Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice


Elias Garcia
PLNU Program Advisor
Southwestern College
(619) 201-3362

You’re committed to protecting our communities, preventing and healing the wide-reaching effects of crime, and restoring justice and peace.

You want to to serve your community – protecting others, maintaining justice, ensuring peace, and restoring hope. It’s this desire to widen your influence and responsibility in our society, combined with your unique and valuable experiences, that drives you toward this noble endeavor.

PLNU has partnered with community colleges in San Diego to offer a flexible format tailored to accommodate your work and life commitments – so you can earn your Criminal Justice degree in as little as 15 months.  

Prepare for Leadership & Responsibility

PLNU’s focus on special topics such as community relations and restorative justice – taught by experienced Criminal Justice faculty and industry leaders – will prepare you for true leadership roles with greater responsibility and influence.

Career Support that Helps You Succeed

Receive guidance from career advisors who help you succeed while you work through the program, as well as help you to shape and reach your professional goals after graduation.

Designed for Your Life

Enjoy the convenience and flexibility of taking hybrid classes held only one night a week in Mission Valley and at select community colleges in San Diego, allowing you to continue to work as you earn your Criminal Justice degree from PLNU and advance your career.

Protect your community and restore hope. 

Do you need a bachelor’s degree for your current or dream job?

Do you want to do more to protect, heal, and serve your community?

Are you looking to advance in your career and be exposed to more leadership opportunities? 

If you have college credits but not a bachelor’s degree, PLNU’s criminal justice degree completion program is designed for you.

Expected Completion Time

As few as 15 months

Program FormatHybrid (online and face-to-face instruction)
LocationPLNU at Southwestern
Needed Units to Graduate


Program Start Date

Spring 2017: Week of January 23, 2017

Summer 2017: Week of May 29, 2017

Fall 2017: Week of September 11, 2017


$500 per unit for the 2017-2018 academic year

Ready to complete your degree?

Program Details

What you do for a living should mean something – to you and others.

Completing a B.A. in Criminal Justice from PLNU can help prepare you for careers that make a real difference in your community, such as:

  • Police, Corrections, Parole or Probation Officer
  • Security Officer
  • Social Worker or Victim Support Specialist
  • Paralegal or Law Clerk
  • Surveillance Officer
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Detective, Private Detective or Investigator
  • Emergency Management Director
  • FBI, DEA or Customs Agent
  • Homeland Security Officer

A Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice will also prepare you for graduate-level study in criminal law, criminology, victimology, and other areas related to criminal justice.

Kevin Modesto

Kevin Modesto

Chair, Department of Sociology and Social Work | Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

The criminal justice system provides a unique arena to ensure justice and facilitate restoration. At PLNU we intend to train our students to see opportunities for transformation in every situation, becoming agents of hope in communities they serve.

Quality & Experience

Management and Relational Development

The Center for Student Success and Career Development provides financial, academic, and career support for students, giving them the tools they need to be successful at PLNU and beyond.

Learn More

A graduate of the Criminal Justice Degree Completion Program will be able to do the following: 

  • Demonstrate ability to apply theoretical and legal foundations of criminal justice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of each of the components of the criminal justice system: the historical background, structure, function, and purpose.
  • Integrate and apply understanding of the social realities, discrimination, and conflicts in the criminal justice system resulting from racial, socio-economic, and cultural inequities.
  • Apply foundational skills, demonstrate core competencies (such as ethical and professional behavior and critical thinking) in a professional internship setting.
  • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills needed to effectively engage in a career in criminal justice.

Important Dates

Program Start Date(s):

Spring 2017: Week of January 23, 2017

Summer 2017: Week of May 29, 2017

Fall 2017: Week of September 11, 2017



Chad Lozier

Chad Lozier

Director of Military Programs and Services | Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

What I love about the Criminal Justice degree is that it equips men and women to be leaders with a greater sense of improving our society and doing so by serving others.

Program Prerequisites

  1. Graduation Requirements:  A total of 120 semester hours must be earned with an overall 2.0 grade point average and all general core education requirements met. (***)
  2. Complete the required program hours in the major (program) from Point Loma Nazarene University with a minimum grade of “C” in each course and an overall 3.0 grade point average for the major (program).
  3. In addition to the program hours earned through the Adult Degree Completion program, additional semester hours must be earned to meet the degree completion requirements of 120 total semester hours. A maximum  24 hours can be earned through the following non-traditional methods: 
    1. Testing (CLEP, Dantes)
    2. Prior Learning and Military Experience credit (PLC, ACE – see below)
  4. Application for graduation made prior to the start of the final semester.
  5. All student bills paid in good standing.

Students will work with PLNU Graduate and Professional Studies Student Services to create an action plan to complete the additional units required to reach the 120 needed to graduate.

The Adult Degree Completion - Criminal Justice program incorporates 36 units of general education, 36 units of specific core Adult Degree Completion - Criminal Justice program courses, accepts up to 24 units from non-traditional educational methods (listed above),  and suggests elective credit courses for student consideration in fulfilling 120 required units. A minimum of 36 units must be completed through PLNU courses.

The Selection Process

We understand that your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it’s a reflection of you as a person. That’s why we are committed to reviewing your application thoroughly and giving it the individual care and attention it deserves. We believe you have more to offer than just a GPA, which is why there is no numeric formula that determines admittance. Rather, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admittance into the program. We strongly encourage you to apply, even if you’re unsure of your qualifications.

To be admitted into PLNU's degree completion program, you must have completed at least 40 semester hours with a minimum cumulative GPA of at least a 2.75 from an accredited institution as evidenced by an official transcript sent directly from each college or university attended.*

You must also have attained the minimum age of 23, OR minimum age of 21 with an associate’s degree, OR minimum age of 21 with significant work experience.

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  • Submit online application for admissions 
  • Submit official transcripts from each institution attended.
    • Official transcripts must be sent to: 
      Point Loma Nazarene University 
      Office of Graduate Admissions 
      3900 Lomaland Dr. 
      San Diego, CA 92106
    • Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to: 
  • Submit a 500-600 word essay with your online application in APA Format including the following:    
    • Why you wish to join the Adult Degree Completion - Criminal Justice program 
    • Your relevant academic and professional experience
    • Your future career or life goals
  • Complete an interview with your enrollment counselor.

NOTE: All students are expected to have some proficiency with computer technology (email, Internet, word processing, etc.).

*Prospective students who meet the other criteria but do not have the required semester hours for entrance or are lacking in the core requirements will be advised how to correct any deficiency. An enrollment counselor will assist these students with the development of a written pre-admission educational plan, which may include bridge courses taken at PLNU. Only courses from an accredited institution where at least a grade of a “C” has been earned will be accepted by transfer. Prospective students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement can be considered for admission under exception. Contact your enrollment counselor for details.

**General education deficiencies may be completed after admittance, but at least 20 hours must be completed prior to starting the program cohort. Three hours of appropriate prior learning credit (see below) may be used to meet one of the general education areas—with the exception of English Composition and Math.

***The PLNU General Education Learning Outcomes (GELO’s) will be addressed and measured within the PLNU degree program to ensure the GE outcomes that we value are demonstrated.

Financial Aid

The Center for Student Success and Career Development is committed to assist you throughout your educational journey. Your Student Success Advisor will walk you through your payment options, which may include federal student loans, grants, employer tuition reimbursement, military benefits, and the Tuition Installment Plan. We encourage you to reach out to your Student Services Counselor to learn about the financial opportunities available to you.

Still have questions? Our enrollment counselors are here to help.

Tim Dabney

Tim Dabney

Adjunct Professor | Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

As our society seeks an increasing level of professional and ethical authenticity, it is imperative for Criminal Justice professionals to seek educational and training alternatives that position them to excel amid challenges and opportunities while displaying the grace of servant-leadership.


Adjunct Professor, Sociology
Karen graduated cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in political science, and received her Juris Doctorate degree from New York University School of Law with a concentration in criminal defense.
Adjunct Professor, Sociology
Professor Jensen's interests include Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). She has Volunteered with Office of the Public Defender, Juvenile Delinquency Division, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, and Voices for Children.
Adjunct Professor, Criminal Justice
Tim served 30 years in law enforcement and retired as the Chief of Police in Lompoc, CA.

List of Courses

SCL-400 - Community Relations (3)

Designed to promote capacity to respond to social and cultural realities of professional work in diverse communities. Emphasizes an understanding of the interaction between CJ professionals and the public at individual and institutional levels; ability to respond to diverse community demands and relationship(s) with standard process and procedures: such as responding to special-needs individuals, media inquiries, or community-based policing.

