Mercyhurst University’s Criminal Justice program affords students the ability to take a broad spectrum of courses that are designed to provide a basic understanding of the criminal justice system, to theorize why people commit crime, to review judicial processes and constitutional safeguards, to examine the effectiveness of correctional systems, and to evaluate criminal justice policies. Thus, our program encompasses all aspects of the criminal justice system. Majors are also required to choose a concentration (listed below) for more focused study within the field. Our curriculum prepares students for careers in public and private sectors, in safety and protective services, in legal and victim service arenas, and in correctional facilities and reentry agencies.

​​​​​​​Our award-winning and nationally recognized faculty members personally advise our students with their schedules and with their career paths. Our student-centered approach allows us to assist students with deciding upon minor options, obtaining internships, participating in study abroad opportunities, and networking in the field of their concentration—this hands-on learning in real world settings complements their classroom instruction! 

Fast Facts

  • Since 2002, our graduating seniors have consistently scored higher than the national average on the  Major Field Test in Criminal Justice in the areas of Law Enforcement, Law, Court System, Corrections, Theories of Behavior, Research Methodology and Statistics, and Critical Thinking.   
  • We offer criminal justice-focused study abroad opportunities through which students can visit other countries to learn about and compare systems of justice.
  • Our department won the 2017 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, National Program of the Year Award for its activities during March’s National Criminal Justice Month.
  • We have a 4+1 program with our Criminal Justice Administration online graduate program, which allows students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s in as little as five years.
  • Students can also take advantage of a 3+3 program partnership with Duquesne University School of Law and Cleveland Marshall School of Law.

The Corrections minor is intended for non-criminal justice majors who are interested in careers in probation, parole, correctional institutions, and affiliated forms of work. This minor highlights probation-related services including investigation of case histories, assessment of treatment needs, advisement to the court, and the operation of diverse types of correctional and community-based programs.

Correctional work is one of the largest professional employment fields in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010-2020 probation officers, correctional treatment specialists are projected to grow 18%, which is faster than the national average. For the same time period, correctional officers are projected to grow 14%, which is also faster than the national average.

Corrections Minor (24 credits) 

  • CRJS 101 Justice in America (3 credits)
  • CRJS 104 Introduction to Corrections (3 credits)
  • CRJS 222 Human Behavior in Corrections (3 credits)
  • CRJS 230 Criminology (3 credits)
  • CRJS 310 Constitutional Law in Crim Pro (3 credits)
  • CRJS 328 Corrections Administration (3 credits)
  • CRJS 344 Corrections Counseling (3 credits)
  • CRJS ___ Internship or CJ substitute (3 credits)

The Juvenile Justice minor provides non-criminal justice majors with foundational knowledge about the juvenile justice system, juvenile delinquency issues, and rehabilitation and treatment approaches.  Students will learn about adolescent development, delinquency, social histories and assessments, detention and adjudication hearings, and treatment options. 

The juvenile justice minor combines scholarship with practical skills and experience.  A career in juvenile justice combines elements of traditional criminal justice with a strong commitment to youth and to rehabilitation. The number of professional positions in juvenile justice continues to grow as communities try new and innovative ways to deal with delinquency, its precursors, and its consequences. Students emerge from the minor very well prepared for a career as a juvenile justice professional.

Juvenile Justice Minor (24 credits)

  • CRJS 101 Justice in America (3 credits)
  • CRJS 205 Intro to Juv Justice/Del  (3 credits)
  • CRJS 230 Criminology (3 credits)
  • CRJS 280 The Juvenile Justice System (3 credits)
  • CRJS 285 Approaches to Juv Del  (3 credits)
  • CRJS 310 Constitutional Law in Crim Pro (3 credits)
  • CRJS 317 Prof Practice in Juv Justice (3 credits)
  • CRJS ___  Internship or CJ substitute  (3 credits)

The departments of Psychology and Criminal Justice have developed a sequence of study to provide students with an interdisciplinary focus in the psychology of crime and justice. The minor is designed to complement undergraduate degrees in psychology, criminal justice, and other social and behavioral sciences. This unique course of study gives students a competitive advantage and broadens their knowledge and skills in the intersection of psychology and criminal justice.  In addition to the course requirements for a Criminal Justice degree, Criminal Justice majors who seek to qualify for the Interdisciplinary Minor in the Psychology of Crime and Justice must complete these additional courses and maintain a 2.5 GPA:

Four required classes (12 credits)*

  • Intro to Psychology (PSYC 100)
  • Justice in America (CRJS 101)
  • Psychology and the Law (CRJS 245/PSYC 240)
  • Criminology (CRJS/SOC 230)

