Major Requirements

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Drawing upon a rich urban environment, the multidisciplinary program in criminal justice studies explores the connections between law, crime and justice. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking about the administration of justice, crime and delinquency, legal studies, and working with diverse communities. As part of the major, students participate in a culminating field experience at the end of their program. The program is intended for a diverse group of students whose interests range from the local to the global, from street crime to terrorism, from municipal policing to international courts.

I. Administration of Justice Explore central features of criminal justice systems. Courses include treatment of distinguishing features of the U.S. criminal justice system and comparative perspectives of systems around the globe. Attention is given to recurring problems including abuse of authority, community conflict, and discrimination in case processing. Students have opportunities to learn methods and applications for studying criminal justice systems and processes.

II. Crime and Delinquency Courses in this area expose students to major explanations of what brings about different forms of juvenile delinquency and adult criminality. Students have opportunities to explore biological, feminist, economic, international, psychological, racial, and sociological perspectives of crime and delinquency. In addition to addressing street crime, courses are available for learning about hate crime, organized crime, terrorism, and white collar crime.

III. Legal Studies Attention is given to legal doctrine relevant to criminal justice, the practice of law by criminal justice agents, and the experience of law by defendants, family members, and victims. Courses include distinctive disciplinary perspectives of law as well as issues faced by particular populations. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply legal analysis, including case law and development of legal briefs.

IV. Working with Diverse Communities Working in the criminal justice system in any capacity requires interacting with individuals from diverse family, cultural, social, and economic backgrounds. Courses in this area expose students to a deeper understanding and appreciation of individuals and groups from backgrounds other than their own. These courses help students develop communication skills to bridge cultural differences while working toward common goals related to the pursuit of social as well as criminal justice.