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Criminal Justice


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 CJ reform, and classic issues, such as how society tries to balance the need for order and the protection of individual rights. The program is PCIPP approved.

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.

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

Statement from the Criminal Justice Faculty, June 2020

At this moment in history, we Americans have an opportunity to bring our nation closer together. The criminal justice system lies at the heart of this opportunity. As a Criminal Justice faculty, we believe that without community and social justice, without a sincere and complete commitment to equal protection and due process, and without compassion and respect for each and every member of society, there truly is no justice. We vow to do all we can to ensure that our students wholeheartedly embrace this principle. We further vow to promulgate this principle, through education, outreach, and research, throughout the University, the Commonwealth, and beyond.

In This Program

You will:

  • Be equipped to go directly into CJ 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 CJ, as well as skills in writing, communication and research.
  • Be exposed to current issues and opportunities in CJ, such as the new field of crime mapping.


4+1 Police Certification Concentration - Criminal justice majors can earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as complete police academy training, within five years.


Criminal Justice Minor

Projects & Features

CJ honors student thesis: “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.”

Career Opportunities

Municipal policing, state police, Transportation Safety Administration, probation, community corrections, juvenile corrections, sheriff’s deputy, and correctional program officer.

Experiential Opportunities 

  • Several CJ seniors have interned with the U.S. Marshals Office.
  • Others have interned with local CJ agencies, such as the Fitchburg Police Department, probation offices, and courts.
  • Several recent CJ 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.

Requirements and Curriculum

Criminal Justice, B.S.
Course Rotation Cycle (PDF)

Learn More

Department Home Page

For more information and to apply, go to admissions.

Other Relevant Links

US Bureau of Justice Statistics
American Society of Criminology
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences