A top-ranked program designed to help you protect and serve

From deterring would-be offenders to solving cases, the Marian University Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program prepares students to not only enforce the law, but to also affect change that keeps communities safe. Taught by well-respected experts who bring years of career experience to the classroom, our courses provide the base of learning and practical preparation needed for graduates to serve in law enforcement, probation and parole, corrections, and an assortment of human services.

Our Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program helps students see the bigger picture of criminal and social justice and what it means to live in a truly just society. By providing actual field experience, we help guide students toward a greater understanding of real-world issues, policies, and procedures that directly impact their desired career path. It’s why we’re one of Wisconsin’s top-ranked criminal justice programs.

Study at One of Wisconsin's Top Criminal Justice Schools














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Wisconsin’s Best

Ranked on Zippia’s List of Best Colleges for Criminal Justice Majors in Wisconsin

Top Program

Recognized by CorrectionalOfficer.org as a Best Criminal Justice Program in Wisconsin

Current Topics

New Special Topic Classes Added Regularly Such as Netflix’s “Making a Murderer

Inspiring safety and security to those around us.

Few pursuits in life are more important than those which ensure the safety and security of families, communities, agencies, and organizations. And those who feel called to provide that security are characterized by a special kind of courage and commitment to serving others. Those are the kinds of individuals who thrive in Marian’s criminal justice program.

Learn More About the Criminal Justice Program

Listen to Professor Alan Johnson, Director of the Criminal Justice program, as he describes how you will learn from faculty who have real world experience in law enforcement, criminal investigation, probation, parole, law, and the FBI. The curriculum includes not only courses general to the program but also courses specific to the area in which you wish to specialize. Many students also choose to minor in psychology, homeland security, crime scene investigation, or forensic science. Finish your degree with an internship where you work with an agency of your choice in either the Fond du Lac area or near your home.

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The Program

Few pursuits in life are more important than those which ensure the safety and security of families, communities, agencies, and organizations. And those who feel called to provide that security are characterized by a special kind of courage and commitment to serving others. Those are the kinds of individuals who thrive when pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Marian University.

As a student in the BS in Criminal Justice program you will immerse yourself in the three core segments that comprise the American criminal justice system – law enforcement, correctional institutions, and social and juvenile justice. You will benefit from the years of experience that our faculty bring – many of whom are currently working in the field of criminal justice – as well as extensive hands-on learning and educational opportunities ranging from research to internship opportunities.

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Sample Course Plan:
Download Sample Course Plan

General Education Program, 46–49 University requirements

45 credits as follows:

This course explores the three main subsystems of the Criminal Justice System: Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections. The history, philosophy, structure, current issues and future trends of these three main subsystems are presented, discussed, and studied using a cooperative learning approach. This course also identifies the functions and jurisdiction of Wisconsin law enforcement and criminal justice system agencies and the sources and legal principles that form the foundation of Wisconsin criminal law. Additionally, belief systems, social pressures, moral problems, ethical decision making and the consequences of decisions are discussed. This course identifies the resources available in communities to assist the criminal justice system. This course also covers Wisconsin requirements for written law enforcement agency policies and procedures.

In this course students will examine the tenuous balance between the needs of society to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct against the rights of the individual to be free from governmental intrusion in their lives. Students will analyze laws and court decisions relating to arrest, search and seizure, and confessions law under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

This course identifies the elements of crimes against persons, property, controlled substances, and alcohol beverage laws. The legal definitions and potential penalties of felonies, misdemeanors, and ordinance violations are explored. Students will be able to identify potential violations and penalties in simulated cases.

This course examines the juvenile justice system including juvenile court proceedings involving alleged delinquent children and on behalf of children in need of protection and services under applicable Wisconsin Statutes and constitutional law principles. The roles and responsibilities of law enforcement, child protection agencies, intake workers, and court officials are developed. The juvenile justice system is also examined from a sociological perspective with students evaluating the system’s effectiveness in controlling juvenile delinquency by reviewing recent legislation and court ruling on the rights of youthful offenders and assessing legal efforts to correct their antisocial behavior.

