Criminal Justice is the study of the structures, functions and decision processes of those agencies that are responsible for managing criminal behavior. The field includes law enforcement, court systems, and correctional systems. The Criminal Justice Program at Palo Alto College strives to provide students with all the necessary skills and knowledge to become competent public servants in those fields. There are numerous career opportunities in criminal justice; higher education is essential for today’s criminal justice professional. Criminal justice majors may pursue such careers as police officers, adult and juvenile probation officers, correctional and detention officers; and prosecutors and defense attorneys.
The Criminal Justice Program offers courses leading to an Associate of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. The program also offers concentrations in Forensic Science and Legal Studies. The Criminal Justice AA degree requires the completion of a 45-hour Core Curriculum, designed to provide the student with a broad liberal arts foundation, and additional criminal justice course requirements. All courses will transfer to any public four-year institution in Texas that offers either a BS or BA degree in Criminal Justice. Students who are intending to transfer to a four-year institution must seek advisement with a Criminal Justice Program Advisor for information on transfer agreements with specific universities.