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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: CJAD 301
Course Title: Criminal Law
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Examines the basic elements and concepts of substantive criminal law, which defines such crimes as murder, rape, assault, larceny, burglary, and robbery. Analysis of inchoate crimes involving attempt, solicitation and conspiracy. Analysis of general principles of criminal liability, punishment and the legal limitations of such liability based on self-defense, necessity, entrapment, diminished capacity and insanity. Prerequisite: Sophomore Standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Sophomore Standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable textbooks are available from various publishers and the following list is not comprehensive. Other textbooks may be judged by individual instructors to be more suitable in meeting course objectives. Many current textbooks have companion websites, and the instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology.

The instructor may also want to consider directing the student to websites containing Criminal Codes and Criminal Cases, such as or other legal sites maintained by governmental or not-for-profit entities.

Principles of Criminal Law
By Wallace and Roberson (Allyn & Bacon)
Criminal Law Today, an Introduction with Capstone Cases
By Schmalleger (Prentice Hall)
Criminal Law
By Gardner and Anderson (Wadsworth/Thomson Learning)
Course Objectives

  • To understand and appreciate the history and evolution of substantive criminal law.
  • To understand the importance of substantive criminal law in the criminal justice system and to expand upon the roles served by the various governmental entities in the system in developing, implementing, interpreting and enforcing the law.
  • To understand common legal terminology and methods used by professionals in the criminal justice system.
  • To locate, interpret and apply substantive criminal law to real and hypothetical fact situations.
  • To enhance critical thinking, research and writing skills on criminal law related issues.

    Measurable Learning

  • List and describe the sources of American law.
  • Identify and compare the features and elements of substantive criminal law with procedural criminal law.
  • State and explain the elements of substantive crimes, including but not limited to the following: - Murder and criminal homicide - Rape and sodomy, and other prohibited sexual offenses - Burglary - Arson - Robbery - Assault, other offenses against the person - Inchoate offenses such as attempt, solicitation and conspiracy - Controlled substance offenses - Alcohol related offenses - Perjury and related offenses against the justice system
  • Describe the history and evolution of substantive criminal law in the United States.
  • Identify and explain the defenses available to criminal liability, including the following: - Self defense - Consent - Insanity - Diminished capacity - Entrapment - Duress - Necessity - Battered spouse syndrome
  • Interpret and apply the meaning of specific statutory sections to assorted factual situations.
  • Construct arguments for and against proposed reforms in the substantive criminal law.
  • Explain and justify the constitutional and statutory limitations on criminal liability, including the following: - Ex post facto laws - Double jeopardy - Bills of attainder - Speedy trial - Statutes of limitation
  • Interpret court decisions involving criminal law and differentiate and distinguish between court cases regarding criminal law.
  • Appraise current literature, materials and developments regarding substantive criminal law.

    Topical Outline:

    In an effort to better prepare students for future educational pursuits and professionalism in their chosen fields, it is highly recommended that all courses bearing the CJAD prefix contain both a writing and speech communication component. Formal writing projects should be prepared in APA format.

  • Sources of criminal law
  • Limitations on criminal liability
  • Requirements for criminal liability
  • Inchoate offenses
  • Defenses to criminal liability
  • Criminal homicide
  • Sex offenses
  • Theft crimes
  • Offenses against habitation
  • Offenses against morality and decency
  • Offenses against public order
  • Offenses against the administration of justice
  • Drug and alcohol offenses
  • Physical offenses against the person
  • Sentencing and punishment

    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Barry Langford Date: September 3, 2013
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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