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Program Description


If you picture yourself playing a positive role in the criminal justice system, Onondaga Community College’s two degrees in Criminal Justice can help you develop the skills you will need in this challenging environment.

The associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree prepares you to enter the criminal justice field after two years of study, while the associate in science (A.S.) degree lays the foundation for a four-year degree in a related field. If you are already employed in the criminal justice system, either Onondaga degree can sharpen your skills and advance your career. If you have a special interest in delinquency, Onondaga offers a 12-credit minor in this critical area.

Both programs provide an overview of the entire criminal justice system, including the court system, criminal law, police-community relations, ethics, delinquency, probation, parole, criminology, security organization, homeland security and management. You will also study sociology and psychology as they relate to the criminal justice field. As a candidate for the A.S. degree, you will have an opportunity to specialize in one of several areas of interest: criminal justice, criminology, law enforcement, corrections, security, terrorism and criminalistics. With the A.A.S. degree, you will be prepared for a variety of positions in public or private agencies that provide law enforcement, corrections, probation, parole, security, crime prevention, community relations and similar services. If you plan to continue your studies in a related field, the A.S. degree is designed for a seamless transition into a four-year college or university program. If your plans change and you decide to enter the workforce after finishing your A.S. degree in Criminal Justice, you will be prepared for a variety of challenging positions.

We have highly experienced faculty which includes criminal justice experts from throughout Central New York, including professionals from the Syracuse Police Department, Onondaga County Sheriff ’s Department, DeWitt Police Department and the New York State Police. Prominent local attorneys, including a Federal and County prosecutor, teach criminal law courses. In addition, experts in the field of criminalistics, juvenile delinquency and the investigation of child abuse serve on our faculty.

Program Prerequisites 

All matriculated students in the Criminal Justice program will be required to achieve placement at the ENG 103 and RDG 153 level before registering for any criminal justice course.

Completion Requirements 

A final grade of C or better must be achieved in every criminal justice course to earn either the A.S. or A.A.S. degree in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation, the successful criminal justice student will be able to: 1. Demonstrate knowledge of selected content areas within the field, such as juvenile delinquency, crime analysis, criminology, the judiciary, law enforcement, private security, and corrections. 2. Demonstrate critical thinking skills by understanding, evaluating and synthesizing primary questions underlying the criminal justice field and the major theoretical perspectives that the practitioner or researcher will bring to the profession. 3. Perceive and articulate ethical issues of situations and describe the appropriate corresponding behavior of the practitioner or researcher in the application of theory in real life situations within the criminal justice field.

Transfer Credit 

Only credit from institutions that are accredited by their regional higher education accrediting body is accepted for transfer into the Criminal Justice program. No academic credit is awarded by the Criminal Justice program for life experience or for military, police academy or other professional training. No credit toward graduation is awarded for pre-collegiate level or remedial work designed to prepare the student for collegiate study. No criminal justice major credits are to be completed through knowledge-based examinations (e.g., CLEP). Awarding blanket credit for criminal justice courses in a “block” is not allowed (e.g., “12 hours criminal justice credit”). The institution awards degrees only to those students who have earned at least 50 percent of the credit hours in the criminal justice program through instruction offered at Onondaga Community College.