Criminal Justice

North American University’s Criminal Justice Program seeks to provide a uniquely relative academic curriculum based on a holistic view of the American Criminal Justice System. NAU students will receive an education based on cutting edge information from highly qualified Professors and Instructors who possess the academic credentials and global experiences that remain relevant and current in an ever-changing world. The program supports a wide array of Criminal Justice employment opportunities starting with entry level positions and extending as far as the students’ desire. NAU is determined to improve the world of law enforcement, one NAU graduate at a time. Whether as a Crime Lab Analyst, Crime Scene Investigator, Forensic Investigator or any other critical law enforcement position, NAU students will be prepared to lead.

Degree Requirements

For a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice, students must complete 120 semester credit hours:

  • 36 credits of general education
  • 42 credits of core courses
  • 18 credits of forensic science concentration courses, and
  • 24 credits of unrestricted elective courses.

The Criminal Justice program offers one area of concentration: Forensic Science. In addition to the criminal justice core courses, the forensic science concentration courses provide an in-depth understanding of forensic science concepts and the opportunity to enhance forensic science skills. Concentrations require 18 credits for completion. Similar to the core courses, the concentration courses build on the fundamental knowledge attained in lower-level course work

  • CRJS 1301 Introduction to Criminal Justice System
  • CRJS 2302 Policing System and Practices in America
  • CRJS 2303 Criminal Law
  • CRJS 2304 Constitutional Law
  • CRJS 2305 Criminal Trial and the Court
  • CRJS 3306 Correctional System and Practices in America
  • CRJS 3307 Criminology
  • CRJS 3308 Criminal Procedure & Evidence
  • CRJS 3309 Technical Writing
  • CRJS 3310 Criminal Investigations
  • CRJS 3311 Criminal Justice Research
  • CRJS 3312 Criminal Psychology
  • CRJS 3313 Diversity and Multiculturalism
  • CRJS 4322 Ethics in Criminal Justice

Three of the following:

Composition, Communications, and Foreign Language (9 hours)

  • COMM1311 Fundamentals of Communication (3 cr.)
  • ENGL 1311 Composition I (3 cr.)
  • ENGL 1312 Composition II (3 cr.)
  • SPAN 1311 Elementary Spanish (3 cr.)

Two of the following:

Humanities and Fine Arts (6 hours)

  • ARTS 1311 Art Appreciation
  • ENGL 2315 Survey of British Literature I
  • ENGL 2315 Survey of British Literature II
  • ENGL 2316 Survey of American Literature I
  • ENGL 2318 Survey of American Literature II
  • ENGL 2319 Survey of World Literature
  • HIST 1311 U.S. History I
  • HIST 1312 U.S. History II
  • HIST 2314 History of Texas
  • MUSI 1306 Music Appreciation (3cr.)
  • PHIL 1311 Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking
  • PHIL 1312 Professional Ethics
  • PHIL 1313 Introduction to Philosophy

Two of the following:

Natural Science and Mathematics (6 hours)

  • BIOL 1311 Introductory Biology (3 cr.)
  • BIOL 1312 Nutrition (3 cr.)
  • GEOG 2312 Regional Geography in the World (3 cr.)
  • GEOL 1311 Earth Science (3 cr.)
  • MATH 1311 College Algebra (3 cr.)
  • MATH 1313 Pre-calculus (3 cr.)
  • MATH 2314 Calculus I (3 cr.)

Two of the following:

Social and Behavioral Science (9 Credits)

