Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice Program at Mount Wachusett Community College provides students with the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Law Enforcement, an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice-with a Corrections Concentration or Associate Degree in Criminal Justice-with a Law Enforcement Concentration.   Upon completion of a program, students are prepared for positions in various criminal justice, law enforcement and corrections settings.  During the course of study, students will develop skills and competencies in communications, critical thinking, reasoning, and use of terminology of a criminal justice professional.  Students will gain knowledge of Constitutional processes, substantive law content, and application of appropriate techniques in the investigation, apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, punishment, and rehabilitation of criminal offenders.

Law Enforcement Certificate (CJLC)

Developed in cooperation with the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Law Enforcement Certificate program prepares students for a career in law enforcement. The certificate combines specialized criminal justice and general education coursework to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to compete for entry into the Massachusetts law enforcement field. All of the credits earned in the certificate program can be applied to an associate’s degree in criminal justice, which may result in increased compensation and may qualify the certificate holder to a shortened municipal police training academy.

There are several good reasons to pursue or continue your education in criminal justice:

  1. it is one of the fastest growing job markets in the nation;
  2. as crime changes and criminals become more sophisticated, criminal justice professionals must increase their knowledge, skills, and sophistication in enforcing laws;
  3. the public continues to demand higher standards and effectiveness of law enforcement officials;
  4. through various pay incentive programs, police may receive salary increases by pursuing higher education;
  5. and criminal justice is a good foundation for those pursuing a career in law.

MWCC’s outstanding criminal justice faculty includes working practitioners and instructors with expertise in law enforcement, prosecutorial systems, and corrections.

Year 1
FallCredits
CJU 131Introduction To Criminal Justice 3
CJU 133Criminal Law 3
ENG 101College Writing I 3
SOC 103Introduction To Sociology 3
PSY 105Introduction To Psychology 3
Spring
CJU 134Criminal Procedure 3
CJU 220Technical Writing For The Criminal Justice Professional 1
CJU 140American Policing 3
CJU 232Introduction To Criminology 3
SPC 113Speech (formerly THE113) 3
 Total Credits: 28

See Criminal Justice program competencies and technical standards

Helpful hints

Academic and career advising sessions with a criminal justice advisor are highly recommended. Cooperative education, volunteer, and/or service learning experiences may increase chances of employment. Students who are pursuing a career in law enforcement or police services are encouraged to complete the Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Special requirements

Students enrolled in this certificate are not eligible for life experience, police academy, armed services, or Tech Prep credits and are limited to six credits total in CLEP, DANTES, and challenge exams. Only courses completed at institutions accredited by appropriate Regional Institutional Accrediting organizations may be transferred into the program. A Criminal and Sexual Offender Records Information (CORI/SORI) check is required for student interns. Technical standards must be met with or without accommodations.

Transfer options

This program is intended for immediate career entry. Courses completed as part of this certificate program can be applied to the Criminal Justice Degree.

Career options/Earning potential

For career options, please click here. Also, please visit the Massachusetts Career Information System   and the Occupational Outlook Handbook for more information.

Gainful Employment Program Disclosure Information

For gainful employment information, please click here.

Criminal Justice Degree–Corrections Concentration (CJCD)

The mission statement for the Criminal Justice program at MWCC is to provide students with academic preparation for career entry, transfer to four year institutions, and life-long learning through a broad based and comprehensive curriculum supported by community partnerships and guided by the demand of the criminal justice workforce. The corrections concentration focuses on counseling and rehabilitation of offenders, probation, parole, community corrections, and juvenile services. The Criminal Justice program is approved as a Police Career Incentive Program by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

