The crime and legal studies major offers students a unique, critically oriented, interdisciplinary program that has two complementary missions. First, this program provides a broad academic background for students to have maximum flexibility during their academic tenure and after they graduate, regardless of whether they intend to pursue a career in law enforcement, helping professions in the criminal justice system or attend law school or graduate school. Second, the program places an emphasis on the interrelation of ethics, social justice, race/ethnicity, socio-economic class and other cultural factors with the various components of the system including law enforcement, juvenile justice, court services and corrections. Ultimately, through a liberal arts and career-focused curriculum, students will have practical opportunities to prepare for a variety of careers in the field of criminal justice.
Students in the Crime and Legal Studies major will:
- Review the history of the American criminal justice system.
- Describe comparative criminal justice systems.
- Identify and apply legal concepts and terminology in substantive area of criminal law.
- Review procedural and evidentiary rules and to understand the relationship between procedural rules and substantive law.
- Identify and interpret constitutional constraints on law enforcement.
- Identify and assess the procedures in the major areas of the criminal justice system, including policing, courts, corrections and juvenile justice system.
- Critically analyze scholarly research, government crime statistics and public policy.
- Evaluate qualitative and quantitative data for its accuracy and its impact on public policy.
- Identify problems facing criminal justice organizations through the integration of criminological and social theory with research and evidence-based analysis to assess how data and other types of information can be translated into effective and ethical policies and programs.
- Propose possible solutions to the contemporary problems facing criminal justice organizations.
- Engage in critical and creative thinking using evidence-based analysis to address problems.
- Identify vulnerable populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, juveniles and gender and sexual minorities, in the criminal systems and identify the roles criminal and legal personnel can play to assist these people in the legal system.