About the Department

The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Department of Criminal Justice will prepare you for a challenging and exciting career in federal, state, county, and municipal justice systems. Criminal justice majors also use their degree as a stepping stone to graduate school, including law school.

While criminal justice careers are demanding, few other professions offer such challenges and interesting work assignments. UNK Criminal Justice majors have been successful in establishing careers in a wide variety of exciting fields. In fact, we routinely hear back from our graduates that their Criminal Justice education at UNK prepared them well for the experiences and tasks they have encountered in their careers.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in either a Comprehensive or CJ major option. A new BSCJ Online Degree Completion Program can be completed entirely online and is a collaboration with University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Criminal Justice Minor (24 hours of coursework) also attracts associated students from Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, and Political Science.

The University of Nebraska is proud to partner with the State of Nebraska in supporting Nebraska law enforcement officers who are completing their baccalaureate degrees. Under the Nebraska Law Enforcement Education Act, sworn officers may be eligible for a waiver of 30% of their resident tuition charges. This waiver is available to officers for up to five years. 

Jesse Bartels

“I chose criminal justice as my major because I wanted to make a difference in a community by serving others and being a positive influence in their lives.” “When I first visited the UNK campus, the students and faculty I met with made me feel welcome. I was able to speak with professors from the criminal justice department one-on-one before I even applied to attend UNK, and they answered all of my questions.”

Jesse Bartels

Hastings Police Department

Police Officer

Beyond the Classroom

In the University of Nebraska at Kearney's Criminal Justice Department, you will learn all the different aspects of the criminal justice system. Our students have the opportunity to develop their skills further through student organizations, internships, and more. The department also hosts an annual Criminal Justice conference and career fair that offers hands on opportunities to meet with a multitude of justice representatives from across the nation.
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Student Organizations

  • Criminal Justice Student Club The Criminal Justice Student Club is a student organization that promotes professionalism and career development in the criminal justice field of study.
  • Criminal Justice Honor Society Established in 1942, an invitation to join Alpha Phi Sigma is the highest national scholastic recognition offered to criminal justice majors.
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Careers & Internships

  • Criminal Justice Annual Conference Each year the Criminal Justice Department hosts an annual conference in the Spring. The career fair provides students with the opportunity to meet with representatives from dozens of justice agencies at the federal, state, and local level, in Nebraska and across the Midwest.
  • Internships The University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Department of Criminal Justice considers an internship a career enhancing experience. Internships integrate academic studies with work in a practical arena. In addition to bridging the gap between formal schooling and work, they often function as a launching pad for careers.