You may be eligible to receive your associate degree in Criminal Justice while working towards your Bachelor in Criminal Justice degree. Even students seeking a CJ minor can take an additional 4 CJ credits and earn an associates degree on the way to earning your bachelor's regardless of your major.
With today’s uncertain economy, it may be in your best interests to earn an associate degree now as you progress to a bachelor’s degree. There are two important reasons for making a decision like this. First, if you encounter unforeseen circumstances preventing you from completing your bachelor’s degree, you will already possess an associate degree. This makes you eligible for many entry-level positions in criminal justice, including entry into NMU’s police academy. It is to your benefit to list on job applications that you have an “associate degree” rather than just listing “earned college credits.” Second, when you complete your bachelor’s degree, your transcript will reflect the associate degree and the bachelor’s degree, communicating to potential employers that you are someone who continues to strive for excellence. Having two degrees on your transcript is certainly a plus, and may make you a more attractive candidate for employment.
The process for determining if you are eligible for an associate degree is quite easy. Utilizing your academic transcript, insert the courses you completed on the two-year associate in Criminal Justice advising sheet. You can then schedule an appointment with your adviser to determine what courses you should complete first in order to earn your associate degree while still working toward your bachelor’s degree. Your adviser can also run a “what if” analysis to determine if you qualify.
Once you determine the semester in which you will earn your associate degree, you must make some adjustments to your degree program:
1. Check with a Financial Aids counselor to be sure your aid is not affected. Normally, students can only step down from a bachelor degree to an associate’s degree once without it affecting their financial aid.
2. Change your degree program to the associate’s degree. Go to Academic and Career Advisement Center (ACAC) 3302 Hedgecock Building, and make the change or go to the ACAC Web site and change your degree on line.
3. Register for graduation, CA 000, for the semester you intend to earn your associates. In addition, you need to pay a $25 graduation fee, which will be included on your e-bill.
4. If you determined that you can graduate in the current semester and had not registered for graduation in the first 4 days of school, you need to complete a Graduation – Graduate -Request to Add form, located on the Registrar's website.
5. Lastly, watch your e-mail from the Registrar’s Office. They will ask if you want to continue your education after your graduation from the associate’s degree. It is critical that you respond to this e-mail so your record is adjusted to a bachelor’s degree program. This allows you to pre-register for courses for the next semester to earn your bachelor’s degree.
Reviewing the possibilities cost you nothing and this is strictly your decision. However, we do highly recommend that you give this serious thought and we welcome any questions you may have. Please contact your adviser or call the CJ Department at (906) 227-2660 so you can discuss your options in more detail.