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Criminal justice students examine mock crime scene

Criminal Justice

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Why study Criminal Justice at APSU?

Criminal Justice is a growing department that provides students opportunities to examine the field from an academic perspective coupled with practical applications.  The degree program is fully available to students through the Clarksville Campus as well as the Fort Campbell Campus.  Students are free to choose a minor of interest to compliment criminal justice studies. The department offers a minor in Global Security Studies. The Department of Criminal Justice prides itself on providing students a balanced and complete education. We are also proud to assist our nation's military personnel and veterans obtain their educational goals.


What will I learn?

Criminal Justice students take foundations coursework introducing them to the criminal justice system, as well as basic theory of crime, criminal law, and research methodology. Advanced courses are sampled from areas including crime and deviance, courts and law, and institutions and processes. These courses can be selected by students to more closely tailor their academic plans to their needs.  Course descriptions can be found here:  2021-2022 Undergrad Bulletin - CRJ courses


The Freshmen Seminar degree requirement completed by most students is APSU 1000. The course is delivered in a small-class setting with like-minded students led by a faculty member and a peer leader. The interdisciplinary course is intended to support first-semester students and provide them with a foundation for university success. Emphasis is placed on student engagement, university learning success strategies, support services, library literacy, financial literacy, and academic and career planning. The first class meeting of APSU 1000 during fall semesters is on Freshmen Convocation Day.

The general education core is designed to develop critical competencies in written communication, oral communication, mathematical analysis, and critical thinking skills. Students at APSU select coursework in the general education core in the areas of Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, History, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. While the general education core requirements for graduation can be met by choosing courses from each of these areas, some programs of study require lower division courses that serve as prerequisites for upper division courses. Students should consult the sample 4-year plans and confer with their academic advisors as they choose their general education core courses.

What engagement opportunities are available to APSU students?

The Department of Criminal Justice is the sponsor of the APSU, Phi Kappa Chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society, which recognizes the academic excellence of Criminal Justice students.   More information is available here: APSU Phi Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma

APSU students engage in HIP curricular and co-curricular experiences that advance their learning and knowledge. Opportunities include first-year seminar, first-year learning communities, common reading experience 'The Peay Read', undergraduate research, study abroad, service and community-based learning, internships, e-portfolio development, and capstone courses & projects.

What do Criminal Justice Majors Do After Graduation?

  • ATF Agent
  • Defense Attorney
  • Bailiff
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • CIA Agent
  • Corrections Officer
  • Court Administrator
  • Court Reporter
  • Court Clerk
  • Crime Scene Technician
  • Criminologist
  • Customs Agent
  • DEA Agent
  • Federal Air Marshal
  • FBI Agent
  • Foreign Services Officer
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Game Warden
  • Homeland Security
  • ICE Agent
  • IRS Agent
  • Judge
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Mediator
  • Military Police
  • Paralegal
  • Parole Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Prosecutor
  • Secret Service Officer
  • Security Officer
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Teacher
  • U.S. Marshal
  • U.S. Postal Inspector
  • Victim Advocate
Joshua Russell poses in Red Barn

Joshua Russell

Criminal Justice major

After 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Army, with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an enlisted soldier, Joshua Russell said he had options as he explored the Army’s Green to Gold program, which provides active duty soldiers the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree en route to a commission as an officer. Ultimately, the Indiana native decided there was no better option than the one located right in Fort Campbell’s backyard — Austin Peay State University.

“I could have chosen to enroll anywhere in the country, from the University of Florida to the University of Washington, but Austin Peay is a Top-10 ROTC program in the country, so why not go to the best program possible,” Russell said.