A.S. Criminal Justice
Credit Hours
Max Transfer Credit
Class Type
100% online, 6 & 12-week courses
Next Start Date
Apr 1, 2024
Cost Per Credit

Serve effectively with an online criminal justice associate degree

For some, the words “criminal justice” conjure up CSI-type TV shows. For others, it means a post-military career opportunity. For still others, it represents the fulfillment of a long-held dream of creating a safer, better world.

From policing to victim advocacy, most careers in criminal justice require some higher education degree -- perhaps because few careers have the impact to literally change the world the way criminal justice does.

Earn an online associate degree in criminal justice and learn the inner workings of a system dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others and deterring crime. 

From law enforcement and court systems to corrections and homeland security, an online associate degree in criminal justice equips you with the foundational knowledge and skills to jumpstart an exciting career in a unique field that’s dedicated to protecting, serving, and preserving public safety.

Program Availability

On Site

A Model System

Examine the key components of the criminal justice process.

Real-World Practitioners

Learn from in-the-field criminal justice adminstrators.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Program Overview

Become a world-changer in your community

With Franklin University's A.S. Criminal Justice, you'll learn fundamental principles about the U.S. criminal justice system, including crime prevention, deterrence and control. 

You’ll be introduced to a theoretical framework of criminal behavior, intervention techniques, and ethics and leadership. You will also compare and contrast the workings of the three sub-systems of the criminal justice system. More importantly, you’ll learn how to increase communication, collaboration and working relationships among diverse populations.

And because our faculty are real-world criminal justice administrators, you’ll also benefit firsthand from their years on the job, learning not just the theories behind the principles, but also how apply them to real-life work.

At Franklin, you need just 60 credit hours of core, major and general courses to graduate. Plus, you can take 100 percent of your classes online and earn your degree, without disrupting your life or work schedule.

Get on the fast path to a career helping reduce crime with modern-day technologies and applied theories by earning your online associate degree in criminal justice from Franklin in less than two years. Plus, when you’re ready, we make it easy to seamlessly transition to Franklin’s bachelor’s degree program, B.S. Criminal Justice Administration, so you can take your career to the next level.

Earn your degree from a university built for busy adults

Earn your degree on your terms by taking classes 100% online. Accredited and nonprofit, Franklin was built from the ground-up to satisfy the needs of adult learners. Our seamless transfer process and team of academic advisors will help ease your transition to becoming a student, while our flexible course schedules help to balance your education with work, family, and life. Get started on your future today.

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Future Start Dates

Start dates for individual programs may vary and are subject to change. Please request free information & speak with an admission advisor for the latest program start dates.

Spring 2024
Recommended Register By:
Mar 22
Summer 2024
Recommended Register By:
May 10
Summer 2024
Recommended Register By:
Jun 21
Fall 2024
Recommended Register By:
Aug 9
Fall 2024
Recommended Register By:
Sep 20
Fall 2024
Recommended Register By:
Nov 1
Spring 2025
Recommended Register By:
Dec 27
Spring 2025
Recommended Register By:
Feb 7
Spring 2025
Recommended Register By:
Mar 21

Your Best Value

Choose Franklin's A.S. Criminal Justice and get a high-quality degree that fits your life and your budget.

Keep the Credit You've Earned


On average, students transfer in 2/3 of the credits required.

Full-Time, One-Class-at-a-Time

Focus on one 6-week class at a time and maintain full-time status by taking 3 courses per term.

80% of the program can be completed by taking six-week course, one class at a time


Tuition Guarantee

Inflation-proof your degree cost by locking-in your tuition rate from day one through graduation.

Highly Recommended


98% of graduating students would recommend Franklin to their family, friends and/or colleagues.