  • ECON 2311 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECON 2312 Principles of Microeconomics
  • GOVT 2311 U.S. Government I
  • GOVT 2312 U.S. Government II
  • PSYC 2311 General Psychology
  • SOCI 2311 Introduction to Sociology
  • FORS 2329 Forensic Science and Criminal Justice
  • FORS 3330 Forensic Investigations
  • FORS 3331 Forensic Psychology
  • FORS 3332 Forensic Biology
  • FORS 4333 Digital Forensic
  • FORS 4334 Forensic Studies Experience
  • CRJS 2315 Issues in Criminal Justice
  • CRJS 2316 Theories in Criminal Justice System
  • CRJS 2317 Comparative/International Criminal Justice
  • CRJS 2318 Victimology
  • CRJS 3314 Statistics in Criminal Justice
  • CRJS 3319 Introduction to Criminalistics
  • CRJS 3320 Juvenile Delinquency
  • CRJS 4322 Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • CRJS 4323 Substance Abuse
  • CRJS 4324 Terrorism
  • CRJS 4327 Crisis Communication/Emergency Management
  • CRJS 4328 Social Justice
  • CRJS 4398 Internship
  • CRJS 4399 Special Topics
  • FORS 3436 Criminal Profiling
  • FORS 4338 Serial Murder
  • FORS 4339 Crime Scene Investigation Techniques


The objectives of B.S. in Criminal Justice program are:

  1. Equip students with methods used to reduce and control crime, as well as understand society’s response to crime, the consequences of crime to society from multiple criminal justice perspectives, criminological theories, and correctional ideologies.
  2. Provide students with analytical thinking skills to critically analyze scholarly research, governmental crime statistics as well as private research statistics, & public policy for accuracy, impact, & awareness.
  3. Equip students with a foundational understanding of the ethical implication of professions and the correlations between crime and the various correlates, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, social class, and social institutions within the judicial system.
  4. Equip students with technology used in forensic science.
  5. Provide students with effective evaluation to understand, analyze, and synthesize relevant information applicable to the criminal justice field, whether it is policing, courts, law, corrections, or the juvenile justice system.

Student Learning Outcomes

B.S in Criminal Justice degree program has seven student learning outcomes (SLO) and each course in the curriculum is designed to correspond to at least one SLO. Graduates of the program will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of links between forensic science that will allow students to make reasoned ethical and legal judgements related to the criminal justice profession.
  2. Compare fundamental theories in various criminal justice disciplines and relate them to current criminal justice environments.
  3. Understanding the importance of professionalism and ethical behavior in the forensic science community will allow students to analyze criminal justice problems and formulate relevant solutions as well as assess possible outcomes.
  4. Understand the need for forensic science in the criminal justice field as well as develop written communication skills for presentation of findings in accordance with established professional guidelines.
  5. Develop oral communication skills for discussing the scientific method in a laboratory setting and effectively testifying in a court of law.
  6. Understand the basic principles used in forensic science, crime scene investigation and reconstruction, including evidence collection and preservation.
  7. Develop an understanding of the importance of the interaction between law enforcement, scientists, forensics, correctional agencies, and the legal profession.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Criminal Justice System (CRJS-1301)
CRJS 1301 -Introduction to Criminal Justice 3 credit hours

This introductory course is designed to familiarize students with the various facets of the criminal justice system, the sub-systems and how they interrelate, processing of offenders, sentencing, punishment and its alternatives, and the future of the criminal justice system. The historical and theoretical development of the criminal justice system and the impact of issues such as technology, transnational terrorism, cybercrimes, and homeland security on this development are explored.

Policing System and Practices in America (CRJS-2302)
CRJS 2302. Police Systems & Practices. 3 credit hours

This course is an introduction to the operation, philosophy, history, and constitutional limitations of law enforcement in a democratic society in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. The course will focus on the function of law enforcement within society, ethics and professionalism, theories of law enforcement, and the legal aspects that impact law enforcement.

Criminal Law (CRJS-2303)
CRJS–2303. Criminal Law. 3 credit hours

This course presents an overview of the philosophical development of the American system of criminal law. The course focuses on the types of criminal law, the definitions and classification of crimes, criminal liability and the discussion of controversial issues in criminal law such as the insanity defense, culpability and jurisdiction. This course utilizes actual court cases to illustrate major legal concepts. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Constitutional Law CRJS-(2304)
CRJS 2304 Constitutional Law 3 credit hours

