The criminal justice major provides a broad understanding of criminal justice principles and issues in the framework of contemporary society.
In our program, we explore critical issues at the forefront of everyday activity in law enforcement, the courts, corrections and homeland security involving both professionals and perpetrators of crime and including special interest groups such as juveniles, women, minorities and non-citizens.
Students majoring in criminal justice will be prepared to work in entry-level positions in law enforcement, courts or corrections agencies at the local, state or federal levels or to continue their studies at the graduate level. The program is tailored to individual career interests so you are best informed about the career in justice that you plan to pursue.
You’ll enjoy a small faculty-to-student ratio with faculty who are experienced criminal justice professionals. Guest speakers provide personal insight into diverse career opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in criminal justice and protective services will grow as fast or faster than the average for all occupations in the years to come.
Criminal Justice Program at Shenandoah University
The criminal justice program at Shenandoah University provides students with perspectives on all aspects of the criminal justice system, with courses grounded not only in historical and philosophical understanding regarding rights, authority, policing and the court system, but also the practical application of concepts. Students, who get to know their professors in small classes, also have plenty of opportunities for experiential learning in the program, which addresses what many feel are some of the most pressing issues facing the contemporary United States.
Learn More About This Program
Criminal Justice Studies prepares you for a wide range of careers in public safety, security and social justice-related professions. In addition to law and legal studies, a number of public safety careers in local, state, national and private-sector organizations include law enforcement, forensics, information technology, counseling, administration, public information, crime prevention, research and community enrichment programs. Our program also provides a valuable foundation for work in journalism, intelligence collection, analysis, homeland security, criminal profiling, computer forensics, and private and fraud investigation.
Our studies prepare you to address various justice topics such as white-collar crime, terrorism and homeland security, juvenile justice, drug abuse and the criminal justice system, domestic violence, sexual predators, child victimization and organized crime. You will also be educated about the impact of gender, racial and economic disparities in the criminal justice system either working for a public service agency in law enforcement, courts or corrections or with private programs such as a women’s shelter or citizen watchdog group.
You’ll be eligible for employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, state and federal prisons, local correctional facilities, state and national parks, private security corporations and protective service, risk management/assessment companies, private investigative services, border patrols, U.S. Customs or child protective services.
You’ll gain information about basic criminal justice agencies, concepts of the legal system and study the American criminal justice system at the local, state and federal levels. In addition, you may study international criminal justice.
You will learn:
- how to analyze crime
- criminal theory
- about law enforcement, courts and corrections
- laws, research methods and issues in the administration of justice
- the history and operation of the core components of the criminal justice system
- characteristics and critical issues of contemporary and emerging criminal activity
- the nature, history and structure of law and the fundamentals of legal reasoning
- theoretical perspectives and research methods for the study of criminology
- preparation for advanced training in such fields as law, law enforcement, forensics, corrections and cyber security
Shenandoah University’s College of Arts & Sciences is your direct connection to a classic, broad-based education to satisfy both your intellectual curiosity and career goals. With a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, small classes and individualized learning opportunities, we put students at the center of all our decisions and events.
We blend the liberal arts with pre-professional courses and hands-on learning to prepare you for careers in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. You’ll learn through small, engaging classes and relationships with faculty mentors; hone your skills to solve problems; and learn to use creativity and critical thinking to make informed decisions.
Minor in This Program
The Criminal Justice minor provides you with an introductory understanding of criminal justice principles and issues in the framework of contemporary society. You’ll learn how to analyze crime as well as choose from a wide selection of elective courses to round out your knowledge. Topics include drugs and crime, terrorism, homicide, organized crime and white-collar crime. Our criminal justice elective courses vary from year to year. Past topics have included “Crime, Movies and Television,” “Crime Mapping,” “ Digital Crime” and “Crime in Virginia.”
Declaring A Minor
Shenandoah students work with their Academic Advisor to declare a minor. Academic Advisors will continue to work with students to ensure that they fulfill all of the requirements to complete the minor.
Incoming students should not indicate their intended minor on their Shenandoah application. Applications are for intended majors only.
There are a diverse range of criminal justice internship opportunities at Shenandoah. Past students have studied with federal law enforcement in the Federal Bureau of Investigation facility in Glencoe, Ga., as well as at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (including customs and border patrol and airport security).
Students have a variety of internships available to them, including work in various local law enforcement agencies, court systems, and correctional institutions.
SU Criminal Justice students have interned at these organizations in the past:
- Maryland State Police
- Virginia State Police
- Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (SO)
- Fairfax County Police
- Fairfax County SO
- Frederick County SO
- Winchester PD
- Fairfax (city) PD
- Ocean City PD
- Page County SO
- Fairfax County Courts
- Frederick County Courts (various Divisions)
- Court Services in Frederick, Fairfax, and Loudoun
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- Capitol Police
- Park Police
- The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETEC)
- Game Wardens in Shenandoah and Page Counties
- SWR Regional Jail
- NW Regional Corrections Center
- NW Juvenile Detention Center
- Loudoun County Jail
- NW mental Health
- Boys and Girls Clubs
- Timbrook House
The Career Services staff helps Shenandoah students search and apply for internships related to their major and career goals. Internships differentiate you as an applicant in your future job searches, provide hands on experience in your field, allow you to sample different career paths for your major, and help you find a specific position that fits your passion before graduation.
