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Criminal Justice

The study of criminal justice at Briar Cliff is an interdisciplinary program drawing from the disciplines of sociology, political science, psychology and social work. It is designed to prepare a generalist at the undergraduate level for career options such as community policing and community corrections, juvenile diversion and monitoring, court administration, correctional institutions, probation and parole, victim reconciliation and mediation programs, security administration, investigation and research.

The program assumes that criminal justice agencies and programs are most effective when they promote relationships based on justice and charity, equity and reconciliation, relationships that should characterize all human communities. It also assumes that the use of coercive force should be practiced as a part of a coherent set of values, attitudes and skills designed to deescalate situations of violence, lawlessness, vengeance and prejudice.

Upon graduation, students majoring in criminal justice will be able to:

  • Understand the core areas in the field of criminal justice: crime, law enforcement, adjudication and corrections;
  • Understand human behavior, social interaction processes, and social institutions and policies;
  • Apply ethical standards to situations and practices that arise in positions of public trust;
  • Think logically and critically in the process of applying formal knowledge and principles to practice in the criminal justice field;
  • Communicate clearly and effectively in oral and written form;
  • Process and apply information reliably through the use of appropriate information resources, research methodology, statistics and computer tools.

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Core Criminal Justice Courses

CJUS 100 - Introduction to Criminal Justice

Introduction to Criminal Justice is an overview of the criminal justice system and the sub-systems in the United States. Read more »

CJUS 246 - Introduction to Criminology

Introduction to Criminology presents the major biological, psychological, and sociological theories of criminal behavior, and provides a descriptive overview of crime in the United States. Topics include crime rate statistics, historical trends in crime and crime rates, and characteristics of both offenders and victims. Read more »

CJUS 352 - Issues in Corrections

Issues in Corrections examines a continuum of sanctions ranging from probation to institutional confinement. Read more »

CJUS 447 - Advanced Criminology

Advanced Criminology offers an extensive examination of the theoretical explanations of deviance and their intersection with crime control policies. The course emphasizes theory development, integration and evaluation, and requires extensive reading and writing. Read more »

CJUS 460 - The Constitution and Criminal Justice

The Constitution and Criminal Justice examines the criminal procedural foundations established by the fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Read more »

CJUS 470 - Ethics in the Criminal Justice System

Ethics in the Criminal Justice System is an in depth analysis of theories and practices in areas of legality, morality, values and ethics. Read more »

CJUS 490 - Criminal Justice Internship

A supervised experiential learning opportunity in a criminal justice setting; it requires a minimum of 150 hours of work for three credits and 200 hours for four credits, maintaining a descriptive log and a reflective journal, and periodic meetings with the on- and off-campus supervisors. Permission of the program director is required. Read more »

PSCI 370 - Criminal Law

Introduction to the substantive and procedural aspects of criminal law. Nature and origins of U.S. criminal law; conditions for criminality and type of crime. Read more »

PSYC 310 - Social Psychology

A comprehensive overview of the field of social psychology which examines the impact of other individuals, groups or social stimuli on individual thinking and behavior. The social influence process is studied through topics such as self-theory, attribution, social cognition, attitudes, aggression, pro-social behavior, attraction and groups. (See SOCY 310.) Prerequisite: PSYC 110 Read more »

SOCY 320 - Restorative Justice

Introduction to innovations and alternatives in the traditional criminal justice system with an emphasis on negotiation, mediation, and reparation in dispute resolution; emphasis on non- violence and peacemaking in the Franciscan tradition. Read more »

SOCY 340 - Social Science Research Methods

Principles of problem formulation, design, measurement, sampling, data collection and analysis; ethical considerations for research on human subjects. Students are given the opportunity to design or carry out a research project. Prerequisite: SOCY 124 or instructor's consent Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

Criminal justice majors also require three additional elective classes and two of the following courses:

Criminal Justice majors may have no more than one "D" grade in their major coursework.

Students must also sit for the "Criminal Justice Major Field Test" in their final spring semester of coursework

NOTE: PSYC 360 is interchangeable with PSYC 310