Prerequisites:

MAT 001 Basic Algebra, Appropriate math placement test score or MAT 001 with grade of C or higher

An interdisciplinary introduction to the basic principles of data analysis with an emphasis on application. Students are expected to apply these principles to data analysis in their respective areas of study. The applied focus is on the computerized application of summary statistics, one/two/multi-sample tests, linear models, association tests, randomness/normality tests, time series comparison, quality control charts and probability distributions as used across a variety of community and organizational settings. Other techniques may be added as appropriate for specific disciplines.

An overview of theories of crime. The following theories will be explored: classical, spiritual and natural explanations, biological factors, psychological factors, control theories, deterrence theories, conflict theory, gender and crime, age and crime, and integrative theories.

An overview of corrections (jails, prisons, probation/parole, and community-based options) as a means to protect society. Students will develop an understanding of the concepts of incarceration, prison management, and rehabilitation (penology), especially in the United States. Topics include pre-sentence investigations, sentence recommendations, conditions of probation and parole, case plans, rules, probation/parole violations, and revocations. How offenders change their lives in order to become productive community members will be explored in this course. Students will become familiar with corrections philosophies, prison violence, inmate subcultures, health care needs, treatment programs, punishment, prison educational programs, community perceptions, and jail administration. Consideration of aspects of probation service delivery, home visits, restitution, court obligations, supervision fees, and alternative methods of community protection.

The focus of this course is to study the nature and extent of racial, cultural and gender issues as they pertain to criminal justice issues in America. Furthermore, the class will attempt to distinguish the variability in past and existing criminal justice practices at each stage of the criminal justice system for minority groups.

The capstone project includes an individual research, design, and implementation project chosen by each student. Projects will be approved by the faculty member leading the capstone course. The expectation is that this would be a significant project acting as a capstone for their criminal justice leadership education. Depending on the student’s interest, there may be more of a research and writing aspect to the work or possibly more design and implementation of software. The projects would be structured with various deliverables during the semester and culminating with a colloquium at the end of the semester. The particular content of each presentation would be agreed upon in advance by each student (or sub-group) and the professor. The professor will arrange for each of the students taking the senior seminar to give presentations preferably at the end the term to the cohort, seminar groups, and any other interested faculty and students.

Prerequisites:

This course presents the basic principles and methods of social science research. Students are introduced to techniques for critical analysis of the professional practice literature and how, as consumers, they can incorporate research findings in practice. Students also acquire knowledge and skills for applying research in their practice. Similarities between the research and problem-solving processes are identified, beginning with conceptualization of the research question, followed by determination of the appropriate design and methodology, and concluding with qualitative and quantitative data analysis and presentation of findings. Professional values and ethics, as well as sensitivity to human diversity, are subsumed within the conduct of research.

15 credits from any the three groupings below (Criminal Justice Electives):

This course examines trends and issues in the delivery of public safety issues and services. It explores strategic innovations such as community policing, problem-oriented policing, disorder-based policing, Intelligence-Led Policing and the use of technologies. It discusses criminal justice effectiveness and reviews what research tells us about ‘what works’. The course also examines issues of law legitimacy and accountability, corruption, regulating use of force and brutality, special and legal issues in policing as well as in a law enforcement agency, and the challenges involved in ensuring that criminal justice professional’s behavior conforms with democratic principles such as fairness, equity, access to justice and respect for human rights. It also looks at issues of equity and diversity as regards to women in the criminal justice arena and relationships with ethnic minority communities. Finally, it sketches and assesses developments in private policing, both domestically and globally. While this class focuses on critical issues in the United States, it offers a global perspective and incorporates examples from different parts of the world.

This course is a study of the fundamentals of criminal investigations including the principles involved in the collection, processing, and preservation of physical evidence. Students will examine the unique aspects of death, sexual assault, and child maltreatment investigations including crime scene management, identification and evaluation of physical evidence found in the crime scene, and the collection and preservation of that evidence.

