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  • Questions about College

    I was wondering what is the difference between a degree in Criminal Justice BA and Criminal Justice BS?

    Does that mean that I would have trouble entering a Federal law enforcement agency with a Criminal Justice BA?

    I want to join a Federal agency when I'm done with college but I keep hearing that its difficult to join one since its about competition.

    Also if I have a Master in Arts for Criminal Justice would I have more of a chance to join a federal agency?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Epyon8486 View Post
    I was wondering what is the difference between a degree in Criminal Justice BA and Criminal Justice BS?

    Does that mean that I would have trouble entering a Federal law enforcement agency with a Criminal Justice BA?

    I want to join a Federal agency when I'm done with college but I keep hearing that its difficult to join one since its about competition.

    Also if I have a Master in Arts for Criminal Justice would I have more of a chance to join a federal agency?
    There's no difference in terms of the level of degree (they are both bachelors) Some universities will categorize a Criminal Justice degree as a bachelor of science while others will categorize it as a bachelor of arts. The distinction belongs to which "college" that particular degree program falls under within the university i.e. college of liberal arts or college of science & technology. My bachelors was in political science and the way my Alma Matter was structured my degree fell under the college of arts & sciences. A degree from the college of arts and sciences will award you with a BA. My Alma Matter's degree track for Law Enforcement & Justice Administration ( that's what they called the criminal justice degree program) fell under the college of science and technology, so they were awarded a bachelor of science. It varies depending on your university. Having an accredited masters degree in any field will help you secure a job with the federal government.
    Last edited by rbakous1; 01-11-2009, 06:14 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rbakous1 View Post
      There's no difference in terms of the level of degree (they are both bachelors) Some universities will categorize a Criminal Justice degree as a bachelor of science while others will categorize it as a bachelor of arts. The distinction belongs to which "college" that particular degree program falls under within the university i.e. college of liberal arts or college of science & technology. My bachelors was in political science and the way my Alma Matter was structured my degree fell under the college of arts & sciences. A degree from the college of arts and sciences will award you with a BA. My Alma Matter's degree track for Law Enforcement & Justice Administration ( that's what they called the criminal justice degree program) fell under the college of science and technology, so they were awarded a bachelor of science. It varies depending on your university. Having an accredited masters degree in any field will help you secure a job with the federal government.
      Sounds nice maybe I should study and get my masters of arts in criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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      • #4
        Most agencies aren't going to care what your degree is even in. What I guess I a trying to say is that maybe looking into a degree field that you can "use" on the outside as well. I know alot of people whom got a BS in CJ and wish they wouldn't have. They decided LE wasn't for them and other places didn't like their major. Its all up to you tho, just my two cent.
        You do not greet death, you punch him repeatedly in the throat until he drags you away...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Epyon8486 View Post
          I was wondering what is the difference between a degree in Criminal Justice BA and Criminal Justice BS?
          The answer the first part of your question, I just finished my M.S. in criminology but had a choice of doing an M.A. The difference between our two programs was that the M.A. was more oriented around further study (i.e. continuing on to your Ph.D) while the M.S. was more research and career oriented for those who were jumping into a CJ-related career. M.S. students had to complete a semester-long research project that involved statistics while M.A. students had to write at thesis. This may help answer your question.

          Like others have said here, if you are getting into LE, no one is going to care whether you did a B.A. or B.S. let alone what you studied. My advice would be study what truly interests you. Some people on this forum have something against CJ degrees or think they're "useless." But you can't generalize about a field of study just because a few schools have easy programs; mine certainly was a challenge for everyone in our program and I gained a very unique perspective on law enforcement and the criminal justice system. I'm not saying that it trained me to be a cop; nothing would ever replace the valuable instruction of the academy. My rule of thumb is don't do something because someone says you should or shouldn't. Study what you like but add supplemental items that you're interested in to your resume that will make you attractive. Examples would be: military, relevant internships, or volunteer/leadership experience. Good luck.
          Last edited by FutureAgent001; 01-11-2009, 11:44 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by FutureAgent001 View Post
            The answer the first part of your question, I just finished my M.S. in criminology but had a choice of doing an M.A. The difference between our two programs was that the M.A. was more oriented around further study (i.e. continuing on to your Ph.D) while the M.S. was more research and career oriented for those who were jumping into a CJ-related career. M.S. students had to complete a semester-long research project that involved statistics while M.A. students had to write at thesis. This may help answer your question.

            Like others have said here, if you are getting into LE, no one is going to care whether you did a B.A. or B.S. let alone what you studied. My advice would be study what truly interests you. Some people on this forum have something against CJ degrees or think they're "useless." But you can't generalize about a field of study just because a few schools have easy programs; mine certainly was a challenge for everyone in our program and I gained a very unique perspective on law enforcement and the criminal justice system. I'm not saying that it trained me to be a cop; nothing would ever replace the valuable instruction of the academy. My rule of thumb is don't do something because someone says you should or shouldn't. Study what you like but add supplemental items that you're interested in to your resume that will make you attractive. Examples would be: military, relevant internships, or volunteer/leadership experience. Good luck.
            Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to build a nice resume so I can join a federal LE agency. I was thinking of getting a BA in criminal justice. I volunteered for the Nypd Auxiliary program which motivated me to become a full time officer. Trying to get as many experiences as I can.

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            • #7
              Get something better than a CJ Masters. Try for Public Administration. What happens when you leave the CJ field?
              "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." President John F. Kennedy

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              • #8
                It has been discussed on this board before. I'm not going to say a degree in CJ is "useless" but this fact cannot be denied; Any degree holder can secure a position in the CJ field but the reverse is not true.

                I only wish someone would have given me some advice like I'm about to give when I was starting college.

                Major in one of these five fields of study;
                1. Engineering
                2. Accounting
                3. Information Tech
                4. Nursing
                5. International Affairs

                If you major in one of those you will never be looking for work very long, in and out of the field of LE.

                Look on numerous agency websites of what they desire in a candidate. You won't find any mention of a Criminal Justice degree.

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                • #9
                  To kind of go with and against what England stated. Nursing and accounting are good bets for degrees with almost guaranteed jobs. Even if you're let go as an accountant, you can always go out on your own. Nursing, if you can handle the blood, trauma, and pace is outstanding as far as pay goes in an emergency room (at least in the US). IT was believed to be almost a guaranteed job until a few years ago, when many in the IT fields were downsized. Engineering is also subject to downsizing. I don't know much about International Affairs to speak on that one.

                  If I were to do it over, I'd get a minor in CJ and major in something else. I don't have the bedside manor to be a nurse, but accounting or some business discipline would have worked very well. I was only a couple classes short of a minor in business management, but I wanted the degree to be finished and go on my way so I didn't take the classes. Man talk about a shoulda, woulda, coulda, moment.
                  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

                  For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

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