2023-2024 College Catalog

Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts

Department Chair: Elena Chernyak



Elena Chernyak; Cheryl Johnson; Ryan Ceresola; Amber Kerwin; Michael Branch; Zachary McKenney Cheryl Johnson


Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice


Those who major in criminal justice will understand the inner workings of the criminal justice system on a practical level, as well as the key theories behind criminality and the way the United States enacts laws and punishments at a scholarly level. With a major in Criminal Justice, one will be able to:

  • Identify, apply, and evaluate traditional and contemporary criminological theories.
  • Describe and understand modern patterns of crime, victimization, and punishment in the United States.
  • Investigate issues related to criminal justice using practical, theoretical, and analytical methods.
  • Consider the ramifications of criminal activity, punishment, and incarceration on society in general as well as on specific subsections of society.

With a focus on the most cutting-edge issues in criminological research, our major offers courses on policing, corrections, juvenile delinquency, and many other sub-topics such as white-collar crime and political corruption. Additionally, we bring in outside scholars and practitioners to discuss key issues related to criminology. Through it all, our professors listen to students and work to incorporate their interests and goals into the broader curriculum of the program through outside speakers, internship opportunities, or one-on-one research projects.

Notably, the major situates itself in the context of a nation and world facing severe challenges in the world of policing, incarceration, and unequal justice. We understand the heightened racial context of policing and the criminal justice system, and seek to take that into consideration in our understanding of the law. Courses for this major will take into account news stories, current debates, and recent literature on criminology, securing your understanding of classic and contemporary issues.

Finally, while we are primarily driven by a focus on sociological/criminological theory, we also know that an important aspect of one’s post-college life is their career. With that in mind, when we teach, we teach towards practical, hands-on applications. A major in criminal justice does not train you for one specific task, but instead prepares you for a variety of careers in the criminal justice field.

Those who graduate with a Criminal Justice major will have the knowledge and skills to begin careers at local, state, or federal levels in the form of police officers, probation officers, correctional officers, victim advocates, and related careers. Alternatively, students will be prepared to continue their studies in graduate programs in sociology, criminal justice, criminology, or law.