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The Criminal Justice major or minor is for students pursuing careers in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, courts, law, private security, corporate security, criminal forensics, crime scene processing, or crime and criminological research. (Learn more about rewarding career paths in criminal justice.)

Our Criminal Justice program has undergone some exciting changes. We're acquiring new academic professors and increasing the academic directions available to students. We've grown student enrollment in both the criminal justice major degree distinctions, and we've expanded the variety of courses we offer. For example, we've added a Public Safety Diving (PSD) technical certificate, which offers students the underwater expertise needed in public safety realms like policing, fire rescue, and search/rescue/recovery dive teams. Additionally, the new Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) is a research, teaching, and service center that focuses on forensic taphonomy and related fields. The mission of FIRS is to learn about and teach the decomposition of human remains in the western Colorado environment. FIRS is one of only six such facilities in the United States, and it's the only one at altitude or with an arid climate.

Alongside traditional classroom facilities, we engage students in hands-on learning at our Crime Scene House. This is an actual residence located near campus. The Crime Scene House is used for courses and practical scenarios in crime scene processing, criminal investigation, forensics, tactical training, osteology, and criminalistics. Along with FIRS, the Crime Scene House is where the classroom meets the “real world” – which is a unique feature of our Criminal Justice program.

Colorado Mesa University is also a partner in the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy. This facility includes a state-of-the-art pursuit driving track as well as a simulated residential city block. Students in the BAS program and POST Academy learn critical skills at this facility - the only one of its kind in Colorado.

These changes are meeting the rapidly growing demand for academic programs in the various criminal justice disciplines. They also make Colorado Mesa University competitive with other criminal justice programs in Colorado and surrounding areas.

Our professors bring to the classroom a balanced blend of the terminal degree of Ph.D., as well as extensive practical field experience. This combination of academic rigor, along with field application of criminal justice principles and practices, gives our graduates strong academic degrees. It also makes them highly marketable in numerous criminal justice career fields in Colorado and across the United States. Opportunities abound for research in the discipline, and internships with various criminal justice agencies are also available.

Students training at the CMU Crime House

We've also expanded the academic directions available to students in the Criminal Justice Program. The Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy (POST) now offers a new Criminal Justice - POST degree distinction. This program enables students to obtain the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Criminal Justice and the POST certification simultaneously. Students completing this degree distinction can immediately seek employment in policing careers, including parole, the Department of Wildlife, liquor and tobacco enforcement, marijuana enforcement, gaming enforcement, and many more.

Criminal Justice at Colorado Mesa University is growing and the changes are exciting. With growth and change also comes the responsibility to provide the very best education possible for our students. We're dedicated to giving our graduates an interesting and academically rigorous education. Our goal is to work as collaborative partners with our students to ensure that they are ultimately marketable and successful in their chosen criminal justice careers at either the local, state, or federal level.

Graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and practice of each segment of the Criminal Justice System: police, courts, and corrections.
  2. Analyze ethical issues surrounding the practice of criminal justice in a diverse society.
  3. Use knowledge of the nature and causes of crimes, typologies, and theories of offenders and victims in critiquing current crime prevention policies.
  4. Practice quantitative and qualitative research methods, including interpretation of statistical analyses.
  5. Demonstrate proficient oral communication and writing skills that are formal and professional in nature.
  6. BAS (POST Academy) ONLY: Demonstrate proficiency in basic skills (driving, firearms, and arrest control) required for entry-level policing.

Program Overview