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Criminal Justice AA Degree

Associate of Arts


The criminal justice area of concentration, arts and sciences associate of arts is designed for students planning to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and/or criminology. The pathway exposes students to important criminal justice coursework while incorporating key General Education courses needed for transfer. The program is structured to prepare students who ultimately plan to serve the community in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice, probation and parole, court services, or law.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the criminal law and criminal justice process (police, courts, and corrections) through writing assignments.
  • Explain the functions and roles of the various criminal justice practitioners in the operation of an ethical and professional system of justice that exists within a diverse society.
  • Analyze the relationship between criminological research and theory as it relates to the implementation of criminal justice policies and procedures.
  • Use academic sources to research and write organized and coherent assignments on criminal justice issues.
  • Describe employment pathways and identify employment opportunities in the field of criminal justice.

Program Advising

Available Fully Online
Complete this degree or certificate on your schedule, from anywhere with an internet connection, by taking all your classes online. Find out more about online learning.

Meet with your academic advisor regularly to discuss your academic plans and make sure you are on track to graduate and/or transfer. The program advising guide outlines the degree requirements and is meant to supplement the advising process.

Transfer Opportunities

MC has a long history of successfully preparing students for transfer to four-year institutions. This AA degree is designed to provide a smooth transition under our current articulation agreement with the University of Maryland, College Park. This popular criminal justice program is offered at the College Park and Shady Grove campuses.  

See all criminal justice transfer agreements.


For some positions listed, a bachelor's degree or higher may be required. Use the Career and Program Explorer to see a full report for this career field. See links below chart for further guidance and/or connect with a Program Advisor to discuss career goals.

Careers include police officer, sheriff deputy, state trooper, federal law enforcement agent, fish & wildlife officer, correctional officer, probation & parole agent, juvenile services caseworker/ probation agent, court clerk, victim advocate, rehabilitation/ reentry counselor, and positions in the private security industry. Although a bachelor’s degree is not required for all of the above listed career fields, many agencies prefer applicants to possess a bachelor's degree at the time of employment. In addition, some of our students complete their bachelor's degree in criminal justice with the long-term goal of attending law school.

  • MC Student Employment Services: Speak with the Student Employment Specialist for help with resume writing, interviewing, setting up a College Central Network (CCN)new window account and other job search topics.
  • Career Coach: Explore Career Coach to learn more about this career and/or discover related majors and in-demand careers based on your current interests! Take a Career Assessment and then browse careers and job opportunities in the area.


Suggested Course Sequence: Criminal Justice

A suggested course sequence for students follows.

  • All students should review the advising guide and consult an advisor.
  • Find out about related programs and course in the Fields of Study section.
  • Most courses have either assessment levels that must be met or prerequisites (courses that must be taken first). Part-time students and those who need to meet assessment levels or take prerequisite courses will take longer to complete a degree. An advisor will help make sure you are taking your courses in the right order.
  • All degree-seeking students must take a central group of General Education courses in English, mathematics, arts, behavioral and social sciences, humanities, and science. These courses are included in the suggested course sequence below.

Suggested Course Sequence

Students should complete the required English and Math foundation courses within the first 24 credit hours. All students should review the Program Advising Guide and consult an advisor.

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Fourth Semester

  • CCJS 222 - Criminal Evidence  3 semester hours
  • CCJS Elective  3 semester hours ****
  • CCJS Elective or Elective  3 semester hours ****
  • Elective  2 semester hours **

* If needed for ENGL 102/ENGL 103, or elective.

** Students transferring to the University of Maryland should make sure they do not exceed the 60 credits required for graduation and transfer.

*** Students planning to transfer to the UMCP Program @ Shady Grove must complete these five identified courses with a minimum grade of C. 

**** Except CCJS 255 (Independent Study in Criminal Justice).

# Students who began prior to fall 2012 must take an English literature or a history course to meet the UMD humanities requirement.

AA and AS programs require one global and cultural perspectives (GCP) General Education course.

This program can be completed either on campus or online.

How To Apply and Register

Related Programs and Courses

General Studies Degree

Students planning to transfer to other four-year colleges/ university to major in criminal justice may also want to consider the Associate of Arts in General Studies - SSAH (Social Sciences, Administration and Health) transfer degree option.  We strongly encourage students to contact their intended transfer institution to determine which degree pathway aligns best with their long-term transfer goals.  

Workforce Development and Continuing Education

MC offers a wide variety of noncredit classes designed to help you upgrade your skills, pursue career training, or learn something new.