Criminal justice is the study of criminal law, criminal procedure, and the enforcement of criminal law. It includes understanding the social context of criminal behavior and the way society upholds social control and sanctions those who violate the criminal law. The major is grounded in a liberal arts curriculum; it emphasizes not only how the criminal justice system has developed in its present form, but also how changes in the system affect other parts of society. The major prepares students for a broad spectrum of occupations, including law enforcement, corrections, and allied mental health. Finally, students who wish to pursue careers as lawyers can major in criminal justice and also take advantage of the college’s Pre-Law program. For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the Criminal Justice website.
Students must have a minimum grade of C in all required courses and maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice.
All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one. Major advisors are normally assigned in the sophomore year, but may be requested in the freshman year to supplement a student's freshman advisor (their GRIF 101 facilitator). Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.
Students should consult with Dr. Patricia Erickson, Director of Criminal Justice, for current advisement information.
Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a dual major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.
Many of the department’s majors combine criminal justice with a second major in another discipline, such as sociology, psychology, political science, history, modern languages or communication studies.
Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major. Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.
General Education Requirements
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum or Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.
|MAT 131||Statistics for Social Sciences||3|
|SOC 110||Introduction to Sociology||3|
|SOC 342||Social Research Methods||3|
|or ANT 351||Qualitative Research Methods|
|CRJ 227||Criminal Justice I||3|
|CRJ 228||Criminal Justice II||3|
|CRJ 382||Criminal Justice Ethics||3|
|CRJ 449||Criminal Law||3|
|CRJ 450||Criminal Procedure||3|
|CRJ 461||Criminal Justice Capstone||1|
|Criminal Justice Electives|
|Select three of the following:||9|
|Language for Legal Professions|
|Special Topics in Criminal Justice|
|Current Issues in Forensic Psychology|
|Violence and the Family|
|Violent Crime in American|
|Gangs in American Society|
|Police and the Community|
|Treatment of Offenders|
|Alternatives to Incarceration|
|White Collar Crime|
|Women and Crime|
|Criminal Justice Internship|
The following courses offered by other departments or programs count as electives for the criminal justice major and minor:
|ANT 333||Forensic Anthropology||3|
|ISB 460||Computer Forensics||3|
|PSC 103||The American Constitution||3|
|PSC 320||American Constitutional Law I||3|
|PSC 321||American Constitutional Law II||3|
|PSC 345||Transnational Crime After 9/11||3|
|PSC 420||The Constitution, The War on Terror and Civil Liberties||3|
The following psychology courses will count as electives for dual psychology/criminal justice majors:
|PSY 303||Abnormal Psychology||3|
|PSY 360||Psychology and Law||3|
Dual psychology/criminal justice majors may satisfy the statistics and methods requirements with the following courses:
|PSY 201||Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences||3|
|PSY 202||Research Methods in Psychology||3|
Many internship opportunities upon approval are available to qualified juniors and seniors. As an urban center situated on the Niagara Frontier, Buffalo offers numerous internship experiences where students can explore careers and get valuable real life experience. A GPA of 3.0 of higher is required.
Foreign Language and Study Abroad
The department encourages criminal justice majors to study a foreign language of their choice and to participate in the college study abroad program.
Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements
|SOC 110||MAT 131|
|CRJ 227||CRJ 228|
|CRJ elective||CRJ elective|
|CRJ 382||CRJ 320|
|SOC 342 or ANT 351||CRJ elective|
|CRJ 449||CRJ 450|
Learning Goals & Objectives
Student Learning Goal 1
Criminal Justice majors will be able to demonstrate that they are able to think critically about crime and criminal justice.
- Objective A: Critically evaluate theories about crime and criminal behavior;
- Objective B: Critically evaluate laws and court decisions about crime and criminal behavior.
Student Learning Goal 2
Criminal Justice majors will be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in criminal justice.
- Objective A: Explain the organization and administration of the criminal justice system;
- Objective B: Explain the role of the social science research in criminal justice.
Student Learning Goal 3
Criminal Justice majors will be able to demonstrate the importance of ethics in criminal justice.
- Objective A: Analyze how personal values may conflict with the ethical standards for criminal justice professionals;
- Objective B: Analyze how ethical principles and ethical codes of conduct apply to criminal justice professionals.