Three electives from the following list (9 credits)*

  • Antecedents of Aggression (CRJS/PSYC 350)
  • Personality Psychology (PSYC 201)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 211)
  • Drugs and Human Behavior (PSYC 253)
  • Drugs, Crime, and Criminal Justice (CRJS 220)
  • Social Psychology (PSYC 231)
  • Introduction to Corrections (CRJS 104)
  • Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure (CRJS 310)
  • Victimology (CRJS 240)
  • Race, Crime, and Justice (CRJS 338)

*If you are a Criminal Justice or Psychology major and your required major courses are listed above, you will need to select courses from this listing from the other discipline to reach your 21 credits and at least four unique courses. Please work closely with your advisor to monitor your progress toward the minor. 

Students must have completed 5 undergraduate major courses with a minimum of a 3.2 GPA in the major courses and 3.0 GPA overall to apply for the program.  They must apply to the 4+1 program by March 1 of sophomore year. 

  • If accepted, students will be enrolled as a Graduate Non-Degree student and will begin fall semester of junior year taking one CJA graduate course per semester. Students will have two transcripts:  undergraduate and graduate non-degree.
  • Students will need to maintain 3.0 GPA in the 4 designated graduate courses; only one C is permitted. Students will also need to maintain a 3.2 GPA in undergraduate major courses and a 3.0 GPA overall.
  • Students, in consultation with the CJA director, will select the graduate courses they will take as part of the 4+1 program. 
  • Students will still be required to meet the 121-undergraduate credit minimum to earn the BA Degree.  This provides students the opportunity to take additional criminal justice electives or apply coursework to a minor.
  • Students will register for a MINIMUM of 15 undergraduate credits each semester during their junior and senior year in addition to the graduate course registration.  This will insure that flat rate billing will stay in place and graduate courses will be included in the bill. Thus, students in this program are typically taking 18 credits their junior and senior years.  
  • By March 1 of the senior year, students will apply to the Graduate School for admission to the CJA graduate program.  If admitted, the 12 graduate non-degree credits will be applied as graduate credits toward the Master’s Degree.
  • At the end of the senior year, students will graduate with their undergraduate degree and will have earned 12 graduate non-degree credits.  In the fifth year, students will complete 18 graduate credits at the graduate tuition rate and graduate with the Master of Science in the Criminal Justice Administration.
  • Thesis is an option with the Master’s Degree and begins in the fifth year.  Graduate Internships are also an option.

Click here for more information on the 4+1 program.  

Duquesne University School of Law/Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Students who participate in this program can obtain a Juris Doctorate and a Bachelor’s Degree in a total of 6 years. Students interested in this program must see their academic advisor as early as possible to ensure proper advising and planning for courses needed in the first three years of study. Students may apply for admission to the Duquesne University School of Law or the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law through a pre-arranged 3/3 Early Admissions Agreement between the two schools. Students will complete all required major courses by the end of their third year at Mercyhurst, and upon successful completion of their first year of law school, will obtain their Bachelor’s Degree.

With careful planning and proper advisement, students who are in their final year of their bachelor’s degree program may opt to apply for the Municipal Police Training Academy at Mercyhurst Northeast for Act 120 Certification.  Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree major and REACH requirements, students may enroll in the Police Academy and transfer the credits earned from the Academy back to the bachelor’s degree program as general elective credits for degree completion.  Students who are interested in this option should contact their faculty academic advisor early in the process to ensure all major and REACH course requirements would be met prior to entering the academy.  

The Police Academy is a full-time, 940 plus hour intensive course satisfies the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officer’s Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) minimum training requirements for Pennsylvania entry-level law enforcement officers.  The course typically meets Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m, is approximately five months in duration and is designed for aspiring peace officer recruits who can dedicate their full attention and efforts towards completing the program. The full-time intensive Academy requires a strong commitment by the recruits and their families. Upon completion the student can typically apply to police agencies. 

The Basic Police Academy course includes fundamental principles, procedures and techniques of law enforcement, including: Criminal Law, Patrol Procedures, Cultural Diversity, Investigative Procedures, Report Writing, Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Leadership, Ethics, Community Policing, Police Vehicle Operations, Traffic Enforcement, Accident Investigation, Handling Emotional Situations and First Aid/CPR.

The course also includes a challenging physical conditioning requirement that will prepare academy students for police service.

Contact Us

Maria Garase, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Criminal Justice
Office: Preston 120
Phone: 814-824-3675