The course covers the impact of the Constitution of the United States and its amendments on the criminal justice system. Topics include the structure of the Constitution and its amendments, court decisions pertinent to contemporary criminal justice issues, and other related topics. Upon completion, students should be able to identify and discuss the basic structure of the United States Constitution, the application of the legal fundamental rights involved in the daily operation of the criminal justice system as well as the rights and procedures as interpreted by the courts. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Criminal Trial and the Court (CRJS-2305)
CRJS 2305. Criminal Trial and Courts (formerly CRJS 320) 3 credit hours

This course examines the criminal process within American courts from arrest/arrest warrant application to final appeal. Topics include magistrates, trial and appellate courts, plea bargains, evidence, burdens of proof, jury selection and instructions, jurisdiction, habeas corpus and accountability. An analysis of the structure and function of the American court system with attention to the roles of the judge, prosecutor, defender, defendant, jury, victim, witnesses and court administrator are examined. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Correctional System and Practices in America (CRJS-3306)
CRJS- 3306- Correctional System and Practices in America. 3 credit hours.

This course provides an overview of correctional philosophies, practices, and procedures in the corrections segment of the criminal justice system. It examines institutional frameworks and innovations, accountability measures and legislative initiative. The correctional process is examined from sentencing to parole. Examines legal and administrative processes used in establishing post-conviction remedies, criminal sanctions, and social controls on adult offenders. Emphasis on understanding the structure and function of the American correctional system and the processes in establishing correctional custody and treatment. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Criminology (CRJS-3307)
CRJS 3307. Criminology. 3 credit hours.

This course explores the development of criminology as a discipline in greater depth. Contemporary criminological theories relative to the causes of criminal behavior and victimization are studied. Students are expected to study these biological, sociological, psychological, ecological, and anthropological explanations of crime and critically discuss their relevancy to the modern world. Additionally, types of criminal behavior and the systems reaction to these crimes will be distinguished. Research affecting social policy and public crime concerns are examined including social problems and social responsibility perspectives as well. 3 credits Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Criminal Procedure & Evidence (CRJS-3308)
CRJS 3308- Evidence and Procedures 3 credit hours

This course focuses on the use of evidence and the legal procedures followed in the processing of criminal cases. Furthermore, this course focuses on the laws and court decisions relating to the admissibility of evidence as well as the appropriate methods of interrogation and its uses in the criminal justice process. Prerequisites: CRJS 1301, CRJS-2303, & CRJS 2304.

Technical Writing for Criminal Justice (CRJS- 3309)
CRJS 3309. Technique Writing for Criminal Justice 3 credit hours

This course is designed to introduce Criminal Justice majors to oral and written communication, critical thinking and operations in criminal justice. Emphasis is placed on the development of writing skills required for careers in criminal justice, including various forms of correspondence, interoffice memos, informal reports, minutes of meetings, summaries, briefings, and presentations; proofreading, revising, and editing; writing for culturally diverse audiences; and criminal justice terminology. In addition, this course focuses on building error-free sentences, concept formulation and proper citation, e.g., APA. Prerequisites or Corequisite: ENGL 1311 & ENGL 1312)

Criminal Investigations (CRJS- 3310)
CRJS 3310-. Criminal Investigation. 3 credit hours.

This course provides a brief overview of scientific crime detection and more detailed discussion of techniques for case management and documentation, the concept of proof, the impact of emergent technology on the investigative process, interacting with victims and witnesses, and interviewing suspects. Particular emphasis may be placed on the investigation of particular types of crimes, such as, homicides, sex offenses, child abuse, hate crimes, and so forth.
Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Criminal Justice Research (CRJS-3311)

Prerequisites: upper-division status.
Introduction to the research process as practiced in criminal justice: definition of problem, delineating theory, literature review, various methods of data collection, data analysis, examination of validity and reliability, research design and presentation. Research devices used in everyday criminal justice. Students participate in some aspect of research. Prerequisite or Corequisite: ENGL 1311 & ENGL 1312; CRJS 1301

Criminal Psychology (CRJS-3312) or FORS-3331
Criminal Psychology- CRJS 3312 or FORS-3331. 3 credit hours

