About the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies

Stevenson FallThe Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies is housed within the School of Social Sciences. The School of Social Sciences offers knowledge and skills that prepare our graduates to live richly rewarding personal, professional, and social lives while understanding and appreciating human complexity in a global society.

What is Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies?

In our society the criminal justice system is growing rapidly and crime and criminal justice have become increasingly politicized. In light of these and other major changes, there is a great need for a critical understanding of the rapidly changing field of criminology and criminal justice.

The criminology and criminal justice studies major offers a liberal arts curriculum concerned with the changing nature and content of law, the shifting public expectations of criminal and civil justice agencies, the implications of diversity along the lines of race, gender and class, and the reactions of agencies to social perceptions and political pressures. The student is offered an interdisciplinary, multi-methodological academic approach to the understanding of the mechanisms of social control, resolutions of criminal justice problems, and a knowledge of accepted procedures and alternatives.

This general but all-important background serves as a base for the areas of emphasis that are of interest to the individual student. Adult and juvenile probation, law enforcement, judicial administration, public advocacy, prevention and diversion, and correctional and parole services are studied in detail from several perspectives. Criminology and criminal justice studies majors are prepared to pursue careers in the field of criminal and social services as well as graduate education in justice studies, law, criminology and other graduate fields.

Learning Goals for the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies

The CCJS Department’s learning goals are explicated in the CCJS Mission Statement:

The CCJS major offers a liberal arts curriculum dealing with criminology and criminal justice. It is an interdisciplinary academic approach concerned with the contemporary and historical diversity of perspectives in theory, social policy and practice, research methods, ethics, and decision-making as these relate to major institutions and processes, including law and social control, the exercise of discretion, police, court, corrections, and media. 

Students gain knowledge that provides a critical understanding of the major institutions and practices in criminology and criminal justice, including law, theory, practice, ethics and the diversity of methods, both quantitative and qualitative.

Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies majors are prepared either to enter a wide range of jobs in the field, such as law enforcement, judicial administration, public advocacy, prevention, corrections services or diversion, or to pursue graduate education in law, justice studies, criminology and other graduate fields.

The objectives of CCJS for student learning are to impart:

•       critical thinking and analysis skills
•       communication skills
•       an ability to relate theory to practice
•       an understanding of the importance of research methods.