Bachelor of Science (BS) in Justice Studies

Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Explore Ways of Protecting and Serving Others With a BS in Justice Studies

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 justice studies major. 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 interdisciplinary degree program takes an in-depth look at the nature of justice and injustice. You may benefit from the faculty’s industry experience and the interactive contributions of your peers as you are taught to apply humanities and social science skills to legal matters. As a student, you will study timely topics in criminal law, criminal procedure, corrections and threat assessments, and examine approaches for making communities safer for families and individuals.

This justice studies program is available via online classes. If you choose to attend online, you can benefit from having the flexibility to work on your degree from almost anywhere at any time. You’ll have access to your course materials through our interactive e-learning platform. You can engage in discussions with your peers and instructors online while enjoying the same quality of instruction as our on-campus students.

If you prefer a traditional justice studies degree program, you can also choose to complete your classes on campus. With GCU’s campus programs, you have access to faculty, campus life and student success resources to complete your college experience.

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Justice Studies Course Topics

This justice studies major, offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, allows you to explore all areas of the justice system. Examine the function, organization, issues and practices of law enforcement agencies, court systems and the corrections system. BS in Justice Studies students explore constitutional law, statutory law and case law interpretation, as well as current issues such as strategic policing and cybercrime.

GCU is a private Christian university with the Christian worldview integrated directly into the curriculum. As a justice studies degree student, you will be taught theoretical knowledge and practical applications of ethical frameworks in decision-making. There is an emphasis on the ethical responsibilities of public servants. You will examine how to maximize the public good while appropriately using resources and making culturally sensitive decisions. Additionally, you will work through 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

This degree fulfills GCU’s mission-critical competencies. GCU seeks to graduate students with the following core skills:

  • Innovative thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Transformative leadership
  • Global contribution

As a justice studies major, you will have opportunities to develop these core skills continuously throughout the degree program. You will also be guided toward gaining an in-depth understanding of these domains:

  • Law
  • Criminal and civil procedures
  • Case management
  • Justice technology
  • Organizational psychology in justice organizations
  • Public safety practices

This degree offers an intensive survey of the law and legal matters. While earning your BS in Justice Studies, you will receive instruction in the following topics:

  • The analysis of potential natural, man-made and accidental threats and their impact on communities
  • The criminal procedural process through the lens of constitutional principles, with a focus on due process and crime control
  • The creation of strategic plans to address justice-related issues in a community, emphasizing proper resource management and collaborative engagement
  • The ethical principles required of public servants

Career Opportunities for BS in Justice Studies Degree Graduates

Graduating from this program can provide the basis for a career working within the criminal or civil law fields. Although no degree can guarantee any particular career outcome, some jobs that may be related to this degree include:

  • Correctional officer
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Private detective or investigator
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Security officer

You may decide to further enhance your career qualifications by pursuing entry into law school or applying to a job training program for a local, state or federal law enforcement agency.

Earn Your Justice Studies Degree From an Institutionally Accredited University

Not all schools and degree programs offer the same quality of education, so it’s important to research your options carefully. At GCU, we’re proud to have institutional accreditation — a reflection of our dedication to the quality of our school. Our colleges strive to graduate students who are prepared to tackle modern challenges with confidence.

Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies Degree FAQs

It’s not always easy to choose a major in college, as the decision can have significant implications for your future. Take the time you need to research the justice studies field and degree program so that you can make an informed decision. Start by reviewing the following frequently asked questions and answers.

Like with any major, earning a justice studies degree takes time, diligence and hard work. Every student will experience the course material a little differently. You may find certain topics more approachable than others, for example. While the curriculum may present challenges at times, you will have invaluable opportunities for personal and professional development.

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.

Criminal justice, on the other hand, focuses more closely on the causes of criminal acts, methods of reducing crime and responses to criminal actions. A criminal justice major takes a close look at how the criminal justice system works at the local, state and federal levels, and at various criminal justice interventions.

To become a criminologist, you will first need to earn an undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies. Next, you’ll want to obtain a master’s degree, either in criminology, criminal justice or a related discipline. Having an advanced degree can help you position yourself for possible career growth opportunities within the criminology field. If you have a goal to teach criminology at the postsecondary level, you will likely need to earn a related doctoral degree.1

A justice studies degree falls into the category of social science, along with other fields such as psychology, sociology and political science. The disciplines under social science focus on examining human behavior and how individuals and groups interact with one another. Additionally, they examine how cultures develop and influence other parts of the world.

The program is sufficiently accredited, making it a legitimate program that fulfills the high standards set by a third-party organization. Both the FBI and CIA have a rigorous and competitive application process that goes beyond a college education.2,3 However, this degree will teach you the principles of law, investigations and crime analysis that may help set you apart from other applicants.

Pursue your dream of working to make communities safer by becoming a justice studies major at GCU. Apply today for enrollment online or on campus.


1 (n.d.). How can I become a criminologist? Retrieved August 21, 2023.

2 FBI Jobs. (n.d.). What it takes to join the FBI. Department of Justice. Retrieved August 21, 2023.

3 CIA Careers. (n.d.). CIA requirements. Retrieved August 21, 2023.

Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Online: $485 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
48 credits
Open Elective Credits:
32-38 credits
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-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.


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.