This course examines the various ways in which psychologists, as well as psychological theories and methods, contribute to the study of crime, criminal behavior and the processes of criminal justice. We consider several key domains of forensic psychology including: criminal profiling, eyewitness testimony, forensic interviewing, offender risk assessment and case management.
The course also examines points of connection and disjuncture between criminology and psychology, through consideration of the relationship between individual-level and society-level explanations of criminal behavior. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301, FORS-2329

Diversity and Multiculturalism (CRJS-3313)
CRJS 3313-Diversity and Multiculturalism in Criminal Justice. 3 credit hours

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of issues related to multiculturalism and diversity in the criminal justice system. General areas covered will include how culture influences the decision-making practices of those employed in the system, victimization/offending issues among diverse groups, understanding and appreciating cultural diversity of communities, and historical and current issues impacting a wide range of groups.

Statistics in Criminal Justice (CRJS-3314)
CRJS 3314 – Statistics in Criminal Justice 3 credit hours

Prerequisites: upper-division status.
An introductory overview of statistical principles and statistical techniques in criminal justice research. Introduction of data measurement, data distributions, probability and the normal curve, samples and populations, testing differences between means, analysis of variance, nonparametric tests of significance, correlation, and regression analysis. Includes “hands-on” experience using SPSS for data analysis and interpretation. Prerequisite: MATH-1311, MATH-1313, &

Issues in Criminal Justice (CRJS-2315) 3 credit hours
CRJS 2315-Issues in Criminal Justice:

Students will examine major trends and themes in- depth that is not addressed in great detail in another course. Topic will change based on the interests, expertise of the instructor, and current events. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Theories in Criminal Justice System (CRJS-2316)
CRJS-2316-Criminal Justice Theory and Practice. 3 credit hours

This course examines how criminological theory has developed so that we may better understand the theoretical framing that supports various schools of thought regarding the criminal offender(s) and criminal behavior. Starting with the classical school, moving through the various schools of thought regarding criminality that include, among others, the positivist theories, social disorganization (Chicago School), social learning, strain, social control, and labeling. The course continues through critical criminology, feminist criminology, and more modern theories such as rational choice, routine activity, and development/life course. These theories are examined from a criminal justice perspective view. Moreover, this course is writing-enhanced. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Comparative/International Criminal Justice (CRJS-2317)
CRJS 2317 – Comparative/International Criminal Justice. 3 credit hours

A systematic comparison of the developmental backgrounds, structure and functioning of the major systems of justice in the modern world. This course review the many faces of crime as it takes place around the world and details unusual crimes in foreign countries including: organized crime, money laundering, the drug trade, sex trade, white-collar crime, cybercrime, social media, and terrorism. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Victimology (CRJS-2318)
CRJS 2318. Victimology. 3 credit hours.

Survey of the literature, research and current trends concerning the victim in the criminal justice system; particular attention is given to the victim rights and compensation, fear of crime measuring victimization, and the impact of victimization on the individual. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Introduction to Criminalistics (CRJS-3319)
CRJS 3319 – Introduction to Criminalistics. 3 credit hours

This course emphasizes the scientific investigation of crime. Analysis, comparison and identification of physical evidence; blood and body fluids, casts and molds, detective dyes, fingerprints, and trace evidence. The importance of crime scene preservation and laboratory examination of forensic evidence as critical steps in the investigative process are emphasized. The processing of evidence in the field and laboratory are performed during in class lectures and in laboratory settings. Specific areas that will be covered during this class include advanced crime scene processing, investigative techniques, current forensic technologies, and other related topics. Another focus will be the proper recognition, collection and preservation of physical evidence obtained from systematic searches of crime scenes. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Juvenile Delinquency (CRJS-3320)
CRJS 3320-Juvenile Delinquency 3 credit hours

This course will introduce students to the principles of juvenile delinquency and current trends. It will provide a historical overview of juvenile delinquency in America. The course will examine the psychological, social, and environmental theories of juvenile delinquency while also covering the juvenile court system and treatment options for delinquency. This course also examines the actual court cases that changed how youths are processed. Prerequisites: CRJS 1301 & CRJS 3307.

