Criminal Justice, B.S. (Altoona)

Program Code: CJBS_BS

Program Description

Students receiving a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice should understand each of the three main components of the criminal justice system and their interrelationships, be able to evaluate critically both current and future crime control policy proposals and criminal justice research, and understand the complexity of the crime phenomenon and its relationship to individual, social, and cultural factors. This major includes study in law enforcement, courts and corrections individually and as components of a system, plus work in theories of crime causation, and crime control policy. Students should expect reading, writing, and critical thinking skills to be rigorously applied and developed throughout the degree program. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice provides a broadly based liberal arts background for the study of crime, justice and the criminal justice system. The Bachelor of Science degree offers an opportunity for educational enrichment in fields not traditionally considered part of the liberal arts. Either degree is excellent preparation for a career in criminal justice, graduate, or professional study, or informed citizenship.

What is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice is the study of the adult and juvenile justice systems, including law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. It is interdisciplinary and includes understanding the intersections of law, public policy, and behavioral science, in an effort to understand crime as a social problem and improve these systems for the good of society.

You Might Like This Program If...

You have an interest in working in corrections, courts, court administration, law enforcement, and probation and parole. Students completing this course of study are prepared to enter law school and graduate degree programs in more specialized areas. Every student in this degree will participate in an internship at a host agency located in a local, state or federal agency of their choice.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 18-22
Requirements for the Major 60-61

4-7 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 0-3 credits of GH courses; 4 credits of GQ courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CRIMJ/CRIM 100Introduction to Criminal Justice Keystone/General Education Course3
CRIMJ 210Policing in America3
CRIMJ 220Courts and the Prosecution Process3
CRIMJ 230Corrections in America3
CRIMJ 290Introduction to Internship Experience2
CRIMJ/CRIM 441The Juvenile Justice System3
CRIMJ 450WSenior Seminar3
CRIMJ 495Internship in Criminal Justice3
SOC/CRIMJ/CRIM 12Criminology Keystone/General Education Course3
SOC 119NRace, Ethnicity and Culture Keystone/General Education Course3-4
STAT 200Elementary Statistics Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CRIMJ 250WResearch Methods in Criminal Justice3
or SOC 207 Research Methods in Sociology
PHIL 103Ethics Keystone/General Education Course3
or CRIMJ 465 Ethics in Criminal Justice
Select 9 credits from any 400-level CRIMJ course that does not already fulfill another requirement in the major9
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits, in consultation with the adviser, in one or two of the following skill enhancement areas: accounting, computers, composition and rhetoric, counseling, education, law and legal studies, foreign language, management, public speaking, research methods and statistics, science and engineering, biobehavioral health; or in the following topics: adolescence, deviant behavior, drugs, minorities12

Program Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge Base in Criminal Justice: Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the major components of the criminal justice system and juvenile justice system as well as how these components interact. Student understanding of the criminal justice process will be enhanced through targeted courses in courts, corrections, and policing that highlight the unique needs, challenges, and operation of these components. Across the curriculum, students will be exposed to criminological theories that help to explain the role of gender, race/ ethnicity, and other background characteristics on offending, victimization, and criminal justice processing.  
    • Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in criminal justice
    • Develop a working knowledge of criminal justice content domains
    • Describe applications of criminological theory
  • Research Methods: Students will understand the importance and practical use of social science research methods and the role these play in criminal justice policy.
    • Use scientific reasoning to interpret criminal justice policy
    • Demonstrate criminal justice information literacy
    • Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving
    • Interpret, design, and conduct basic criminological research
  • Professional Writing and Critical Thinking: Students will practice writing and critical thinking skills through writing assignments across the curriculum and the completion of at least one writing intensive course.
    • Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes
    • Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes
    • Interact effectively with others
    • Demonstrate critical thinking skills concerning issues in criminal justice
  • Ethics: Students will understand the role of ethics in criminal justice.
    • Apply ethical standards to evaluate criminal justice research and policy
    • Build and enhance interpersonal relationships
    • Adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels
  • Placement: Students will be prepared for placement in the criminal justice field through an internship experience.
    • Apply criminal justice content and skills to career goals
    • Exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation
    • Refine project and time-management skills
    • Enhance teamwork capacity
    • Develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

Altoona

Mary Ann Probst, Esq.
Program Coordinator/Assistant Teaching Professor
Cypress Building 103
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601
814-949-5352
map141@psu.edu

Abington

Lisa Morris
Program Chair
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001
215-881-7397
lxv2@psu.edu

Beaver

Mari Pierce, Ph.D.
Professor in Charge & Associate Professor, Criminal Justice
100 University Drive
213 Ross Administration Building
724-773-3549
mpb16@psu.edu

