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Criminal Justice Degree

Associate of Applied Science


The AAS in criminal justice is designed to prepare students for careers within the criminal justice system. The program offers a combination of liberal arts and specialized career courses to help students upon entry into the criminal justice field. The curriculum is offered for those already employed in the criminal justice profession as well as for high school students interested in pursuing careers with local, state, or private agencies within the field.

Students are encouraged to seek assistance from criminal justice faculty in making course selections to suit their career goals and interests. Those students interested in transferring to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university should consult advisers regarding our AA degree in general studies.



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.

Program Outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the criminal law and of the criminal justice process (police, courts, and corrections).
  • Explain the function and role of various criminal justice practitioners in the operation of an ethical and professional system of justice that exists within a diverse society.
  • Analyze the history, functions, policies, and procedures used in each subsystem of justice and creatively offer alternatives to current practices.
  • Explain the impact of political and economic considerations as it relates to criminal justice theory, research, practice, and policy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to proficiently write about criminal justice issues while utilizing academic sources in an organized and coherent manner.

Program Advising

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 AAS degree is designed so you can enter the workforce immediately upon completion, , although it does transfer to several nearby schools. MC has transfer agreements with these schools if you want to complete the AAS:  Bowie, UMGC, Excelsior College, and Colorado State University (online).

Another option is to complete the associate of arts in criminal justice degree.  If your plan is to transfer to the University of Maryland College Park (Main Campus or Shady Grove), or any another four-year university to major in criminal justice, this transfer degree may be the better way to align your courses to requirements of a four-year school. Most four-year institutions prefer that you take general education courses at Montgomery College and take major classes in the junior and senior year.   

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, and positions in the private security industry. Some positions require a bachelor’s degree. 

  • 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 244 - Contemporary Issues  3 semester hours
  • CCJS Elective 3 semester hours 
  • OR

  • Behavioral and Social Sciences Elective 3 semester hours
  • CCJS Elective 3 semester hours
  • Elective 3 semester hours

* ENGL 101/ENGL 101A, if needed for ENGL 102/ENGL 103, or elective.

‡ CCJS electives include CCJS 211, CCJS 216, CCJS 222, CCJS 232, CCJS 246, CCJS 250, and CCJS 255. Students can also use CCJS 201 or CCJS 230 as a CCJS elective if not already used to satisfy a program requirement.

This program can be completed either on campus or online.

How To Apply and Register

Related Programs and Courses

General Studies Degree

If your plan is to transfer to the University of Maryland, College Park (Main Campus or Shady Grove), or any another four-year university to major in Criminal Justice, the Associate of Arts in General Studies - SSAH (Social Sciences, Administration and Health) transfer degree may be the better way to align your courses to requirements of a four- year school.

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.