The unique quality of our program is its flexibility, which allows students to learn about career options, discover areas of interest, and customize their studies in to prepare themselves for specific careers, whether this involves further academic work or joining a profession.
State-level justice opportunities include working with state policing agencies in any of several states, working for state attorney generals and interning in state crime labs.
Local opportunities include working with municipal police, county sheriffs, prosecutors’ offices, juvenile and adult institutional corrections, community corrections (including probation and parole), fire marshals, game wardens and school security. Internships with private agencies are also possible, including those who facilitate background checks, computer security, casino security, etc.
SU Criminal Justice graduates are now employed as:
- FBI analysts
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents
- Border Patrol agents
- Game Wardens
- Maryland State Police Trooper
- Virginia State Police Trooper
- Fairfax, Loudoun, Frederick Sheriff’s, also some Maryland counties
- Various local police departments
- Local and state probation officers
- Local parole officer
- School security officers in several jurisdictions
- Campus police at several institutions
- Correctional officers in local regional and county jails in Virginia and Maryland
Erica Kondzielawa ’14 is an investigative specialist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where she assists in national security investigations and works alongside case agents to discreetly gather intelligence in support of ongoing counterintelligence, counterterrorism and criminal investigations. “I don’t think I could have made a better choice in deciding my undergraduate education.”
Phillip Morse, Jr. ’16 was able to live out his lifelong dream and is now a professional baseball player for the Washington Nationals. “Shenandoah changed my life and is, to this day, the best adult decision I’ve made in my life! I was able to attain a criminal justice degree and graduated on time in four years in 2016! Life after baseball is now a possibility thanks to Shenandoah University.”
The Career Services Office provides a comprehensive range of services and resources to assist Shenandoah students in their career search. Services offered include resume and cover letter building, mock interviews, and professional dining etiquette workshops.
Our students benefit from a diverse curriculum that provides in-depth knowledge about criminology (the study of crime) and the criminal justice system (especially law enforcement, the courts, corrections, and the correctional system). Students learn essential academic skills such as research methods, theoretical perspectives, and statistical analysis. Our courses also investigate critical and contemporary issues such as crime scene investigation, drugs and crime, white-collar crime, computer crime, global crime organizations, serial killers, women and crime, serial killers, and victimology.
Students learn how to research criminal justice issues and connect their research and studies with contemporary issues such as the use of deadly force by police, the impact of race on crime and justice, policy approaches to domestic violence, social and economic causes of crime, crime and the media, and the interaction between politics and public policy as it influences the operation of the criminal justice system.
The Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice requires 39 credit hours. This is obtained by taking 9 required courses and the student’s choice of 4 elective courses. Each course provides 3 credit hours.
The required courses are:
- CJ201 Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
- CJ220 Crime and its Analysis
- CJ305 Criminal Theory
- CJ321 Policing and Law Enforcement
- CJ322 Courts
- CJ323 Corrections
- CJ343 Law for the Criminal Justice Professional
CJ350 Criminological Research Methods
- CJ477 Issues in Administration of Justice
- CJ261 Juvenile Delinquency
- CJ295 Topics in Criminal Justice
- CJ335 Women and Crime
- CJ360 Criminal Procedure
- CJ370 Drugs and Crime
- CJ371 White-Collar Crime
- CJ372 Organized Crime
- CJ373 Terrorism
- CJ374 Homicide
- CJ390 History of Criminal Law
- CJ401 Internship
- CJ495 Topics in Criminal Justice*
- CJ499 General Independent Study
*Topics courses vary from year to year. Examples of past topics courses include “Crime, Movies and Television,” “Crime Mapping,” “Digital Crime,” and “Crime in Virginia.”
Learning support services are available to all students in every course at Shenandoah. Free peer tutoring with a student who has previously succeeded in the course is available for any course across the university. The Writing Center is available for every stage of the writing process from thesis development to proofreading and bibliography assistance. The Math Enrichment Center is available for math and science assistance. Professors and Academic Advisors across the university also have office hours and open door policies to ensure Shenandoah students succeed academically.
Imagine participating in interesting conversations led by engaging professors who’ve already done what you dream of doing. You’ll be in a small class — the average class size is approximately 12 students — with professors who know your name, care about your success and provide advice as you pursue your academic and career goals.
Beverly Brown Schulke
Associate Professor of Criminal JusticeFull Biography
Associate Professor of Criminal JusticeFull Biography
Assistant ProfessorFull Biography
Assistant Professor Criminal JusticeFull Biography
Shenandoah University works on rolling admissions and accepts applications throughout the year. Applications are reviewed individually and holistically.
Submit your application, review required admission materials, and find our admissions standards.
Make studying abroad the highlight of your college experience! Whether you go for a year, a semester, or just a few weeks. You will never forget learning in another culture! The Center for International Programs is here to help you plan your study abroad experience. Start your planning early to ensure the courses you complete abroad count toward your degree and you graduate on time.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer. If a course is not within your major, it might be used as an elective.
Shenandoah University is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities. This partnership allows students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the study abroad advisor, students can take classes taught in English abroad while receiving Shenandoah credit.
Shenandoah University also maintains direct partnerships with several universities around the world. These relationships allow students from SU to study abroad as exchange students and students from these universities to study at SU. All partner universities offer courses taught in English.