Criminal Justice: Police Science

SUNY Adirondack offers an Associate in Science (AS) degree in Criminal Justice: Police Science and an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Criminal Justice: Substance Abuse Services. Half the Police Science degree can be earned online.

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The high demand for college-educated criminal justice officials makes these programs especially well suited for those seeking immediate employment.


A degree in Police Science combines an understanding of the major components of the U.S. criminal justice system with functional knowledge of law enforcement techniques on the local, state, federal and national level. Students will begin by taking fundamental classes in history, sociology, government and law and advance toward a thorough understanding of criminology as a whole.

The Substance Abuse Services program delves further into the understanding of psychology, sociology and substance abuse against the backdrop of the criminal justice system. Students gain knowledge of the real-life situations and scenarios they’ll encounter and how to effectively communicate and solve complex problems related to substance abuse. Advanced classes then provide understanding of chemical dependency, crime and delinquency and abnormal psychology.


SUNY Adirondack offers small class sizes and access to dedicated faculty who have years of real-world experience in law enforcement, criminal justice, clinical psychology and police science. Since these are “hands-on” degree programs, students in both Criminal Justice tracks are provided with an opportunity to intern at local and state law enforcement agencies, public health agencies and court facilities.

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Degree requirements

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Employment opportunities in Criminal Justice are expected to grow anywhere between ten and twenty percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, graduates of SUNY Adirondack’s program will find they have flexible options to pursue immediate employment or to pursue 4-year degrees.

For those seeking transfer, students have the unique option of applying to SUNY Plattsburgh to complete their bachelor's degree on-campus at the SUNY Adirondack Regional Higher Education Center or taking advantage of the college's seamless transfer option with many of the best criminal justice schools in the country, including:

  • John Jay College
  • The University at Albany
  • SUNY Canton
  • University of New Haven
  • Niagara University
  • Hilbert College

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the philosophy, goals, concepts and practices of the major components of the criminal justice system.
  2. Explain some of the due process protections given to citizens as articulated in the U.S. Constitution.
  3. Explain some of the due process protection given to citizens as articulated in major Supreme Court decisions.
  4. Explain some of responses to criminal behavior as they relate to the four theories of punishment (retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation).
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of how crime data are collected and analyzed.
  6. Describe a variety of psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors that may affect criminal behavior.
  7. Demonstrate academic skills required of all ACC graduates including competency in critical thinking, writing, research, information literacy and oral communication.
  8. Identify career and/or transfer options.