CJ Undergrads Can Pursue Degree Online

Illustration featuring graduation cap and tassle, diploma and keyboard

Sam Houston State University launched it first online, undergraduate degree program in criminal justice, putting core courses for a bachelor’s degree in reach of those with a computer.

The new bachelor program joins 11 master’s degree programs – and dozens of online classes -- offered online by the University to meet the changing needs of the student population. There has been a 129 percent increase in distance learning courses added since the fall of 2009.

In addition to two Masters program in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management for professionals and active duty military police, the university offers online graduate programs in Business Administration (both MBA and Executive MBA), History, Information Assurance and Security, Instructional Leadership, Instructional Technology, Library Sciences, Public Administration, Reading, and Teacher Certificate. Learn more about the criminal justice online opportunities by visiting

"The number of students enrolled in a least one online course is growing at an average rate of 20 percent each year, while the number of students enrolled in higher education is growing at approximately 1.5 percent annually," SHSU President Dana Gibson said in a speech to university faculty and staff. "Sixty-five percent of these online students are 25 years of age and older and choose distance learning modality versus face to face learning because of lifestyle issues."

The new criminal justice bachelor program gives the undergraduate flexibility in completing the four-year degree. After taking the core curriculum at Sam Houston State University or another college offering an associate’s degree, students can access criminal justice classes via computer from one of the largest and most recognized programs in the country.

“The online criminal justice program provides an educational opportunity for a wider audience of students, especially non-traditional students and adult learners,” said Dr. Janet Mullings, Associate Dean and Chair of Faculty at the College of Criminal Justice. “There is a demand for online courses. Every time we offer an online class, it fills up immediately.”

The College of Criminal Justice offered 12 online classes, including

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Professionalism and Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Police Strategies
  • Understanding Human Behavior
  • Victimology
  • Family Violence
  • Correctional Systems and Practices
  • Introduction to Methods of Research
  • Criminology
  • Legal Aspects of Corrections
  • Crime, Justice and Social Diversity
  • Special Topics

Among the faculty teaching online courses are Drs. Victoria Titterington, Dennis Longmire, Gaylene Armstrong, David Webb, Kate Fox, Janet Mullings, Bill Wells, Michael Vaughn, Howard Henderson, Melissa Tackett-Gibson, Matthew Nobles and Doug Dretke.

"Every semester, we will be adding more and more to the course offerings, including required classes as well as electives," Mullings said.

There are currently 500 undergraduate and graduate students who participate in online programs at the College of Criminal Justice.

The online undergraduate and graduate programs provide 24 hour technical support and are taught by international-known faculty. Students also can take advantage of scholarship and internship opportunities.

To meet the need of the nontraditional student and to stay competitive in the higher education marketplace, the university will continue to look at ways to extend quality program through a new campus in The Woodlands and more online offerings.

"We must take advantage of these opportunities to grow our program, sustain our quality and serve more non-traditional students," said Gibson.

While Gibson said she wants to add more online offerings, she still will maintain the high quality of academic programs delivered.

"We're poised with opportunities to enhance our ability to educate the non-traditional student without in any way decreasing our standards for our students or our programs," Gibson said. "Our culture of nurturing each student is as important a factor for the success of the non-traditional student as it is for our core undergraduate student. ..We must stay true to the legacy of Sam Houston State University, its wonderful collegiate atmosphere on this lovely campus; yet, decide how to incorporate new dimensions in this evolutionary time for higher education."

The university is embarking on a strategic plan to guide program development over the next three to five years. It will define what academic programs are needed to serve the diverse student population and will determine the mix of graduate and undergraduate program. The plan will also look at any shifts in services that are needed and how to do so with diminishing resources. Gibson wants alumni, business and civic leaders to be a part of developing the plan.

Member of The Texas State University System