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NLU What is Criminal Justice

What Is Criminal Justice?

More than a popular TV series, criminal justice explores the impact of criminality on individuals, communities and society. Criminal justice students typically pursue public service in order to make a positive difference in the world. They aim to investigate the heart of criminal behavior and its role in society.

Why Choose a Criminal Justice Degree?

Typically combining psychology, sociology, public policy and organizational management, criminal justice study opens a graduate to a diverse range of professional opportunities. Students who concentrate in criminal justice administration also acquire knowledge of the main criminal justice agencies, including their operation, funding and service delivery models.

An education in criminal justice equips graduates to serve in law enforcement, courts, corrections systems or other associated private industries. Additionally, it explores theories about why people commit crimes, the effects of criminal behavior on society, and how to address and reduce crime in today’s world. It also covers the practice of investigation and the roots of the criminal law and justice system.

Knowing how human and behavioral services are integral to addressing the core of criminal issues is important. Finally, an examination of key policy trends affecting the U.S. justice system, as well as an understanding of standard operating procedure in both the corrections system and the criminal justice system, is critical.

The Criminal Justice System and Reform

Criminal justice professions encompass an entire system. The system consists of occupations in law enforcement, courts and corrections, as well as their private counterparts. It includes police officers, detectives, forensic specialists and criminal investigators. It is also the realm of attorneys, paralegals, caseworkers, probation officers, correctional officers and other kinds of certified specialists.

A quick look at news headlines will reveal federal criminal justice reform to be a hot topic, with criminal justice reform legislation currently backed by law enforcement organizations and a popular bipartisan movement. People interested in fundamental societal change should be attracted to this field due to the chance to significantly impact today’s legal system, law enforcement and corrections environments.

Opportunities abound for those students who are inspired by civic responsibility to mobilize for social justice by fighting systemic inequality, ill-advised policies and wasteful government spending.

For more about the job field, see Criminal Justice Jobs. Or learn about the popularity of online criminal justice degrees.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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