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Criminal Justice

About General Education

General Education Requirements

To live and learn in a multicultural, multimedia, multidimensional world, students need certain skills. These are the competencies expected of an educated person, the skills needed for lifelong learning. In this General Education program, these skills are developed in meaningful contexts. They are introduced in the First-Year Experience courses, built upon and strengthened in all subsequent components of the program (some of which emphasize certain of them more than others) and in the major.

  1. Critical Thinking: the abilities to compare, contrast, analyze, and synthesize; and to challenge underlying assumptions; to take imaginative leaps and intellectual risks; and to solve problems creatively and effectively.
  2.  Reading: the achievement of advanced literacy; that is, the ability to comprehend written material within a variety of genres, and to articulate one’s response verbally and in writing.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to analyze quantitative material, and use quantitative techniques to solve problems.
  4. Writing: development of a writing process that includes the ability to prewrite (brainstorm, outline, take notes, free-write) on a selected topic; to prepare, assess, and organize information; and to compose, revise, and edit a polished product.
  5. Speaking and Listening: The ability to use both verbal and nonverbal skills to communicate effectively in one or more languages, to listen actively, and to take part respectfully in group discussions.
  6. Conducting Research: the ability to locate, comprehend, and synthesize information; and to understand what constitutes reliable evidence for decision-making.
  7. Working with Information Technology: the ability to perform searches; to use word processing and spread sheets; to work with database management systems and presentation software; to work with software to enhance the creative process; and to make effective use of software to organize information and to communicate with others.
  8. Collaborating with Others: to know, understand, and respond to others’ feelings and perspectives; to work and learn in teams to enhance interpersonal relationship skills; and to develop an awareness of leadership approaches and the ability to influence others.

The First Year Experience - Seminar / Compostion / Math

First-Year Experience

The goal of the First-Year Experience component is to connect students to life in an academic community, where they will acquire and refine the skills listed above. These skills will be introduced and practiced in meaningful contexts. The component consists of the following three courses to be taken during the first year.

First-Year Seminar 3 credits

In a small group (20 to 25 students), students explore in depth a topic or problem chosen by the instructor to challenge them to think from different perspectives and to practice various skills. The First-Year Seminar challenges students to draw connections between fields of knowledge and to consider the importance of considering multiple discipline points of view in resolving problems. Within the context of this challenge, students and instructor will consider the nature of knowledge, general education, and the academic community. A significant level of analysis is expected as opposed to simple presentation of facts and theories.

The First-Year Seminar is a cornerstone course, through which students begin to build the repertoire of intellectual skills needed for college-level work. The skills are not taught in isolation but rather in the context of the topic or problem of the course. Assignments and activities will introduce all of the skills listed above, but special emphasis will be given to critical thinking, conducting research, working with information technology, writing, speaking and listening, and collaborating with others.

Composition 3 credits

The Composition requirement is intended to help students become responsible writers who can take charge of their own writing process. It is satisfied by the course EN120 Composition or its equivalency. Students learn how to draft, respond to feedback from peers and instructor, revise, and edit successful college prose. By the end of the course, they should be able to write essays that are unified by a central thesis, well developed in carefully organized paragraphs with vivid details, and grammatically competent with effective sentence structure and correct mechanics.

Students also learn to read comprehensively and effectively in order to relate ideas and arguments to their writing and thinking. They are expected to summarize different kinds of texts, paraphrase the ideas of someone else, analyze others’ arguments and positions, compare and contrast ideas, and generate their own thoughts and ideas following research and observation. Students are required to engage in library research and to write papers based on their research. Thus the General Education Skills being given special emphasis in this course are writing, reading, conducting research, and collaborating with others.

Mathematics Foundations 3 credits

Through the Mathematics Foundations requirement, students become aware of the importance of mathematics and its application to fields as diverse as art, music, and science. It is satisfied by an appropriate score on the placement exam, any mathematics course numbered MA150 or above, or equivalency. Mathematics Foundations courses focus on problem solving using the language of mathematics and on developing students’ ability to reason quantitatively in diverse contexts. Students learn to reduce complex problems to their fundamentals using algebra and geometry.

The Mathematics Foundations requirement enables students to make connections between mathematics and their own lives and to explore the roles of mathematics in society, culture, and politics. General Education skills given special emphasis are quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and working with information technology.

Directions Courses

Directions Courses

The Directions component is intended to introduce students to different ways of considering and understanding human experience which they can apply as they seek meaning in their lives. Directions courses challenge them to see how different perspectives shape the ways in which people interpret ideas and experiences to construct meaning. They emphasize connections between the world of ideas and the “real world.”

Connections Courses



These Connections may be double counted with a major, minor, or any other general education requirement.

With the exception of the Wellness Connection (WECO), these courses are built into the CJ major:

Diversity Connection (DICO)

CJ 3150 - Society, Ethics, and the Law
SO 2220 - Foundations of Sociology

Diversity Connection (DICO) Electives

IS 4360 - Cultural Diversity and American Society
SW 3130 - Child Welfare and Family Services
SO 3180 - Sociology of Deviance

Global Awareness (GACO)

The foreign language is the usual course used to fulfill this requirement.  If you don't take a foreign language with a GACO designation, or if you take American Sign Language, you'll need to select a GACO course to complete this requirement.

Integration Connection (INCO)

CJ 3150 - Society, Ethics, and the Law

Integration Connection (INCO) Electives

IS 4360 - Cultural Diversity and American Society
SO 3380 - Drugs and Society

Wellness Connection (WECO)

This Connection is not built into the major, but by taking a WECO course as part of a minor, you can "double count" this requirement.

Connections Courses in the Major

Connections in the Major

These Connections are 3-credit experiences taken as part of the major and hence add no credits to those required for the major.

These connections are required by the major.  Every major selects the appropriate Connections courses for its own major.  In CJ, these courses include any of the following:

CJ 2350 - Statistics for Criminal Justice (QRCO)
MA 2300 - Statistics I  (QRCO)

CS 1170 - Computing Technology in Criminal Justice (TECO)

CJ 4800 - Criminal Justice Seminar (WRCO)