The Differences Between a BA and a BS in Criminal Justice

A BS in criminal justice is typically a more precise, technical program than the broader BA degree. Courses in a BS might explore policing in the U.S., the American correctional system, and technology in criminal justice, while BA curricula cover topics like criminology, white-collar crime, and juvenile delinquency.

In today’s world, there are an abundance of educational options available to those seeking to pursue a career in criminal justice. One of the main questions people face is whether to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in criminal justice. Both of these degrees are designed to prepare individuals for a career in the field of criminal justice, but they each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the differences between the two degrees can help individuals make an informed decision when it comes to their educational choices. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between the BA and BS in criminal justice, and provide insight into which degree is best for your goals and career aspirations. We will look at the curriculum of each degree, the potential job opportunities available with each degree, and help you decide which one is right for you.

Is a BA or BS better for Criminal Justice?

What is a BA in criminal justice?

A bachelor’s of arts in criminal justice, also known as a BA in criminal justice, is typically an academic program that offers courses and study programs on particular topics related to crime, law enforcement, and the judicial system. Students must complete the prerequisites for this BA, which include courses in math, English, and the major as well as basic course requirements. Lectures, discussion forums, case studies, internships, and guest lecturers are all part of the curriculum to help students apply what they learn after graduating.

What is criminal justice?

Law enforcement and the imposition of criminal penalties are the main topics of the social science field of criminal justice. Its goal is to uphold justice under the law, order, and security within society. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is the first step toward working in a field centered on crime prevention and solving.

What is a BS in criminal justice?

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, also known as a bachelor of science in criminal justice, typically equips students with the necessary courses to work in the field. These programs offer an introduction to criminology, criminal law, and criminal justice. Additionally, they might offer the training required for law enforcement careers. Graduates of this program are also prepared for related graduate studies.

BA vs. BS in criminal justice

The differences between a BA and BS in criminal justice vary depending on the institution that grants each degree, but the following are some general distinctions:

Course offerings

Students with a BA in criminal justice may be able to enroll in more liberal arts classes on subjects that aren’t necessarily related to the field. Philosophy, sociology, and the arts are just a few of the subjects covered in these classes. A lot of the courses they offer are also closely related to criminal justice.

A BS in criminal justice could provide a more focused approach to criminal justice issues. This could involve taking courses in forensics, homeland security, and security management. Schools may offer electives or online courses that are not specifically related to criminal justice.

Career opportunities

Students who are unsure of what they want to study after graduation might find that a BA in criminal justice is more accommodating. Students who are unsure of their career goals—whether they want to be judges, work in corrections, or become probation officers—might find the flexibility they need in this degree.

Community colleges and technical programs are most frequently where you can get a BS in criminal justice. Students who earn this degree are most likely to work in security, corrections, or law enforcement A BS in this area might concentrate on the fundamental abilities required for these jobs. Additionally, it might incorporate practical instruction through internships at regional institutions like state police departments or prisons.


There are many possible concentrations for a BA in criminal justice, some of which include:

Typically, a criminal justice BS concentrates on a particular concentration or field of work. Some of these concentrations include:


Students with a BA in criminal justice might be able to complete an internship at a local organization. These internships could be with a jail, prison, state police force, or the US military. Students might gain practical experience that they can use once they graduate for their future careers.

Internships with organizations like the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and state police departments are possible for students who earn a BS in criminal justice. Students can gain insight into what it’s like to work for these organizations and use that knowledge in their post-graduation careers.


There are numerous institutions, including state colleges and private universities, that offer a BA in criminal justice. This degree may also be available online through satellite programs. A BS in criminal justice is available at fewer institutions. Before deciding on a particular school or program, students can explore their options for obtaining this degree.


What does BA mean in criminal justice?

A bachelor’s of arts in criminal justice, also known as a BA in criminal justice, is typically an academic program that offers courses and study programs on particular topics related to crime, law enforcement, and the judicial system.

What is the difference between a BA and a BS in criminology?

Bachelor of Arts is abbreviated as BA, while Bachelor of Science is abbreviated as BS. Both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees should, in general, give you a thorough grounding in a particular academic or professional field.

What is the best degree for criminal justice?

BS degrees typically require more coursework in subjects like science, math, and technology, while BA degrees tend to place a greater emphasis on the arts, humanities, and social sciences, although programs vary depending on the school.

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