Criminal Justice, B.A.

Criminal Justice, B.A.


You’re committed to protecting and meeting the needs of others, preventing the wide-reaching effects of crime, and bringing justice, healing, and restoration to your community — from within neighborhoods to prisons to schools.

A Restorative Approach

PLNU's program focuses on community relations and restorative justice in addition to traditional criminal justice practices. Restorative justice seeks to not only protect the community from crime and hold offenders accountable, but also to heal those wounded by its effects for the purposes of fostering lasting peace and equity in our society. Restorative justice practices center on respecting and serving all involved in the justice system — victims, offenders, and the surrounding community. 

Prepare for Leadership & Responsibility

PLNU’s focus on special topics such as community relations and restorative justice — taught by experienced criminal justice faculty and industry leaders — will prepare you for true leadership roles with greater responsibility and influence.

Career Support That Helps You Succeed

Receive guidance from career advisors who help you succeed while you work through the program, as well as help you to shape and reach your professional goals after graduation.

Convenience to Fit Your Life

Our curriculum is designed with busy, working adults in mind with two formats of study: hybrid (in-person classes one night a week), or entirely online. Whichever study option you prefer, your coursework is designed to be flexible to your needs and help you balance your other life commitments. 

Hybrid Format

For those who prefer in-person learning, PLNU is partnered with community colleges across San Diego County, bringing professors directly to a campus near you one night a week with the rest online. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about enrolling in new classes or adapting to a new schedule each semester. For the CJ hybrid format, only the second 60 semester units of coursework are available through PLNU.

Online Format

If you prefer the flexibility of online learning and the ability to set your own schedule, the online format is for you! Students applying for the online CJ program can start the program with as little as zero college credits completed. In the online format, PLNU offers all general education, elective, and pre-requisite courses needed for completion of the CJ program (courses are fully online). With entry points every eight weeks, you can start whenever you're ready!


CJ, Hybrid

CJ, Online

Who is it for?

Those who enjoy in-person learning and cohorts.

Busy working adults who prefer independence.

Program start

Fall and SpringFall and Spring

Program Structure

Face-to-face one night a week with online coursework.100% online and asynchronous (fully flexible).


MiraCosta College
Southwestern College

Online — at your own pace

International Students 



“The criminal justice system provides a unique arena to ensure justice and facilitate restoration. At PLNU, we intend to train our students to see opportunities for transformation in every situation, becoming agents of hope in communities they serve.”

Kevin Modesto, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences


Restorative Justice: From Retribution to Redemption

A look at how PLNU's B.A. in Criminal Justice program, and their partners, work to bring God’s healing to the judicial system and beyond.

Application Information

Are you ready to take the next step and apply?

We’re here to make the entire process a simple one. We’ll walk you through the application process, answer your questions, and get you one step closer to earning your degree.

Program Start Date(s):

  • Spring 2022- January 10th, 2022
  • Fall 2022 - August 29th, 2022

Start Application

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admission. 
  2. Submit official transcripts from each institution attended.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University 
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:

Start Application

Note: All students are expected to have some proficiency with computer technology (email, Internet, word processing, etc.).

*Prospective students who meet the other criteria but do not have the required semester hours for entrance or are lacking in the core requirements will be advised how to correct any deficiency. An enrollment counselor will assist these students with the development of a written pre-admission educational plan, which may include bridge courses taken at PLNU. Only courses from an accredited institution where at least a grade of a “C” has been earned will be accepted by transfer. Prospective students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement can be considered for admission under exception. Contact your enrollment counselor for details.

**General Education deficiencies may be completed after admittance, but at least 20 hours must be completed prior to starting the program cohort. Three hours of appropriate prior learning credit (see below) may be used to meet one of the general education areas — with the exception of English composition and math.

***The PLNU General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs) will be addressed and measured within the PLNU degree program to ensure the outcomes we value are demonstrated.

Career Opportunities

What you do for a living should mean something — to you and others.

"As our society seeks an increasing level of professional and ethical authenticity, it is imperative for criminal justice professionals to seek educational and training alternatives that position them to excel amid challenges and opportunities while displaying the grace of servant-leadership."

Tim Dabney
Adjunct Professor, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Completing a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from PLNU can help prepare you for careers that make a real difference in your community, such as:

  • Police, Corrections, Parole, or Probation Officer
  • Security Officer
  • Social Worker or Victim Support Specialist
  • Paralegal or Law Clerk
  • Surveillance Officer
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Detective, Private Detective, or Investigator
  • Emergency Management Director
  • FBI, DEA or Customs Agent
  • Homeland Security Officer

A Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice will also prepare you for graduate-level study in criminal law, criminology, victimology, and other areas related to criminal justice.

A group of students work a justice event

From DEA Agent to Dedicated Disciple: Alfonso Esquer Brings Restoration to His San Diego Community

Alfonso Esquer goes from an undercover DEA agent infiltrating cartels to a program director at PLNU committed to bringing restoration to his community.

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work while completing the program?

Yes! Our hybrid or online program formats were designed with busy working adults like you in mind!

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for a number of scholarships through Student Financial Services. This program qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

Do you accept transfer credits into your program?

Yes! We will do a pre-evaluation of your unofficial transcripts to determine which of your courses will transfer into PLNU, and make sure you know exactly what you have left to take.

How long does it take to complete the program?

This depends on which modality you choose, how many units you have completed, and the number of units that you want to take per semester. Your admissions counselor will talk through options with you.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Our hybrid program classes meet one night a week from 6-10pm. This night will be the same for the duration of your program. Our fully online program does not have any class meetings.

How large will the classes be?

Class sizes are estimated to be 20 to 30 people.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Students seeking to receive credit at the university from an institution outside the U.S. are required to have their foreign transcript evaluated by a service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). A detailed course-by-course report is required. Official foreign transcripts are submitted to the service of choice and the evaluations subsequently submitted directly to the Office of Records. Please contact Financial Aid and Student Support Services for more information.

What’s the difference between this degree completion program and a traditional undergraduate program?

The program provides greater flexibility and affordability than most traditional undergraduate programs while maintaining high academic quality by integrating evening courses. The program is ideal for students looking to advance in their careers while balancing work and family life.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Is there an internship requirement?

Yes, as part of the coursework in the final semester of the program, an 80-hour internship is required of every student.

Can I complete the internship where I work now?

The priority of the internship is that the student have the ability to apply their learning in a new environment where they can learn new things. If your workplace can provide that type of environment for this practice, we will work with you to determine the scope of your internship.

Can I go to law school with this degree?

Yes, the law concepts learned in this program can prepare students for a law school program.

Do I need this to be a police officer?

No, the field of criminal justice is broad and varied, and job opportunities range far beyond that of a uniformed police officer.

What is restorative justice?

Restorative justice is aimed at creating a just and peaceful society. The criminal justice program at Point Loma Nazarene University recognizes that conflict involves injustices that must be addressed; the approach taken is to provide perspective from a relational understanding of wrongdoing that focuses on the impact on people and relationships rather than focusing only on the rules.

PLNU goes beyond traditional criminal justice programs by providing scholarly education of the justice process that includes restoration, focusing not only on the details of crimes, but also what the systematic causes of crimes are in the community and how they can be addressed. In this way, a healthier and safer community is created for all, strengthening the community to prevent future harms.

Course List