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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Criminal Justice - AAS

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

Begin your education in Criminal Justice with a degree that can lead to employment 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 begin your education.

The 60-credit, 2-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice is designed for students who are preparing for a career in criminal justice or planning to transfer onward to a 4-year degree. It includes more in-depth studies in topics such as computer crimes, evidence procedures, and criminal law. If you have already earned the Criminal Justice Certificate or Criminal Justice Diploma, you can add classes to complete the associate of applied science degree.

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) Must complete a minimum of 3 different MnTC goals in Liberal Arts and Sciences

2) 1100 or higher Liberal Arts and Sciences courses required unless specified

MATH Any 1000 Level Math Course
Choose any 1000 level Math course
2 cr
College Writing I
This course involves expository writing based on experience, direct observation, research and reading with emphasis on critical thinking skills, rhetorical strategies, and style. (Meets MnTC Goal 1) (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement or successful completion of ENGL0528) (3 Credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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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)

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3 cr
Introduction to Psychology
Psychology applies to everyone's personal and workplace daily life. In this course, you will be introduced to the history of psychology, consciousness, learning theories, memory, problem-solving, intelligence, motivation, life-span development, personality, abnormal psychology and therapy. (Fulfills MnTC Goal 5 & 7) (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Introduction to Sociology
The purpose of this course is to develop in students an understanding of basic sociological issues, concepts, terminology, and applications of these understandings with current societal events. Students will become conscious of societal influences in relationship to human and cultural dynamics in our world. This course will call for the development of reflective and critical thinking skills. (MnTC Goal 5) (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Social Deviance
Sociology of deviant behavior will use sociological perspective to examine how society has defined deviance; in addition, how laws and sanctions have been adopted to discourage deviant behavior. Another goal of the course is to understand the various theories of deviance developed by professionals such as sociologists and criminologists; comparing and contrasting each disciplines interpretation as they explain the causes and effects of deviant behavior. Deviance such as terrorism, political crime, and cultural and social reactions to deviance will also be explored utilizing the most current scientific research methodologies to examine the direct and indirect societal cost of these forms of behavior. (Meets MnTC Goals 5 and 7) (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Introduction to Hispanic Cultures
Taught in English, Intro to Hispanic Cultures will acquaint the students with the concepts of culture and cultural identity, and bring them an awareness of the skills necessary to achieve successful cross-cultural communication, especially as it pertains to work with Hispanic clients. Students will compare and contrast their own culture with that of Spanish-speaking peoples. The course will also look at the "high" culture and civilization of Spanish-speaking countries, examining the arts, history, architecture, and literature. (MnTC Goals 6 & 8) (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
29 crs
Technical Electives (see Restricted Techical Electives)
Choose a course from the Restricted Technical Electives below
3 cr
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
Introduction to Criminology/Criminal Behavior
This course provides an introductory overview of the basic concepts, issues, causation, theories, application of theories, and methodology to examine crime and criminal behavior. Students will examine how the various componenets of the criminal justice system respond to the challenges of crime and criminal behavior within our society. (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Juvenile Justice/Delinquency
The course provides an overview of the evolution, history, theories and societal response associated with the juvenile justice system. Topics such as youth in crisis, delinquency, interventions, treatment philosophy and programming, role of professionals and the juvenile justice systems will be examined. (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Special Topics: Crime Victims and Computer Crimes
Crime Victims surveys victimology as an area within the study of criminal justice. Theories and viewpoints on the role of victim precipitation in crime, and societal reactions such as victim blame are discussed. Victimization patterns in crimes such as homicide, domestic violence, and child abuse are examined. Treatment of victims by the justice system, and issues regarding victims' rights are described. Computer Crimes is designed to expose future practitioners to internet and other computer-facilitated criminal behavior and determine appropriate responses for law enforcement. This course will examine various ways the use of computer technology has evolved in the commission of criminal behavior such as online child exploitation, identity theft, and cyber bullying. Included is an understanding of the responses of social services and the criminal justice system to these types of crimes.(Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Criminal Law and Procedures
This course will introduce students to the main principles of substantive criminal law and procedure. Study will include the elements of major crimes and defenses, and examination of the criminal legal process from investigation through post-sentencing, with special emphasis on laws governing the role of law enforcement. (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Courtroom and Evidence Procedures
The objective of this course is to provide an overview of the technology used in electronic discovery (e-discovery) in civil and criminal cases. It will examine e-discovery identification and preservation to collection, processing, review, production and trial presentation. This course looks at the fast-growing field of digital evidence and provides students with an understanding of proper handling, storage and courtroom testimony related to digital evidence. (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Leadership for Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice professionals are leaders in their community, and a competent leader is an ethical leader. This course will prepare students for the leadership roles within the criminal justice system, while reviewing ethical dilemmas that may occur along your career path. The ability to lead and follow will equally be addressed, and students will be given a snapshot of the differences associated with a career path in both the public and private sector. Understanding the effectiveness and value of interpersonal communication along with reviewing the techniques to effectively utilize interpersonal communication skills. This class will prove beneficial for new, established, and future individuals working within the criminal justice field. (Prerequisites: Writing College Level and Introduction to Criminal Justice) (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
31 crs

Total Credits Required for this Major: 60 Credits

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$11,838
Minimum Tool Cost:N/A
Estimated Total:$12,098


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
  • Overview of the evolution, history, theories and societal responses associated with the juvenile justice system
  • Get a well-rounded education with liberal arts studies in college-level writing, math, and the humanities
  • 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 CERT

Criminal Justice DIP



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RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

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