Mental Health in Criminal Justice (CRJS-3321)
CRJS 3321 – Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System. 3 credit hours

This course explores the relationship of mental illness to crime and violence. Topics include the nature, prevalence, and consequences of mental disorder, substance use, and violence among criminal offenders, violence risk assessment, and the institutional and other treatments for the mentally ill offender. Prerequisites: CRJS 1301.

Ethics in Criminal Justice (CRJS-4322)
CRJS-4322 Ethics in Criminal Justice. 3 credit hours

A critical examination of the diverse ethical issues encountered in the American criminal justice system with a focus on comparing and contrasting the principles of moral philosophy and ethical theory to the practices of criminal justice agencies. Furthermore, this course examines the moral, legal and normative obligations of the state and criminal justice professionals.

Substance Abuse (CRJS-4323)
CRJS-4323 Substance Abuse and the Criminal Justice System. 3 credit hours.

Social and psychological factors in alcohol and drug use, abuse and addiction. Legal and social elements of substance abuse and their relationship to criminal justice system. Characteristics of various controlled substances; categories of drug offenses; and investigation of drug cases.
Prerequisites: CRJS 1101.

Terrorism (CRJS-4324)
CRJS-4324- Terrorism. 3credit hours

This course addresses the phenomenon of terrorism from a criminal justice perspective. The history of the phenomenon and contemporary terrorism in both its domestic and international manifestations; theories about terrorism; analytic methods for investigating and combating it, whether perpetrated by state or non-state actors. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Cybercrime (CRJU-4325)
CRJS 4325- Cybercrime. 3 credit hours

This course focuses on topics related to cybercrime, including legal, enforcement, behavioral, and social factors that influence its perpetration, prevention, and prosecution.
Prerequisite: CRJS 1301

Quantitative Analysis (FORS-4334 /CRJS-4326)
Prerequisites: upper-division status. CRJS-4326 Quantitative Analysis. 3 credit hours

An introduction to quantitative applications in the field of Criminal Justice. Basic descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics include measurement scales, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, data distributions, sampling, probability, hypothesis testing, Chi Square, Z-test, T- Test, and Analysis of Variance models. Students will be introduced to SPSS for data analysis.
Prerequisite: CRJS 4311, CRJS 4314

Crisis Communication/Emergency Management (CRJS-4327)
CRJS-4327 Crisis Communication/Emergency Management. 3 credit hours

The course focuses on emergency response, crisis communication planning, and how to deliver coordinated responses to mitigate risk in high-stress situations. Students will gain foundational knowledge on how to effectively communicate when determining a coordinated approach to a crisis.

Social Justice (CRJS-4328)
CRJS-4328-Social Justice and Crime. 3 credit hours

This course examines the social injustices in the criminal justice system’s naming and sanctioning of harmful behaviors as crimes. Discussions will unpack the values, ethics, and ideologies underlying the current retributive system of sanctioning compared to social justice responses. Harmful and oppressive crimes of states, nations, and corporations such as genocide, violence, and environmental crimes illustrate key concepts underlying justice models. Students will learn how the following concepts apply in retributive justice models and more inclusive, peace-oriented, and restorative models: marginalization, stigmatization, stigma, power, privilege, bias, oppression, resistance, compassion, inclusivity, community, and the limitations of a rights- based approach.

Internship (CRJS-4398)
CRJS-4398 Internship. 3 credit hours

This course is designed to supplement coursework in Criminal Justice. It helps students apply their knowledge into real-world problems in professional settings. Students recognize the need for continuous learning and experience the challenges of workplace environment. Students also receive feedback from their on-site supervisor to use as a guide and to help them as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Special Topics (CRJS-4399)
CRJS-4399 Special Topics. 3 credit hours

This course focuses on special topics related to contemporary criminal justice issues chosen by the instructor and selected by the student such as crime-fighting tactics, society’s response to reducing crime, and criminal behavior.

