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Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Explore the BCJ degree program at NMSU Online

The Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) degree at NMSU Online is designed as an interdisciplinary program, encompassing the study of the humanities, law, and the natural, behavioral and social sciences. The bachelor’s in criminal justice curriculum seeks to balance theoretical inquiry with applied knowledge.

The Department of Criminal Justice offers BCJ courses 100% Online. Students interested in completing their undergraduate criminal justice degree online and those who wish to work on their degree fully online can do so through NMSU Online.

Requirements for a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice include the following:

  • The student must complete 33 credits of Criminal Justice coursework: 27 of those credits must be upper-division (300 and above), excluding the CJUS 393 Internship
  • For degree completion, the total is 120 credits; 48 of those credits must be upper-division (300 and above)

Humans for Humans

A new student organization called Humans for Humans was chartered in Fall 2020 by students in the Criminal Justice Department. The organization seeks to combat human trafficking through any permissible means. While open to all NMSU students, Humans for Humans strives to prepare and equip majors in criminal justice for their future careers, especially in leadership and human trafficking prevention.

The organization’s goals will be accomplished through:

  • Partnerships with local, state and national organizations and agencies
  • Awareness efforts directed toward students and the public
  • Fundraising for efforts combating human trafficking
  • Advocating for victims of human trafficking
  • Conducting research to further understand matters related to human trafficking
  • Volunteering at organizations that combat human trafficking

Specialized Minors

The department offers interdisciplinary minors in Forensic Science and in Child Advocacy Studies. Learn more about the minors. 

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Get help with tuition costs and other educational expenses through a variety of scholarship opportunities for majors in criminal justice including the following:

  • Fouratt and Heydt Law Enforcement Officer Endowed Scholarship
  • F. Greathouse Endowed Scholarship
  • CHP Captain G. Tracey Endowed Scholarship
  • Colonel Albert Fountain Endowed Scholarship

Learn more about financial aid opportunities at NMSU.


Degree type: Bachelor  

Other program options: Fully online Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree

College: Arts and Sciences

Delivery formats: 100% online

Program Credits: 33

Program length: Full-time (4 years); part-time (6 years)

Accredited by: NMSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

Cost per credit hour:  

  • Graduate online: $380.20*† 
  • Active Military online: $250*† 

*For NMSU Online programs and courses, the per credit hour cost is listed above. Special tuition agreements (Western Undergraduate Exchange, Descubre, etc.) are not applicable to NMSU Online programs. Course fees still apply and are charged separately. Textbooks, uniforms, equipment, etc., are additional program costs. Additional per credit costs might be charged by the program, department or college.

†For on-campus students, find tuition and fees here.

Program Highlights

By pursuing your bachelor’s in Criminal Justice degree through NMSU Online, you will study in the Department of Criminal Justice, founded in 1962 and recognized as one of nation’s oldest programs for criminal justice degrees. It also is one of the largest academic departments in NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. NMSU Online also was ranked #43 nationally by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs.


In-Depth Learning

The mission of the Department of Criminal Justice is to offer quality undergraduate and graduate educational programs that provide students with valuable insights into the criminal justice system through a diverse and interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning and faculty-led research opportunities.

Extensive Research

Majors in criminal justice develop the skills necessary for successful careers in criminal justice and criminology. The department supports and encourages scholarly, experiential and applied research endeavors, including those involving collaboration with local, state and federal agencies dealing with crime, law enforcement, corrections, justice studies, law, juvenile justice, social justice, immigration, punishment and the borderlands.

Unique Regional Focus

The Department of Criminal Justice strives to be one of the nation’s premier academic units specializing in crime and criminal justice issues, including those of the Southwestern U.S. borderlands region. The criminal justice curriculum will continue to embrace this uniqueness toward supporting NMSU’s Federal Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Minority Serving Institution (MSI), and Land Grant missions. The department seeks to equip traditional and non-traditional students with the tools necessary to excel as future professionals and leaders in the field of criminal justice.

Superior Faculty

Faculty members in the Department of Criminal Justice hold doctoral and JD degrees from top programs nationwide including Arizona State University, University of California, Berkley, University of Missouri-Columbia, Sam Houston State University and NMSU. Criminal justice professors provide students with individualized, caring attention, and many have been honored for their teaching excellence. 