This course is designed to introduce students to specific laws and court decisions on topics of arrest requirements, frisks and searches, seizures, warrants and exceptions, confessions and statements, and trial procedures.

Prerequisites:

A survey course of police management practices and principles. The course is structured to provide the student with a comprehension and knowledge of the law enforcement profession, including administration, management and supervision and duties and functions therein. The course focuses on job descriptions and responsibilities, as well as law enforcement traditions, current trends and practices, and the future needs from an administrative and technical standpoint. Other topics covered include staff development, planning, budgeting, community relations, and legal aspects of administration. Application of decision-making and problem-oriented policing techniques are included in this course.

This course is a study of the nature, types and degrees of evidence used in criminal prosecutions. The vital importance of “why” and “how” evidence handled by the forensic criminalists for proper presentation and administration into the trial in accordance with historical rule governing the admissibility of evidence in court is emphasized. This includes the citizen-to-criminalist, criminalist-to-criminalist, and criminalist-to-prosecution chain of evidence rules. A basic legalistic criminalistic component will be stressed which will examine the various analytical systems used in the evaluation of physical evidence which includes the correct identification, collection, and preservation of evidence.

This course is designed to provide the student with a thorough understanding of gangs, theories of gang formation, gang behavior, and policies implemented to address them. Upon completion of this course, students should have a good understanding about what a gang is, how gang violence is functional, and how the existence of gang criminal activity has impacted criminal justice policy (prosecution, courts, prisons, probation and parole).

This course studies the different types of child abuse. Central to this course is an extensive review and examination of the multiple causes and intricate familial dynamics of abuse. Both the physical and behavioral indicators of the victim are also studied as well as potential family intervention strategies.

Students will learn the role of crisis intervention and its management strategies necessary for their criminal justice career. Professional communication will be integrated and reinforced throughout the course. Students will be expected to apply these professional communication skills appropriately in (all) simulations. Students will also learn intervention principles, guidelines and techniques for criminal justice, public safety and health providers- about persons with possible mental disorders, alcohol or drug problems, dementia disorders, and/or developmental disabilities. Strategies of crisis intervention will be discussed in their own right and within the contexts of: suicide and personal loss/bereavement as well as other crises of lethality; posttraumatic stress disorder, hostage situations and the catastrophic events that are related, and sexual assault and domestic violence (including both adult and child victims and the perpetrators of these crimes) as well as the current issue of school-based violence.

This course focuses on the dynamics of the court by introducing the concept of the “courtroom workhouse” and the interrelated relationship of the three main actors-judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney-thus illustrating the law in action, not just boring theories and facts. It is important to understand the basic layout of the judicial process no matter what field of law or criminal justice one may be in. This class provides the basic concept needed.

This course is a seminar in the major concepts of professionalism in Criminal Justice Administration, and further, an introduction to the knowledge and skills necessary for one to practically apply the theory and principles of professionalism and professional conduct in the environment of criminal justice practice.

Introduction to the practice of developing research skills in the major. Perform, under supervision, various tasks associated with the research process. Tasks may include collection of data, development materials, literature searches, data analysis, report preparation or other activities.

A continuation of 360, a further practice of developing research skills in the major will be explored. Perform, under supervision, various tasks associated with the research process. Tasks may include collection of data, development materials, literature searches, data analysis, report preparation or other activities.

An upper-level practicum for students majoring in Administration of Justice whose academic performance is judged adequate for placement. Practical work experience in law enforcement, probation and parole or corrections is obtained with a federal, state or local criminal justice agency.

Selected topics relating to the field of Criminal Justice are presented. The topics reflect the particular competencies and interests of program faculty taking into consideration the needs and requests of the students.

Intensive independent study of a selected topic in the Criminal Justice System. The student is expected to research the topic and will prepare a critical documented paper on the topic. See also the statement on Independent Study.

