Criminal Justice


This Criminal Justice program prepares students for transfer to a four-year college or university. The goal is to acquire basic understanding of the criminal justice field. Criminal justice courses provide a working knowledge of the various bureaucratic structures and systems with sociology and psychology courses aiding in the understanding of human behavior. Major concentration options include law enforcement, courts, corrections and security.

Faculty members use an interactive learning approach in classes to help students develop critical thinking and decision-making skills. Experts and community practitioners often visit classrooms to share everyday work experiences.


Students interested in criminal justice should possess excellent self-esteem, initiative, discretion, curiosity, objectivity, communication skills, an ability to handle stress, and a desire to interact with people in good and bad situations. High school students will benefit from social science courses in sociology, psychology, political science, and government. Courses in English, speech, computer science, foreign languages, physical fitness, and health sciences also are helpful.

Prospective students should be aware that employment candidates are subject to extensive background checks that may include drug screening, polygraph testing, physical and psychological examinations, and oral and/or written proficiency examinations.


Students who complete the curriculum requirements earn an Associate in Arts degree.

Bismarck State College has many cooperative, articulation, or transfer agreements with postsecondary institutions both inside and outside of the North Dakota University System. Some of these agreements are established to allow students to remain on campus as they complete their bachelor’s degree. In all cases, students seeking to transfer after completing a degree at BSC should consult the academic catalog of their destination college and work with their academic advisor to plan for this transition.

Career Opportunities

Those who complete the two-year program may also find employment in certain sectors of the criminal justice field, but careful consultation with program personnel is recommended before such a decision is made.

Career possibilities: Police Officer, Corrections Officer, Detective, Security Officer, Youth Bureau Officer, Narcotics Investigator, Parole/Probation Officer, County Sheriff, Highway Patrolman, Industrial Security Chief.

Additional Information

BSC’s criminal justice students have opportunities to apply their academic learning in professional work settings through internships and cooperative education placements with a variety of local law enforcement and affiliated criminal justice agencies.