Individuals seeking a career in criminal justice are driven by a deep desire to help others and keep communities safe. By offering an asynchronous academic environment, the MacMurray College criminal justice online degree completion program is designed for today's working professional who is balancing school, work, family or other duties. This approach provides the flexibility and convenience needed to allow students to realize their dream of earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Through the criminal justice online degree completion program, you will gain a firm foundation either to begin or advance your criminal justice career. Graduates have a variety of careers to choose from, including correctional treatment specialists, child protective services, probation officers, compliance officers, and management and administrative positions within the criminal justice field.

What makes our program different?

MacMurray College's criminal justice online program allows students to conveniently fit school into their busy schedules, helping them earn their bachelor's degree in just two years. Upon completion of this program, every graduate is expected to show academic and professional proficiency in the following:

  • demonstrating understanding of the nature, extent, and causation of crime;
  • becoming prepared with the ethical foundation and sensitivity to diversity needed by criminal justice professionals;
  • demonstrating proficiency in written criminal justice communications, including research papers, reports, and written analyses of problems;
  • demonstrating that they possess the skills and qualities necessary to effectively work in a criminal justice agency.

The curriculum is continually updated to keep pace with the latest criminal justice trends and developments. Additionally, instructors use professionals from the various fields of criminal justice to serve as guest lecturers. Our online criminal justice path offers a broad spectrum of criminal justice classes including forensics, cybercrimes and critical incident management.

CRIM 101. Introduction to Criminal Justice. (3) The evolution of the system of criminal justice in the United States; differing approaches to law enforcement; and the process of criminal justice from intake to dismissal through its main agencies: police, courts, corrections, probation, and parole. Current problems, experiments, and reforms in criminal justice. Planning for a career in criminal justice.

CRIM 128. Juvenile Justice. (3) An analysis of the factors causing juvenile delinquency; theory and practice of delinquency prevention and intervention; the juvenile justice system involving arrest, prosecution, and rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents; and juvenile codes. No prerequisite.

CRIM 143. Writing in Criminal Justice. (3) Study and practice of written reporting as required in criminal justice. Strong emphasis on the mechanics of report writing, including accurate choice of words, spelling, grammar, syntax, style, punctuation, editing, and proofreading. Prerequisite: Criminal Justice major.

CRIM 201. Criminal Law. (3) Purpose and scope of criminal law, the definition of criminal conduct, the classification and definition of specific offenses, defenses to criminal liability, complicity and vicarious liability, and inchoate offenses. Prerequisite: CRIM 101 or HSEC 101 with a grade of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 202. Criminal Procedure. (3) A detailed analysis of due process of law from the initial investigation to the ultimate disposition of the case, including search and seizure, interrogation, hearings, motions, pleas and trial procedures, the role of the principal trial participants, basic rules of evidence, sentencing, and the appellate process. Prerequisite: CRIM 201 with a grade of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 203. Cyber Crimes I. (3) Provide the student knowledge regarding the types of computer crimes that exist and the motives behind those crimes. The course will afford an understanding of the variety of methods and techniques commonly used to commit computer crimes. Course content will focus on the laws that are in place to assist law enforcement with investigating and prosecuting perpetrators in computer crimes as well as the impact on victims and society.

CRIM 204. Cyber Crimes II. (3) Provide the student knowledge regarding the types of computer crimes that exist such as "hacktivism," cyberterrorism, cyberbullying, and child pornography and other sex offenses. The course will also address the criminological theories behind cybercrimes. In addition, the course will afford an understanding of the variety of laws and resources available to police and engage the student in practical investigative exercises.

CRIM 211, 212. Forensic Science I and II. (3, 3) Principles and techniques of collecting, preserving, and analyzing evidence; using photography, medical pathology, toxicology, serology, ballistics, graphology, polygraph tests, voice prints, and other aids for the analysis of evidence such as physical damage, hair, blood, semen, drugs, weapons, documents, and oral statements; and the operation of crime laboratories and the use of evidence in court. Forensic Science I is not a prerequisite to Forensic Science II.

CRIM 232. Criminology. (3) The nature and causation of crime. The nature of criminal behavior, theories, and research. Prerequisite: SCWK 101 or permission of instructor.

CRIM 244. Victimology. (3) This course focuses upon crime and the justice system from the victims' perspective. Students will study and gain an understanding of the legal, social, psychological, and economic perspectives, approaches, and consequences of victimization from an individual, institutional, and legal point of view. The course will examine the levels, dynamics, and major correlates and consequences of primary and secondary criminal victimization and the appropriateness of a variety of formal and informal responses aimed at preventing and/or remedying them. Emphasis throughout the course will be upon developing students' skill at systematically clarifying the definition of those problems and proposed or existing responses, as well as understanding and applying criteria and methods by which alternative responses might be evaluated. Prerequisite: CRIM 101.

