Hands-on Learning and Professional Mentorship

Prepare to work in the criminal justice system in a program that is highly regarded by employers throughout the region. In the Criminal Justice Bachelor of Arts program at UNC, you’ll learn by doing, with the expert guidance of dedicated, caring faculty who include lawyers, sociologists, criminologists, public policy experts and former detectives. Workshops are offered in such areas as crime scene investigation, forensic photography and blood stain pattern analysis. There are also internship and other learning opportunities with criminal justice agencies throughout the region: You can ride along with law enforcement officers, study crime rates and take part in mock panel interviews with working professionals in diverse criminal justice fields. At UNC, you’ll benefit from smaller classes, close mentorship and a more personalized education.

Degree Option

B.A. in Criminal Justice

In addition to the bachelor’s degree program, we offer a 15-credit Criminal Investigation undergraduate certificate program designed for both students and working professionals.

B.A. Program Details

Certificate and Minor Options

Criminal Investigation Undergraduate Certificate Program

Gain hands-on experience in criminal investigation designed to expand your employment opportunities. Taught by criminal justice experts from across the country, this program can be completed in just a year and a half, and is offered face-to-face on the UNC campus during breaks from the traditional university schedule.

Extended Campus Program Details.

Criminal Justice Minor

Our 18-credit minor provides a strong background in criminal justice and is a valuable addition to a variety of majors at UNC.

Minor Details

Related Programs

Finding Answers to Complex Questions

As a criminal justice major at UNC, you’ll have many exciting and rewarding opportunities to work in the field. Some of our students volunteer with probation offices to help juvenile offenders get back on track. Others work to open lines of dialogue between offenders and victims, to help find healing for both. Reading for Change, a new program in development, will work to maintain and strengthen bonds between inmates and their children through the reading of children’s literature.

“My two years with the UNC Criminal Justice program have brought me more education, experience, personal growth and satisfaction than I can express. The professors encourage you to become actively involved in your learning and you are presented with every opportunity to make the most out of your college degree.” 

- Kamille McKinney, UNC Criminal Justice Student

Your Future in Criminal Justice

Gain the professional skills and knowledge to pursue a career or graduate study in criminal justice. At UNC, you’ll work in a challenging but supportive learning environment enriched by experiential learning opportunities and guided by top faculty who are dedicated to helping you succeed.

Consider UNC's B.A. in Criminal Justice if you:

  • Want to serve your community while gaining a deeper appreciation for diversity and civil liberties
  • Enjoy working with people and solving problems
  • Prefer small classes with individual attention and close faculty mentorship

You’ll learn:

  • How the police, courts and corrections agencies serve to protect and preserve the social order in a free society
  • How to apply criminological theories and research methods in the field
  • The importance of ethics and cultural awareness in criminal justice
  • Communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Sample courses:

  • Judicial Process
  • Victim Studies
  • Justice Professionalism and Ethics
  • Justice Research and Statistics
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Evidentiary Photography
Kyle Ward, Assistant Professor


Kyle Ward, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Kyle Ward, initiated the program "Reading for Change" as a part of his study into how incarceration affects parents and builds connections between inmates and their children at home. Ward and student volunteers record inmates reading children's books which are later burnt to CDs and returned (with a copy of the book) to the jail for mailing to the inmates families.

Learn More


Beyond the Classroom

When you earn your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at UNC, you enter the job market with the skills and marketability a top program provides. Our program has an exceptional graduation rate, and our graduates are highly sought by public, private and not-for-profit organizations in diverse areas of criminal justice.


Where can your degree take you?

Our Criminal Justice Bachelor of Arts program is designed to prepare you for diverse careers. These are just a few of your options:

  • Community Corrections Counselor
  • Deputy Sheriff
  • Federal Law Enforcement Agent
  • Juvenile Justice Professional
  • Loss Prevention Specialist
  • Police Officer
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Victim Services Specialist

In addition to careers directly related to criminal justice, the analytical and critical thinking skills you develop as a criminal justice major will prepare you for many other professional pathways, such as law, social work, teaching and communications careers.

Current Research in Criminal Justice 

Faculty members serve as consultants to police departments, to the local drug court and to the state department of corrections. Their interests include crime prevention; transnational crimes such as terrorism and human trafficking; drugs and crime; and important issues such as race, ethnicity and gender in the criminal justice system. Our current research projects include:

Loss to Homicide: The Long Journey to Justice and Healing

Sarah Goodrum, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Department Chair

Can the criminal justice system help heal the harm of a loss to murder? Sarah Goodrum’s latest book project will chronicle the heartbreaking experiences of people who have lost a loved one to murder using in-depth interview data and the sociological theory of symbolic interactionism. With research supported by funding from the National Institute of Justice and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the study examines assumptions about the role of the criminal justice system in victims’ recovery process in the post-victims’ rights era of the 1980s in the U.S.