SDSU’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Online Degree Completion Program is designed to encourage thoughtful exploration of the ways that criminal justice systems provide “justice,” or fail to do so. The program also focuses on criminal justice from a social justice perspective, allowing for the examination of policy issues as diverse as genocide, institutionalized racism, organized crime, and environmental destruction, in addition to traditional criminal justice issues. This degree appeals to students who are interested in working in the fields of law, law enforcement, probation and parole, corrections, or other social service agencies. This degree also prepares students for law school or graduate school in either criminal justice or a related field.

Students who satisfy all eligibility requirements can graduate by completing between 54 and 60 units within 13 months (ten eight-week modules with breaks). Admitted students will complete two courses in each of the ten eight-week modules.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be awarded the same degree as on-campus students — the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. The diploma and transcript will not distinguish that the program was completed online.

Application Windows
Spring Start: June 1 - Sept. 30
Fall Start: Oct. 1 - May 15

Click here to view upcoming application and document submission due dates.

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SDSU’s B.S. in Criminal Justice program is designed to give you the skills you need to protect and serve the members of your community. Whether you’re interested in law enforcement, social services, or law school, our online degree completion program will help you earn your bachelor’s degree in as little as 15 months.


About the Program

SDSU’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Online Degree Completion program focuses on the ways that different agencies and organizations work together to compose America’s intricate criminal justice system.


Total Estimated Cost
$492-$511 Total Cost/Unit

As little as
15 Months

Completion Time

Online + Asynchronous

Course Format

Program Highlights

  • Study the laws that shape our criminal justice systems and the processes that dictate how laws are enforced and justice is carried out.
  • Fully online courses that focus on crime and behavior, administrative systems, government, and policy development.
  • Explore the complex relationship between criminal justice and social justice, and how that relationship continues to shape public policy and law enforcement.
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of a range of policy issues as diverse as genocide, institutionalized racism, criminal behavior, organized crime, and environmental destruction, in addition to traditional criminal justice issues.
  • Learn from the expert instructors teaching for SDSU’s School of Public Administration.

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Your Degree, Your Way

This bachelor’s degree completion program can help you finish your four-year undergraduate degree in a way that works for you. Our programs build on your existing academic experience by using the credits you’ve already earned to jumpstart your SDSU education without starting over. You can learn at your own pace, study from anywhere, and still get the same Aztec Experience as SDSU’s on-campus students.

Who Is This Program For?

The coursework will prepare you for employment in many different fields, including:

  • Law
  • Law Enforcement
  • Probation and Parole
  • Corrections
  • Social Services
  • Government
  • Public Administration
  • Legal Support
  • Security

If you’re interested in continuing your studies after earning your bachelor’s degree, this degree will also prepare you for law school or a graduate program in a criminal justice-related field.

Because the coursework is entirely online and can be completed in as little as 15 months, this program is ideal for working professionals who have taken some college courses but were unable to earn a degree. By accepting some of your existing college experience as prerequisites for our degree program, you’ll be able to earn a criminal justice degree that works for you.

Best of all, you’ll earn the same degree as our on-campus students — a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (with an optional Minor in Public Administration) from San Diego State University.

What Will I Learn?

SDSU’s B.S. in Criminal Justice program is designed to prepare you for employment in today’s criminal justice job market. You’ll acquire an advanced understanding of America’s criminal justice system, how laws are created and enforced, and the potential outcomes of those laws in diverse communities.

Course topics include:

  • Crime, Law, and Justice
  • Public Administration
  • Administrative Behavior
  • Criminal Justice and Social Control
  • Contemporary Urban Issues
  • Fiscal and Budgetary Policy
  • Law Enforcement and Corrections
  • Urban Government Management
  • Investigation and Reporting
  • Nonprofit Organizations and Government

The program takes a dual focus on traditional criminal justice issues and social justice. You’ll examine the relationship between the two, and how social causes can inform and influence the ways in which criminal justice is administered.

You’ll also learn about a range of social justice issues, such as:

  • Systemic racism
  • Genocide
  • Equitable access
  • The role that our nation’s criminal justice system has played in these issues
  • How law enforcement, social services, and public administration are working together to make justice more fair and equitable.

If you’re interested in a career in the public sector, you’ll also have the opportunity to earn and apply for a Minor in Public Administration.

Once admitted, you can graduate by completing between 48-66 units within 15 months (ten eight-week modules with breaks). You’ll complete three courses in each of the ten eight-week modules.

Your courses are taught by the same expert faculty members who teach on-campus courses with SDSU’s School of Public Affairs. Our faculty and lecturers come from a variety of backgrounds, including law enforcement, criminal law, local government, non-profit organizations, and academia.

If you’re passionate about keeping your community safe, a B.S. in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University is a great place to start.

Career Outcomes

Labor Analysis
B.S. in Criminal Justice Graduate — Nationwide


Job postings in the last 12 months


Projected job growth in the next 10 years


Mean salary of graduates

Source: Burning Glass/Emsi, 2022

Why Should You Choose Us?

