Criminal Justice B.A. [Online]

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice prepares students for future careers in a variety of law-related positions.

co-criminal justice online

Credit Hours


Years (Avg.)

Next Start Date

March 13, 2023

Class Type
100% Online,  7-Week Terms, Asynchronous




This program addresses the processes of law enforcement, the legal system, and the penal/correctional system, and allows the student to select courses from related fields to deepen their studies in a particular area of interest. It also pointedly addresses issues of diversity, ethics, and biblical anthropology as they relate to the complexities of criminal justice.

Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter the world of law enforcement, as well as to pursue further academic study at the graduate level.

Why a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Cairn University?

Faith and Truth Do Matter

Cairn University is committed to the centrality of Christ and the Word of God and is reflected in the curriculum and instruction. At Cairn, faith and truth do matter. We teach our students accordingly, challenge you to think deeply on these things, and strive to make you ready to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world as biblically minded men and women who not only give assent to truth but think and live in light of it.

Flexibility to Learn From Anywhere

Complete coursework from anywhere through our asynchronous course design, reinforced by substantive faculty engagement and weekly course requirements.

An Education That Has Value

Cairn University students earn more than a professional credential – you develop a solid foundation for all of life and learning. Wherever you go after you graduate from Cairn, you go prepared and ready to make a difference in your workplace, your community, your church, and around the world. And our competitive tuition rates and financial aid packages help to keep your education costs reasonable.

Committed Faculty Mentors

Our online courses are taught by faculty who are committed to your professional and spiritual growth. In addition to the carefully crafted learning activities, our faculty are substantively engaged throughout the course delivery. Students don’t just have professors, they have mentors who invest in them throughout the program and often remain connected long after graduation.

Learning Should Inspire Serving

The Cairn mission statement begins with education and ends with character, because we believe that education should change not only what you know, but who you are and what you do. Faculty mem­bers understand that education involves more than the transfer of ideas, but also the giving of themselves to teach, train, and inspire their students, both in and out of class.

Connected With a Global Community of Learners

Effective learning happens in a community. Participate in interactive learning activities with peers around the globe who have chosen to walk a different path for Christ.


Simple, flat $425* per credit rate or ~12K per year. Why spend 30K+ per year when you can complete your degree for much less while you work?

*Applies to undergraduate online programs for the 2022–2024 academic years.

Financial Aid

Scholarships, veterans benefits, federal grants and loans, and discounts are available to Cairn Online students. Please refer to this page for details.

Program Curriculum

The B.A. in Criminal Justice program has been designed with input from our expert faculty in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ensuring you graduate with the in-demand skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. The program requires 66 credits from the core curriculum courses, 48 credits from the program requirements, and 6 credits from other electives. View a sample curriculum sheet for a snapshot of the courses you will take.

The core curriculum is a collection of courses common to all majors that sharpen students’ intellectual skills, help them critically engage with new ideas, guide them to articulate biblical perspectives on cultural forces, events, and ideas, and compel them to display virtues that are consistent with biblical teaching. The list of courses along with the course descriptions are available from this page.

ART 251 – Digital Photography or ART 252 Digital Imagery I – Adobe Photoshop
A course introducing the technical use and aesthetic properties of digital photography. Concepts are explored through hands-on exercises and a series of projects based on visual design problems.

ART 252 – Digital Imagery I – Adobe Photoshop or ART 251 – Digital Photography
A course introducing the fundamental techniques in using Adobe Photoshop for digital imagery. Concepts are explored through hands-on exercises and a series of projects based on visual design problems.

CRJ 161 – Introduction to Crime and Criminology
An examination of the field of criminology focusing on theories and empirical patterns of crime and criminal behavior.

CRJ 162 – Policing and Criminal Justice Process
An examination of the United States’ criminal justice process, rooted in the history of policing.

CRJ 261 – Prison and Prisoners
An examination of the history and philosophy of incarceration in the US, with particular emphasis on the characteristics of prisoners.

CRJ 361 – Contemporary Federal Law Enforcement
An investigation of federal law enforcement, risk management, and the advent of 21st century homeland security.

CRJ 362 – Counterterrorism
A study of terrorism and counterterrorism efforts. This course examines oppositional terror by non-state actors, compares theories of terror, and considers the responses of governmental agencies.

CRJ 366 – Criminal Law
An exploration of the fundamental principles of substantive criminal law covering the types of crimes, the concept of defense, and the process of adjudication.

CRJ 461 – Policing and Global Diversity
An examination of the complexities of policing in a globally diverse world. This course considers the reciprocal relationships between the operations of police in contemporary society and race, socioeconomic class, religious affiliation, and gender issues.

CRJ 491 – Senior Seminar
A culminating course for Criminal Justice majors that leads to a general synthesis of and specific research in the field of study.

HIS 212 – Western Civilization Since the Renaissance
A course that analyzes Western history from the Italian Renaissance to the present and examines the religious, political, economic, social, and cultural developments in humanity in Europe and its influence around the globe.

PHI 432 – Ethics
A study of philosophical ethics, systems of ethics, and various problems in applied ethics. A major goal of the course is to develop and practice applying a Christian perspective for resolving moral dilemmas.

