Students completing the major in Criminal Justice are instructed on the theories and practices pertaining to the criminal justice system, crime, prevention, and public and corporate responses to criminal behaviors on the local, national, and international level. This course of study leads them to function in an increasingly complex, confrontational, and violent world.


“Don't think because you are majoring in Criminal Justice that your opportunities are limited to the field. The material you will be taught and the skills you will hone do much for your overall development as a thinking and contributing member of society—I was exposed to many different fields while completing the major and all have given me a unique and fresh perspective on the world. Pick Criminal Justice because it intrigues you, not because you are looking for a specific job: you can go to graduate school for that.” ~Evan H. ‘12

The major is structured into three general sections with a completion of a minimum of 36 credits: General Coursework (which consists of 6 courses), Thematic Coursework (which consists of 3 courses), and Elective Coursework (which consists of 3 courses). All students interested in declaring a major in Criminal Justice must first complete Introduction to Criminal Justice (01:202:201); furthermore, in order to declare a major in Criminal Justice, students are required to earn a grade of “C” or better and have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Similarly, only courses that earn a grade of “C” or better will be counted toward the major.

In order to declare your major, first please visit this School of Arts and Sciences website to find tips and advice about choosing both your major(s) and minor(s). When you are ready to declare, visit the MyMajor portal to log in with your Net ID and password.

Bullet and Casing

“College is what you make of it. The only real, sure-fire thing that can always succeed in preventing you from achieving your goals is yourself. Don’t take this major for granted. Be the change you want in this nation.” ~Julian H. ‘12 





Students are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to meet with the advising staff on a regular basis when selecting courses so that we can help you create an academic course of study which will best match your post-baccalaureate plans and most prepare you for the advanced training you will need in your respective career field within criminal justice. In order to schedule an appointment with the advising staff, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Students can download a copy of the major and its required components here, and use it as a checklist to chart your progress.

The GENERAL COURSEWORK section includes the mandatory completion of the following courses:

  1. Introduction to Criminal Justice (01:202:201)
  2. Criminology (01:920:222)
  3. Police (01:202:202)
  4. Prisons and Prisoners (01:202:203)
  5. Any ONE of the following courses:
    1. Crime and Public Policy (01:202:204) OR
    2. Criminal Procedure (01:202:205)
    3. OR Law and Politics (01:790:106)
  6. Any ONE of the following research methods courses:
    1. Criminal Justice Research Methods (01:202:307) OR
    2. Introduction to Political Science Methods (01:790:300) OR
    3. Quantitative Methods in Psychology (01:830:200) OR
    4. Introduction to Social Research (01:920:311) OR
    5. Computer Analysis of Social Science Data (01:920:312) OR
    6. Statistics I (01:960:211)* OR
    7. Introductory Statistics for Business (01:960:285)

The General Coursework section involves the completion of Intro. to Criminal Justice first and foremost. Students take Criminology, which is offered through the Sociology department. The Program centers upon the three areas of criminal justice: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. This is why students must complete Police (law enforcement), Prisons and Prisoners (corrections), and either Crime and Public Policy or Criminal Procedure or Law and Politics (courts). Any student entering the field of criminal justice will need to draw upon a background in research and research methods of some kind, which is why students are also required to complete a research methods course; furthermore, these courses serve as a prerequisite for some of the upper-level elective courses.

*Please be advised that according to the policies of the Statistics department, you can only earn credit for one of the following statistics courses: 01:960:211, 01:960:212, 01:960:285, 01:960:384, 01:960:401, 01:960:484.


The THEMATIC COURSEWORK section includes the mandatory completion of three total courses. All of the courses that can be used to satisfy the Thematic requirements are from outside departments. (N.B. Students need to be careful that they have the necessary prerequisites for courses they are considering taking.) These courses are from such departments as Political Science, History, Sociology, Psychology, etc. If you find a course not on the approved list of Thematic courses, please reach out to the Academic Advisor before you register for the course in order to see if you could add it to the list of Thematics: be sure to include the course information, as well as a copy of the course description and syllabus.

