Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice program prepares you for a successful career in law enforcement, counseling or probation. Whether you're looking to enter the field or advance your skills, our faculty, who are actively employed in the field, will help you reach your goals.

uc@rwu.eduAt UC, You Can

RWU is home to the premier Criminal Justice program in Rhode Island with many of the state’s Public Safety leaders among our graduates. Our program combines courses in policing, corrections and procedure with studies in the social sciences to introduce you to the theory and practice of criminal law and the moral complexity of the criminal justice system. Many of our graduates advance into graduate study or law school.

criminal justice students

Faculty Who Work in their Fields

You need to be prepared for all the moral dilemmas and complexities the legal system brings. It's why we employ people who are actively working in the field to develop the curriculum and guide lessons.

An Expert Advisor

All matriculating students are assigned a on-on-one advisor, who is both an adjunct professor and an expert in their field. 

Parker"Working in the police and legal world, I have a pretty good feel for where students are coming from and in what direction they want to go,"

Sean Parker, Captain, Cranston Police Department, Cranston, RI
His Advice: Get some training and specialized skills under your belt while going through the process of getting your degree by taking advantage of the professional certificate programs.
More: Sean Parker, Police Captain, UC Adjunct Professor, Criminal Justice Advisor 

How You'll Get There 

CJ classAt UC, we support you on your individual path. Whether you are just starting out or picking up where you left off, we work with you to accomplish your goals. As you work with our faculty, each respected in their field, you'll build lasting connections that open doors to your success. You'll receive one-on-one guidance from your advisor each step of the way.

UC offers students flexibility to bring in a wide range of previous credit. You may take advantage of our prior learning assessment, applying transfer credit, trainings and assessments, military experience, work experience, and self-taught skills toward your degree. UC provides standardized credit documentation for a wide range of trainings for public safety officials. For example, officers who have completed the R.I. Municipal Police Academy can receive up to 26.5 credits towards this degree.

You NeedYou Don't Need
  • A passion for justice
  • Official transcripts from high school, college
  • entrance exams
  • SAT/ACT scores 
  • pre-requisites 
  • admissions essay
  • application fee 
  • GPA requirements

Sample Courses

Policing in America 
Constitutional Law 
Juvenile Justice
Juvenile Justice 

Bachelor & Associate Degree Options

The Criminal Justice program will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to advance in your current career, seek a new career path or pursue a particular interest in areas such as law enforcement, criminal rehabilitation and community policing.

The program introduces you to the theory and practice of the United States criminal justice system. Course emphasis includes: adult and juvenile crime; causation theory; criminal and civil procedure; the police; the courts; and institutional and community-based corrections.

     11 required criminal justice courses 
       3 criminal justice electives
       7 required courses in other departments 
     10 core courses 
+   9 electives                     
     40 courses (120 credits)

See Degree Requirements

The program will introduce you to the theory and practice of the United States criminal justice system. Course emphasis includes: adult and juvenile crime; causation theory; criminal and civil procedure; the police; the courts; and institutional and community-based corrections. You may earn an Associates of Science by selecting your courses from the Criminal Justice Bachelor's requirements, fulfilling the requirements below.

       7 required criminal justice courses 
       1 criminal justice elective
       7 core courses 
+   5 electives                     
     20 courses (60 credits)

See Degree Requirements

Common Add-On Certificates

You can easily add one of the following professional certificates to this degree without taking any additional classes. They allow you to earn your degree one step at a time, adding credentials to your resume along the way. Choose a professional certificate in your area of interest to specialize your degree. 

This professional certificate program allows you to be the best asset to your community you can be. With courses in public speaking, ethics, and cultural awareness, the Certificate in Community Policing prepares students to be effective police officers in a changing society. 

Six required courses = 18 credits 

See Certificate Details

This professional certificate program combines public administration skills with the unique concerns of the corrections field to give you a well-rounded foundation for a career in corrections agency administration. 

Six required courses = 18 credits 

See Certificate Details

In this professional certificate program, you will learn the specific skillsets needed to be an effective defender of homeland security. Learn strategies and theories of disaster management, counter-terrorism methods, crime prevention, and more. 

Six required courses = 18 credits 

See Certificate Details

This professional certificate program gives you public administration skills specifically suited to Police Agency Administration. Taught by experts in the field, these classes will give you what you need to advance in your career. 

Six required courses = 18 credits

See Certificate Details

In this professional certificate program, you will learn about contemporary issues in public safety and the ways organizations respond to the challenges. Courses cover public speaking skills and crime prevention along with specific public safety concerns such as drug use and youth gangs. 

Six required courses = 18 credits

See Certificate Details

Flexible Options to Suit Your Schedule 

You may complete this entire program online, from anywhere, on your own schedule. Depending on the needs and interests of our students, we also offer in-person courses to bring your learning to life through face-to-face discussion. Our hybrid on-line and in-person courses give you the best of both worlds. Your advisor will help you determine which path is best for you.

Your Career

Careers in this field are expected to grow 5% in the next ten years, a reflection of the continued need for public safety. The Criminal Justice program gives you the tools you need to enter the field, quality for a promotion, apply your military skills to the civilian world, and more. 

While career outlooks depend on candidate experience and specific employer requirements, the table below reflects median salaries in the following potential positions*

JobWhat You DoWhat You NeedAverage Salary
First-Line Supervisor of Federal Law Enforcement WorkersDirectly supervise and coordinate activities of members of federal law enforcement workers.Police officer experience, bachelor's degree$123,640
Detective Gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes.Police officer experience, bachelor's degree$85,020
Correctional AdministratorProvide supervision and leadership in prisons and jailsBachelor's degree$68,350
Police Officer Protect people and property. Patrol assigned areas, respond to calls, enforce laws, make arrests, issue citationsGraduate from agency's training academy $64,400
Probation Officer Assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole.Bachelor's degree$58,790
Correctional Officer Oversee those who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been sentenced to serve time in jail or prison.High school diploma, some postsecondary education, to bachelor's degree depending on employer$49,300

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Job outlook: 2018-2028. Median salary: 2018

Individualized Support, More Affordable

At University College, you get the individualized attention of a private university at a more affordable cost. There are multiple options for financial aid, scholarships, and accelerated paths to get you to the degree you need. Some programs run by Roger Williams are awarded by simply applying for admission, while others are awarded to students through a more formal aid application process.

To ensure full consideration for all aid programs, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Tuition Costs & Fees: A valuable education you can afford
  • Financing Your Education: Filling out the FAFSA
  • Do You Live in Central Falls, Cranston, Foster, Glocester, or Pawtucket? Ask about RWU's lower-cost tuition agreements for residents of these communities
  • Military: We can help you navigate the application process for tuition assistance, GI Bill benefits, and other tuition benefits, which include waived application fee and discounted tuition rates for service members and spouses, as well as financial aid.
  • Employers & Municipalities: Many employers, including municipalities, will reimburse tuition costs. Ask your HR team for details about your benefits.

Questions? Reach out!

Everyone has questions.

Our Admissions Team has answers. Call them at (401) 254-3838 or email