The purpose of a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is to prepare students to deal with the challenges of a career as a criminal justice professional in a changing society. The criminal justice program will instill in students a comprehensive knowledge of the criminal justice system while educating them to be critical thinkers who can communicate their thoughts effectively in oral and written form. The curriculum will familiarize students with facts and concepts while also teaching them to engage in ethical behavior when applying this knowledge to related problems and changing situations. Graduates from this program will be members of professional organizations dedicated to selfless public service and will be vital in maintaining peace and curtailing lawlessness in our society. Criminal justice graduates find gainful employment in law enforcement, security, the courts, and correctional facilities. Graduates with a degree in criminal justice may find employment in juvenile and adult probation, municipal and county law enforcement, private security, hospital security, investigations, and warrant offices. Many graduates continue their education in law school or other graduate school. Minimum employment requirements in law enforcement generally include the following:
The criminal justice degree is designed to meet the standards established by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). ACJS encourages baccalaureate programs to reflect a balanced presentation of a broad scope of criminal justice studies. The criminal justice degree focuses specifically on the five core areas identified by ACJS:
To be considered for criminal justice transfer credit, courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher and must be of similar content and level. Courses taken at other institutions are evaluated by the Director of Criminal Justice to determine if and where they will be applied to the criminal justice degree plan. Courses taken five or more years prior to transfer may not be approved for major or supporting course. Transfer credit for CRJ4333 (Professionalism and Ethics in Criminal Justice) and CRJ4140 (Senior Assessment Seminar) is not accepted and must be completed in residence.
Students interested in the criminal justice major must see the criminal justice faculty for academic and career advising. Any student may enroll in CRJ2301 (Introduction to Criminal Justice). However, only students admitted to the criminal justice program are permitted to graduate with a degree in criminal justice. Once CRJ2301 is complete, criminal justice majors must apply for admission to the criminal justice program. To be considered for admission, students must have:
When requirements are met, the criminal justice faculty will consider the application and grant or deny admission to the program. Students are informed of the decision by email. Applicants refused admission may appeal in writing to the criminal justice faculty.
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Note: CRJ4140 and CRJ4333 must be taken at the university.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at the university. Therefore, graduates are eligible to sit for the social work licensing exam to become Licensed Bachelor Social Workers (LBSW). Types of agencies where BSW graduates often find employment are foster care and adoption, hospitals, schools, military services, child and adult protection, substance abuse, criminal justice, mental health, hospice, home health care, aging, victim services, community outreach, and various other agencies. BSW graduates are experiencing a high rate of admission into Master of Social Work programs and are most often granted advanced standing, shortening the length of the master's program to around 40 hours.
Graduates will be able to:
In order to meet the needs of those who are unable to take social work courses face-to-face during the week, the social work program offers social work courses on the weekend or online, in addition to social work courses offered during the week. Weekend courses are taught over four weekends in an every other weekend format with the following schedule: Fridays, 7-10 PM and Saturdays, 8AM-4PM. The curriculum of the social work courses is the same, regardless of how the course is offered.
To be considered for social work transfer credit, courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher and be of similar content and level. Courses taken from programs not accredited by CSWE and courses taken 5 or more years ago must first be evaluated by the Director of Social Work. Transfer credit for SWK 4610 and SWK 4620 is not accepted.
Students interested in the Social Work major must see the Social Work faculty for academic and career advising. Any student may enroll in the pre-professional course, SWK 2300. However, only students admitted to the Social Work program are permitted to enroll in SWK 3301, 3302, 3303, 4610 or 4620. Once SWK 2300 is complete, Social Work majors must apply to be admitted to the program. In order to be admitted, students must:
When the above requirements are met, the Social Work faculty will consider the application and grant or deny admission to the Social Work Program. Students will be informed of the decision by email. Applicants refused admission may appeal.
A vital part of the social work program is a 400 hour field placement, which is a required internship completed in the semester prior to graduation. Students complete the internship in a social service agency under the supervision of an experienced social worker. Social work students are required to successfully complete the 400 hours in field in a timely manner, consistent with field practice policy and procedure. It is each social work student's responsibility to plan in advance for the field experience in order to ensure that they will have ample time to complete all field requirements. The vast majority of available and viable field agency sites are capable of accommodating students on a full-time basis during traditional business hours. Options for field sites will generally be limited to these types of agencies. Each student must arrange, in advance, to participate in the field experience on a full-time basis. Failure to do so may prevent a student from advancing in, or completing, the social work program.
Admission to Field
Students are evaluated for readiness before beginning field. Only students meeting this criteria will be admitted into field:
The 2.0 average in the social work practice courses, SWK 3301, 3302, and 3303, will serve as a measure for determining student potential to engage in effective social work practice. The practice courses provide opportunities for students to demonstrate practice skills. If students have at least an average of 2.0 in those courses, it is assumed they have demonstrated the potential to engage in effective social work practice. Within these practice courses, and other social work major courses, social work faculty also evaluate student ability to recognize and demonstrate social work ethics and behavior. Ethics assignments required throughout the social work curriculum are used as the primary measure for evaluating student knowledge and demonstration of social work values, ethics, and behavior. Ethics assignments required throughout the social work curriculum are used as a measure for evaluating student knowledge and demonstration of social work values and ethics. Social work faculty also formally evaluate social work students on the demonstration of professional behavior in each upper level social work course.
Faculty evaluation of field readiness will occur after the Field Placement Application is submitted. Student are notified of the decision in writing. Students denied admission to field may appeal the decision. If field criteria are met, students meet with the Director of Field Education to discuss guidelines for field and to identify field placement sites. After successful completion, enrollment in SWK 4610 and 4620 is permitted. Students must have the prior permission of the Director of Social Work to take additional courses while enrolled in field.
Many social service agencies do not allow volunteers and/or employees with criminal backgrounds. Therefore, it may be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to locate an agency where students with criminal backgrounds can complete their field placement. In which case, it becomes the primary responsibility of a student with a criminal background to secure an approved field placement in accordance with the social work degree plan. The State of Texas reserves the right to deny a license to any person entering the field of Social Work with a criminal history. Therefore, upon their graduation students having a criminal background may be denied licensure by the State of Texas for this or any other reason the State deems relevant. Licensure eligibility is the sole decision of the State of Texas.
Bachelor of Social Work
The social work program does not give academic credit for life experience or previous work experience.
Minor in Criminal Justice
Minor in Sociological Studies