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Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice


The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. While our program seeks to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the criminal justice system, we are also committed to ensuring that students receive the benefits of a well-rounded liberal arts education. We not only familiarize students with the correlations of crime and the workings of the criminal justice system, but we also teach students how to apply this knowledge to related social problems and changing situations. This includes the development of critical thinking, communication skills, and the ability to conceptualize ideas.

We provide students with multiple courses to represent these substantive areas. Our degree requirements and core curriculum focus specifically on the areas below:

  • Criminal justice and juvenile justice processes (law, crime, and administration of justice)
  • Criminology (the causes of crime and typologies)
  • Law enforcement (police organization, discretion, subculture, and legal constraints)
  • Law adjudication (criminal law, prosecution, defense, and court procedures and decision-making)
  • Corrections (incarceration, community-based corrections, and treatment of offenders)
  • Prevention of crime (social, community, situational interventions, and public policy)
  • Research and evaluation (principles of social science research and policy evaluation)
  • Technology and crime analysis (crime mapping, data analysis, and criminal justice information systems)

Degree Requirements

The Criminal Justice major consists of at least thirty-six (36) credits in criminal justice courses (not to exceed 60 credits in criminal justice courses), of which at least five (5) courses must be at the 3000-level or above. In accordance with university policies, students must have a minimum of 120 credits for graduation. Students majoring in Criminal Justice must maintain at least a 2.200 grade point average (GPA) overall and at least a 2.500 GPA in their Criminal Justice courses. Transfer students will also have to meet residency requirements that have been established by the university. For additional information on residency requirements, see academic policies in the undergraduate catalog.

Required Courses (19 cr.)


  • FAHS.1090 First Year Experience Seminar is only required for Freshmen entering after spring 2010. Transfer students are not required to complete this course.
  • CRIM.3950 Statistics in Criminal Justice is required for a student’s acceptance into the 5-year BS/MA program. Students must receive a minimum grade of ‘B’ or better in this course and have a minimum overall GPA of 3.000.

Criminal Justice Electives (18 cr.)

  • A minimum of six (6) additional criminal justice courses is required, at least three (3) of which need to be 3000-level or above.
  • Students who choose to have a concentration are obligated to complete the specific requirements for that particular concentration. Completion of a concentration results in eighteen (18) criminal justice credits.

Criminal Justice Research Skills Requirement (12 cr.)

Students majoring in Criminal Justice are required to meet proficiency standards in the fields of research, statistics, and data analysis.

Additional Required Courses

Six (6) additional courses for the Criminal Justice/Social Sciences (CJ/SS) option or the selection of a second major or minor (18-36 credits).

Free Electives

Students must take electives outside of Criminal Justice totaling their remaining credit requirements (i.e., the number of credits remaining to reach the 120 credit requirement for graduation or residency). Most students need between 15-18 credits worth of free electives.

View the complete Degree Pathway.

degree-concentrationsDegree Concentrations

Students have the option of selecting one concentration during their course of study. Concentrations are not required and those students who do not wish to concentrate in a particular subject/field will complete a general concentration.

Selection of a concentration should be made before students take no more than two Criminal Justice Electives or at the start of the first semester after transferring. Transfer students should meet with an advisor before declaring a concentration to ensure eligibility. Students wishing to declare a concentration need to reach out to the department or coordinator of the program.

Students may choose from the following concentrations:

  • Corrections
  • Crime and Mental Health
  • General
  • Homeland Security
  • Police
  • Violence


Juniors and seniors at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who have a 3.000 GPA or higher and have earned a ‘B’ or better in CRIM.3950 Statistics in Criminal Justice are eligible to apply for the BS/MA program. This program allows completion of both degrees in five (5) years if desired. As part of that program, up to three (3) graduate classes for the master’s in Criminal Justice or two (2) graduate classes for the master’s in Security Studies may be counted towards both the 120-credit hours required for the undergraduate BS degree and the 33-credit hours required for the MA degree in CJ or the 30-credit hours for the MA or MS degree in Security Studies.

Once a student graduates with his/her undergraduate degree and enters the master’s program, he/she must transfer the credits for the graduate courses taken in his/her undergraduate degree to the graduate program. Students must earn a ‘B’ or better in the graduate course in order for the credits to be transferred into their graduate program. This is done by filing a graduate academic petition asking for the credit to be transferred into the student’s master’s program. For more information, see the graduate catalog.

For additional information about programs, contact the School of Criminology and Justice Studies.