Criminal Justice

Jess Thompson
Humanities & Student Services 327
(360) 475-7417


The Department of Criminal Justice at Olympic College is committed to serving the needs of students interested pursuing or studying Criminal Justice. The goal of this program is to teach students to analyze and think critically about the practices, policies, procedures, and institutions that compose the field of Criminal Justice and to gain a strong understanding of the integral relationship between crime, justice, and society.

Additionally, the mission of the Criminal Justice Department reinforces core values contained in the Mission Statements of both the College and the Social Sciences and Humanities Division which emphasize multiculturalism and diversity. As such, students studying and exploring Criminal Justice are encouraged to develop valuable skills that will enhance their ability to work and interact with diverse populations and in a variety of settings.

Program Overview

Criminal Justice is a dynamic field with an array of opportunities. Often, law enforcement is the first thing that comes to mind for most people, yet Criminal Justice also includes occupations in probation, parole, forensic investigation, victim services, policy, law, and even non-profit organizations.

As an academic discipline, Criminal Justice overlaps with Sociology, Psychology, Business, Social Work, Human Services, and Political Science. Students can build a very strong skill set necessary for working in the field by taking a wide array of classes outside of the Criminal Justice discipline.

Course Offerings & Suggestions

Here at Olympic College we do not offer a degree specifically in Criminal Justice. However, we do offer courses that meet several distribution requirements for the Associate in Arts – Direct Transfer Agreement (AA–DTA) or the Associate in General Studies (AGS). The courses we offer include:

CJ 100 Intro to Law Enforcement
CJ& 101 Intro to Criminal Justice
CJ& 105 Intro to Corrections
CJ& 106 Juvenile Justice
CJ& 110 Criminal Law

There are also courses in other disciplines that are strongly recommended for someone interested in Criminal Justice: *
CMST 253 Intercultural Communication (formerly CMST 153) OR
CMST& 210 Interpersonal Communication
CMST& 220 Public Speaking
PHIL 240 Intro to Ethics
POLS& 202 American Government
PSYC& 100 General Psychology
SOC& 101 Intro to Sociology
SOC 109 Family Abuse and Neglect
SOC 190 US Race & Ethnicity
SOC 215 Criminology (formerly CJ 112)

*If interested in Forensic Investigation it is recommended that you pursue courses in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, etc.) or computer sciences as opposed to the social sciences.

Planning for a Baccalaureate

Students interested in obtaining a Bachelor’s degree are advised to check the admission requirements at their 4-yr school of choice and tailor their degree plan to meet the school’s requirements.

Depending on the student’s interests they might prefer to major in a field other than Criminal Justice (as there is not a discipline specific degree requirement for most CJ positions). Sometimes it can be beneficial to have a broader social sciences or business degree as opposed to a degree in Criminal Justice (should someone get injured and no longer be able to perform as the job requires).

For students who do not want to major in Criminal Justice, you may find that a degree in Sociology, Psychology, Human Services, Social Work, Political Science, Business Administration, or Organizational Leadership is better suited for you and your academic interests/career goals, yet still provides you with the relevant knowledge and skills should you want to pursue or continue a career related to Criminal Justice.

Special Notes

A degree is not required for some careers in Criminal Justice. While a degree might not be required, it is highly encouraged and often provides a leg up or additional opportunity for promotion for those entering the field.

Additionally, this is a field in which a criminal history can very well impact the likelihood of employability. If applying to jobs in Criminal Justice it is recommended that you read all hiring requirements and procedures carefully in order to discern if a criminal history and/or criminal behavior can disqualify you from the job.

Reviewed 2/19/2014