Positioned within a rich urban atmosphere, the multidisciplinary Department of Criminal Justice Studies explores the connections between law, crime and justice. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking about criminal justice systems, the administration of justice, legal studies, and the political economy. It includes a culminating field experience for majors and minors. The program is intended for a diversity of students whose interests range from the local to the global, from street crime to terrorism, from municipal policing to international courts.

Participating faculty represent a network of academic cooperation and bring a range of disciplines, professions and fields of study to bear on Criminal Justice, including Sociology, Psychology, Law, Political Science, Ethnic Studies, Economics, History, Philosophy, and International Relations. A network of criminal justice agencies and personnel in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area serves as a powerful asset for students.

The department is designed to facilitate communication across disciplines and between those within and without the criminal justice system. The faculty have extensive legal, scholarly, and practical experience in the field. Field study arrangements have been made with local criminal justice agencies. The minor can be taken in conjunction with any major but students majoring in closely related disciplines may use some courses for both the major and minor. An active Criminal Justice Student Committee plans and implements community service activities, has a guest lecture program featuring criminal justice professionals, and creates a sense of community on campus.

Students in Criminal Justice Studies will:

  • Identify major social issues that shape and are shaped by crime, criminals, terrorism, prevention and control, incarceration, and victimization.
  • Acquire an ability to apply the rudiments of the legal brief, be competent consumers of case law and social science research specific to criminal justice policy and administration.
  • Develop critical thinking skills that enable assessment of alternative solutions to problems associated with the identification, control and prevention of crime and delinquency.
  • Gain perspectives of scale about issues of crime, law and justice from the local to the international, the individual to the community, the urban center to the border.
  • Learn about the salience of wealth, class, race, culture, age and gender to criminal justice systems, processes and employment.
  • Understand the importance of rights, law and fairness to the formulation and implementation of criminal justice policy.
  • Apply criminal justice knowledge to field experiences.

Career Outlook

The major and minor provide training for students who anticipate they will be engaged in their communities regarding issues of crime, law and justice as well as those seeking related careers in government, law and higher education. Career opportunities include those in law enforcement, diversion, crime analysis, probation, parole, corrections, juvenile justice, victim advocacy, corporate security, community development and justice research. Students who intend to pursue graduate education in criminal justice, justice studies, criminology and related fields as well as those planning to apply to law school are encouraged to consider the major and minor in criminal justice.