Criminal justice majors who would like to explore in-depth specific aspects of the criminal justice system and receive on-the-job experience may choose to complete an internship. Students work with their advisor to properly set up an internship in order to earn academic credits. Criminal justice majors have interned at a variety of agencies in the criminal justice field including U.S. Probation and Parole, Dona Ana Sheriff’s Department, Las Cruces Police Department, Department of Corrections, and other agencies and employers.

Quick Fact

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $80,810 in 2018 for legal and criminal justice occupations.

What can you do with a Criminal Justice degree from NMSU?

BCJ graduates from NMSU Online are part of a strong community of alumni representing a wide range of careers in criminal justice, including positions in premier agencies for law enforcement, corrections and other fields across the country and around the world.

The Criminal Justice Mentoring Center

Criminal justice majors can meet with professionals and prospective employers for career advice in our Criminal Justice Mentoring Center. The Center is staffed with practitioners from local, state and federal criminal justice agencies from around the country who provide students with mentoring, and advice on internships, employment and careers. This is a free service for students, and the department encourages the use of this resource to explore jobs with degrees in criminal justice and to prepare for careers in criminal justice.

Graduate Study

BCJ alumni have gone on to top graduate schools for advanced study in criminal justice and criminology, including Arizona State University, University of Missouri - St. Louis and University of Maryland. A number of our BCJ graduates also have gone on to law school at the University of Arizona, Howard University, University of New Mexico, The Catholic University of America, St. Mary’s University School of Law, and Lewis & Clark Law School. The Department of Criminal Justice at New Mexico State University provides two graduate program options (on-campus and online) for the Master of Criminal Justice degree (MCJ).

Careers in Criminal Justice

Careers in criminal justice are found at the federal, state, county and local levels, as well as in the private sector. Sample careers for graduates with criminal justice degrees are in law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, homeland security, private security, academia, legal services, the courts and criminal justice case management. The law enforcement public sector includes careers for criminologists, police officers, probation and parole officers, and court administration. Learn more about criminal justice careers and salaries. Bachelor of Criminal Justice graduates have gone on to key positions in law enforcement, corrections, legal services and more. Examples of professional positions held by our graduates are:

  • Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Attorney, National Security Law Division of the U.S. Army Office of the Judge Advocate General
  • Misdemeanor Probation Officer
  • U.S. Postal Inspector
  • U.S. Probation Officer
  • Private Attorney
  • DEA Agent
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • University Faculty Member


One-year in-state job placement rate for Bachelor of Criminal Justice alumni


Five-year in-state job placement rate for Bachelor of Criminal Justice alumni

New Mexico Department of Labor Statistics

Program Curriculum


As a criminal justice major at NMSU Online, you’ll learn and develop a variety of real-world skills for future careers in criminal justice, including being prepared to:

  • Critically analyze criminal justice systems to develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills through the use of logic, scholarly research and internships
  • Understand crime as a social construct through an overview of criminological theory, historical perspectives, and qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Examine the role of power and control in the criminal justice system, including race, gender, social class, religion, sexual orientation, age and cultures, historical perspectives
  • Understand the importance of ethics in criminal justice through an understanding of justice

Review detailed information about the bachelor’s in criminal justice degree requirements and a suggested plan of undergraduate study for your NMSU Online education.  

“The best part of the criminal justice bachelor’s degree program is the faculty’s commitment to students to provide feedback, support and advice in an encouraging environment. The CJ Department faculty is fantastic.”

Claudia Gamboa, Class of 2018, Criminal Justice Major

Top Classes for Criminal Justice majors

Here’s a sampling of courses offered in the bachelor’s in criminal justice degree program.

View more courses for the bachelor's in criminal justice degree program in the NMSU Catalog.

 The American Law Enforcement System

Explore the historical and philosophical foundations of law and order. Conduct an in-depth examination of the various local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

 Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation

Learn Investigation procedures from crime scene searches and the collection of evidence to case preparation.

 Introduction to Corrections

Study the development of correctional philosophy, theory and practice.

 Courts and the Criminal Justice System

Learn about the structures and functions of American courts. Gain an understanding of the roles of attorneys, judges and other court personnel, and the operation of petit and grand juries, trial and appellate courts.

 Serial Killers

Examine serial homicide and its relevance for contemporary U.S. society. Focus on factors influencing definitions and cultural understanding of serial homicide.

 Human Trafficking

Study global human trafficking, its causes and costs, and mitigation strategies. Restricted to CJ, GOVT, SOC, GNDR, S WK majors.

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