The criminal justice major emphasizes a multidisciplinary and experiential approach to crime and justice. It is a liberal arts major, requiring students to think critically, contemplate and appreciate alternative viewpoints, and communicate effectively. It encourages students to take both an analytical and experiential approach to criminal justice.
The major shows students the “working side of the street,” encouraging them to interact with people on the front lines of the criminal justice system and to confront real‐life issues. Courses in the major take students to criminal justice sites, such as corrections facilities, police departments, courts, and community agencies. Many classes include guest speakers who will discuss first‐hand experiences with specific aspects of criminality and crime prevention.
Students who complete the criminal justice major may go on to careers in law enforcement, corrections, social services, the justice system, or law. Regardless of student career track, the study of criminal justice provides a deeper understanding of crime and justice in contemporary American society.
Students who graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice should be able to:
- Articulate the purpose, structure, and function of the American criminal justice system, including the roles of its major components, law enforcement, the courts and the corrections system.
- Distinguish and discuss the foundation of our system of laws.
- Compare and contrast the prominent psychological and sociological theories of crime causation, criminal behavior, crime control, and punishment.
- Explain how the substantive and procedural criminal law affects the practices of law enforcement, the courts and corrections, and the protection of citizens’ civil rights and liberties.
- Identify and explain ethical principles applicable to criminal justice professionals and how the concepts of ethics, morality and justice apply to law enforcement practice and the trial process.
- Apply analytical and problem solving skills in reading and writing about issues in law and criminal justice, and, proficiency in the application of principles necessary for competence in the profession.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of research by analyzing and applying information gathered from scholarly sources and applying it in a variety of problem‐solving and decision-making situations.
- Effectively present the results of research and analysis orally and in writing in a manner that demonstrates competence in the use of standard English conventions, including grammar and other mechanics, organization, and proper attribution.
In addition to a strong academic foundation, Criminal Justice courses offer a variety of experiences designed to introduce students to professionals in law enforcement, law and corrections and to engage them in the practical aspects of each institution. Frequent guest speakers help students make connections between what they are learning and its application in the real world. Classes may involve trips to state correctional facilities and local trial and appellate courts. Subject‐specific classes, such as Criminal Investigations, require students to combine the techniques of crime scene analysis with the principles of criminal procedure, and ultimately demonstrate their knowledge by analyzing a mock crime scene as a final examination. Our internship program has placed qualified students in a variety of State and local law enforcement agencies, with prosecutors and victim/witness coordinators, in juvenile facilities, and at the NH State Prison. Finally, Issues in Professional Practice, the capstone class, requires graduating seniors to interview working professionals in the student’s particular area of interest, to research contemporary issues in criminal justice and present their findings at an open forum, and, to participate in a mock oral board (hiring) exercise conducted by a panel of professionals from the criminal justice field. Overall, with a combination of academics and experience, students are well‐positioned to succeed in the field.
All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.