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University of Phoenix: Furthering LE Careers

“Become a Phoenix” is the school’s motto, and since 1976 the University of Phoenix has been helping students obtain new perspectives and advancements in their career and academic potentials.

The University of Phoenix Criminal Justice degree is offered through the College of Criminal Justice and Security. It can be completed entirely online or in class, at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Available degrees include an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration or Organizational Security and Management; and Master of Science in Justice and Security Administration.

Academic and industry professionals teach the courses of study and most of the faculty members have advanced university degrees plus professional work experience in the fields in which they teach. The Criminal Justice faculty includes chiefs of police, sheriffs, district attorneys, special agents, security executives and wardens.

The University of Phoenix has more than 200 campuses throughout the nation, but not all programs are available at all locations, and not all programs are available in both online and on-campus formats. Tuition varies by campus and type of degree. The school’s Web site shows the tuition for specific degree programs offered online or on campus.

The Criminal Justice program includes police work and corrections in both foundation and upper-level courses in such areas as criminal justice administration, security, law enforcement, corrections and the criminal court system. Students have the option of enrolling in individual classes or a degree program.

The Associate of Arts degree focuses on police practices, corrections, the criminal court system and juvenile justice. The Bachelor and Master degree programs focus on interrelationships among citizens, communities, police and the courts.

An online set of courses is offered at the Associate, Bachelor and Master degree levels including criminal law and procedure, the criminal justice system, delinquency and crime, distinctions between criminal justice agencies and the realm of private security, terrorism, and homeland security.

University of Phoenix Dean James J. Ness, Ph.D., says the Criminal Justice and Security program develops “management and leadership skills” to bridge the gap between theory and practice. A personal, small-class format is used in a program that is an “interactive, effective learning environment,” he states.

To enter an Associate or Bachelor degree program, the student must have a high school diploma, GED, (California) High School Proficiency Examination Certificate, or a foreign secondary school equivalent; and be a US citizen or legal permanent resident. Citizens of Nevada and South Carolina must submit their high school graduation document, and citizens of Oklahoma and Tennessee must submit an immunization document to enroll in a campus-based program.

Master’s degree students must have an undergraduate degree from an approved, regionally/nationally accredited college or university, or a comparable degree from a recognized institution of higher learning outside the U.S. The Master’s degree program student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in undergraduate work, and must provide verification of a minimum of three years of significant, full-time work experience and be currently employed.

The university prides itself on the fact that it has locations within 10 miles of 87 million Americans. Besides its online university library, the University of Phoenix also offers a Center for Writing Excellence and a Center for Math Excellence. The university’s “FlexNet” format offers classes on campus or online or in a combination of both.

In the online courses, students complete one course at a time, and work in teams with their classmates for special projects. In the on-campus format, most of the courses are held once a week, generally in the evening, although some campuses offer day or weekend classes. The FlexNet Learning Format allows scheduling flexibility with some in-class meetings. The University of Phoenix is approved to operate in most U.S. States either through licenses, registration, general or specific approvals, consent or exemption.

Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at

Published in Law and Order, Jun 2011

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