Examination of crime prevention strategies and concepts, with emphasis on new and innovative approaches to preventing criminal behavior, primarily from the perspective of law enforcement. Review and discussion are focused on the following areas: diversity, facilitation and problem solving, and community policing strategies. Students will recognize the dynamics of a diverse society, identify hate crimes, recognize the role of problem solving within the community, apply principles of crime prevention, and understand the components of community policing.

This course is an upper division examination of criminal justice systems worldwide. Students will explore the justice systems predicated on Common and Civil Law as well as Sharia Law and Marxist traditions. The course explores the means of establishing cooperation toward mutual goals despite structural, historical and ideological differences.

Homeland Security Electives

Selected topics relating to the field of Homeland Security are presented. The topics reflect the particular competencies and interests of program faculty taking into consideration the needs and requests of the students.

Prerequisites:

Permission

An upper-level practicum for students majoring in Homeland Security whose academic performance is judged adequate for placement. Practical work experience in a variety of homeland security-related agencies and organizations.

Selected topics relating to the field of Homeland Security are presented. The topics reflect the particular competencies and interests of program faculty taking into consideration the needs and requests of the students.

Prerequisites:

This course examines assumptions people make about catastrophes by way in-depth analysis of the way social and cultural processes which shape the experience and understanding of catastrophe, whether natural, accidental, or intentional. Students will learn how disasters emerge from the convergence of hazard, risk, and the social construction of vulnerability. This course offers students an overview of a variety of natural and man-made disasters and how society prepared for, responded to, and recovered from specific events from multiple perspectives. In doing so, students will access case studies “scientific storytelling,” as well as research and their affects on “disaster theory.” Students will gather an increased appreciation of the complexities associated with planning for and responding to natural and man-made disasters.

Prerequisites:

This course will examine terrorism as a weapon of power, a forensic issue, and a social phenomenon. Types of terror, types of groups and governments involved in terror, and the people who become terrorists and their victims will be examined. Theories of political policy, group dynamics, and individual predilections will be evaluated so that terrorism can be understood to be combated. The course is designed to give students an overview of terrorism and its impact on American society. It will prepare students to understand the contemporary problems associated with terrorism and to anticipate problems society will face in the twenty-first century.

Prerequisites:

Permission

An upper-level practicum for students majoring in Homeland Security whose academic performance is judged adequate for placement. Practical work experience in a variety of homeland security-related agencies and organizations.

The purpose of this course is to provide a primer on homeland security for emergency managers and related disciplines. Content first includes an overview of the Homeland Security basic management concepts, replete with readings, discussions and problems related to achieving homeland security.

Selected topics relating to the field of Homeland Security are presented. The topics reflect the particular competencies and interests of program faculty taking into consideration the needs and requests of the students.

Prerequisites:

This course provides an analysis of the processes important to the human and financial resource acquisition and management in Homeland Security agencies. The course will examine (a), recruitment, selection, utilization and development of human resources, with emphasis on employee-management relations and relevant behavioral research. The course (b), next focuses on the basic principles of public agency budgeting. The knowledge and skills necessary to prepare, present and manage a public agency budget and the skills necessary to do so are stressed. Lastly (c), the course examines the issues involved in the researching and writing of effective grant proposals

Prerequisites:

This course introduces students to leadership and management principles and practices, with a focus on homeland security agency administration examining the management of public safety agencies, as well as leadership theory. We will also examine the “people” side of government organizations and leadership in emergency operations.

This course provides a general introduction to the methods, procedures, protocols and strategies of emergency planning, with emphasis on situations in industrialized countries and the local level of organization (i.e. cities, municipalities, metropolitan areas and small regions), though with ample reference to national and international levels. Rather than concentrating on the practices of any one country or state, the course focuses on general principles.

Prerequisites:

This is a basic course in employment and labor law in the public sector, using the Federal public sector as a model. It covers the key subjects one needs to function effectively in the public sector workplace. This course examines the form, organization, and function of administrative agencies in the context of a democratic constitutional system. The course looks at agency rulemaking, enforcement, and adjudication, and examines as well the legislative, executive, and judicial control of these functions.

