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 program is designed for today's working professional who is balancing school, work, or other duties. This approach provides the flexibility and convenience needed to allow students to realize their dream of earning a criminal justice degree.

The criminal justice online program allows you to collaborate with faculty and fellow classmates from diverse backgrounds in an interactive, informative virtual environment with a community and professional feel. The College employs acclaimed professionals in the criminal justice field. They have created a carefully designed curriculum that encompasses the various aspects of the criminal justice system. Through the criminal justice online program, we give you 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 from others?

Program Learning Outcomes

The MacMurray College criminal justice online degree program allows students to fit school with their busy schedules, helping them earn their degree in less time and in a convenient manner. Upon completion of this program, every graduate is expected to show academic and professional proficiency in the following:

Career Preparation

Students who take advantage of all that MacMurray offers are better prepared to enter their chosen field, and quickly begin a rewarding and accomplished professional career in criminal justice or homeland security.

MacMurray graduates have been hired by such agencies as the Springfield Police Department, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Collaboration with Criminal Justice Agencies

MacMurray College's criminal justice staff utilizes extensive contacts developed from their years of professional service to augment the program, courses, and student opportunities. This allows the students to learn from hard-earned, unique, real-life experiences which they can then combine with their theoretical knowledge in the professional field upon graduation.


As a criminal justice degree student, you are required to attend at least one internship before you graduate, although you may perform as many as three. This opportunity allows you to work directly for the host agency, building contacts and gaining invaluable real-world, professional experience. The internship expands on the criminal justice curriculum, which assists students in developing the skills necessary to enter the job market. MacMurray College criminal justice students have completed internships with the Illinois State Police, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, Jacksonville Police Department, Springfield Police Department, and a host of other agencies throughout the nation. Other criminal justice internship placements have included prosecutor's offices, probation, parole, coroner's offices, and private sector placements.

Career Fairs

Criminal Justice and Homeland Security majors are encouraged to attend career fairs throughout the year. Attending career fairs is an excellent way for students to get to know and make themselves known to potential employers.

With MacMurray's close proximity to the state capital of Springfield, there are numerous opportunities to make such connections, and the Criminal Justice and Homeland Security programs often arrange for transportation to go in groups to such events. In addition, students are encouraged and helped to go further afield, to such events as the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Career Fair every fall at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.

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 course offerings include a broad spectrum of criminal justice classes that includes 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 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 250. Issues for Criminal Justice Interns. (3) Supervised field experience in criminal justice. Working with their advisors and the Career Services Office, students arrange an internship in criminal justice. The students will then work in the field during the semester, meeting in the classroom to report on related reading and the field experience. Pass/Fail grading. Prerequisites: second semester sophomore or above and minimum 2.00 grade point average. Must have permission of instructor prior to registration.

CRIM 300. Corrections. (3) An overview of corrections including rationales for punishment, the history of corrections, alternate means of correction, and contemporary issues in corrections. Class will include visits to correctional institutions. Prerequisite: Criminal Justice major with 18 hours of courses in the major or permission of the instructor.

CRIM 305. Community Corrections. (3) This course explores the history, functions, purposes, and operations of community-based corrections programs and how they are linked to the larger criminal justice system. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of community corrections as an alternative and supplement to incarceration. No prerequisite.

CRIM 314. Security. (3) An overview of security including the history and future of security, career opportunities in security, specialized security fields, risk management, crime prevention, and technological services. Prerequisite: CRIM 101 with a grade of C or better, or permission of instructor.

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 320. Policing. (3) Study and practice of some of the commonly performed duties of police. Included are crime prevention and detection, patrol tactics, criminal and traffic enforcement, accident investigation, arrest and apprehension procedures, and trial court testimony. This course is designed to give the student an understanding of the importance that each of the above components have on the success of a police agency. 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.

CJ 390. Special Topics in Criminal Justice. (3) Topics address recently identified current events, trends, skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes and behaviors pertinent to criminal justice and relevant to the professional development of the student. This course may be repeated if topics and learning outcomes vary.

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.

HSEC 102. Domestic and International Terrorism. (3) This course examines domestic and international terrorism by looking at the historical roots of terrorism in the United States and abroad and its ramifications for homeland security in the United States. Major issues such as the theories, history, strategies, and motivations of terrorism are examined. The course will also explore terrorist tradecraft and the challenges homeland security professionals will face now and in the future. No prerequisite.

HSEC 202. Tradecraft and Weaponry of Terrorism. (3) This course introduces students to various types of techniques and weapons utilized by terrorists. Students will be introduced to how terrorist groups operate, terrorist strategies, how targets are selected, and how such groups prepare for attacks. The course will address all terrorist weaponry, including weapons of mass destruction such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives. Students will be introduced to basic principles of weapons of mass destruction and the recognition, identification, decontamination, and treatment protocols associated with response to these types of incidents. The use of personal protective equipment as well as the toxicology and physical and chemical properties associated with such weapons will also be explored. Prerequisite: HSEC 101 or permission of instructor.