Berks

Jennifer Murphy
Program Coordinator, Associate Professor
Franco,F138
Reading, PA 19610
610-396-6050
jxm1192@psu.edu

DuBois

David Bish
Assistant Teaching Professor and Program Coordinator
1 College Place
DuBois, PA 15801
814-372-3014
drb218@psu.edu

Fayette

LaVarr W. McBride
Assistant Teaching Professor
Department of Administration of Justice
2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
724-430-4240
lwm13@psu.edu

Greater Allegheny

Katherine McLean
Associate Professor, Criminal Justice
109C Main Building
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132
kjm47@psu.edu

Sandra Trappen
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice
104B Main Building
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132
slt62@psu.edu

Jennifer Croyle
Assistant Teaching Professor, Pyschology
104D Main Building
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132
jmc948@psu.edu
(Internship Advising Only)

Hazleton

Pamela Black
Associate Professor of Administration of Justice
Memorial 105
Hazleton, PA 18202
570-450-3548
pup1@psu.edu

New Kensington

Richard Wentling
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice
3550 7th Street Road
New Kensington, PA 15068
724-334-6761
rwentling@psu.edu

Schuylkill

Ron Kelly
Criminal Justice Program Coordinator
200 University Drive
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972
570-385-6075
rap179@psu.edu

Shenango

Travis Milburn
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice
147 Shenango Avenue
Sharon, PA 16146
724-983-2954
twm5527@psu.edu

Wilkes-Barre

Jeremy Olson
Interim Program Coordinator, Administration of Justice
44 University Drive
Dallas, PA 18612
570-675-9255
jjo5358@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Criminal Justice, B.S. at Altoona Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CRIMJ 100*3CRIMJ 220*3
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153PHIL 1033
PSU 31STAT 200*‡†4
Elective3CAS 1003
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education (GQ)3 
General Education Course (GHW)1.5 
 17.5 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CRIMJ 210*3SOC 123
CRIMJ 230*3SOC 119N4
Elective3ENGL 202A or 202D3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 16.5 17.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CRIMJ 441*3CRIMJ 290*1
Elective (skills enhancement)*3CRIMJ 465*3
Elective3400 Level CRIMJ Selection*3
Elective3SOC 207*3
Elective 3Elective (skills enhancement)*3
 Elective3
 15 16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CRIMJ 495*3-10CRIMJ 450W*†3
400 Level CRIMJ Selection*3400 Level CRIMJ Selection*3
Elective (skills enhancement)3Elective (skills enhancement)*3
Elective3-10Elective3
 Elective (if needed to reach 124)3
 12-26 15
Total Credits 125.5-139.5

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Career Paths

Graduates of the Criminal Justice program are prepared to enter the workforce or can continue their graduate education in Master’s and PhD programs, as well as law school. Penn State Altoona Career Services supports and serves students in all areas related to career development and preparation including: Major and Career Exploration Career Decision-Making Preparation of Employment Documents Internship and Job Search Strategies Interview Preparation Preparing for Graduate School Developing your Professional Online Brand Presentations and Workshops.

Contact

Altoona

DIVISION OF EDUCATION, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Elm Building 103
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601
814-949-5756
alg177@psu.edu

http://altoona.psu.edu/academics/bachelors-degrees/criminal-justice

Abington

DIVISION OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001
215-881-7397
lxv2@psu.edu

http://abington.psu.edu/criminal-justice

Beaver

100 University Drive
213 Ross Administration Building
Monaca, PA 15061
724-773-3549
mbp16@psu.edu

https://beaver.psu.edu/academics/degrees/crimj

Berks

DIVISION OF HUMANITIES, ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Franco Building
Reading, PA 19610
610-396-6050
jxm1192@psu.edu

http://berks.psu.edu/babs-criminal-justice

DuBois

1 College Place
DuBois, PA 15801
814-372-3014
drb218@psu.edu

Fayette

2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456
724-430-4240
lwm13@psu.edu

Greater Allegheny

109C Main Building
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132
kjm47@psu.edu

Hazleton

Memorial 105
Hazleton, PA 18202
570-450-3548
pup1@psu.edu

New Kensington

3550 7th Street Road
New Kensington, PA 15068
724-334-6761
rwentling@psu.edu

Schuylkill

200 University Drive
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972
570-385-6075
rap179@psu.edu

https://schuylkill.psu.edu/academics/degrees/bacc-degrees/criminal-justice

Shenango

CRIMINAL JUSTICE
147 Shenango Avenue
Sharon, PA 16146
724-983-2954
twm5527@psu.edu

https://shenango.psu.edu/academics/majors-shenango/criminal-justice

Wilkes-Barre

44 University Drive
Dallas, PA 18612
570-675-9255
jjo5358@psu.edu

https://wilkesbarre.psu.edu/academics/criminal-justice