This course is the final in a six-course comprehensive certificate in leadership for Homeland Security. The Capstone Project will be an individual research, design, and implementation project chosen by each student. Projects are approved by the faculty member leading the Capstone Course. The expectation is that this would be a significant project acting as a capstone for their Homeland Security Leadership education. Depending on the student’s interest there may be more of a research and writing aspect to the work or possibly more design and implementation of software. The project would be structured with various deliverables during the semester and culminating with a colloquium at the end of the semester. The particular content of each presentation is agreed upon in advance by each student (or sub-group) and the professor. The professor will arrange for each of the students taking the senior seminar to give presentations preferably at the end the term to the cohort, seminar groups and any other interested faculty and students. (Senior status or Homeland Security Leadership Certificate completion or permission.)

Non-Criminal Justice Electives (maximum of 6 credits)

(Also MGT 321)  The course provides a broad overview of the theoretical and conceptual issues relevant to organizational communication. The focus is on how communication operates in organizations, the impact of communication on organizational life and how communication can be made more efficient and effective in meeting personal as well as organizational goals.

Prerequisites:

A study of professional expository prose focusing on all aspects of the writing process, various types of writing, the importance of context and the central role of audience awareness. Students write extensively and work with examples from business, government and academic writing to perfect their skills.

Prerequisites:

This course will examine the roots of terrorism in the twentieth century, the current intellectual and governmental policies and theories regarding the nature and methods of terrorism, and the impact of terrorism in the past, present and future.

Prerequisites:

An examination of changes over time in concepts of justice, injustice, crime, and deviance.

Prerequisites:

What is Law? This is a philosophical investigation into the depths of human society to discover the very nature and idea of law. Law is something that humans require to live with one another, it effects all humans, has been around for thousands of years, yet it is any abstract idea that can seem quite complicated and difficult to grasp. This class will shine the light of thoughtful examination on: different theories of law and jurisprudence; the difference between legal rules and ethical norms; the rights of citizens and the state; the legality of civil disobedience; the need for liberty and the limits of law; the ideal form of judicial reasoning; and theories of punishment.

Prerequisites:

This course explores the major types of psychopathology to include anxiety disorders, personality disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, organic brain disorders, substance-related disorders, somatoform disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, mental retardation, adjustment disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders, impulse control disorders and delirium, dementia and amnestic disorders. Emphasis is given to the issues surrounding classification, etiology and treatment.

An examination of the relationship between brain chemistry and behavior. Special attention is paid to drug use/abuse and the application of drugs to the treatment of psychological disorders.

A survey of major theories of personality functioning, covering such areas as the nature, determinants, development, structure, motivational bases, and dynamic operations of the human personality. Examples of theories from the following areas are treated: psychodynamic, behavior and learning, cognitive, humanistic-phenomenological, trait, and Eastern. Each theory is critically analyzed in terms of its assumptions, logical cohesiveness, research support, and applications.

Focuses on the production and application of psychological knowledge and research findings to both civil and the criminal justice systems. Topics include competency evaluations of criminal defendants and of the elderly, screening/selection of law enforcement applicants, the delivery and evaluation of intervention and treatment programs for juvenile and adult offenders, police and investigative psychology, and psychopathy.

An introduction to the fundamentals of comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. The course provides, at the same time, the cultural background of the Hispanic world.

A continuation of Spa 101. This course continues to develop the basic skills of comprehending, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish by providing live and meaningful situations with the cultural background of the Hispanic world.

Exploration of the contemporary writings of Hispanic Americans that provide insight into the history, socio-political and literary roots of cultural identity in the U.S. Texts ae representative of various genres in Spanish and English and illuminate the diverse ethnic and cultural components of Hispanic communities in different regions of the U.S. Texts are in English. This course is taught in English. (This course may be applied toward the requirement of 12 credits of study of foreign language for the Bachelor of Arts degree.)