Year 1
FallCredits
ENG 101College Writing I 3
SOC 103Introduction To Sociology 3
MAT 126Topics In Mathematics(or higher) 4
CJU 131Introduction To Criminal Justice 3
CJU 133Criminal Law 3
Spring
ENG 102College Writing II 3
PSY 105Introduction To Psychology 3
CIS 127Computer Technologies 3
CJU 134Criminal Procedure 3
CJU 232Introduction To Criminology 3
Year 2
Fall
Science Elective 1 3-4
POL 211Massachusetts And The Federal System 3
Restrictive Elective (see list below)  3
CJU 254Counseling And Rehabilitation Of The Offender 3
CJU 250Introduction To Corrections 3
CJU 220Technical Writing For The Criminal Justice Professional 1
Spring
SPC 113Speech (formerly THE113) 3
PSY 240, SOC 205, or HIS 125Abnormal Psychology(or Social Problems, or American Ethnic History) 3
PER 126 or 130Fitness And Wellness(or Health, Fitness and Wellness) 22-3
Restrictive Elective (see list below)  3
CJU 260Probation, Parole, And Community Corrections 3
CJU 255Seminar In Criminal Justice 33
 Total Credits: 64-66
1

Science Electives: BIO, BTC, CHE, EAS, EGM, NRD, PHY
Lab science required for transfer

2

PER 130 Health, Fitness, And Wellness is recommended for transfer

3

This course should be taken in the semester immediately preceeding graduation

Restrictive Electives

Credits
CJU 234
CJU 252Internship In Criminal Justice3
SOC 129Drug Use And Abuse In American Society 13
SOC 208Juvenile Delinquency 13
SOC 212Victimology 13
SPA 109Beginning Spanish I (or higher)3
1

Recommended

 

See Criminal Justice program competencies and technical standards

Helpful hints

Academic and career advising sessions with a Criminal Justice advisor are highly recommended. Cooperative education, volunteer, and/or service learning experiences may increase chances of employment.

Transfer options

For transfer options, please click here. It is recommended that you also consult with your academic advisor.

Special requirements

Students enrolled in the Criminal Justice program are not eligible for life experience, police academy, armed services, or Tech Prep credits, and are limited to six credits total in CLEP, DSST, and challenge exams. Only courses completed at institutions accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges may be transferred into the program. Transfer students are required to complete at least three of their required Criminal Justice courses (nine credits) at MWCC. A Criminal and Sexual Offender Records Information (CORI/SORI) check is required for student interns. Technical standards must be met with or without accommodations.

Career options/Earning potential

For career options, please click here. Also, please visit the Massachusetts Career Information System   and the Occupational Outlook Handbook for more information.

 

Criminal Justice Degree–Law Enforcement Concentration (CJL)  

The mission statement for the Criminal Justice program at MWCC is to provide students with academic preparation for career entry, transfer to four year institutions, and life-long learning through a broad based and comprehensive curriculum supported by community partnerships and guided by the demand of the criminal justice workforce. The law enforcement concentration emphasizes areas such as community policing, investigation, criminalistics, and the administration of justice. For Massachusetts police officers who qualify for the benefit, the Criminal Justice program is approved as a Police Career Incentive Program by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

Year 1
FallCredits
ENG 101College Writing I 3
SOC 103Introduction To Sociology 3
MAT 126Topics In Mathematics (or higher) 4
CJU 131Introduction To Criminal Justice 3
CJU 133Criminal Law 3
Spring
ENG 102College Writing II 3
PSY 105Introduction To Psychology 3
CIS 127Computer Technologies 3
CJU 134Criminal Procedure 3
CJU 232Introduction To Criminology 3
Year 2
Fall
Science Elective 1 3-4
POL 211Massachusetts And The Federal System 3
Restrictive Elective (see list below)  3
CJU 233Criminal Investigation 3
CJU 250Introduction To Corrections 3
CJU 220Technical Writing For The Criminal Justice Professional 1
Spring
SPC 113Speech (formerly THE113) 3
PSY 240, SOC 205, or HIS 125Abnormal Psychology 3
PER 126 or 130Fitness And Wellness 22-3
Restrictive Elective (see list below)  3
CJU 140American Policing 3
CJU 255Seminar In Criminal Justice 33
 Total Credits: 64-66
1

Electives: BIO, BTC, CHE, EAS, EGM, NRD or PHY
Lab science required for transfer

2

PER 130 Health, Fitness, And Wellness is recommended for transfer

3

This course should be taken in the semester immediately preceeding graduation

Restrictive Electives

Credits
CJU 110Introduction To Criminalistics3
CJU 252Internship In Criminal Justice3
SOC 129Drug Use And Abuse In American Society 13
SOC 208Juvenile Delinquency 13
SOC 212Victimology 13
SPA 109Beginning Spanish I3
1

Recommended

See Criminal Justice program competencies and technical standards

Helpful Hints

Academic and career advising sessions with a Criminal Justice advisor are highly recommended. Cooperative education, volunteer, and/or service learning experiences may increase chances of employment.