POL 221 – The Supreme Court and the Constitution
A study of the origins and development of the United States’ legal system from the colonial period to the present. Special emphasis is given to the ways the legal system, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court have influenced and been influenced by social, ideological, political, and economic factors.

POL 322 – Writing for Public Affairs
A course that examines the principles and practices of clear and concise writing to inform and persuade a target public affairs audience.

POL 424 – Negotiations
An examination of political negotiations and the analytical tools used to understand institutions and their procedures.

PSY 421 – Abnormal Psychology
An examination of historical perspectives, principles of clinical diagnosis, possible causes of behavior, and classical schools of therapy.

SWK 322 – Human Behavior in the Social Environment
A course that has a person-in-environment focus, examining the relationship among human biological, psychological, spiritual, and sociocultural systems and their effect on human behavior and development. Knowledge and theory about the range of social systems in which individuals live, such as families, groups, organizations, institutions, and communities are also examined. The course also examines ways in which systems promote or deter the maintenance of optimal health and well-being. Focus is given to the flow between the micro, mezzo, and macro dimensions of intervention. Attention is given to determinants of behavior such as age, ethnicity, race, social class, sexual orientation, and physical disabilities.

Cairn Online Frequently Asked Questions

The tuition for post-secondary education has become expensive in general. However, Cairn Online programs rank amongst the most affordable online bachelor’s and master’s programs. While the tuition costs vary by program level, the rate is typically $425 per credit or 12K per year for A.A. and B.S. programs and $300-$725 per credit for graduate programs. 

The current tuition rates are available from this page. Scholarships and financial aid are also available. 

Currently there are over 6 million online learners in the United States, and those numbers are growing every day. Online degrees that have regional accreditation are held to the same standards as traditional universities, ensuring that students earn a valuable degree that will prepare them with the skills and credentials for their career. Do research to find an online degree that is accredited and reputable, such as those offered at Cairn University.

Cairn Online courses based on Cairn’s 100+ years tradition of excellence in biblical education. Our on faculty has carefully designed them taking into consideration what works best for the online learner. The modular design and asynchronous delivery enable you to complete your studies while you pursue your career, ministry and spend time with your family.

Courses typically contain seven units and are delivered in 7-week terms*. Each unit contains 5-7 modular activities. Each learning activity includes instructional videos accompanied by reflections, quizzes, discussion forums and other assessments. Courses also utilize adaptive learning technologies such as Cerego for long-term retention of concepts and VoiceThread for enhanced collaboration.

The asynchronous delivery provides flexibility around your daily busy schedule. In most courses, interactive activities are typically due by Wednesday while the rest of the unit’s work is due by Sunday night. The MBA, M.A. in Music and Criminal Justice programs use the 7RD2 process and require the completion of certain activities daily to optimize learning.

Our own Cairn faculty intentionally participate in the course throughout the week to provide you with an incarnational experience.

*Few capstone courses are intentionally offered in 14 weeks to optimize student learning.

A.A. programs usually take 2 years and B.S. and B.A. programs typically take 3-4 years to complete.

Graduate programs vary in length by program. As an example, Cairn’s traditional MBA typically takes 20 months to complete but then there is also the accelerated One-Year MBA that you can complete in 12 months.

If you are looking to complete your program sooner, you can consider taking more 7-week courses at a time. 

All courses are developed by one or more course developers and taught by our own faculty. The instructors are also intentionally involved in the course throughout the week by providing direction in the course activities, participating in the forum discussions, grading the student work and providing substantive feedback. Most courses also offer optional office hours weekly via Zoom or similar video conferencing tools.

Our instructional design team works very closely with the course developers and carefully plans the courses to balance the technology requirements. Most courses use the eLearning platform for hosting the course materials, Panopto for video capture and storage, VoiceThread for enhanced discussion forums, and Cerego for adaptive learning. Zoom is used at times for virtual office hours. These sessions are optional.

Except for the Hebrew and Greek language courses for the B.S. in Biblical Studies program, typically there are no required meeting times for the completing the course activities.  

The course transfer depends on where you are transferring from, and what program you are transferring to. If you are coming to Cairn Online from another institution, it is very likely you will have some credits that will transfer. Because there are so many options, we encourage you to talk to an enrollment counselor. If you are transferring out, Cairn is a regionally accredited school and some credits should transfer with relative ease. Each college sets their own transfer criteria, so be sure to check their policies for specifics.

Cairn Online offers a variety of options for prior learning and experience. You can receive up to 6 credits for prior learning for graduate programs. At the discretion of the program advisor, three to six credits for prior learning (CPL) can be awarded for students with extensive background in areas addressed by specific courses. Additionally, advance standing may be granted for Bible or theology credits earned at an accredited Bible college, Christian liberal arts college or university, or seminary. Credits will be granted on a course by course basis.

Cairn is approved to offer financial aid because of its regional accreditation. There are many options available and typically students qualify for at least one type of federal aid. Many students receive scholarships and grants that make earning their degree even more affordable. Cairn offers a variety of scholarships and discounts in addition to options for loans and grants. Please refer to this page for details. 

The requirements depend on the program you are considering. Please refer to this page for details. 

Program Details

Additional Information

NC-SARA Approved InstitutionCairn Online has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), which regionally oversees postsecondary online education.

Additional Accreditation Information