Criminal Justice & Legal

Criminal Justice student in ChinaWhat is Criminal Justice?

A degree in law or criminal justice can train students to solve a variety of problems at the local, national and international level. Criminal justice is the study of laws regarding criminal behavior. Law is the study of the rules that govern social behavior.

Who Should Study Criminal Justice and Law?

If you’re considering studying one of these subjects, you may ideally answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Am I a strategic thinker?
  • Am I a follower of rules?
  • Do I have a strong sense of ethics and morality?
  • Do I think in terms of right and wrong, or “black and white”, rather than shades of gray?
  • Am I excellent at identifying when a person is lying?
  • Am I compassionate, but firm?

Also, you may ideally answer “no” to these questions:

  • Do I have a difficult time disciplining others, or sticking to the rules?
  • Am I disorganized and scattered on occasion?
  • Do I have problems with authority?

Sample Law or Criminal Justice Classes

Law, military, and criminal classes differ depending upon where they’re offered, and whether they are undergraduate or graduate-level courses. That said, here is a sample of classes you might encounter while studying these subjects:

  • Criminal Justice – Social Problems, Criminology, Research Methods, Juvenile Justice
  • Law – Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Intellectual Property

Types of Law and Criminal Justice Careers

A degree in law, military studies, or criminal justice could lead to a wide variety of careers.  Those holding degrees in law, and/or criminal justice may pursue the following careers.

  • Corrections officer – Corrections officers maintain the safety and security of the prisons or correctional institutions where they work.
  • Court reporter – Court reporters write the transcripts of court and pre-trial proceedings.
  • Legal assistant – Also known as paralegals, legal assistants perform support services for attorneys under their supervision.
  • Police officer – Police officers uphold the law by investigating crimes, making arrests, and helping citizens with emergency situations.
  • Legal secretary – Legal secretaries perform administrative services for attorneys and legal assistants.
  • Security guard – Security guards protect individuals and businesses.
  • Highway patrol officer – Highway patrol officers arrest violators within their state and patrol highways.
  • Private investigator – Private investigators conduct investigations and locate people.
  • Alcohol, tobacco and firearms (ATF) agent – ATF agents enforce laws relating to the possession of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.
  • Probation or parole officer – A probation officer monitors individuals who have been placed on probation, and a parole officer monitors individuals who are on parole.
  • Drug enforcement agency (DEA) agent – DEA agents enforce laws relating to drugs.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent – FBI agents work for the US Department of Justice on high-stakes investigations.
  • US immigrations and customs agent – US immigrations and customs agents maintain the security of the US borders.
  • Secret service agent – Secret service agents protect the US President and Vice-President and their families, as well as foreign heads of state.
  • Deputy US marshal – US marshals work for the Department of Justice and provide specific types of law enforcement support such as serving in national emergencies and protecting federal witnesses.