Transfer options

For transfer options, please click here. It is recommended that you also consult with your academic advisor.

Special requirements

Students enrolled in the Criminal Justice program are not eligible for life experience, police academy, armed services, or Tech Prep credits, and are limited to six credits total in CLEP, DSST, and challenge exams. Only courses completed at institutions accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges may be transferred into the program. Transfer students are required to complete at least three of their required Criminal Justice courses (nine credits) at MWCC. A Criminal and Sexual Offender Records Information (CORI/SORI) check is required for student interns. Technical standards must be met with or without accommodations.

Career options/Earning potential

For career options, please click here. Also, please visit the Massachusetts Career Information System and the Occupational Outlook Handbook for more information.

Program Competencies for CJCD and CJL

Upon graduation from these programs, students shall have demonstrated the ability to:

  • Apply skills and knowledge necessary for entry-level positions and/or continued study in criminal justice or related fields.
  • Explain the basic concepts, operations, and services of the primary agencies that make up the criminal justice system.
  • Analyze theoretical perspectives on criminality and social deviance, and identify specific crime typologies and offender profiles.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in identification and explanation of Constitutional processes, substantive law content, and application of appropriate techniques in the investigation, apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, punishment, and rehabilitation of criminal offenders.
  • Demonstrate essential skills including reading, writing, communications, critical thinking, reasoning, and knowledge and use of terminology of a criminal justice professional.
  • Analyze current issues facing the criminal justice system and ethical choices confronting criminal justice practitioners.
  • Analyze career opportunities and assess skills and abilities in relationship to specific positions.

Technical Standards1 for CJCD, CJL, and CJLC

1

For general information about technical standards and accommodation, see Technical Standards.

Students entering these programs must be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Comprehend textbook material at the 11th grade level.
  • Communicate and assimilate information in either printed, signed, or computer voice format.
  • Gather, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Observe, investigate, make appropriate determinations at mock crime scenes, and problem solve.
  • Function as a team leader, including giving directions and providing advocacy.
  • Maintain cleanliness and personal grooming consistent with close personal contact.
  • Know how to operate a computer or smart phone, with or without adaptation.

Courses

CJU 110. Introduction To Criminalistics. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to introduce the concepts involved in the field of criminalistics. The students will be introduced to the concepts of criminalistics from the professional and scientific disciplines dedicated to the recognition, collection, identification, and individualization of physical evidence. The application of the natural sciences to matters of the law will be examined. Actual court cases will be used to illustrate facilitation of the identification process. Practical application of selected laboratory procedures may be included. Prerequisites: ENG 096, RDG 096, (or placement).

CJU 131. Introduction To Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

Students survey the criminal justice system in the United States including its main components: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Special emphasis is placed on the sequence of events and decision points within the system, as well as historical and societal influences. The functions of federal, state, county, and local agencies are examined. A brief overview of the juvenile system is included. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement. This course should be taken during a student's first semester as a Criminal Justice major.

CJU 133. Criminal Law. 3 Credits.

This course studies the nature, aims, purposes, and principles of criminal law, including both the general and specific parts of the law of crimes. Emphasis is placed on critical analysis of specific elements, rules, doctrines, and defenses. Students actively participate by applying knowledge of laws and doctrines to actual cases through written and oral exercises. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement.

CJU 134. Criminal Procedure. 3 Credits.

Emphasis is placed on the constitutional authority to apply the process of enforcement of the law. Attention is given to admissibility of evidence used to convict. Through case study, procedural matters affecting the criminal justice system such as arrest, search and seizure, warrants, admissions, stop and frisk, and identification, pretrial proceedings, conviction, and post-conviction processes are examined. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement.

CJU 140. American Policing. 3 Credits.