CRIM 318. Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice. (3) Significant cases, principles, and trends in the interpretation of the United States Constitution. The class emphasizes those sections of the Constitution most directly related to the Criminal Justice system. Prerequisites: CRIM 101, 201, and 202 with grades of C or better or permission of instructor.

CRIM 325. Criminal Investigations. (3) This course is designed to introduce students to the unique aspects of criminal investigation. Students will explore investigative theory, the collection and preservation of evidence including the legal aspects, sources of information, concepts of interviewing and interrogation, the use of forensic sciences, and trial preparation. Emphasis will be placed on investigative techniques employed, identification of motives and modus operandi, and the use of informants. Learning how to gather information through interviews and interrogation and applying legal concepts to solving crime will be important focuses of the course. The course will also examine concepts and methods of investigation of specific forms of crime (for example, homicide, sexual assault, arson, and robbery). Prerequisite: CRIM 101 with a grade of C or better.

HSEC 101. Introduction to Homeland Security. (3) This course provides students with an overview of homeland security in the United States including homeland security policy, legal issues, and the organizational structure of the Department of Homeland Security. The course will explore terrorism, the all-hazards emergency management approach to homeland security, as well as safety and security issues, mitigation prevention and preparedness, and response and recovery practices. No prerequisite.

VCON 302. Value Conflicts. (3) Through the reading of primary core texts from the Western Tradition, students will study and discuss works pertaining to the general themes of "Religion," "The State," "The Person," and "The Natural World" (God, Person, State, and Nature) from the Renaissance and Modern world. Prerequisite: COMP 132 and at least sophomore standing.

Beyond having the required academic qualifications, all faculty members are required to have been employed in the criminal justice arena and have a minimum of 10 years' service experience — they have either retired or are still serving in criminal justice agencies. Our current faculty consists of a state police district commander, a retired state police crime lab director, two correctional/parole officers, a criminal courts judge, and a federal prosecutor.

Photo of Judge Peter Cavanagh

Judge Peter Cavanagh

Professional Fellow

  • Areas of interest: Judge Cavanagh has had many years of training, studying and real-world experience. He practiced law for over 10 years as a general practitioner in Springfield, Illinois, where he also served as an Assistant State's Attorney in Cook and Sangamon Counties and as an Assistant Public Defender in Sangamon and Logan Counties. Hard work has also lead Judge Cavanagh to have experience as a partner in the Cavanagh & Madonia law firm, appointed as a judge for the Seventh District Illinois Circuit Court by the Supreme Court in 2008, and, presently, he is a Justice in the Fourth District Appellate Court. In his free time, Judge Cavanagh likes to read books on history and serve as the President of the Sangamon County Bar Association.  
  • B.S. in History - Illinois State University
  • J.D. -  John Marshall Law School
  • Courses taught: Constitutional Law & Criminal Justice.
Photo of Robert Crouch

Robert Crouch

Professional Fellow

  • Areas of interest: Crouch has many years of experience, including working as a hospital security guard, a paramedic, and 28 years working as a police officer and he hopes to share these experiences with his students. He has a wife and two boys, and he and his family like spending time at their mountain-side getaway in Tennessee, hunting, hiking and enjoying nature.  
  • M.S. in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration – Western Illinois University
  • B.S. in Business Administration & Organizational Behavior – Benedictine University
  • Classes taught: Criminology, Writing in Criminal Justice.
Photo of Robert Elliott

Robert Elliott

Professional Fellow

  • Elliott has been teaching undergraduate courses to private and public intuitions since 2001. He has a vast experience in the military, policing and emergency management due to his work as an Army officer, a state police captain and the eight years he spent responding to natural disasters throughout the country. When he’s not teaching, Elliott enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures, as well as focusing on his fitness via half-marathons, hiking, walking and biking.
  • M.S. in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration – Western Illinois University
  • B.S. in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration – Western Illinois University
  • B.S. in Fire Science Administration – Western Illinois University
  • A.A.S. in Police Science – Illinois Central College
  • Courses taught: Criminal Procedure, Policing.
Photo of Becky Long

Becky Long

Professional Fellow

Photo of Randy Plunk

Randy Plunk

Professional Fellow

"I enjoy teaching at MacMurray. The smaller classes allow for more one-on-one interaction, instruction, and/or mentoring. I am able to bring my real world experience to provide a dimensional experience of text book and the workplace."

  • Areas of interest: Plunk is an outdoor sports enthusiast, and he loves to spend time with his family. His second area of interest involves raising livestock on the family farm as well as fishing trips to Canada.
  • M.B.A. — Benedictine University
  • B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration — Western Illinois University
  • Courses taught: Corrections, Role of Intelligence in Homeland Security, Criminology
Photo of Ben Perkins '18

Ben Perkins '18
Criminal Justice Online Major
Security Manager at HSHS St. John's/ Military Veteran

"I am appreciative of the instructors at Mac. They have challenged me... I am glad that I have taken it on, and I’m glad I did it with MacMurray!"