The criminal justice program at Mercyhurst opens the door for students to learn about the operation of the criminal justice system, from the necessary historical background to the legal and sociological perspectives.
Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty members have diverse backgrounds in criminology, juvenile justice, constitutional law, ethics and immigration policy. Several faculty members have published books and journal articles, consulted for criminal justice agencies and presented their research at local, regional, national and international conferences.
Here at Mercyhurst, not only are students known by name, professors also know our students' individual interests and strengths. Faculty provide personal advising and mentoring by assisting students with scheduling, internships and their career paths.
Criminal justice majors have completed internships to complement their classroom learning at places like police and sheriff's departments, juvenile and adult probation offices, prisons and jails, law offices, district attorney and public defender’s offices and county judges.
Want to get more involved outside the classroom? Check out the Criminal Justice Association, Mock Trial Team, or Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. These extracurricular experiences give you the opportunity to build friendships with other criminal justice students as you gain even more experience in the field through field trips, scenario-based shooting practice, service activities, national tournaments and conferences and more.
Hear from Olympic Gold Medalist and Criminal Justice alumni, Meghan Agosta, on her experience at Mercyhurst.
“Initially I fell in love with the campus and then was able to meet our incredible professors and students through open houses. The small class size and interactive professors make learning and being a good student easy! I was never one to participate actively in class until I experienced the comfort of Mercyhurst classrooms. Our professors make you want to participate and practice what you feel passionate about as a Criminal Justice major!”
“I chose to attend Mercyhurst because of the amazing opportunity to be allowed to graduate with my masters in five years along with my bachelor’s degree. The 4+1 program was what truly made this school stand above all other schools I had gotten accepted into”.
Wheatley Heights N.Y
Director, School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University
(pictured on right)
Recipient of the National Technical Investigators’ Association (NATIA) Captain James J. Regan Memorial Scholarship.
Students are invited to attend this free, one day conference. Some of the recent conference themes were:
2012—IMPACT: Domestic Violence – The toll it takes on our community and what we can do about it
2010—Minor Problems Major Impact: Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Justice System
2008—Systems Gone Awry: When Criminal Justice Meets Mental Health
2007—Cyber Crimes in Cyber Times
APS is an honorary and professional organization. Membership in APS showcases students’ achievements as well as provides opportunities to participate in social and community activities. APS holds a national conference in conjunction with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences meeting (every March). This is an excellent opportunity to meet with other members of APS and also network with professionals in the criminal justice field.
The Mercyhurst University Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma is the Upsilon Chapter, which was chartered in October 1981. The Chapter has received 3 national awards for most outstanding Chapter. Criminal Justice honor society students have been active participants in community projects, campus presentations, and national meetings of Alpha Phi Sigma.
Recent APS activities include:
Requirements for Membership: (Undergraduate students)
If interested, please stop by Dr. Garase’s office (120 Preston) with your
-Program Evaluation from WebAdvisor
-Money Order for $50.00 (Let’s make sure you are eligible prior to getting the money order)
APS Contact: Dr. Maria Garase
Phone: (814) 824-3675
The purposes of the Criminal Justice Association is to recognize and promote learning within field experiences; to assist students in preparing for a career in the criminal justice field; and to recognize and appreciate the necessity of education along with practical experience and training in becoming professional criminal justice practitioners. Members of the CJ Association bring speakers on campus, got to Shoot, Don’t Shoot activities, go to the firearm safety courses, and coordinate student field trips.
Examples of some of their activities include:
Mock Trial Team
The Mercyhurst University Mock Trial Team is an interdisciplinary student team that prepares students for many different career paths by providing experiences in public speaking, debate, court room mannerisms and much more. Students especially interested in future positions such as lawyers, investigators, policemen, and/or psychiatrists would benefit from participating in the mock trial competitions. The techniques learned from Mock Trial will produce prepared students for a profession in any field that requires court appearances. Students will be able to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to actual legal cases in a collegial, yet, competitive environment.
We are a member of the national American Mock Trial Association (AMTA). Every year there is a National Competition that brings over 300 schools together by trying a case chosen by the organization. These competitions raise the bar for all Universities when such prestigious schools are working hard for success in the competition and the future.
Students also were accepted into regional and national law schools, a sampling of these include the following.
A degree from Mercyhurst prepares you for this exciting and dynamic career.
|Major(s)||Criminal Justice Major|
|Psychology of Crime and Justice Minor|
|Juvenile Justice Concentration|
|Law Enforcement Concentration|
|4+1 Program||BA in Criminal Justice and MS in Administration of Justice|
Ready to begin your journey in criminal justice? Apply online today -- it's free and getting your application started takes only a few brief minutes. Interested students may also consult the course catalog for more information. As a liberal arts institution, all undergraduate students complete Mercyhurst's core curriculum.
The mission of the Criminal Justice Department is to provide students with a liberal arts background that will enable them to live rich and fulfilling lives, with the capability of personal responsibility, professional development, and civic responsibility.
CJ faculty and the Career Development Center highly encourage students to complete an internship within their concentration to complement their classroom learning. Mercyhurst University has many partnerships with police and sheriff’s departments, juvenile and adult probation offices, prisons and jails, community corrections agencies, law offices, county judges, district attorney’s and public defender’s offices. We place students in federal, state, and local agencies. We add new placements every year!
Although students can be placed anywhere in the country for their internship, a number of students complete their internships in Erie County. There are many criminal justice and social service agencies close to campus. For example, the Erie County Courthouse, which houses many criminal justice agencies, is within a 10 minute drive of campus (it is also on the bus route from campus). Students have the option to do their placements during the school year or during the summer.
Below is a sampling of our criminal justice internship placements:
This is not an exhaustive listing as we add new placements every year.
EmmaLeigh Kirchner, ABDInstructor Office: Preston 115 Phone: (814) 824-2328
Frank HaganPh.D. Professor of Criminal Justice Office: Preston 126 Phone: (814) 824-2265
Maria L GarasePh.D. Department Chair, Associate Professor Office: Preston 120 Phone: (814) 824-3675
Pete Benekos, Ph.D.Professor Emeritus