This course provides the criminal justice student with an in-depth understanding of the history, development and philosophy of American policing. Students survey the roles, operation, procedures and organizational structure used in modern law enforcement. Attention is given to ethical practices, police interaction with diverse cultures, and the importance of communication. The course emphasizes patrol and community as the mainstay of policing. Current problems, recent innovations and law enforcement as a lifelong career are included topics. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, or placement. Spring.

CJU 220. Technical Writing For The Criminal Justice Professional. 1 Credit.

This course is designed to develop the technical writing skills of students intending to become criminal justice practitioners. Students develop the written communications skills needed to prepare to write research papers, reports, and accurately document legal and investigative materials, as well as other types of written communications commonly used by the major agencies within the criminal justice profession. This course will meet one hour each week. Prerequisite: ENG 101.

CJU 232. Introduction To Criminology. 3 Credits.

Students will explore patterns of adult criminal and juvenile delinquent behavior through the examination of theories from a biological, psychological, and sociological perspective. The concept of crime as a social problem and efforts to measure the nature and extent of crime will be examined. Typologies of crime are studied, and schools of thought and various approaches to crime causation will be considered. This course should be taken during a student's second semester as a Criminal Justice major. Prerequisite: SOC 103. Spring.

CJU 233. Criminal Investigation. 3 Credits.

This course examines the science and art of criminal investigation. Crime science and its specialized procedures and techniques related to physical evidence, interviews, rules of evidence, the investigator as a witness, and the investigative process to include follow-up investigations will be examined. Cases may be included to illustrate the investigative process. Practical application of selected laboratory procedures may be included. Prerequisite: CJU 134 or permission of the division dean. Fall.

CJU 250. Introduction To Corrections. 3 Credits.

This course surveys the historical, political, legal, and sociological aspects of the United States correctional system. Students examine differing philosophies and purposes of punishment, particularly as they impact correctional policy and practice. Emphasis is on studying various types of offenders within the system and understanding major issues regarding contemporary methods of handling criminal offenders. Prerequisite: CJU 131. Fall.

CJU 252. Internship In Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

This field experience involves extensive observation of and interaction in selected agencies. Placements include police departments, courts, probation, juvenile services, parole, correctional facilities, training academies, and related areas such as residential treatment programs. Students obtain a basic knowledge and understanding of the practical aspects of criminal justice through observation and selected participation. One seminar hour and eight hours of field experience per week are required. A consideration for placement will be the student's appropriate qualifications in relation to a specific agency. Prerequisites: completion of at least two criminal justice courses, sophomore status, and permission of division dean.

CJU 254. Counseling And Rehabilitation Of The Offender. 3 Credits.

This course acquaints the student with current views on treatment of the criminal offender. Students will survey modes of treatment such as cognitive, family, and group therapies, study assessment of individual needs, and examine selected contemporary programs. Special emphasis will be on the involuntary and resistant client, including techniques in counseling. Issues examined include the security/treatment dilemma, ethics, confidentiality, behavior change, and reintegration. Prerequisites: PSY 105 preferred and either CJU 131, CJU 232, CJU 250, or permission of division dean. Fall.

CJU 255. Seminar In Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

In this capstone course, students analyze and articulate contemporary themes in order to demonstrate their mastery of the content of completed required courses within the degree. Students are required to read selected materials and analyze key topics in a seminar format. Students develop and prepare a major analytical research paper and conduct a seminar for fellow students. Students must complete this course with a minimum grade of C- in order to graduate. This course should be taken in the semester immediately preceding graduation. Prerequisites: ENG 102; completion of all required criminal justice courses (CJU 131, CJU 133, CJU 134, CJU 232, CJU 250, and CJU 220), and at least one restrictive elective in the student's area of concentration (or one to two concurrently), or permission of division dean.

CJU 260. Probation, Parole, And Community Corrections. 3 Credits.

Students study the development, organization, and functions of probation, parole, and community-based correctional programs such as house arrest, day reporting, community service, and victim restitution. Topics include sentencing structure and decision-making, the presentence investigation report, levels of supervision, terms and conditions, treatment needs of offenders, and the revocation process. Prerequisites: CJU 131, CJU 250 recommended. Spring.