Criminal Justice Degrees and Language Requirements

Criminal justice is an exciting field of study that is attracting more diverse students each year. Each specific program has its own requirements about foreign languages and other areas of study. However, criminal justice majors are generally required to take some foreign language credits.

Foreign Language Requirements

Foreign language is a helpful skill to have in any career, and criminal justice is no exception. Foreign language requirements usually exist for every major, and the individual major will determine the amount of fluency a student must possess by the time he or she graduates. Generally, a criminal justice major does not have a heavy foreign language requirement, and students are simply expected to reach an intermediate or communicative level in a language of their choosing.

Why Do I Need to Study a Foreign Language?

Some students in the field of criminal justice wonder why they are required to study a foreign languge. At first glance, the language skills can seem far removed from the field of study. However, there are some benefits to studying a foreign language in conjunction with a criminal justice degree.

Foreign language study is beneficial to students of all fields of study, because it expands their world views and allows them to gain perspective on another part of the world. Even if the student does not plan to travel outside of his home country, a greater understanding of the world is valuable.

Besides, a foreign language can have applications to a criminal justice student’s future work. Crime occurs in all languages, and an ability to communicate with people who speak other languages is an asset to policemen and spies alike. Knowing a foreign language well can open the doors to more advanced and higher paying jobs relating to international crime control. The higher up one goes in a chosen criminal justice career, the more pressure one will face to speak a foreign language. That’s why it may be wise to fully take advantage of language learning opportunities during the course of a university study.

Easy Ways to Satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement

For students who simply aren’t interested in learning a foreign language, there are some things that can be done to lessen the load of this requirement. Choosing a language that is similar to English will help students to pick up the new language with minimal effort. Spanish is a good choice because its structure is similar to English. The language shares many words in commmon with English. The vocabulary is pronounced as it’s written, which means that Spanish is an easy language to pronounce and read. Also, many Spanish speakers in the world mean that there are a lot of applications for the language.


The foreign language requirement for criminal justice majors is put in place in order to broaden the scope of a student’s study and to prepare him or her to be a global asset. If a student so chooses, the foreign language requirement can be met fairly easily and with a limited foreign language knowledge. However, it’s a smart idea to take advantage of language courses offered at universities and to take language skills to a higher level.

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