Online courses in criminal justice, law, political science, administration of justice and sociology may be useful to someone aspiring to become a justice of the peace. Many U.S. states have eliminated the position, but where the role of Justice of the Peace does exist, duties include officiating weddings, administering oaths and presiding over minor criminal and civil matters. Given the changing and diverse nature of the role, students may wish to clarify their end goals and make sure they are aligned with specific courses, as well as state legal and educational requirements.
Online Courses for Prospective Justices of the Peace
Below are a few of the most common courses available that are in the areas of criminal justice, law and political science.
- American Politics Course: This course is found in many political science undergraduate programs and focuses on how the American political system, policymaking process and key political issues relate to law and its enforcement. Components of the government at the local, state and national levels are examined, along with role of policy in addressing public opinion, stakeholder needs and economic demands. Statistical analysis and research methods for evaluating policy issues are also discussed.
- Ethics of Justice Course: This course discusses ethical theories and their application to current issues for justice administration professionals. Requirements of ethical decision-making are discussed along with concepts like morality, justice and social control. Contemporary topics covered include capital punishment, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, euthanasia and torture. Legal ethics courses are often found in undergraduate administration of justice, political science and law enforcement programs.
- Marriage and the Law Course: Students learn about the legal characteristics, creation and dissolution of civil unions, same-sex, common law and traditional marriages in this sociology course. The affects of social change on traditional marriage are examined and views and laws of non-traditional marriages are covered. Additional topics include legal rights and responsibilities of spouses, the legal processes and obligations of divorce, benefits of marital status, the regulation of the ability to marry and spousal abuse.
- Justice Administration Course: This course is found within administration of justice and criminal justice programs and looks at the characteristics of effective justice administration. It also includes an overview of the criminal justice system and evaluation of law enforcement philosophies. Interrelationships of subsystems in the justice system and career opportunities in the field are also discussed, as well as responsibilities and expectations of the public.
- Victims and the Justice Process: This course provides a comprehensive look at victimization and the U.S. legal system's response to it. Students learn to see the world through the victim's eyes in hopes that prospective criminal justice students will be more sympathetic to a victim's plight and their rights. Victim participation in the criminal court case against their offender, such as in the case of a victim impact statement, is also explored.