Criminal Justice Studies

The goal of our program is to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for students interested in careers in criminal justice, such as law enforcement (local, state and federal agencies), probation or parole officer, or juvenile court counselor. Our program supports a number of related areas such as child welfare worker, victim advocate and family services counselor. In addition, you'll be well prepared to pursue professional or graduate work in law, criminology or other areas.

During your studies you will select a substantive study track in one of two areas: criminal justice or justice studies.

The criminal justice track focuses on criminal justice structures and processes. The program explores crime as a social problem and society’s reactions to it, the organization and operation of police, courts and punishment, as well as causes of crime and delinquency and other current issues.

The justice studies track focuses on sustainable and just solutions to social, political and economic problems. The program explores critical issues related to socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and gender justice, cultural identity, human rights, human relationships to the environment, deviant behavior and social control policies.

Beyond the classroom

As a criminal justice studies major at Western Michigan University, you will have plenty of opportunities to extend your classroom learning to real-world situations through investigation, discovery and experience. During your studies, you may engage in service learning or applied research courses that provide hands-on experience with community partners. You will also have the opportunity to participate in individual internships with approved agencies where you can gain critical knowledge and skills from working with professionals in the field. You will have the option of pursuing a law enforcement certification through our program’s affiliation with the Kalamazoo Law Enforcement Training Center.

Study abroad opportunities provide students with safe and affordable learning opportunities with global partners outside of the United States.

In addition to internships and volunteer work, you should consider joining the Criminal Justice Student Association. Members get involved on campus and in the Kalamazoo community in activities that develop skills in team building, leadership, conflict resolution, diversity and other areas critical to the profession. The group also hosts an annual career fair, which draws dozens of agencies and law schools from around the country, allowing you to learn more about career and job opportunities that interest you.

After you graduate

Recent WMU graduates with degrees in criminal justice studies are working as:

  • Law enforcement in local, state and federal agencies
  • Probation or parole officer
  • Juvenile court counselor
  • Child welfare worker
  • Victim advocate
  • Family service counselor

Among the organizations they work for are:

  • Government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Private corporations
  • Security firms

Career Outcomes

Where is this program offered?

  • Kalamazoo and online

Other programs of interest