A general survey course introducing students to social work and human services in contemporary society. Professional knowledge, values, and skills for intervention and the nature of interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems and issues are included. It further explores the special concerns of those most vulnerable and discriminated-against. At issue is the professional mandate of social work to join in a concerted effort with other human service professionals to influence the social welfare institution and its social programs to become more responsive to these special populations. Teaching methodology includes interviews with practicing professionals and field trips to a variety of social agency settings.

Prerequisites:

An introduction to the basic philosophical, religious, spiritual and practical dimensions of peacemaking, including the theories of peacemaking, the role of various religious traditions in the understanding and development of peace, and the skills needed to foster peace on the personal, interpersonal, and systemic (global) levels. The course requires a service-learning experience. Depending on the service-learning experience, an additional expense may be required.

17–20 credits:

University Electives

Mission:

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program prepares students to be mature, competent, and effective leaders in the criminal justice field and its occupational and organizational settings. Those in the program participate in educationally driven internships that provide an opportunity to bridge classroom knowledge with practical field experience, and we prepare students for careers in federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies as well as in corrections, security, and loss prevention. We promote and develop an understanding of multiple perspectives, conflicting values, and the role of research-based knowledge and critical thinking in the criminal justice field.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will develop and promote in others an appreciation for individual diversity of thought and values.
  • Students will use different levels of critical thinking and research-based practices in decision-making activity in the criminal justice field.
  • Students will evaluate situations for appropriate application of criminal justice-related policies, procedures, and law.
  • Students will establish best practices in key aspects of crime prevention, problem-oriented community policing, and systems of correction and rehabilitation.
  • Students will develop skills of an effective and competent criminal justice leader.
  • Students will develop effective communication skills in order to complete the essential oral and written documentation of the work in the criminal justice field.

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Marian University has established a long-term reputation throughout Wisconsin as a leader in the education of criminal justice professionals. Other Marian program offerings such as Forensic Science and Homeland Security support coursework related to criminal justice.

Admission to university per university standards. For more details regarding this, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Recent graduates of the Marian University Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program who are finding career success include:

Taylor Ling, a Tobacco Prevention and Control Assistant for the Fond du Lac County Health Department, is a 2019 graduate.

Tyler Bliss, a Youth Counselor at the Lincoln Hills Correctional Facility, is a 2019 graduate.

Ryan Biffert, a Fond du Lac Police Officer, is a 2019 graduate.

Travis Barber, a patrol officer with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, is a 2015 program graduate.

Kevin Sommer, a patrol officer with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, is a 2014 program graduate.

Rashad Wahab, a crisis worker with La Casa de Esperanza in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is a 2015 program graduate.

Emily Reiter, with the Wisconsin State Patrol, is a 2013 program graduate.

Sheila Kucera, with the Winnebago County Mental Health Institute, is a 2014 program graduate.

Stephanie Larson, a patrol officer for the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, is a 2014 program graduate.

Hans Wagner, an officer with the Waupun Police Department, is a 2014 program graduate.

Bria Carr, with Milwaukee County Offender Services, is a 2016 program graduate.

Jacobo Delgado, a patrol officer in the Horicon Police Department, is a 2016 program graduate.

Caleb Gartner, a police officer for the U.S. Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., is a 2016 program graduate.

Hunter Veness, a trooper for the Wisconsin State Patrol, is a 2016 program graduate.

Alan Johnson, J.D.
Associate Professor
920.923.7673
arjohnson52@marianuniversity.edu

Ron Lewis, M.S.O.L.M.
Instructor
920.923.8659
rlewis@marianuniversity.edu

Those in the Marian University Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program learn not only from outstanding faculty, but they strengthen their understanding of professionalism in the criminal justice field. Enjoy solid professional connections earned through internships with more than a dozen respected law enforcement, corrections, and other criminal justice agencies throughout Wisconsin and beyond.

Apply Now

For more information, please contact:

Office of Admission
920.923.7650
admission@marianuniversity.edu

Alan Johnson, J.D.
Assistant Professor & Chair
Criminal Justice Department
920.923.8782
arjohnson52@marianuniversity.edu