Criminal Justice

🧭 Compass Roadmap

Criminal Justice Program

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Compass Roadmap | Criminal Justice

Begin Your Journey
First Year
Pursue Community
Second Year
Pursue Hospitality
Third Year
Pursue Calling
Fourth Year
Pursue Wisdom
Grow Intellectually
  • Meet department faculty during Wildcat Week
  • Create a CJ-related bibliography in Cornerstone
  • Explore the life of Jesus and the New Testament church in BIBL 101 and 102
  • Explore departmental minors (e.g., public service, legal studies, political science)

  • Support your peers by attending ACU’s URCI Festival
  • Explore the message of the Old Testament in BIBL 211
  • Attend meetings about scholarly and graduate opportunities
  • Gain a variety of perspectives by helping host alumni or guest speakers
  • Apply for the Jack Pope Fellows Program

  • Engage in a faculty-mentored research or creative project
  • Participate in an information literacy workshop
  • Develop your research skills by completing POLS 315: Research Methods
  • Apply for a major scholarship

  • Present at URCI Festival or other conference
  • Complete Capstone course POLC 499: Public Service Internship
Grow Spiritually
  • Experience Candlelight Devo during Wildcat Week
  • Participate in Chapel, including Department Chapel
  • Participate in the life of a local church
  • Complete a Weekend Campaign or Spring Break Service Trip
  • Engage in practices of meal fellowship and testimony

  • Participate in Chapel, including Department Chapel
  • Participate in the life of a local church
  • Learn about service opportunities at the Local Missions Fair
  • Volunteer in the Abilene community
  • Engage in practices of intercessory prayer, pilgrimage and journaling
  • Participate in Chapel, including Department Chapel
  • Participate in the life of a local church
  • Gain hands-on ministry experience on a Global Service Trip
  • Attend Summit to explore your vocational path
  • Engage in practices of silence, spiritual listening and examen
  • Participate in Chapel, including Department Chapel
  • Participate in the life of a local church
  • Receive and extend blessings at the Department BBQ and Senior Blessing
  • Experience Candlelight Sendoff
  • Study ethical behavior in criminal justice in POLC 455: Ethics
  • Engage in practices of friendship, relinquishment and developing a rule of life
Grow Personally
  • Take StrengthsFinder and reflect on your results
  • Become involved in the ACU community by joining a student organization
  • Identify a potential faculty, staff or older student mentor in the department
  • Care for your whole person by developing a Personal Exercise Prescription

  • Take advantage of recreation opportunities on campus (Rec Center, intramurals, etc.)
  • Actively engage in a student organization
  • Develop personal relationships within your department by sharing a meal with peers in a Professor’s home

  • Serve in a leadership role on campus through ACU Leads
  • Lead in a church ministry or local service organization

  • Serve in a leadership role and mentor future student leaders
  • Lead a student club or organization

Grow Culturally
  • Attend events hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA)
  • Explore opportunities at a Study Abroad interest meeting
  • Attend events hosted by the International Students Association (ISA)
    Study Abroad in Oxford, Leipzig or Montevideo
  • Expand your cultural knowledge by taking a foreign language course
  • Attend events hosted by the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action
  • Participate in a World Wide Witness summer internship
    Volunteer or intern with International Rescue Committee
  • Apply to Fulbright, AmeriCorps or International Service Opportunity
  • Lead an OMA, ISA or Carl Spain Center event
Grow Professionally
  • Activate your Handshake profile and take the Career Explorer Inventory through ACU’s Career Services
  • Learn new creative possibilities through Creative U
  • Create a resume and discuss your career plan with a professor
  • Update your rĂ©sumĂ© and participate in a mock interview with Career Services
  • Get a summer job or internship related to your field of interest
  • Identify ACU alumni in your career field of interest

  • Research jobs and graduate schools that interest you
  • Identify faculty members who could write recommendations
  • Create a LinkedIn profile
    Prepare for LSAT and/or GRE
  • Meet with a professor to discuss internship, career path and post-graduate opportunities
  • Finalize your rĂ©sumĂ©
  • Secure letters of recommendation
  • Apply for law enforcement academies, jobs and/or graduate school
  • Participate in a department-sponsored mock interview
  • Complete first destination survey
  • Take LSAT and/or GREs

Exploring Areas of Growth

Five Areas of Growth

  • Grow Intellectually – Sharpen your mind through critical thinking, problem solving and engaging in original research or creative projects. Build knowledge in your field and develop relevant skills through innovative and experiential assignments and activities.
  • Grow SpirituallyGrow in likeness of Christ, as the Spirit leads both individuals and communities into deeper love of God and others. Cultivate Christian community, hospitality, vocation and wisdom through reflective participation in community practices such as worship, study and service. 
  • Grow Personally – Mature as a whole person through mentorship, peer-to-peer relationships and cultivating habits that produce wellness. Discover your strengths, become a productive team member and grow as a leader.
  • Grow Culturally – Deepen intercultural knowledge and the ability to communicate with and relate to people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and geographic areas. Foster a greater respect and empathy for all peoples through building dynamic and mutually rewarding relationships in local and global contexts. 
  • Grow Professionally – Prepare for a meaningful career by exploring options, participating in career development activities, gaining relevant experiences and making purposeful connections that launch your professional life.

Integrated Spiritual Formation Themes


NOTE: Transfer students and those that surpass traditional semester cadences can progress to the next phase when appropriate for their needs.

Year 1 – Pursue Community

Connecting students to cruciform relationships with peers and adults on campus and in Abilene through compelling opportunities to invest in a variety of Christian organizations, both discovering and experiencing the distinctive nature of Christian community.

Year 2 – Pursue Hospitality

Engaging students in encounters with diverse peoples, ideas, and cultures through both local and global opportunities to extend and receive hospitality and to serve others in Christ’s name.

Year 3 – Pursue Calling

Advancing students’ understanding of vocation in a manner that integrates each student’s particular identity, career goals and vision for life with the broad calling for Christians to participate in the ongoing mission of God revealed in the pattern of Christ’s life and death.

Year 4 – Pursue Wisdom

Launching students into cruciform and purposeful living beyond the university by equipping them with tools for and experiences seeking Christian wisdom as they prepare to transition into a new season of life and career.