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Criminal Justice, BA & BS

As a criminal justice major, you’ll study crime and society’s responses to it. Through courses in arts and sciences you'll learn the technical and professional skills to develop your career.

About this Program

Educating Criminal Justice Leaders for Rewarding Careers

An interdisciplinary social science, criminal justice coursework spans across both the arts and sciences to provide you a deep understanding of the many facets involved with the study of crime and societal responses.

Your studies in conceptual and empirical knowledge foster sophisticated thinking, reflection and action that help you become a leader in the field.

Coursework includes criminal justice and criminology, organizational theory and criminal justice ethics, research methods and statistics with focused coursework in a particular specialization area. Faculty work closely with students to select the most appropriate degree/specialization option based on students’ individual goals option based on students’ individual goals.

No matter what aspect of criminal justice you decide to focus on, the low student-to-faculty ratio and many internship opportunities allow you to build a network of support both within the university and beyond.

Seattle University alumni carry the knowledge, critical thinking skills, values and ethical consciousness onto careers as responsible practitioners, managers, researchers and leaders in the criminal justice field.

They continue within the Jesuit spirit of inquiry and innovation to drive the field forward and help create systems that respond to the needs of a complex society.

Criminal Justice Degree at a Glance

Learn how this degree from the Department of Criminal Justice, Criminology and Forensics will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

The Criminal Justice, BA, prepares students for positions in the criminal justice system that do not require an extensive physical science background.

A variety of specializations allow you to pursue the focus of your choice.

Administration of Justice Specialization

Criminology and Criminal Justice Theory Specialization

Forensic Psychology Specialization

Forensic Science Specialization

Accelerated Degree Options

Seattle University offers two options for accelerated study, allowing students to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in one seamless experience.

The Criminal Justice, BS, degree options require additional credits in the physical sciences and mathematics to prepare students for careers and/or graduate study that require coursework beyond the traditional criminal justice degree (e.g., in forensic science.)

Blend the arts and sciences, with two specializations offered.

Forensic Psychology Specialization

Forensic Science Specialization

Add a minor in criminal justice and broaden your impact. The criminal justice minor will help provide a foundation for further work in criminal justice settings, students interested in crime and justice or students who would like additional coursework to augment their experience within the field. You should leave this minor with an understanding of the complexity of corrections, justice and crime.

Seattle University undergraduate criminal justice (CJ) students should be able to:

  • Evaluate and analyze a contemporary CJ issue with knowledge of CJ terminology, major topic areas/issues in criminal justice and criminological theory, and ethical issues in crime and justice.
  • Understand the interdisciplinary nature of criminal justice and ethical issues in law enforcement, courts, and corrections.
  • Articulate key concepts in criminology and criminal justice.
  • Design a research proposal and conduct computer-based statistical analysis at basic (descriptive) level.
  • Prepare and present a paper orally using multimedia/technology.
  • Master content in upper-level specialization courses.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Support for Your Development

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Internships: Deep, Experiential Learning

Students may earn credits while gaining practical experience working as interns and volunteers in the criminal justice system, including prisons and jails, local and federal law enforcement agencies, law firms and court services, medical examiners offices and crime labs.

A Photo from the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee Event

Hands-On, Field Learning in Seattle

With our campus located in the heart of Seattle, we help foster professional relationships for students throughout all the local halls of justice. Students have valuable hands-on experience through opportunities for applied field learning such as police ride-alongs, prison tours, courtroom observations and academic/criminal justice collaborative research opportunities.

Crime and Justice Advisory Committee Fall Annual Luncheon in Campion Ballroom at Seattle University

Crime and Justice Research Center

We recognize that crime and its prevention, response and reparation are community concerns. Students collaborate with faculty on research, in classroom service-learning projects, and projects for community organizations. We address those through the integration of perspectives, strategies and approaches based on evidence-based practices and collaborative engagement.

Popular Careers and Career Paths for Criminal Justice Majors

Criminal justice graduates seek careers in law enforcement, public safety, court services, corrections, forensic science, private security and investigation, crime prevention, juvenile justice, victim services, mental health and social service.

They also pursue graduate study in criminal justice, criminology, forensic psychology, forensic science or law.

The following are examples of career and/or graduate school routes criminal justice students tend to pursue, based on our degrees and specializations.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) with specialization in:

Administration of Justice

  • Employment in city, county, state, federal law enforcement, courts, institutional and community corrections, juvenile justice, victim services, private security, investigation.
  • Graduate school in criminal justice/criminology, public administration, political science.
  • Law School

Criminology & Criminal Justice Theory

  • Employment in city, county, state, federal law enforcement, courts, institutional and community corrections, juvenile justice, victim services.
  • Graduate school in sociology/criminology or criminal justice/criminology.
  • Law School

Forensic Psychology

  • Employment as a correctional counselor, community corrections officer, juvenile justice or social service caseworker, victim advocate.
  • Graduate school in forensic psychology.
  • Law School

Bachelor of Science (BS) with specialization in:

Forensic Psychology

  • Employment as a correctional counselor, community corrections officer, juvenile justice or social service caseworker, victim advocate.
  • Graduate school in forensic psychology.

Forensic Science

  • Employment as a forensic scientist or forensic technician in a local, state, federal, or private crime lab.
  • Employment as a medicolegal death investigator at a Medical Examiner or Coroner’s Office.
  • Graduate school in Forensic Science.

From Our Student

Brenna Fain

Brenna Fain, ‘25

“My experience in the Department of Criminal Justice, Criminology, and Forensics has been fantastic. Thanks to the small class sizes and caring faculty, I have always felt like more than just a number. I have had the opportunity to get to know my professors on a personal level, and I am currently working with one of them as a research assistant. This program has helped me build connections and skills to thrive in postgraduate and professional settings in the criminal justice field.”

BA in Criminal Justice, Forensic Psychology

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