Criminal Justice, BS

On Campus, Day
Behavioral Sciences
two CJ Police Program students

In Short

The Criminal Justice program leads to a BSCJ degree. You will dig into the nature and functioning of police, courts and corrections. Why do people commit crime, and what can be done to prevent crime? You will learn about current issues, such as criminal justice reform, and classic issues, such as how society tries to balance the need for order and the protection of individual rights. 

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What will I do?
  • Be equipped to go directly into criminal justice jobs, or continue on to graduate school or law school. (If interested in law school you should be aware of the 3+3 program with UMass Dartmouth Law School.)
  • Upon graduation you will have a broad view of the issues in criminal justice, as well as skills in writing, communication and research.
  • Be exposed to current issues and opportunities in criminal justice, such as the new field of crime mapping.

Criminal Justice is a broad field of study, covering topics such as juvenile justice, white-collar crime, gangs, hate crime, domestic terrorism, ethics, and many others. You choose from an array of electives and a variety of opportunities, including an internship in your senior year, Moot Court, the Honors Program, study abroad programs, and an internship with the Washington Center in Washington, D.C. The program is PCIPP approved.

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Criminal Justice majors can earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as complete police academy training, within five years with the Police Program (4+1) Concentration, Criminal Justice, BS.

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Projects and Features

Criminal Justice honors student theses:

  • “Women in Policing”
  • “Analysis of the American War on Drugs”
  • “A comparison of the U.S. interrogation technique developed by Reid Associates with the PEACE Method used in the United Kingdom”

Experiential Opportunities and a Look Inside the Courses


Several Criminal Justice seniors have interned with the U.S. Marshals Office.  Others have interned with local criminal justice agencies, such as the Fitchburg and Shirley Police Departments, probation offices, and courts. Several recent Criminal Justice grads went on to law school after graduation. Internships leading to academic credit are available both locally and (in partnership with the Washington Center) in Washington, D.C.
Read more about: Internships

Study Abroad

Faculty-led study abroad course opportunities increase student life-transforming experiences, as do student/faculty cooperative research projects.
Read more about: Study Abroad

Criminal Justice Courses and Events

Check out our blogs that highlight classes like criminal investigation, fingerprint and footprint labs, as well as defensive training and health and wellness as part of our Recruitment Officer Course (ROC).
Read more about: Criminal Justice Courses and Events

Police Program Courses and Events

Check out our blogs that highlight classes like accident reconstruction and emergency vehicle operator training,  as part of our Recruitment Officer Course (ROC).
Read more about: Police Program Courses and Events

Curriculum and Other Information

  • Municipal Policing
  • State Police
  • Transportation Safety Administration
  • Probation
  • Community Corrections
  • Juvenile corrections
  • Sheriff’s Deputy
  • Correctional Program Officer
  • Understand crime, criminology and the criminal justice system from a number of disciplinary perspectives—biological, psychological, sociological, political science, historical, and economic – in addition to criminology.
  • View crime as an aspect of human behavior whose explanation is consistent with explanations of other aspects of human behavior, and as a dynamic phenomenon that is inevitably embedded in any society.
  • Undertake the systematic study of the criminal justice system from a number of different perspectives – scientific, legal, and ethical.
  • Identify important issues and problems as they affect individuals and society and suggest policy changes to address these issues
  • Gather, evaluate, summarize and interpret qualitative and quantitative data using appropriate technology.
  • Develop oral and written skills to communicate their analyses and recommendations.
  • Develop both the computer and other technology skills that are inextricably integrated into the modern world, and the capacity to adapt to the ever-changing technological and computing landscape.
  • Become aware of, and sensitive to, issues of ethics and diversity in the criminal justice system and to commit to becoming agents of change and justice.