Criminal Justice students in white safety gear in a Crime Scene Simulation

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Prepare to Serve and Protect Your Community

Discover your calling as a criminal justice professional. Through The University of Texas at Tyler’s Bachelor of Science in criminal justice program, you’ll explore the theories and practices behind maintaining law and order, protecting individuals and communities and rehabilitating offenders. Specialize your knowledge toward homeland security, forensic science or juvenile justice with a concentration while gaining hands-on experience to launch your career or pursue graduate studies.

Why Major in Criminal Justice at UT Tyler?

Are you interested in the law, have great people skills and want to help others by serving society? A career in criminal justice lets you give back to your community, no matter if you’re in law enforcement, forensic science or policy development.

Our respected professors bring their experience from and research involving the criminal justice system into the classroom. As you think about your career and impact, small classes ensure more personalized attention, and professors have convenient office hours for questions and discussions.

Classwork examines the complex aspects of crime and criminal justice from sociological, psychological, public policy, legal and practitioner perspectives. The curriculum is based on recommendations from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the national association that promotes criminal justice education, research and policy analysis.

In preparation for a career or graduate school, develop hands-on experience and begin to build professional connections through the following opportunities:

  • Intern in any field agency, law office or government agency related to your specific career interests.
  • Highlight your knowledge with a comprehensive capstone experience, in which you’ll develop a policy proposal to improve an existing program or solve a new problem.
  • Network with fellow students and East Texas criminal justice professionals through the Criminal Justice Student Association, which hosts presentations by local agencies.

Recent graduates of UT Tyler’s program ranked in the top 10% of all criminal justice majors on a national test given to seniors.


All majors begin with a two-part core covering the fundamental theories, structures and laws of the criminal justice system and foundational topics in criminology. During this sequence, you’ll:

  • Analyze the structure, functions and relationships of the components making up the criminal justice system.
  • Study the concepts of punishment and rehabilitation and the corrections process from conviction to release.
  • Learn the theoretical foundations of modern policing practices and advances in policing technologies.
  • Study criminal justice research methods.
  • Discuss methods and procedures, as well as the ethical issues facing the criminal justice system.

All undergraduate students complete a total of 120 credit hours, including from criminal justice major courses, the university core curriculum and any transferred credits.


From here, students angle their degree toward where they see themselves making an impact in the criminal justice system. Select from 15-credit-hour concentrations in homeland security, forensic science or juvenile justice, or explore all areas through the generalist concentration.

Homeland Security

Homeland security is an integral part of our national defense, intelligence, emergency response, border security and criminal justice systems. In the majority of these courses, you’ll work collaboratively to find solutions to real-world and hypothetical events.

Forensic Science

Understand what’s behind investigating a crime scene. As you learn more about the scientific, technical and legal procedures involved, you’ll strengthen your critical thinking, problem-solving and oral and written communication skills. This concentration paves the way toward post-baccalaureate studies in forensic science, forensic chemistry or another area.

Juvenile Justice

You’ll discuss the social factors that lead to criminal behavior and touch on prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and treatment. If you’re preparing for law school, consider pairing this concentration with a pre-law minor.


Unsure of which area to specialize your degree? Choose courses based on your interests through the generalist concentration. If you opt to complete this flexible sequence with an outside minor, you can enroll in classes from all three of the other concentrations.

Review All Criminal Justice Major Requirements

What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Embark on an entry-level career in law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, rehabilitative services, border security or another law-related profession. Opportunities exist in local police departments, private security and the public service field, as well as state- and federal-level organizations, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs Agency, the CIA and the FBI.

In considering broader applications of your knowledge, a criminal justice degree further gives you an edge as a social worker, policy analyst, forensic scientist or professional educator.

Potential job titles include:

  • Correctional Administrator
  • Court Administrator
  • Court Reporter
  • Criminal Justice Educator
  • Criminal Justice Researcher
  • Federal Agent
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officer
  • Juvenile Court Counselor
  • Police Officer
  • Parole or Probation Officer
  • Private Investigator
  • Social Worker

Careers involving counseling, psychology or social work may require advanced degrees or licensing.

How to Apply

The University of Texas at Tyler offers a streamlined admissions process for all undergraduate students. Have questions or concerns? Our admissions team can guide you through all requirements and answer any questions you may have. Reflecting our reputation as one of the most affordable colleges in the state, our financial aid team helps you explore all scholarships, grants and other forms of assistance.

For admissions decisions in general:

  • UT Tyler automatically accepts students from the Top 25% of graduating classes in Texas.
  • Students from the 2nd to 4th quartiles must have a 2.75 or higher GPA.

Ready to apply? Review all undergraduate requirements to get started.

Start Your Application

UT Tyler has established partnerships with community colleges across Texas, allowing for a seamless transfer of your credits. Our relationships let you stick with your degree plan and graduate on time, right on your schedule.

UT Tyler has a partnership with Tyler Junior College for students pursuing a BS in criminal justice.

Transferring Into the BS in Criminal Justice Program

Learn More About Transfer Pathways

Admissions Requirements for Transfer Students

Undergraduate students majoring in criminal justice may choose to complete a master’s degree in one additional year. Students will select a project under this program and take nine credit hours of graduate-level courses (electives) during their senior year. Criminal justice majors with a minimum GPA of 3.49 who are interested in the 4+1 program must apply no later than the last semester of their junior year.

Learn About the 4+1 BS/MS or MPA Program

July 1

ApplyTexas application opens for incoming first-year students.

October 1

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens for the upcoming academic year.

December 1

Application deadline to be eligible for scholarships.

May 1

Deadline for Valedictorian, Salutatorian and Transfer Presidential scholarships.

August 1

Deadline for Patriot Promise Scholarship.

Next Steps

Your future is here. Discover all the places a criminal justice degree from UT Tyler can take you.