Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies

Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Earn Your Criminal Justice Studies Bachelor of Science Degree

People working within the criminal and civil legal fields are charged with promoting the safety of the community and the rights of its residents. If you are passionate about finding a career that enables you to serve and protect others, consider a major in justice studies. The Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies at Grand Canyon University offers a comprehensive look at all aspects of the law, and how the law affects communities and individuals.

This on-campus and online bachelor's in criminal justice studies degree, offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, explores all components of the justice system. Examine the function, organization, issues, and practices of law enforcement agencies, court systems, and the corrections system. Students gain a thorough grounding in constitutional law, statutory law and case law interpretation, as well as 21st-century issues such as strategic policing and cybercrime.

Why Major in Justice Studies?

This interdisciplinary degree program seeks to instill a fuller understanding of the nature of justice and injustice. Students benefit from the insights of faculty and the interactive contributions of their peers as they apply humanities and social science skills to legal matters. Study timely topics in criminal law, civil law, corrections and threat assessments, and examine approaches for making communities safer for families and individuals.

The Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies major fulfills GCU’s mission-critical competencies. GCU seeks to graduate students with the following core skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Christian worldview
  • Ethical servant leadership
  • Global awareness, perspective and ethics

Students develop these core skills continuously throughout the bachelor's in criminal justice studies degree program. They also gain an in-depth understanding of these domains: law, criminal and civil procedures, case management and justice technology, organizational psychology in justice organizations and public safety practices.

Explore Topics in The Bachelor's in Criminal Justice Studies Degree

This criminal justice Bachelor of Science degree offers an intensive survey of the law and legal matters. Students will take courses such as the following:

  • Threat Assessment and Behavioral Analysis
  • Criminal Procedure and Public Policy
  • Professional Responsibility in Justice
  • The Adjudication Function
  • Criminal Behavior and Victimology

GCU is a private, Christian school, and the Christian worldview is integrated directly into the curriculum. Students gain theoretical knowledge and a practical understanding of how to apply an ethical framework in decision-making. There is an emphasis on the ethical responsibilities of public servants. Students examine how to maximize the public good while appropriately using resources and making culturally sensitive decisions. Additionally, students explore the following topic areas:

  • The appropriate use of data and research in the administration of justice, including the application of criminological theories.
  • The objectives, strategies, perspectives and interagency relationships of correctional agencies, courts and police officers.
  • Analytical techniques for addressing matters of civil law.
  • Modern theories of criminology and victimology, including the motivators of criminal behaviors.

Career Opportunities with a BS in Justice Studies Degree

A bachelor's in criminal justice studies online or on-campus degree may provide the basis for a career working within the criminal or civil law fields. Some jobs that may be related to this degree include:

  • Probation, parole or corrections officer
  • Facility security guard
  • Police patrol officer
  • Security manager
  • Private detective or investigator

Graduates may enhance their job qualifications by pursuing entry into law school or applying to a job training program for a local, state or federal law enforcement agency.

Criminal Justice Studies FAQs

Is criminal justice studies a hard major?

Like with any major, earning a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies takes time, diligence and hard work in order to complete. In this criminal justice studies degree, you will encounter topics such as criminal behavior, roles of the police force, correctional agency organization and threat assessment analysis. These and other related topics do require a lot of study, but the commitment will be worth it in the end.

Is justice studies the same as criminal justice?

While justice studies and criminal justice studies may sound similar in nature, the two deal with their own specific focus. Justice studies is a social science that looks at how justice is viewed in the lens of the local community and broader social contexts. A justice studies degree prepares students to become social workers or advocates for societal change.

Criminal justice, on the other hand, is the direct application of justice studies, meaning it is the study and work of law enforcement and how crimes and criminals are judged in the criminal justice system. Detectives, attorneys and police officers are a few careers one may obtain with a criminal justice studies degree.

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Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks [More Info]

Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
48 credits
Open Elective Credits:
32-38 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.


Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the basic components of the criminal justice system in the United States today: corrections, courts, and law enforcement.

Course Description

This course covers the many facets of what it means to be a responsible and effective public servant. It does this by examining the ethical principles that are required of those working as public servants, so they are prepared to make moral judgments in the execution of their duties. How to be culturally sensitive, maximize the public good, and appropriately use resources is covered. How to stand for principles and have courage to do what is right as a public servant, as well as proper communication is investigated.

Course Description

This course provides an examination of the basic theories of criminology including victimology. The course exposes students to the motivators of criminal behavior to better understand crime and those who commit crime.

Course Description

This course provides an examination of the objectives, strategies, tactics, programs, roles, perspectives, public perception, and interagency relationships of the police.

Course Description

This course provides an examination of the objectives, strategies, programs, roles, perspectives, and interagency relationships of correctional agencies.

Course Description

This is a writing intensive course emphasizing the objectives, strategies, programs, roles, perspectives, and interagency relationships of the courts.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the broad field of civil law, giving students a contemporary, practical understanding of the different fields of civil law. The course also provides analytical techniques for resolving legal problems.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to criminal liability with an emphasis on the elements of a crime and governmental sanctions of individual conduct as formulated by the legislature and the court system.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course covers the criminal procedural process from a constitutional perspective as it relates to due process and crime control. It also covers the mechanics of how public policy guides the administration of justice.

Course Description

This course examines the proper and effective use of research and data in the administration of justice. The course describes how to identify justice-related problems in the community, collect data on the problem, analyze the data, and apply criminological theories to the data to solve the problem. Other aspects of how to use justice research to improve communities are covered.

Course Description

This course covers how to analyze natural, man-made, and accidental threats that could possibly threaten a community. It analyzes the process of how to identify possible threats and prepare for or eliminate them. Behavioral analysis is covered to show how it can be used in assessing possible threats to communities and individuals. Prerequisite: JUS-445.

Course Description

This course examines performance management policies, practices, and systems related to community policing needs. The course covers how to enhance and redesign existing performance management practices across the community through collaborative engagement and management of resources. It covers how to use data to create a strategic plan to address justice-related problems. Prerequisite: JUS-470.


GCU Campus Student

Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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