Diverse Curriculum

Our program touches on many topics. From law enforcement and litigation to social justice and institutionalized racism, you’ll be well-prepared to build a career in a variety of fields. Our graduates have gone to serve in local law enforcement offices, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private businesses across the country.


Our degree completion program is designed for busy students. With just three online courses taught asynchronously every eight weeks, you can earn your criminal justice degree on your schedule. Best of all, your degree won’t distinguish that you earned it online; upon graduation, you’ll hold the same criminal justice degree as our on-campus graduates.


Our courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach on-campus. You’ll have access to a professional network made up of local law enforcement officers, government officials, and criminal justice professionals based in San Diego, throughout Southern California, and across the country.


In order to earn your degree, you’ll need to complete the following:

B.S. in Criminal Justice

  • Major Requirement Courses — 36 Units
    • 18 Core Course Units
    • 6 Public Administration Requirement Units
    • 12 Criminal Justice Elective Units
  • General Education Courses — 9 Units
  • Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement — 3 Units

B.S. in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Public Administration

  • Major Requirement Courses — 36 Units
    • 18 Core Course Units
    • 6 Public Administration Requirement Units
    • 12 Criminal Justice Elective Units
  • Public Administration Elective Courses — 18 Units
  • General Education Courses — 9 Units
  • Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement — 3 Units

Required and Additional Courses

Click to View List of Courses

Required Courses

  • AFRAS 380: Blacks in the American Justice System
  • AMIND 440: American Indian History
  • ANTH 360: From the Grave: Modern Forensic Anthropology
    CHEM 300: Forensic Science
  • CJ 300: Crime, Law, and Justice
  • CJ 301: Law in Society*
  • CJ 302: Crime and Behavior*
  • CJ 303: Criminal Justice and Social Control*
  • CJ 310: Law Enforcement*
  • CJ 321: Juvenile Justice*
  • CJ 330: Corrections*
  • CJ 497: Investigation and Report
  • CJ 540: Applied Planning, Research, and Program Evaluation in Criminal Justice*
  • P A 301: Concepts and Issues in Public Administration
  • P A 340: Administrative Behavior
  • RWS 305W: Writing in Various Settings (3 Units)

* CJ 300 Prerequisite

Additional Courses

These courses are required for the Minor in Public Administration. Students can also take these courses to reach the 120-unit threshold required to graduate.

  • P A 310: Management of Urban Governments
  • P A 330: Public Personnel Administration
  • P A 350: Contemporary Urban Issues
  • P A 450: Fiscal and Budgetary Policy**
  • P A 460: Administration and Public Policy Development
  • P A 501: Nonprofit Organizations and Government***

**PA 301 Prerequisite
***PA 301 & PA 460 Prerequisite

To successfully complete the program and earn your degree, you’ll need to complete all required units of coursework. You'll need to complete any remaining lower-division CSU and General Education requirements externally before graduation at SDSU (with the exception of approved bridge courses that are offered internally at SDSU Global Campus). Once admitted, please refer to your degree evaluation to determine if there are any remaining degree requirements listed in the SDSU General Catalog for your major, as well as requirements outlined in your degree evaluation. If you have any questions, your Admissions Advisor is here to help.

Available Courses

Please note that current students must be admitted and meet all requirements to register for specific courses. Contact us below for more details.

Click here for information about our drop policy.


Attend an Application Workshop for tips on successfully applying to SDSU Global Campus.

Upcoming Workshops

Out-of-State Applicants
While we welcome out-of-state students, SDSU Global Campus currently cannot accept applications from students residing in some specific states. Please check back often, as this list of approved states does change. View the list of authorized states here.

Admission Requirements

Below is a list of general admission requirements for the B.S. in Criminal Justice degree completion program.

We understand that every student's academic journey is unique, and we encourage you to contact one of our Student Service Representatives to find out what you'll need to successfully apply to the program.

  • A minimum of 60 transferable semester (or 90 quarter) units by the semester prior to transfer, which includes:
    • 12 Lower Division Prep Course Units:
      • POL S 102
      • SOC 101, 102
      • SOC 201 (or comparable three-unit course in elementary statistics)
        These courses cannot be taken for credit/no credit (Cr/NC)
    • Complete a minimum of 30 Units of General Education Courses
    • The Golden Four Requirement, which includes:
      • Oral Communication — complete a basic public speaking course or other communication course with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Written Communication — complete a freshman composition course that emphasizes essay writing or reading and writing concurrently with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Critical Thinking — complete a mathematics course above the level of intermediate algebra with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Mathematics — complete a mathematics course above the level of intermediate algebra with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
  • Have an overall 2.8+ college GPA

Graduation Requirements

  • Satisfy the CSU mathematics and writing requirements
  • Complete the American Institutions Graduation Requirement
    • The American Institutions requirement is designed to demonstrate that students have an understanding of American history, the United States Constitution, and California state and local government.