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice (FORS-2329)
FORS 2329- Forensic Science and Criminal Justice 3 credit hours

This course introduces students to the basic principles and uses of forensic science. Study of the application of science to law and the criminal justice system. Overview of disciplines, theories, techniques and practices of which the field of forensic science is comprised. Prior knowledge or background in the forensic sciences is not required

Introduction to Forensic Investigations (FORS-3330)
FORS-3330. Introduction to Forensic Investigations (3).

Introduction to the development of Forensic Investigations and its contribution to the Criminal Justice System and the applications of the scientific discipline to the examination and analysis of physical evidence. Prerequisite: CRJS 1301.

Forensic Psychology (FORS-3331)
FORS 3331. Forensic Psychology

An interdisciplinary examination of the relationship between psychiatry, clinical psychology, and the criminal justice system with regard to mentally-ill criminal offenders. Focus is on the legal standards for determining various criminal competencies, insanity, diminished capacity, and related defenses of excuse. Prerequisites: CRJS 1301, PSYC 2311.

Forensic Biology (FORS-3332)
FORS 3332. Forensic Biology 3 credit hours

An introduction to the basic principles of biology as applied to the field of forensic science. The aim is to use scientific reasoning to draw conclusions and make decisions about forensic techniques, analyses, and results. Topics include the biological features and characteristics of evidentiary materials, as well as the basic principles of chemistry, cell biology, microbiology, and genetics that underlie forensic analyses. Prerequisite: BIOL

Digital Forensics (FORS-4333)
FORS 4333-Digital Forensics. 3 credit hours

Similar to computer forensics, digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that uses investigative techniques to gather stored data from digital devices. This branch can include cell phones, digital storage devices, computers, and other technological items used by individuals.

Forensic Studies Experience (FORS-4334)
Forensic Studies Experience (FORS-4334). 3 credit hours

This course is structured to provide the basic concepts of analytical chemistry as it applies to drug and body fluid analyses. The course is composed of seven modules. Each module will be supplemented with figures, animations, links to appropriate websites and self-test questions. A series of case studies will be used to reinforce concepts and to combine individual topics covered in each module.

Forensics Investigative Photography (FORS-3435)
FORS 3435-Investigative Photography 3 credit hours

This course covers the operation of various photographic equipment and its application to criminal justice. Topics include using various cameras, proper exposure of film, developing film and prints, and preparing photographic evidence. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate and explain the role of photography and proper film exposure as well as development techniques.

Criminal Profiling (FORS-3436)
FORS 3436 – Criminal Profiling 3 credit hours

Study of the differentiation of criminal types in criminal justice policy and practice. Focus on theoretical foundations of typology construction and application of offender typologies and criminological theories to the investigative and adjudication process. Prerequisites: CRJS 1301

Digital Forensics (FORS-4337)
FORS 4337-Digital Forensics. 3 credit hours

Similar to computer forensics, digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that uses investigative techniques to gather stored data from digital devices. This branch can include cell phones, digital storage devices, computers, and other technological items used by individuals.

Serial Murder (FORS-4338)
FORS 4338 – Serial Murder. 3 credit hours

Introduction to the origins, nature, and dynamics of serial murder. Review of theory and research on the origins and development of serial murder behavior, the conceptual differences between different types of multiple murder phenomena, gender differences in serial homicide, the role of mental disorder, social and cultural forces, and environmental influences on serial murder, investigating serial murder, understanding victimology, and media attention to serial murder.
Prerequisites: CRJS 1301, FORS 4333.

Crime Scene Investigation Techniques (FORS-4339)
CRJS 4339-Crime Scene Investigations Techniques 3 credit hours

This course covers all of the vital components of a crime scene investigation. Participants will learn proper photography techniques, including macro and night photography. Other topics covered include latent print processing, biological, trace, and impression evidence, crime scene sketching, note taking, and report writing. Hands-on exercises will focus on the recognition, documentation, processing, recovery, and preservation of physical evidence. Participants will apply learned techniques through a mock crime scene exercise conducted on the last day of the program. Prerequisites: CRJS 1301, FROS 4333.