The list of approved Thematic courses are grouped into three thematic areas: Human Behavior, Deviance, and Crime (HBDC); Social Control Institutions (SCI); and Law and Ethics (LE). Students are required to complete two of their three Thematic course requirements from at least two different thematic areas.

Theme: Human Behavior, Deviance, and Crime (HBDC)

American Studies
01:050:324       Wayward Americans

01:070:310       Human Aggression

01:830:320       Forensic Psychology
01:830:375       Prejudice and Conflict

01:920:304       Sociology of Deviant Behavior
01:920:306       Race Relations
01:920:307       Sociology of Mental Illness
01:920:361       Sociology of Drug Use
01:920:410       Sociology of Alcohol Problems 

Theme: Social Control Institutions (SCI)

Africana Studies
01:014:353       Black Community Law and Social Change

01:070:360       Law, Justice, Rights

01:220:331       Economics of Crime
01:220:395       Law and Economics

11:370:414       Forensic Entomology

01:512:404       Constitutional History from 1865

Political Science
01:790:340       Law and Society
01:790:341       Public Administration
01:790:343       Counterterrorism & Democracy
01:790:404       Politics of Criminal Justice

Latino & Hispanic Caribbean Studies
01:595:370       Law and the Latino Community

01:920:349       Law and Society 

Theme: Law and Ethics (LE)

01:730:342       Social and Political Philosophy
01:730:345       Philosophy and the Law
01:730:358       Philosophy of Law

Political Science
01:790:373       Legal Philosophy, Rights, and Justice
01:790:401       American Constitutional Law
01:790:406       Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Women’s and Gender Studies
01:988:307       Women and the Law


The ELECTIVE COURSEWORK includes the mandatory completion of three elective courses taken within the Program in Criminal Justice. All elective courses are at the 300 and 400 level; subsequently, students are required to take at least one in-house elective course at the 400 level.

It is possible for students to complete an internship, independent study, or an honors research thesis project for credit towards the major (to count as an elective). For internships, students are only allowed to count a maximum of 3 credits of an internship toward their major; moreover, students may complete up to 6 credits of an internship total for credit (not toward the major), and are only allowed to take 3 credits per semester. Students may earn a maximum of 6 credits of independent study toward the major, but are only allowed to take 3 credits per semester. Finally, students may earn between 3-6 credits for completing an honors research thesis (similar to the structure of an independent study project). For more information about internships, independent study, and honors research thesis projects, please visit the respective pages.

Criminal Justice Elective Courses

300 Level Courses

01:202:301 Human Rights and Legal Remedies
01:202:302 Police Organization and Administration
01:202:303 Correctional Systems
01:202:305 Scientific Applications in Justice I
01:202:306 Scientific Applications in Justice II
01:202:307 Criminal Justice Research Methods**
01:202:309 Criminal Law: Theory and Practice
01:202:310 Victimology and Domestic Violence
01:202:311 Political Terrorism
01:202:312 Crimes Against Humanity
01:202:322 Juvenile Justice
01:202:327 Sex, Crime, and Justice
01:202:351 Forensic Science I (and Lab)
01:202:352 Forensic Science II (and Lab)
01:202:360 Ideas in Justice
01:202:370 Crisis Intervention in Criminal Justice Settings
01:202:388 Criminal Justice Seminar
01:202:389 Criminal Justice Seminar

400 Level Courses

01:202:406 Internship in Criminal Justice
01:202:407 Internship in Criminal Justice
01:202:408 Internship in Criminal Justice
01:202:425 Race, Crime, and Justice
01:202:488 Advanced Seminar in Criminal Justice
01:202:489 Advanced Seminar in Criminal Justice
01:202:495 Independent Study
01:202:496 Special Topics
01:202:497 Special Topics
01:202:498 Honors Research Thesis

**Students are allowed to use Criminal Justice Research Methods (01:202:307) as an elective, if and only if they have not used it to fulfill a General Coursework requirement.

Click here to download a copy of the Criminal Justice Major Checklist!