Northwest College will begin offering a new Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in Criminal Justice Studies in the fall of 2023 after the degree plan was officially approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It becomes the second bachelor’s degree offered by NWC following the B.A.S. in Professional Studies which debuted in the fall of 2021.
The new B.A.S. in Criminal Justice Studies option provides students who have completed an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree a chance to continue their education to acquire upper-division skills and training. The degree is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of criminal justice at the local, state or federal level, or for those already working in the field seeking advancement.
“The BAS in Criminal Justice Studies is a very exciting addition to the programmatic offerings at NWC,” said College President Lisa Watson. “Being able to serve today’s students with hybrid delivery options, opportunities to engage with excellent faculty and various agencies, not to mention state-of-the-art facilities, really makes this a program of distinction.”
The curriculum at Northwest College will combine traditional academic studies along with a more hands-on practical application of content being learned, unlike many typical universities focused on pre-law. Among some topics NWC students will cover are communications and technology, interview and interrogation, organized crime and gangs, serial killers, and other contemporary criminal justice issues.
“Part of our unique program is both the formal education of our criminal justice faculty along with our combined 50 plus years of real-world police experience in both rural and metropolitan agencies around the country,” said program director Dave Patterson. “Our students will leave with a balanced approach of academic content as well as the practical application of this knowledge to the field.”
NWC’s criminal justice facilities feature the VirTra 300-degree firearms simulator, which is the industry leader in firearms simulation on the proper use of force. The facilities also include a mock jail cell, mock forensic lab, and mock interview and interrogation room to additionally enhance hands-on learning.
Students who pursue the B.A.S. will take 42 or more junior and senior upper-level credit hours which comprise the program’s core and will need an additional 18 hours of coursework based on their specific interests within the field of criminal justice. Courses may be taken face-to-face, online, or in a hybrid format depending on a student’s individual needs in order to allow more flexible access.
“When we began designing this new program, we wanted to offer a degree that would provide our students with an experience they wouldn’t find at another school,” Patterson said. “There’s been a lot of fine-tuning over the last several months to get the program where we wanted it to be, and we’re very pleased with the way it’s come together.”
Requirements for applying and admission into the new BAS in Criminal Justice Studies program will be forthcoming once finalized in the upcoming weeks. Details will be posted on the college’s main website at nwc.edu/bas.
For more information about the program, please contact Dave Patterson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, at Dave.Patterson@nwc.edu or 307-754-6328.