Criminal Justice

Stephanie Ferguson
Dean, Professional Studies & Learning
Burk University Center
Phone: (575) 492-2643


Program Description

This program prepares students for a career in the multifaceted criminal justice system. The curriculum is structured around a core of courses allowing students to acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed to work in law enforcement, private security, corrections, and other related areas of criminal justice.

The curriculum, which covers a variety of topics in criminal justice, focuses on developing the ability to understand and apply legal concepts, investigative techniques, evidence collection and presentation, report writing, patrol operations, and traffic management.

The program also stresses practical skills needed to deal with the complex social, psychological, political, and organizational factors that affect the discretionary decisions of law enforcement personnel. This blend of specific skills and informed perspectives prepares the Criminal Justice graduate to make the difficult decisions often required when serving the needs of the community.

Career and Advancement Opportunities

Many graduates find job opportunities in federal, state, county, and municipal governments. The knowledge and skills acquired in this program qualify graduates for positions with private enterprise in areas such as industrial, retail, and private security.

Special Requirements

A minimum of 65 credit hours are required for the Associate of Applied Science degree, and the requirements for the certificates are listed below. All courses, other than General Education requirements, must be completed with a "C" or better. Students should consult with a counselor or advisor for possible degree revisions and for proper sequential order of degree completion.

In addition to the AAS degree, students can apply credit hours earned in criminal justice to the Associate of Arts degree. Students should consult with a counselor or advisor for specific transfer information.

The certificate in Criminal Justice is offered to students enrolled in the Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Training Academy. Some of the courses with a LA prefix are cross-listed with Criminal Justice courses; please check the course descriptions. The LA courses include hands-on training components not included in the CJ courses to prepare the student to qualify to take the State of New Mexico peace officer certification examination. The CJ courses may not be substituted for the LA courses since they do not include the hands-on training components.