Bachelor of Criminal Justice

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The Bachelor of Criminal Justice (BCJ) is unique in New Zealand, the first degree of its kind that combines multidisciplinary academic study with a strong vocational focus.

Criminal Justice studies take a 360-degree look at the whole criminal justice system and its processes, including governance, enforcement, rehabilitation and improvement. The degree draws together UC’s expertise in criminology, sociology, developmental and abnormal psychology, policing, criminal ‌law and procedure, and human services.

Features of the Bachelor of Criminal Justice at UC

  • First degree of its kind in the country
  • UC enjoys close links with employers in the crime and justice fields
  • Multidisciplinary teaching and innovative courses
  • Potential for study while employed in the area to increase professional competencies.

Entry requirements

Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. Domestic applicants over 20 who do not hold University Entrance, or equivalent, may gain admission by providing evidence of their ability to complete tertiary study successfully. For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications. 

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

The BCJ does not require a background in any specific subject at school and is open to all students with entry to the University.

Qualification structure and duration

The Bachelor of Criminal Justice requires 360 points. These are made up of:

  • a series of 15 compulsory courses (comprising either 255 or 270 points*)
  • with the remainder of the points taken from a set list of courses.

First year

In the first year students will take 120 points (with 15 points of 100-level courses usually taken in the second year). All 100-level courses are compulsory.

Second year 

In the second year students must take either 75 or 90 compulsory 200-level points*. The remaining 200-level points, to reach a total of 120 or 135* points for the second year, will be selected from a set list of courses. The remaining 100-level points may be included.

Third year

At third year there are 45 compulsory points, with a choice of 45 points at 300-level from the list of courses, to reach a total of 90 points. The remaining 30 points at 200-level are from the list of courses.

* The difference of 15 points relates to whether students take CRJU 202 Criminal Law and Procedure (15 points) or LAWS 202 Criminal Law (30 points). BCJ/LLB double degree students take LAWS 202.

Typical degree structure for Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Year 1Year 2Year 3
    Compulsory core courses
    BCJ (Schedule B) elective courses
(1) You must pass either LAWS 202 (30 points) or CRJU 202 (15 points).
(2) If LAWS 202 passed, then 45 points from BCJ Schedule B at 200-level. If CRJU 202 passed, then 60 points from BCJ Schedule B at 200-level.
For the BCJ course schedule visit the Regulations for the Bachelor of Criminal Justice.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. Large blocks represent 30-point courses.

Double Degrees

It is possible to combine a Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree with other degrees such as the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Science.

Normally you can complete a double degree (BCJ plus three-year degree) in five years and an LLB plus three-year degree in five-and-a-half years, but some combinations may take longer. If you are considering a double degree you should get advice from a School of Law Student Advisor or the Liaison Office.

Find out more information about Double degrees.

Subjects and courses

The BCJ is a multidisciplinary degree that includes study across subject areas such as Criminal JusticeHistoryHuman ServicesLaw, LinguisticsMāori and Indigenous Studies, PhilosophyPsychology and Sociology.

For a list of the required courses by year, see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Criminal Justice

Career opportunities

Graduates of UC's Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree will have an edge over others in the crime and justice job markets in an area of national need and growing international specialisation. 

The BCJ will prepare you for a career in all aspects of criminal justice, in particular roles within the New Zealand Police, Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections. The degree is also relevant to work in many other government departments including prisons, probation and parole; criminal justice policy, forensics; public and private investigation and security; and social work.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Criminal Justice.

More information

For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Criminal Justice. For more information on facilities, resources and staff, see the College of Business and Law | Te Rāngai Umanga me te Ture.

For more information email info@canterbury.ac.nz or freephone 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For assistance with planning your programme of study contact the Liaison Office (new students), or a School of Law Student Advisor (advancing students).

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Jamiee Thompson

Jamiee Thompson

‘I love the variety of classes available within the BCJ...'

Courtney Green

Courtney Green

'he multidisciplinary papers from the BCJ keep that degree varied and interesting...'