Two minors are housed in Criminal Justice:
CRJ 227 Criminal Justice I 3 Credits
Focuses on the nature and extent of crime, policing, and court system including constitutional rights and trial process.
Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)
CRJ 228 Criminal Justice II 3 Credits
Examines sentencing, corrections, juvenile court, drug court, and global crime issues.
CRJ 280 Language for Legal Professions 3 Credits
Explores the use of language in the administration of law, including ways to read and brief cases and to read statutes.
Fulfills College Core: Justice, Oral Communication
CRJ 300 Special Topics in Criminal Justice 3 Credits
Critical examination of a selected topic in criminal justice. Subject matter determined by the instructor.
CRJ 320 Criminology 3 Credits
Classical and contemporary theories of criminal behavior and the role of theory in the criminal justice system. Explanations for why crime occurs, understanding of criminal behavior and its impact on society.
Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive, Justice
Offered: fall and spring.
CRJ 330 Current Issues in Forensic Psychology 3 Credits
Application of the science of psychology to questions and issues relating to criminal law and the criminal justice system. Topics discussed include competency to stand trial, assessment of mental state for an insanity plea, and prediction of violence and assessment of risk.
CRJ 337 Violence and the Family 3 Credits
How family dynamics can contain elements that give rise to violence, including 'battered women' and abused children.
Offered: fall & spring.
CRJ 344 Violent Crime in American 3 Credits
Examination into the theories that cause violent crime and behavior. Analysis into the factors attributed to violence - mental illness, racism, poverty, and interpersonal relationships.
CRJ 345 Gangs in American Society 3 Credits
Examines the theoretical causes for the growth of gangs; including youth and criminal gangs. Topics include the social theories, measurement, and solutions.
CRJ 351 Police and the Community 3 Credits
Critical examination of the operation of all levels of law enforcement in America. Topics include the selection process, training, ethics, and police accountability.
CRJ 354 Juvenile Delinquency 3 Credits
Legal processes in juvenile delinquency as well as understanding and analysis of current practices and historic and contemporary issues. Suggested programs for rehabilitation and prevention of delinquency.
CRJ 356 Treatment of Offenders 3 Credits
Correction theory, offender typologies, and nature and diagnosis of offenders and future trends in dealing with criminal offenders.
CRJ 357 Alternatives to Incarceration 3 Credits
Examines the most effective choices to safely punish or treat the offender in the community. Topics include use of intermediate sanctions, such as community service, as an alternative to incarceration.
CRJ 358 White Collar Crime 3 Credits
Crimes committed by 'respectable people' in positions of responsibility in private or public sector. Nature of these crimes, how regulatory bodies and legal systems treat these criminals and how they seek to avoid detection and prosecution.
CRJ 359 Women and Crime 3 Credits
Classical and contemporary accounts of the etiology of female crime, patterns of female criminal behavior, and the role and treatment of women in the criminal justice system.
CRJ 382 Criminal Justice Ethics 3 Credits
The personal, social and criminal justice contexts for understanding justice, crime and ethics. Skills necessary to deal effectively with ethical issues in criminal justice systems. Problems and case studies for active exploration of social issues.
Fulfills College Core: Ethics
CRJ 449 Criminal Law 3 Credits
The substantive criminal law, including offences against persons, property and public morality with emphasis on New York State Penal Law. Criminal responsibility and defenses.
CRJ 450 Criminal Procedure 3 Credits
Key Supreme Court decisions on search and seizure, arrest, interrogation and identification of criminal suspects. Sentencing and punishment, appeal and post-conviction relief.
CRJ 461 Criminal Justice Capstone 1 Credit
Integrating experience for majors; focus is on demonstrating proficiency in the discipline and preparation for post-graduate studies or employment. Required for class of 2017 and beyond.
CRJ 498 Criminal Justice Internship 3-15 Credits
Opportunity for selected students to participate in daily work of law enforcement agencies, courts, law firms, and social service agencies. Students must apply the semester before they take the internship.
Prerequisite: minimum GPA of 3.0, junior or senior status, & signature of major advisor.
Offered: fall & spring.
CRJ 499 Independent Study 3 Credits
Independent studies allow in-depth study of a specific topic and are most often reserved for seniors who cannot otherwise fulfill a graduation requirement. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.
Offered: fall & spring.