Application Instructions

If you meet the admissions requirements and wish to apply, please complete an application through Cal State Apply.

A $70 nonrefundable application fee is required of all applicants at the time of application.

Admission decisions are initially based on self-reported information provided via Cal State Apply. You must provide complete and accurate information on your application. Any misreporting will jeopardize an admission offer.

Please do not send your official transcripts unless you are offered admission.

Electronic transcripts are highly encouraged. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use

For more detailed admission requirements and other application information, please consult our Transfer Admissions Information.

Contact Us For Assistance

Financial Aid

This program is approved for financial aid. To begin the financial aid process, visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website. There, you'll be able to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

We encourage you to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

Learn More About Transferring to SDSU Global Campus

We host a series of application workshops and transfer information sessions throughout the year to answer any questions about finishing your degree.

Upcoming Workshops

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my degree say “online”?

No, it won’t. Upon graduation, you’ll have earned the same business degree as SDSU’s on-campus students — a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (with an optional Minor in Public Administration) from San Diego State University.

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How is the program structured?

Our online criminal justice program is 100% online, saving you time and money spent commuting to campus.

Each semester is broken up into blocks with three courses offered per block. During the fall and spring semesters, there are two eight-week blocks. The summer semester contains two six-week blocks. If you take two courses per block, you can complete the program in 22 months. You’ll also have the ability to accelerate your studies by taking up to three courses per block, which allows you to earn your degree in as little as 15 months. The program also accommodates those who wish to take courses on a part-time basis.

All courses are fully asynchronous, which means that you can view lessons and complete class assignments at your own pace within the time the course is offered. For each course, you can expect to spend 90-135 hours total (17-23 hours per week for 8-week courses/23-30 hours per week for 6-week courses) on course work and lessons.

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What is the program format?

Courses in our criminal justice program feature a mostly asynchronous virtual instruction (MA) learning modality. This means:

  • Unless otherwise noted, instruction is provided through a combination of recorded and limited direct instruction with academic activities, quizzes, etc., at the arranged times and dates described in the footnotes and syllabus. Content may be open for restricted periods of time.
  • Students may be expected to attend any live sessions necessary to complete the course.
  • Final exams or assignments will be listed in the course syllabus and may need to be completed at a set time and date.
  • Faculty and instructors are available for office hours and instructional support when needed.

Mostly Asynchronous courses may be preferable for students in different time zones as they provide the flexibility to do work on your own schedule at your own pace. However, these courses may require group activities and arranged meetings with faculty.

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What else does SDSU Global Campus offer?

When you enroll in an academic program at SDSU Global Campus, you’re joining the San Diego State University community even if you’re not on campus. This means that you’ll have access to many of the same services, programs, cultural centers, clubs, and resources that SDSU’s on-campus students enjoy. Click here to learn more

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I’m interested. How do I get started?

Ready to take the next step? Click here to connect with the SDSU Global Campus Welcome Center.

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Related Links

Online Degree Completion Checklist
Financial Aid Options

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Want to Learn More?

Click here to connect with SDSU Global Campus at one of our upcoming virtual events.

Submit the form below and we’ll be in touch to answer all your questions and explain the next steps in the process. Or, you can reach a program recruiter by emailing or by calling (619) 594-7700.

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2023 Fall2024 Winter2024 Spring2024 Summer2024 Fall
P A 0301 Concepts and Issues in Public Administration
Theory and practice of governmental administration in differing environments, role of administrators in public policy, issues facing administrators, techniques of administration.
Course Date(s)

P A 0310 Management of Urban Governments
Problems of local units of government in the urban environment. Organization and function of local agencies. Emphasis on California.
Course Date(s)

P A 0330 Public Personnel Administration
Analysis of personnel problems. Supervision and management of public employees and public organizations in an age of change.
Course Date(s)

P A 0350 Contemporary Urban Issues
Focus on urban areas and urbanism from a public policy perspective; course examines and critiques the physical, economic, social and political dimensions of contemporary American cities utilizing a multidisciplinary approach.
Course Date(s)

P A 0450 Fiscal and Budgetary Policy
Policies of fiscal administration and budgeting; political implications of the governmental budget process; revenue, debt, and treasury management; the functions of accounting and financial reporting.
Course Date(s)

P A 0460 Administration and Policy Development
Process of formulating public policy with emphasis on the role of public agencies
Course Date(s)

P A 0501 Nonprofit Organizations and Government
How nonprofit organizations interact with government institutions, influence and pressure government through policy advocacy and activism, and partner with government in contracting, public service provision, and policymaking.
Course Date(s)

RWS 0305W.01 Writing in Various Settings
Composing effective texts for a wide range of situations in and out of the university. Learning to adjust textual elements for specific purposes, audiences, and settings. Enhances critical reading and writing skills by exploring how content contributes to meaning and effectiveness.
Course Date(s)