Department of Psychology and Sociology

The Major in Criminal Justice

GavelAre you interested in learning about the American criminal justice system? Are you interested in how the legislature, law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems work together to preserve justice in America?

A major in criminal justice at Benedictine University can prepare you to work in any branch of the criminal justice system that interests you. Criminal justice students learn about the field of criminology as a foundation for their study of police systems, civil and criminal courts, and correctional systems. Students acquire both research and practical skills from instructors with extensive real world experience, including police chiefs, internal affairs officers, probation officers, attorneys, and professors. At the same time, criminal justice majors benefit from the University's proximity to downtown Chicago, a city known internationally for its history of crime syndicates and political corruption, as well as notorious criminal figures like Al Capone and Bugs Moran.

Students pursuing a degree in criminal justice have the opportunity to join honor societies such as Pi Gamma Mu, the international social science honor society, and Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society. The Sociology/Psychology/Criminal Justice Club gives students the opportunity to interact with peers while working in the community.

Graduates of the Criminal Justice program have been successful in gaining admission to law school, pursuing careers in local, federal, and state law enforcement, and finding employment in probation and parole. Our faculty are devoted to working with each student in guiding them through their academic career and toward a successful professional career.

Major Requirements

Criminal Justice majors learn the principles of criminal justice, statistics, research methods, as well as how to do a senior thesis in the program’s capstone course. Students also work with advisors to choose advanced criminal justice courses according to individual interests and select coursework that provides a breadth of knowledge about other important social science disciplines (sociology, psychology, economics, and political science/anthropology).

Majors must complete a minimum of 43 semester hours in the major with a grade of "C" or better in each course. Students must take the following:

  • Police carPLSC 103: Introduction to the American Political System
  • PLSC 201: State and Local Government
  • CJUS 150: Introduction to Statistics
  • CJUS 206: Juvenile Justice
  • CJUS 251: Statistics II
  • CJUS 351: Research Methods in the Social Sciences
  • CJUS 390: Criminal Justice Field Placement
  • CJUS 395: Senior Thesis
  • SOCL 356: Clinical Practicum/Lab
  • one of the following: PLSC 205, PLSC 230, CJUS 322, or PLSC 237
  • one of the following: PLSC 215 [must contain emphasis on international crime, and may require additional assignment to receive credit in the Criminal Justice major], PLSC 218, or PLSC 251 [must contain emphasis in policy relating to crime and crime reduction]
  • three of the following: CJUS 206, CJUS 233, CJUS 240, CJUS 243, CJUS 294, CJUS 306, CJUS 324, CJUS 326, CJUS 330, CJUS 331, CJUS 372, SOCL 205, SOCL 270, or SOCL 321.

Criminal Justice majors must also complete MATH 105, MATH 108, or MATH 110 with a grade of “C” or better (3); fulfill the social science requirements of the core by taking SOCL 100 (3), ECON 100 (3), and ANTH 200 (3); and take an Ethics course to meet the Philosophy core elective requirement.