Mercyhurst University’s Associate of Science in 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, and to examine the effectiveness of correctional systems. Thus, our program encompasses all aspects of the criminal justice system. Our curriculum prepares students for entry-level positions in public and private sectors, in safety and protective services, in legal and victim service arenas, and in correctional facilities and re-entry agencies. 

Fast Facts

  • Students who are interested in policing can apply to Mercyhurst University’s police academy after completing their associate's degree.
  • Students who continue toward their bachelor’s degree at MU can transfer their associate degree credits and complete a bachelor's in two years! 
  • Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in local and state police agencies, juvenile justice agencies, victim services, corrections, and other social service agencies.    
  • We offer students a solid curriculum in law enforcement, courts, corrections, victim services, and juvenile justice. Courses include: Criminal Investigation, Criminology, Introduction to Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, and Introduction to Corrections.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical context of the criminal justice system and profession. 
  • Demonstrate synthesis, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. 
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of legal aspects of criminal justice operations. 
  • Synthesize and apply basic knowledge of sociological issues affecting criminal 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of methodological concepts for conducting and analyzing research. 
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge of professional skills for criminal justice.

Departmental Goals

  • Students will gain an understanding of the history and current state of affairs in criminology and criminal justice. 
  • Students will be able to critically analyze methodologies and theories based in their discipline. 
  • Students will gain proficiency in oral, written, and electronic communication skills. 
  • Students will make an active commitment to justice, prudence, civility, and appreciation for diversity. 

Mission and Vision

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is dedicated to developing critical thinking, diversity appreciation, civic responsibility, leadership and social justice in our students. We prepare students for careers in the helping professions, for leadership in criminal justice and community affairs, and for the pursuit of advanced degrees. Engaging students in sustained and civil conversations about the relationship between individual and community well-being is both an objective and a means for realizing other objectives. The vision of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is to provide associate degree 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. 

Program Requirements

A minimum of 60 credits is required for the completion of this associate degree program. Students must earn an overall 2.0 GPA along with a minimum grade of a 2.0 in all required courses.

Contact Us

EmmaLeigh Kirchner, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Office: Preston 115
Phone: 814-824-2328

Aaron Jackson
Graduate and Professional Enrollment Coordinator
Phone: 814-824-2274

Meet the Faculty

Criminology and Criminal Justice
John Olszowka, Ph.D.
Dean, Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences, Associate Vice President, Graduate Programming and Strategic Academic Initiatives
Maria Garase, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences, Program Director, Criminal Justice Administration, Associate Professor
EmmaLeigh Kirchner, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Associate Professor