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The criminal justice program is for students pursuing careers in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, courts, law, private security, corporate security, criminal forensics, crime scene processing, emergency communications, victim services, or crime and criminological research.

Our faculty bring a balanced blend of the terminal degree of PhD and extensive practical field experience to the classroom. This combination of academic rigor and the field application of criminal justice principles and practices gives our graduates strong academic degrees. Our degrees make our graduates 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. Students may conduct and publish research in partnership with faculty members and present at CMU’s annual Student Showcase.


CJ Student Showcase photo

Colorado Mesa University’s (CMU) Criminal Justice program offers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Leadership and Policy (MACJLP) and two bachelor’s degree tracks, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Criminal Justice with POST Academy. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree track is the traditional degree track that prepares students for graduate studies, law school, and careers in policing, the courts, and corrections that may or may not require a POST certification. Students in the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree track will attend the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy (WCPOA) in their final semester and graduate with their bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and state of Colorado POST certification simultaneously.



Students training at the CMU Crime House

Alongside traditional classroom facilities, we engage students in hands-on learning at our Crime Scene House. This is a 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. The Crime Scene House is where the classroom meets the “real world,” a unique feature of our Criminal Justice program.



CMU also has the Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS). The FIRS is a research, teaching, and service center focusing on forensic taphonomy and related fields. The mission of the FIRS is to learn about and teach the decomposition of human remains in the western Colorado environment. The FIRS is one of only nine such facilities in the United States and the only one at altitude or with an arid climate. Additionally, CMU partners with the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy (CLETA). CLETA’s facility includes a state-of-the-art pursuit driving track and 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.

The criminal justice program also allows students to learn and network outside the classroom through its National Criminal Justice Honor Society chapter and two student-led clubs.

  • Alpha Phi Sigma is CMU’s National Criminal Justice Honor Society High-performing graduate and undergraduate students are invited to join the honor society each year.
  • Criminal Justice Association (CJA) is a club for students who wish to pursue any career in the criminal justice system. CJA aims to enrich students' knowledge by exposing and connecting them with local professionals, offering them opportunities to give back to the community, and hosting events that provide "hands-on" experience in the criminal justice field.
  • Mock Trial Club is CMU's American Mock Trial Association By competing with teams from other higher-education institutions, students develop critical thinking, public speaking skills, and knowledge of legal practices and procedures.

Bachelor’s degree graduates will be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and practice of each segment of the Criminal Justice System: police, courts, and corrections.
  2. Examine diversity issues and assess their impact on work and ethical practices in criminal justice.
  3. Apply major criminological theories to criminal behavior.
  4. Recognize quantitative and qualitative research methods, navigate scholarly information systems, identify and select quality sources and materials, and assess the validity and reliability of data.
  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.

Master’s degree graduates will be able to:

  1. Critique criminal justice policies and practices based upon advanced knowledge of criminological theory and recommend new practices or policies as needed.
  2. Evaluate complex ethical issues in criminal justice and develop pragmatic resolutions/recommendations to address those issues.
  3. Recommend and implement advanced leadership theories and skills in Criminal Justice program and policy development and administration.
  4. Design and conduct a capstone project using qualitative and/or quantitative research methods related to evidence-based practices, leadership, or administration of criminal justice practices and policies.

Program Overview