Criminal Justice

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Hummel (chair), Al-Khattar, Cencich (coordinator of the M.A. in Applied Criminology program), Hsieh, Spencer, Warnick, Wydra


The philosophy of education for the Department of Criminal Justice is to integrate the substantive, procedural, theoretical and scientific aspects of law, crime and justice with a liberal arts education while incorporating ethics, leadership and diversity. Although this philosophy is primarily professional, the students are exposed to a wide array of intellectual disciplines across the University. The wide-ranging course offerings reflect the interdisciplinary approach and dedication to preparing graduates for a multitude of opportunities in justice systems, locally, nationally and internationally; to be able to communicate and make informed critical decisions; and to pursue graduate study in law, criminal justice, criminology and forensic sciences.


The justice studies major consists of a core requirement of 11 courses that are designed to provide a broad and coherent approach to the six content areas identified by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Students then have five concentrations available to them: general justice studies, criminology, law and justice, homeland and international security, and forensic science. The forensic science concentration has two core courses and students can elect to take one or more tracks to include: crime scene investigation, behavioral crime, forensic accounting, computer forensics, forensic anthropology and general forensic science.

Transfer students may transfer up to 24 credit-hours of criminal justice courses toward the justice studies degree requirements. Credit for life experiences and military or professional training may be available, but such credit cannot be counted toward the 48 justice studies required courses. Such credit, if awarded, will typically apply to the additional electives category or General Education requirements, if applicable. 


Justice studies faculty and students involve themselves in numerous activities beyond the normal academic experience. The program is an active participant in myriad justice-related activities at the regional, national and international levels. There are opportunities for student internships locally, nationally and internationally. Students can compete with the Mock Trial Team, and there are membership opportunities in the Law and Justice Society, Forensic Science Club and Criminal Justice Club.

Honor Societies

The Criminal Justice department participates in the National Criminal Justice Honor Society (Alpha Phi Sigma).


Justice studies graduates are qualified for numerous justice positions in agencies like the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C., police departments. Graduates pursue careers in agencies such as the Pennsylvania State Police as well as federal law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Secret Service; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some students obtain commissions as officers in the United States military and work in their criminal investigative and counterintelligence bureaus. Other graduates continue post baccalaureate education in law, criminal justice, criminology and forensic science.

Police Academy

Graduates of the Pennsylvania Police Academy who earn the Pennsylvania Act120 MPOETC certification, or its equivalent, can be awarded 15 credits in criminal justice courses, which will be applicable to the associate's degree concentration in Applied Policing and Technology.