SCL-300 - Introduction to Criminal Justice (3)

An introduction to and comparative examination of the components of the justice process dealing with delinquent and criminal behavior. Examines criminally deviant behavior in a complex society. Offered fall.

BST-304 - Biblical Perspectives (4)

This course reflects PLNU’s commitment, as a Christian liberal arts college, to nurturing an appreciation for Scripture as the basis for creative personal faith and human life in the modern world. It is designed to foster knowledge and understanding of the literature and history of the Bible and to integrate faith, learning, and living.

SCL-350 - Writing & Interviewing in the Criminal Justice Profession (3)

Designed to develop essential skills and competencies required for daily performance of duties in various criminal justice careers. Incorporates basic concepts for collecting and documenting evidence and procedures. A competency-based course for report writing and interviewing skills / techniques.

SCL-310 - Criminology (3)

The study of crime and criminal behavior, the role of law, efforts at prevention and control.

SCL-450 - Restorative Justice and Victimology (3)

This course will provide a critical introduction to the fundamental principles and practices of restorative justice. The course explores the needs and roles of key “stakeholders” (victims, offenders, communities, justice systems), outlines the basic principles and values of restorative justice, and introduces some of the primary models of practice. It also addresses challenges to restorative justice - the dangers, the pitfalls – as well as possible strategies to help prevent restorative justice from failing to live to its promise. An introduction to issues and topic relevant to the study of restorative justice and victimology from theoretical, demographic, legal, and faith perspectives. The course builds an understanding of the relationships between restorative justice and victims, offenders, the criminal justice system. The emotional effects of crime and reconciliation will also be examined. Prerequisite SOC103 or consent of instructor.

SCL-409 - Criminal Law 2 (3)

A study of the role of the state in criminal law; causes, justifications/defenses against criminal liability. Use of case studies to  develop and demonstrate understanding the operation of substantive legal rulings, their reliance on statutes and the Penal Code development of statutory analysis/interpretation in the context of real life. Explore underlying theoretical issues and examine crimes against persons, habitation, property and public order, and morals. Review of constitutional limits on criminal law. Prerequisite SCL101 and SCL209 or consent of instructor.

SCL-410 - Constitutional Foundations (3)

Examination of the federal constitutional provisions which impact the criminal justice system with an emphasis on the amendments in the Bill of Rights dealing with searches and seizures by law enforcement officers, the exclusionary rule, the privilege against self-incrimination, the rights to due process and the assistance of counsel, the death penalty, and constraints on the correctional system.

SCL-320 - Criminal Law 1 (3)

Foundation for understanding the historical development, philosophy of law and constitutional provisions, definitions, classifications of crime, and their application to the system of administration of justice; study of current events and future trends relating to law enforcement and concepts of law as a social force.

SCL-395 - Research Methods for Criminal Justice (3)

Introduces major concepts of social research, provides skills to understand research results; awareness of influence of social and legal parameters of ethical research; opportunity to do  analyze and apply research in the criminal justice arenas, identify research strategies to promote social/economic justice. Prerequisite: MTH 203 or equivalent.

SCL-472 - Internship (2)

The field experience serves as a bridge between student status and professional status. It is a time of integration, of learning about the commonality of practice in spite of the diversity of settings and of problems or issues the entry-level worker faces. The Criminal Justice Internship/ Practicum provides students the opportunity to increase their professional competence through direct supervised practice experience in an agency setting.

SCL-476 - Seminar for ADC- CJ (3)

Intended for Adult Degree Completion students in Criminal Justice. Course provides opportunity to integrate material learned in other courses as well as opportunity to integrate academic learning with personal experiences. During the course, students will complete a major project.  Includes on-line participation.  Prerequisite(s): SCL472 or consent of instructor.

Total units: 36


No matter which PLNU degree completion program you decide is right for you, you'll discover the hallmark PLNU experience is designed to give every student the clear framework and professional tools to stand out in his or her career. 

Established in 1902, PLNU is located in beautiful San Diego. Our small class sizes, focused faculty attention, and convenient online offerings are just a few of the powerful ways PLNU delivers real value to every student, no matter which physical or virtual campus he or she chooses.