions, and research in the field;
  • have demonstrated honed interpersonal and leadership skills; and
  • have developed a basis for the skills necessary to perform information analysis; engage in critical thinking, problem solving, and evaluation.
In addition to a variety of class topics including ethics, social and behavioral factors behind crime, the institutions of the criminal justice system, and victimology, you are required to participate in at least a one semester internship where you will walk away with practical, hands-on experience. Many students find the internship portion of the program so valuable that the choose to extend their semester internship into a full year or take another internship entirely.

Finally, we offer a bachelors/masters program in criminal justice. Whether you know you are planning on pursuing a graduate degree in criminal justice after the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program or not, approved students can take up to 12 credit hours at the graduate level, all while still pursuing your undergraduate degree. For undergraduate students in the BA/MCJ program, the School of Public Affairs (SPA) provides a tuition scholarship to offset the greater cost of graduate level courses, so not only do you have the opportunity to complete these classes at a discounted tuition rate but also the credits can also be applied towards masters degree program upon graduation.

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at CU Denver is an affordable option with discounted tuition rates for non resident, fully online students. And of course, you will save money not having to drive to campus! 

Tuition and fees are based largely on the class that you enroll in. Tuition amount assessed is determined based on which school/college is offering your class, as well as if it is an undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. For more information or to view exact rates, please visit the Bursar's website.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

graduation cap with money


Students completing a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice online through CU Denver are required to complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. Of those 120 credit hours, students complete a minimum of 3 credit hours of internship. You may choose to complete additional internship credits with a maximum accumulation of 6 credit hours.  

1 semester credit hour is equal to 45 hours of on-site internship work experience. 
2 semester credit hours are equal to 90 hours of on-site internship work experience. 
3 semester credit hours are equal to 135 hours of on-site internship work experience. 
4 semester credit hours are equal to 180 hours of on-site internship work experience. 
5 semester credit hours are equal to 225 hours of on-site internship work experience. 
6 semester credit hours are equal to 270 hours of on-site internship work experience. 

The internship can be paid or unpaid. Students must complete a minimum of 3 credit hours of internship to satisfy the CRJU internship requirement. 

In order to qualify for an internship, students must meet the following minimum requirements:  
  • Minimum of 15 credit hours completed with CU Denver 
  • Successful completion of CRJU 1000 Criminology & Criminal Justice: An Overview and CRJU 2041 Crime Theory & Causes 
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative CU Denver grade point average 
It is recommended that students begin preparing for an internship upon completion of 60 total semester credit hours including 12 credit hours completed in the criminal justice major.

Although many students choose online degrees for the flexibility and opportunity to complete a degree program at their pace, the online BACJ degree can be completed in four years.


Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first time student, a transfer student, or an international student. 

Learn more about the admissions process by visiting the CU Denver admissions website and start your application today!

Career Outlook

With a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree, you’ll have an opportunity to pursue a plethora of careers from detective to death investigator to probation officer.

The career outlook for criminal justice graduates is increasing year-over-year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 30% of federal government employees were eligible to retire by late 2017. That statistic doesn’t even take into consideration state or local government employees or nonprofit and public sector employees.

The overall career outlook for BACJ students depends in large part on the type of criminal justice career. Overall, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts the following growth patterns: 

  • 5% increase in all law enforcement by 2021
  • 2% increase for detectives and criminal investigators
  • 6% increase in police and sheriff’s patrol officers
  • 5% increase in corrections professions by 2021
  • 19% increase in criminal social work professions by 2021

Here are some of the top career opportunities that you could expect after graduation along with median annual salary:=

  • Forensic Interviewer, $38,854
  • Fraud Investigator, $58,178
  • Crime Analyst, $47,098
  • FBI Agent, $63,510


Courses at CU Denver are offered three times a year - fall, spring, and summer. Not all courses are available every semester. For most programs, courses last 15 weeks, plus one week for finals. This is a big commitment, but we believe the extra time you spend dedicated to your studies pays off! 

View the CU Denver academic calendar.

View the academic catalog for course information.

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