Criminal Justice Studies

Coordinator: Associate Professor Allison

The Criminal Justice Studies program engages students in the interdisciplinary study of crime and criminal justice, primarily within the United States. Students gain an understanding of the psychological and sociological dimensions of crime as well as insights into the workings of the criminal justice system and its components. Students examine both academic and applied aspects of the field. Ethical implications and critical analysis of issues are stressed.

The most common majors for students who minor in criminal justice studies are psychology, human service studies, sociology and political science. However, students have found that the criminal justice studies minor can serve as a valuable complement to a wide array of majors, including journalism, biology, business and philosophy.

Criminal justice students are encouraged to engage in experiences that move beyond the classroom, such as internships, research and independent study. Internships taken in applied settings, such as local law enforcement agencies, prisons, the court system, law offices and a medical examiner’s laboratory have proven exciting and educationally beneficial to criminal justice minors. In collaboration with relevant faculty, students have conducted research and independent study on a diverse array of topics, including punitiveness toward criminals, illicit drug use, police personality, psychopathology and crime, serial killers, and the relevance of thinking styles and personality traits to violent behavior.

Students are also encouraged to participate in the Crime Studies Club, a student organization involved in a host of activities related to crime and the criminal justice system. Members of the club have organized field trips to such places as forensics laboratories and prisons. Additionally, the club has hosted nationally prominent experts who have spoken on such topics as designer drugs, forensic science and the profiling of serial killers, as well as career opportunities in the realm of criminal justice.

Many criminal justice studies minors choose to continue their education after obtaining the bachelor’s degree from Elon. They have entered graduate programs in sociology, political science, social services, psychology, forensic science, criminal justice, law and others. Students who choose to enter a career upon graduation have found employment in law enforcement (at the local, state or federal level), prisons and social work.

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