Criminal justice is the study of the adult and juvenile justice systems, including law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. It is interdisciplinary and includes understanding the intersections of law, public policy, and behavioral science, in an effort to understand crime as a social problem and improve these systems for the good of society.
Penn State Beaver offers two degrees in Criminal Justice: a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science.
- The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice provides a broadly based liberal arts background for the study of crime, justice, and the criminal justice system.
- The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice offers an opportunity for educational enrichment in fields not traditionally considered part of the liberal arts.
Students receiving a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice should understand each of the three main components of the criminal justice system and their interrelationships, be able to evaluate critically both current and future crime control policy proposals and criminal justice research, and understand the complexity of the crime phenomenon and its relationship to individual, social, and cultural factors.
This major includes study in law enforcement, courts and corrections individually and as components of a system, plus work in theories of crime causation, and crime control policy. Students should expect reading, writing, and critical thinking skills to be rigorously applied and developed throughout the degree program.
You might like this program if ...
You have an interest in working in corrections, courts, court administration, law enforcement, and probation and parole. Students completing this course of study are prepared to enter law school and graduate degree programs in more specialized areas. Every student in this degree will participate in an internship at a host agency located in a local, state or federal agency of their choice.
Graduates in the Criminal Justice program find an array of career opportunities.
- Federal, state, and local law enforcement
- Corrections agencies
- Probation and parole services
- Community crime prevention and treatment services
- Private sector security.
- Juvenile and drug rehabilitation counseling
The degree also prepares students for graduate programs in law, criminology, human development, psychology, and the social sciences.
*Penn State Beaver, Penn State New Kensington, and Penn State Shenango jointly deliver the bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees in Criminal Justice. All required courses are offered at each campus, although students should expect to take some courses via interactive video and/or the Web.