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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Criminal Justice - Certificate

Career Area: Education & Human Services
Program: Criminal Justice
Campus(es): Online

Begin your education in Criminal Justice with a certificate that can lead to an entry level job or serve as a foundation for further studies.

Are you motivated to serve your community? Do you have a strong sense of justice? Are you curious about what goes on behind the scenes in law enforcement, the courts, and corrections facilities? Minnesota State College Southeast's Criminal Justice program is an excellent place to start your education.

If you're considering an entry level position within a criminal justice or human services field, the 16-credit certificate in Criminal Justice is a good place to start. This program includes two liberal arts classes and three classes directly related to criminal justice, plus a 1-credit class in Career and Education planning.

The Criminal Justice majors at MSC Southeast provide students with varying levels of education. While some positions require an associate degree or higher, the knowledge and skills attained through a certificate or diploma is preferred for nearly all entry level jobs. After you gain the certificate, you can add on additional coursework to earn the diploma or associate of applied science degree in Criminal Justice.

For maximum flexibility, all Criminal Justice coursework is available 100% online, so you can plan your education around the work and family commitments in your life.

Every faculty member in MSC Southeast's Criminal Justice program has working experience in the criminal justice profession, totaling over 150 years of experience. Additionally, all faculty have post-graduate degrees. This combination of expertise in the profession coupled with commitment to higher education is a testimony to the depth and knowledge of MSC Southeast's Criminal Justice Program.

Please note:
The majors in the Criminal Justice program do not lead directly to a professional license. Additional education and training is required to meet the standards established by the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board for employment as a peace/law enforcement officer.

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Apply now for admission to MSC Southeast

Career Field: Human Services
Cluster: Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security
Pathway: Law Enforcement Services
Recommended high school classes and basic job/program skills

Download the Program Plan


1) 1000 level (minimum) General Education courses required unless specified

PSYC1110 Introduction to Psychology OR SOCS1110 Introduction to Sociology
Choose either PSYC1110 Introduction to Psychology or SOCS1110 Introduction to Sociology
3 cr
Moral Problems
An introduction to ethical principles as applied to the moral issues and challenges individuals encounter in everyday life. Emphasis will be given to the analysis and development of ethical views and decision making. A broad variety of topics will be explored, including personal moral character, medical, religious, racial, and cultural issues. (Fulfills MnTC Goals 6 & 9) (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

Download the Course Outline

3 cr
6 crs
Introduction to Criminal Justice
This course provides an overview of the philosophical and historical backgroung of the components and policies that make-up the criminal justice system and their interrelationships in our diverse society. It examines deviant behavior in our society and the roles of law enforcement, courts, corrections and community corrections agencies. (Prerequisite: None) (3 Credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Police and Community
The objective of the course is to provide an overview of the evolution and history of police to include how society has influenced policing. Examination of the operational structure of law enforcement agencies will enhance the students understanding of the complexity of policing and recognize the challenges with community policing. Understanding topics such as the nature of police work, recruit selection, enforcement of the law, police discretion, community relations, trends and social problems will broaden the students' awareness of police work in today's modern society. (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Introduction to Corrections
This course provides an overview of the historical development of the current correctional system. Students will examine the various components of corrections such as theories of punishment, jails and prisons, offenders, institutional security measures, treatment programming, institutional management and community re-entry programming. (3 Credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Career and Educational Planning
Students will work individually and collaboratively to create a personal career plan for successful college completion: transfer, diploma, or degree. (Prerequisite: None) (1 credit: 1 lecture/0 lab)

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1 cr
10 crs

Total Credits Required for this Major: 16 Credits

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$3,157
Minimum Tool Cost:N/A
Estimated Total:$3,357


Career Opportunities

  • Corrections Officers
  • Probation Officers
  • Local Police Departments
  • State and Federal Agencies
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Security Officers
  • Gaming Surveillance Officers

Career Information


Criminal Justice Program Outcomes:

  1. Understand how the criminal justice system works and how public opinion influences policies for responding to crime
  2. Understand the numerous components of criminal justice system
  3. Understand the causation of friction between community and police such as political influence, corruption, policy/law discretion, and discriminatory acts
  4. Understand the sociological, psychological and biological perspectives on the causation of crime and criminal behavior
  5. Understand hiring practices, training evolutions, subcultures, attitudes and orientation of criminal justice professionals


  • Explore the roles of law enforcement, courts, corrections and community corrections agencies
  • Learn about ethical principles as applied to the moral issues and challenges individuals encounter in everyday life
  • Understand the complexity of policing and recognize the challenges with community policing
  • Create a personal career plan for successful college completion


Gregory Cady
Greg Cady began teaching at MSC Southeast as an adjunct instructor in 2004, moving to a full-time tenure track position in 2007. Prior to joining the teaching team, he dedicated 18 years in various positions within the criminal justice profession in California and Minnesota. Greg is also a commissioned officer in the United States Navy Reserve with more than 25 years of service. He studied at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Elective Studies Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice.
Tamra Graham
B.A., Music, University of Alaska-Anchorage
J.D., William Mitchell College of Law
Tamra Graham was a President's Scholar at William Mitchell College of Law. She has worked in both the public and private legal sectors. Since 2005, she has taught political science, philosophy, and criminal justice courses MSC Southeast. She was raised in Alaska and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, and many outdoor activities, including geocaching.
Roger Pohlman
Roger D. Pohlman began teaching at MSC Southeast in 2015. Roger has dedicated more than 30 years of service to the criminal justice profession; currently serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Red Wing, MN. His experience in law enforcement include Patrol Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Training Sergeant, Facilities & Equipment Bureau Commander and Office of Professional Standards Lieutenant. He is also a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Travis Volkman
Travis Volkman began teaching at MSC Southeast in 2013 as an adjunct instructor. Travis brings with him over 14 years of law enforcement experience in the criminal justice system; currently employed with the Goodview Police Department and assigned as an Investigator and Computer Forensics Examiner with the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. In addition to providing presentations about internet crimes against children, Travis teaches an online child exploitation class at Winona State University. Travis is the Field Training Program Coordinator for the Goodview, MN Police Department after having been employed in various rolls of the criminal justice system.
Amy Whitcomb
A.A., Southeastern Community College, West Burlington, Iowa
B.A., Psychology, Iowa Wesleyan College
M.S., Psychology, Western Illinois University

An Iowa native, Amy Whitcomb has been teaching psychology since 1999, and came to MSC Southeast's Red Wing campus in the fall of 2010. In the past, she has done counseling and social work, but decided she loved teaching far more than trying to save the world. While she is interested in most areas of psychology and criminal justice, social psychology and criminology are her favorites. In her spare time, she likes reading true crime accounts, watching true crime shows, listening to opera and classic rock, and spending time with her children. She has become an excellent cook, but remains unfulfilled by it.


Other Majors in the Criminal Justice program

Criminal Justice AAS

Criminal Justice DIP



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