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.

PLNU has partnered with community colleges in San Diego to offer a flexible format tailored to accommodate your work and life commitments — so you can earn your criminal justice degree in as little as 15 months. If you have college credits but not a bachelor’s degree, PLNU’s criminal justice degree completion program is designed for you.

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.

Designed For Your Life

Enjoy the convenience and flexibility of taking hybrid classes held only one night a week in Mission Valley and at select community colleges in San Diego, allowing you to continue to work as you earn your criminal justice degree from PLNU and advance your career.

“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

Program Prerequisites

Graduation requirements: A total of 120 semester hours must be earned with an overall 2.0 GPA and all general core education requirements met.

Complete the required program hours in the major (program) from PLNU with a minimum grade of “C” in each course and an overall 3.0 grade point average for the major (program).

In addition to the program hours earned through the Adult Degree Completion program, additional semester hours must be earned to meet the degree completion requirements of 120 total semester hours. A maximum of 24 hours can be earned through the following non-traditional methods: 

  • Testing (CLEP, Dantes)
  • Prior Learning and Military Experience Credit (PLC, ACE — see below)

Application for graduation must be made prior to the start of the final semester.

All student bills must be paid in good standing.

Students will work with PLNU Graduate and Professional Studies Student Services to create an action plan to complete the additional units required to reach the 120 needed to graduate.

The Adult Degree Completion criminal justice program incorporates 36 units of general education and 36 units of specific core Adult Degree Completion criminal justice program courses, accepts up to 24 units from non-traditional educational methods (listed above), and suggests elective credit courses for student consideration to reach the 120 required units. A minimum of 36 units must be completed through PLNU courses.


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):

  • Fall 2021 – August 30, 2021
  • Spring 2022- January 10th, 2022
  • Fall 2022 - August 29th, 2022

Application Deadline(s):

  • Fall 2021 – August 2, 2021
  • Spring 2022 - December 20, 2021
  • Fall 2022 - August 8, 2022

Start Application

The Selection Process

We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. That’s why we are committed to reviewing it thoroughly and giving it the individual care and attention it deserves. We believe you have more to offer than just a GPA, which is why there is no numeric formula that determines admittance. Rather, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admittance into the program. We strongly encourage you to apply, even if you’re unsure of your qualifications.

To be admitted into PLNU's degree completion program, you must have completed at least 40 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.25 from an accredited institution as evidenced by an official transcript sent directly from each college or university attended.*

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

What is required to be admitted into this program?

To be admitted into PLNU's Criminal Justice program, you must have completed at least 40 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 from an accredited institution.

Can I work while completing the program?

Yes! Our hybrid program format was 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, academic and vocational credits are accepted from regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The expected completion time is as few as 15 months.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Classes meet one night per week at Southwestern College, with the rest of the coursework done online.

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?

This program is designed for students who’ve already completed some four-year or community college coursework and are looking to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree. 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