Source: Franklin University, Office of Career Development Student Satisfaction Survey (Summer 2023)


Curriculum & Course Descriptions

60 Semester Hours
Fundamental General Education
English Composition
ENG 120 - College Writing (4)

In this course, students acquire the writing competencies necessary for completing analytical and argumentative papers supported by secondary research. A variety of assignments, beginning with personal reflections, build upon one another, as students develop ideas that respond to, critique, and synthesize the positions of others. Students systematize and organize knowledge in ways that will help them in all their courses. The course also emphasizes the elements of critical reading, effective writing style, appropriate grammar and mechanics, clarity of language, and logical and cohesive development. It culminates in submission of an extended, documented research paper.

MATH 160 - College Algebra (4)

This course is designed to prepare students for Applied Calculus and Discrete Mathematics and to provide the mathematical background needed for the analytic reasoning used in other courses. Topics include functions and their graphs, including exponential and logarithmic functions; complex numbers; systems of equations and inequalities; matrices; basic principles of counting and probability; and other selected topics. Note, this course has proctored exam(s).

OR MATH 215 - Statistical Concepts (4)

This course introduces you to statistics with applications to various areas. The course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics included are: sampling techniques, data types, experiments; measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, graphical displays of data, basic probability concepts, binomial and normal probability distributions, sampling distributions and Central Limit Theorem; confidence intervals, hypothesis tests of a mean, or a proportion for one or two populations, and linear regression.

Choose MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite to MATH 160. Choose either MATH 140 Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning or MATH 150 Fundamental Algebra as the prerequisite to MATH 215. Prerequisite course can count as a University Elective.


6 credits from the following types of courses:
Two courses from the Science discipline. One course must have a lab component.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
POSC 204 - American Government (3)

The course examines the complex political and legal environment of public administration. Students learn how politics, law, and the structure and principles of American government impact citizens, public policy, and the administration of public and nonprofit organizations. Students apply fundamental political theories and administrative law principles in administrative contexts. Students pursuing the Public Administration major should take this course prior to beginning their specialization course work.

3 credits from the following types of courses:
Choose from the Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Psychology, or Sociology disciplines.

Arts & Humanities
HUMN 211 - Introduction to Critical Ethics (2)

Critical Ethics uses critical thinking to get around the limitations of personal belief and indoctrination to get to what ought to be done and why to improve the human condition. Accordingly, the goal of this course is to help the student improve his/her ethical analysis and evaluation skills to help the student do the thing that must be done, when it ought to be done, using critical thinking.

4 credits from the following types of courses:
Choose from the Art, English Literature, Fine Arts, Humanities, Music, Philosophy, Religion or Theater disciplines.

Additional General Education
PF 121 - Basic Learning Strategies (2)

This course prepares students to be successful lifelong learners both academically and in their chosen careers. Franklin courses require a high level of self-directed learning and focus on the skills required in the workplace and the classroom that are easily transferrable between the two environments. The course includes strategies for time management, goal setting, reading comprehension, and advancing communication skills, including the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments.

OR PF 321 - Learning Strategies (2)

This course prepares students to be successful lifelong learners both academically and in their chosen careers. Franklin courses require a high level of self-directed learning and focus on the skills required in the workplace and the classroom that are easily transferable between the two environments. The course includes strategies for advancing communication skills, including the use of electronic tools to participate in virtual environments. The assignments and activities in the course are created to closely simulate teamwork found in the workplace.

COMM 150 - Interpersonal Communication (4)

By using applied critical and creative thinking, students in this course will develop a set of communication skills that will enhance their personal and professional relationships and endeavors. This course will focus on skill development in key areas such as self, perception, listening, verbal messages, conversations, relationships, conflict management, persuasion, and presentation skills.

OR SPCH 100 - Speech Communication (4)

This basic public-speaking course intends to improve the student's ability to think critically and to communicate orally. Theory and practice are provided in various speaking situations. Each student is required to speak before an audience, but class work also involves reading, gathering and organizing information, writing, and listening.

