A criminal justice degree offers more than the television show “CSI” may lead you to believe. It prepares students to work in the public and private sectors of law enforcement and courts and corrections at all levels of government. It also provides training for careers in community organizations or government positions (elected or appointed).
Appalachian State University’s Criminal Justice (BSCJ) degree has a broad focus and is taught by faculty in the Department of Government and Justice Studies who have diverse expertise. At Appalachian, you will take classes from both sides of the department, including faculty from the pre-professional legal studies concentration and faculty from the public administration undergraduate concentration.
In addition to classes in criminal justice, the program’s strong liberal arts focus emphasizes critical writing, communications and analysis skills. You will be required to complete a writing course that focuses on the writing skills needed in your specific concentration. Students are required to complete an internship to gain practical experience, and the department’s full-time internship coordinator can help you find that perfect host site.
If you want to continue your education and have a 3.4 GPA or higher, you can complete Appalachian’s Accelerated Master’s Program and receive a Master’s of Public Administration in one extra year.
Employment: Some students begin employment immediately following the completion of their required internship, while others use their internship period to begin the application process with organizations of interest. See right column for a sample of agencies that have hired Criminal Justice alumni.
Graduate schools: Some students continue their education at Appalachian State University or other institutions such as Florida State University and University of Missouri at St. Louis.
A minor is not required. Popular minors include:
Engagement Outside the Classroom
American Correctional Association - The Appalachian Students Chapter of the American Correctional Association was founded in 2003 and works to educate the community about the truth of our justice system.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society. In this major, past faculty-led study abroad locations included Cuba and Eastern Europe.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- As part of degree requirements, students must complete an internship. A student will usually spend an entire semester working with an approved criminal justice agency.
- Scholarships are available through the department.
- Students may want to stay for Appalachian’s Accelerated Master’s Program at Appalachian. Criminal Justice students with a GPA above 3.0 may complete their Master of Public Administration degree in one extra year.
Boone and Hickory*
*The Hickory Campus location is pending accreditation from SACSCOC for this program. Accreditation is expected in summer 2023.
- CIA Agent
- Corrections Officer
- District Attorney
- Drug Enforcement Agent
- FBI Agent
- Law Enforcement Officer
- Military Officer
- Park Ranger
- Police Officer/Manager
- Secret Service Agent
- Social Worker
- US Marshall
View more career possibilities
- Secret Service
- State Department Diplomatic Security
- Air Marshal
- Naval Criminal Investigative Services
- U.S. Marshal’s Service
- U.S. Probation
- N.C. State Highway Patrol
- N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement
- N.C. State Bureau of Investigation
- N.C. Division of Community Corrections
- Juvenile District Attorney offices
- Public Defenders offices
- Police departments of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham, Greensboro, Gastonia, Gaston County, Wilmington, Rocky Mount, Hickory, Watauga County, Catawba County and more
Department of Government and Justice Studies
Dr. Cathy Marcum