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CRJS 420 Criminal Investigation: CRJS 420 Syllabus

A collection of resources for CRJS 420.

Course Syllabus

Course Syllabus


CJUS 420

Criminal Investigations I



Course Description

This course will address the constitutional requirements for conducting criminal investigations, essential techniques for processing a crime scene, and methodology for collecting evidence via subpoenas and interviews.



The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of principles of criminal investigation in the United States.



     I.               Prerequisites

CJUS 200 & 230


  II.               Required Resource Purchases

American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (current edition). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Osterburg, J. W., & Ward, R. H. (2014). Criminal investigation: A method for reconstructing the past (7th ed.). Waltham, MA: Anderson Publishing. ISBN: 9781455731381.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.


III.               Additional Materials for Learning

A.                Computer

B.                 Internet access (broadband recommended)

C.                 Microsoft Word

(Microsoft Office is available at a special discount to Liberty University students.)


IV.               Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

A.                Describe specific legal concepts in relation to criminal investigations.

B.                 Identify the proper steps of crime scene processing.

C.                 Evaluate the methods of appropriate evidence preservation for specific forensic analysis.

D.                Summarize methods of obtaining information from witnesses and databases.

E.                 Explain the appropriate utilization of confidential informants during a criminal investigation.

F.                  Explain specific physical and electronic surveillance techniques.

G.                Understand the logical steps utilized to obtain a confession during an interrogation.

H.                Explain the logical process of conducting a criminal investigation within the confines of the U.S. Constitution.

I.                   Integrate biblical principles into the ethical decision making process.


  V.               Course Requirements and Assignments

A.                Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

B.                 Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

C.                 Discussion Board Forums (7)

There will be 7 Discussion Board Forums throughout this course. The student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided topic for each forum. Each thread is to be 150–200 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 125–150 words.

D.                Research Paper Topic

The student will choose a topic for the Research Paper related to criminal investigation and submit it along with at least 2 references.

E.                 Research Paper

The student will write a 5-page research-oriented paper in current APA format that focuses on criminal investigation. The paper must include at least 5 sources (not including the class textbook and the Bible). The paper will be submitted through SafeAssign.

F.                  Exams (2)

There will be a Midterm and a Final Exam in this course. Each exam will cover the textbook readings and will be open-book/open-notes, contain 50 true/false and multiple-choice questions as well as 1 essay question, and have a time limit of 2 hours and 30 minutes.


VI.               Course Grading and Policies

A.                Points

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (7 at 50 pts ea)


Research Paper Topic


Research Paper


Midterm Exam

(Modules 1–4)


Final Exam

(Modules 5–8)




B.                 Scale

A = 900–1010   B = 800–899   C = 700–799   D = 600–699   F = 0–599

C.                 Late Assignment Policy

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

                                                                   1.                       Late assignments submitted within one week of the due date will receive a 10% deduction.

                                                                   2.                       Assignments submitted more than one week late will receive a 20% deduction.

                                                                   3.                       Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the class will not be accepted.

                                                                   4.                       Late Discussion Board threads or replies will not be accepted.

Special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, personal health issues) will be reviewed by the instructor on a case-by-case basis.

D.                Disability Assistance

Students with a documented disability may contact Liberty University Online’s Office of Disability Academic Support (ODAS) at to make arrangements for academic accommodations. Further information can be found at

Subject Guide

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Robert Weaver
Jerry Falwell Library 2nd Floor
Subjects: Government, Politics