4 credits from the following types of courses:
Any General Education course at the 100 or 200 level

Major Area Required
CJAD 210 - Intro to Criminal Justice Administration (4)

This is an introductory course designed to expose students to the various Major elements of the criminal justice system (police, courts, and corrections). Students will learn about the ways in which the various systems interact, the processing of offenders, the various forms of punishment and the alternatives to punishment. The future of the criminal justice system will also be discussed.

CJAD 240 - Introduction to Criminology (4)

This course will focus on theories of crime and types of offending. Topics related the causation, control and prevention of criminal behavior will be addressed in this course.

CJAD 310 - Courts and Criminal Procedure (4)

This course addresses the requirements for processing criminal offenders through the court system. Topics include structure of the court system in the U.S., evidentiary standards, constitutional protections, the role and importance of case law, and the role of the prosecutor and defense attorney in the courts.

CJAD 315 - Policing in America (4)

This course is designed to provide insight into the history and organization of American police agencies from the mid-1800s to the present day. You will learn about the three levels of law enforcement in America. You will be exposed to managerial and organizational concepts commonly employed in American police agencies. You will become familiar with the standards and training generally required to become a police officer in America. The concept of police culture and related issues will also be discussed. You will have the opportunity to consider the history and current status of females and minorities in the American police system. American policing and its relationship to ethics and the power of discretion will be discussed. The operations and functions of patrol officers and detectives will also be discussed in some detail. Included in the discussion of patrol and detective operations will be a discussion of the related importance and impact of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court. The concept of police-community relations will be discussed as will selected philosophies of policing that impact police-community relations. Finally, you will consider the impact of new and emerging technologies on American policing. The impact of the advent of the Department of Homeland Security and related changes in the Post - 9/11 era will also be discussed.

CJAD 320 - Corrections in America (4)

This course considers contemporary corrections in America. This course will include a review of recent corrections-related research and a discussion of the role corrections plays in the criminal justice system. Topics covered will include a historical overview of corrections in America, alternatives to incarceration, types and functions of various prison systems in corrections, and various categories of inmates within the corrections system.

CJAD 340 - Evidence Based Practice & Research (4)

This innovative approach to research describes best practices and data-driven solutions in criminal justice research including quantitative, qualitative, and program evaluation research. Students will be good consumers of research and will have the fundamental knowledge necessary to evaluate research studies, evaluate their value toward their field of interest, and evaluate their usefulness for making sound decisions in the field.

Additional Requirements

All students are required to pass College Writing (ENG 120), and either Basic Learning Strategies (PF 121) or Learning Strategies (PF 321) prior to enrolling in any course at the 200 level or above. Students who enroll at Franklin with 30 or fewer hours of transfer credit are required to pass PF 121 Basic Learning Strategies in place of PF 321 Learning Strategies. Interpersonal Communication (COMM 150) or Speech Communication (SPCH 100) must be taken prior to enrolling in any course at the 300 level or above. Students must also meet the University algebra competency requirement.

A.S. Criminal Justice Program Details

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Career Opportunities

Victim’s Advocate

Found in a variety of settings including police stations, courts or nonprofit organizations, victim’s advocates present options and information in order to support decision making.

Police Officer

Police Officers ensure public safety by preventing and detecting criminal activity that can adversely affect both people and property.

Our programs are designed to equip you with a broad spectrum of skills relevant to various careers. Eligibility requirements for the professions associated with our programs may vary by employer and location. Graduates may be required to meet additional criteria beyond successful degree completion for certain positions.


Private Investigator

Private investigators conduct systematic and thorough investigations on behalf of individuals or groups and report their findings on cases involving fraud, false claims, civil proceedings and more.

Border patrol agent

Border patrol agents are federal employees hired to detect and prevent people and illegal contraband, like weapons and drugs, from entering the country.

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers plan, develop and coordinate rehabilitative programs in order to prepare offenders for release from the justice system.

Our programs offer a range of skills for different careers. Specific job requirements vary by employer and location. Some positions may require additional qualifications beyond earning your degree.


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