Apr 23, 2024  
Catalog/Handbook 2023-2024 
Catalog/Handbook 2023-2024

Criminal Justice, BS

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Program: S6100 (from earned AS) or S6150 (from earned AA)

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program provides a broad study of crime and society’s crime-control mechanisms while preparing the graduate for a professional career in criminal justice. Coursework includes a broad overview of the interdisciplinary field of criminal justice, drawing upon a study of criminology, sociology, psychology, law, public policy, and other related disciplines to develop insights into the causes of, and preventative measures for, criminal behavior. The program’s curriculum includes content related to deviant behavior, criminal investigations, corrections, the court system, and criminal justice administration. Emphasis is placed on the ways law enforcement entities work together to implement laws. The roles of the Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution are also studied. A graduate of the Criminal Justice Program is prepared for an entry-level career within law enforcement, corrections, the probation and parole arenas, private and industry security, and other criminal justice fields. This program is also beneficial for an employee of a criminal justice agency who is seeking incentive benefits or career advancement. In addition, the program graduate is prepared for graduate study in criminal justice and related fields.

Admission Criteria:

Admission to this program requires an Associate in Science (AS) or Associate of Arts (AA) degree (or the equivalent) from a regionally accredited school or college, and at least a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0-point scale. The student must meet the requirements for college-level mathematics, reading, and writing. Any deficiencies must be satisfied prior to admission to the baccalaureate program. A student with an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is qualified for admission to the baccalaureate program once he or she has met the above-mentioned requirements. Any deficiencies in General Education requirements must be satisfied prior to graduation with a bachelor’s degree. If the student’s associate degree is from a non-regionally accredited institution, but is nationally accredited, the degree qualifies for admission, but a course-by-course evaluation is done according to Polk State College’s transfer practices and policies. 

A student who has previously earned an AS degree should select the following program code in the online application: S6100 Criminal Justice from Earned AS.

A student who has previously earned an AA degree should select the following program code in the online application: S6150 Criminal Justice from Earned AA.

If a student has earned both an AS and an AA degree, he or she should select the AS option (S6100).

Course Progression for the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice:

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice curriculum is provided in a flexible format. A student is not required to complete all lower-division courses before enrolling in upper-division courses; however, he or she must take CCJ 3024 Survey of the Criminal Justice System as the first upper-division course. The content from this course provides fundamental information on the necessary components of the criminal justice system, allowing a foundation upon which other courses build. After completion of this course, the student may take upper-division courses in any order. Although a preferred order is designated for the program, there is sufficient reinforcement of key concepts across the curriculum, without redundancy of material, to enable the student to be successful if courses are taken in a different order. This format accommodates the working adult who enrolls part time and must balance class enrollment with work and family responsibilities.

To promote timely progression toward graduation, most of the upper-division courses are offered at an accelerated pace, allowing a part-time student to complete 9 to 12 credit hours each semester while enrolled in no more than two classes at a time. Each student must take CCJ 4900 Capstone Experience: Criminal Justice, during the last semester prior to graduation and obtain permission from the Program Director before enrolling in this course.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
Upon successful completion of the program, the graduate is able to:
PLO 1: Compare and contrast the basic theories, patterns, typologies, and causes of crime.
PLO 2: Examine the roles and challenges faced by the police, courts, and corrections.
PLO 3: Apply criminal justice theories, as well as legal and ethical principles, to crime-related problems.
PLO 4: Differentiate between the structures, functions, and interactions of key institutions in the field of criminal justice.
PLO 5: Implement policing philosophies by incorporating analysis and evaluation of criminal evidence, investigation strategies, and surveillance techniques.
PLO 6: Evaluate correctional philosophies and analyze historical and current dilemmas in corrections.
PLO 7: Outline legal due process, criminal procedures, the defendant’s rights, the victim’s rights, and constitutional rights.

Criminal Justice BS Program Curriculum

General Education Requirements (36 credits required)

Note: A student who has completed an AA degree at a public Florida college has already met the General Education requirements. A student who has completed an AA degree outside of Florida, or who has earned an AS or AAS degree but has General Education courses that vary from the requirements below, should consult with an advisor to determine if acceptable substitutions may satisfy some or all of Polk State College’s General Education requirements.

Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 1007.25(3) and State Board of Education (SBE) Rule 6A.14.0303, a student must complete at least one course from a list of courses that are common to all state colleges and universities for each of the General Education subject areas: Communications, Mathematics, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. The options outlined below ensure that each student who earns a degree at Polk State meets this statewide requirement.

Social Sciences (6 Credits Required)

Two courses are required. The student must select one course from List A; the second course can be from List A or List B.

Natural Sciences (9 Credits Required)

Program Requirements

AS Student

Technical Credits from AS Degree 42  
General Education Credits from most AS Degrees 18
Additional General Education Credits 18


AA Student

Elective Credits from AA Degree 24  
General Education Credits from AA Degree 36
Additional Technical Credits in Related Field 18

Note: Technical credits include all lower-division courses with a CCJ, CJL, CJC, or CJE prefix, as well as ASC 2560.

Total Credits for BS Degree: 120

Civic Literacy Competency

Pursuant to Rule 6A-10.02413 of the Florida Administrative Code, effective in the Fall 2022 Semester, competency in civic literacy is a requirement for all students receiving an Associate in Arts or baccalaureate degree. Competency in civic literacy must be demonstrated through one of the two options listed below:

Option 1:


  • Successful completion of the Florida Civic Literacy Examination with a score of 60% or better.

Option 2:

Completion of one of the following assessments with the score indicated:

  • The Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in Government and Politics: United States with a score of three or better.
  • The Advanced Placement (AP) Exam in United States History with a score of four or better.
  • The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) American Government Exam with a score of 50 or better.
  • The Florida Civic Literacy Examination with a score of 60% or better.

Note: All approved accelerated credit is listed in Credit-By-Exam Equivalencies. The Credit-by-Exam section of the Florida State Articulation Committee website provides further details.

Graduation Requirements for the BS Degree Program

  • Complete 120 credits as outlined above.
  • Earn an overall cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language through any of the following means: completion of two years of high school instruction in the same foreign language, completion of a college-level course at the Elementary-2 level (or higher) in a foreign language or in American Sign Language (ASL) (e.g., SPN 1131 First-Year Spanish II, FRE 1131 First Year French II, or ASL 1150 American Sign Language II), achievement of the minimum score on a foreign language proficiency exam approved by the Registrar’s Office, achievement of a score of three or higher on the Advanced Placement exam in a foreign language, or completion of a high school diploma from a foreign country where the student studied in a language other than English.
  • Complete at least 25 percent (i.e., 30 credit hours) of the program at Polk State College.
  • Complete at least 25 percent of the upper-division courses required for the baccalaureate program at Polk State College, including the Capstone Course.

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