HSEC 203. Transportation Networks and Homeland Security. (3) This course provides students with knowledge of ground, air, and waterway transportation networks and of the security issues associated with protecting these systems. The course will introduce students to the concept of Total Security Management (TSM) and methods used to secure fixed assets, assets in transit, and human capital. Business continuity planning and risk and vulnerability assessment will also be discussed. Prerequisite: HSEC 101 or permission of instructor.

HSEC 300. The Role of Intelligence in Homeland Security. (3) This course explores the importance of intelligence in homeland security. The history of intelligence, the agencies comprising the intelligence community, methods of intelligence gathering, the intelligence cycle, and intelligence products will be examined. The role of the intelligence community in providing risk assessments, warnings, and determining vulnerabilities for U.S. policy makers will also be examined. Prerequisites: HSEC 101 and 201.

HSEC 302. Management of Critical Incidents. (3) This course introduces students to the emerging science of critical incident decision making which is a systemized body of knowledge covering the principles and doctrines associated with managing emergency responses. Management of Critical Incidents provides students with the skill sets necessary for effective decision making in crisis situations. Students are exposed to the proper selection of responses and resolutions, operations planning and management, logistics, communications, and the essential approach of unified command as required with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS). Prerequisites: HSEC 101 or permission of instructor.

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

Photo of Robert Crouch

Robert Crouch

Professional Fellow

Photo of Robert Elliott

Robert Elliott

Professional Fellow

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. ā€” Benedictine University
  • B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration ā€” Western Illinois University
  • Courses taught: Corrections, Role of Intelligence in Homeland Security, Criminology
  • Program — awarded chapter of the Order of the Sword and Shield, a national honor society for homeland security students.
  • MacMurray College's 2017 Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate Award recipient double majored in criminal justice and homeland security. This is one of the most prestigious awards given to a graduating senior.
  • Bruce Liebe, senior director of the School of Professional Studies, has authored numerous articles on critical incident management for the National Tactical Officers Association's journal and the Illinois Tactical Officer's Association journal. He also consults with various police SWAT programs throughout the United States regarding incident management strategies.
Photo of Abby Youngblood

Abby Youngblood
Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Major

"The Illinois Emergency Agency (IEMA) is a state agency that helps communities recover after natural disasters, and the personnel are often police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. At IEMA we did a lot of revising policies the state uses during emergencies so I incorporated a lot of writing and grammar skills along with my knowledge of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) that I learned in my major specific classes.

"This internship gave me lots of experience and insight into what happens when a disaster strikes Illinois such as a flood or tornado. I also discovered all the behind-the-scenes work that occurs when there is not a disaster. Along with experience and learning, interning at IEMA gave me the opportunity to network with professionals in my career field and to form relationships that could benefit me after I graduate."

Photo of David Searby, Jr.

David Searby, Jr. '96

"My experiences at MacMurray taught me to continue to learn. This not only helps you succeed in your given profession but life in general. The process of learning and what I learned at MacMurray definitely benefited me in law school and in various other aspects of my life. Additionally, MacMurray gives you a real sense of community and that continues through your life, wanting to help your individual community and make it a better place."

Attorney David Searby, Jr. graduated from MacMurray College with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice/political science in December 1995. While attending MacMurray, he participated actively in campus life, serving as a four-year member of MacMurray Student Association, Campus Activities Board, and Sigma Tau Gamma. He was a member of MacMurray Alumni Council of Students for three years, Mortar Board for two years, and Jane Hall House Council for one year. He also served as a MacMurray Peer Educator for two years and received the Criminal Justice department award.

He immediately put his education to work in 1996 as a criminal analyst and telecommunicator for the Perry County Sheriff's Office and the Du Quoin police department. He completed his juris doctor degree and the Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale in 2001. In the same year, he was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and joined the Illinois State Bar Association and Kurt E. Harris Law Firm, where he is currently employed.

He is an active board member of Five Star Industries, Inc. a not-for-profit corporation providing residential and employment services for disabled persons. Searby has served as a member of the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency for the City of Du Quoin, Illinois since 1997 as an operations officer and as a public information officer since 2001. He achieved the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's "Professional Emergency Manager" designation and has been awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal from the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association. Additionally he is a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers. He provided valuable service while deployed to the state of Mississippi as part of the Illinois Incident Management Team following Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. He has been a Perry County Youth Court Moderator since 2007 and has drafted and testified on various pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly regarding emergency management issues. Searby was named as a fundraising "Hero" for the American Red Cross in 2006. He received the Young Alumni award from MacMurray College in 2006 and has served as a member of the MacMurray College Alumni Board from 2003 to 2010.

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 Iā€™m glad I did it with MacMurray!"