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Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Studies

From day one you’ll be provided with a strong and rigorous foundation, preparing you with the knowledge, skills and expertise in criminal justice. If you are interested in studying how crime and justice are linked to power, ideology, social control and social change, our integrated approach will help prepare you for a career in criminal justice, law school or graduate work in criminology or related fields. In fact, 85% of criminal justice graduates are employed full or part time – or continuing their education within three months of graduation.

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    Flexible program

    Both in-person and online options available

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    Important dates

    Application deadlines for 2021

    Get prepared

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    Nationally ranked program

    that incorporates broader sociological frames and theories

Program overview

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.

After graduating, you will be able to:

  • Establish sustainable and just solutions to social, political and economic inequalities
  • Explore crime as a social problem and society’s reaction to it
  • Understand the impact of justice and injustice on individuals, communities, institutions and nations
  • Demonstrate how crime and justice are linked to power, ideology, social control and social change in our contemporary society

Through our program, you will have opportunities to engage in undergraduate research and work with professionals in your field of interest. Faculty support, along with academic and career advising, will help you make smart choices for your future.

Fast facts

Formats: in-person or online

Credits required: 37 (of 120 university credits)

Minimum overall GPA: 2.5

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 U.S.

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.

Career services

Career and student employment services is there to help you in your career planning. Dedicated career advisors will assist you with exploring career options, job and internship searches, interviewing, negotiating and more. Explore the many resources—both virtual and in person—available to you.

Recommended minors 

WMU offers a variety of minors to fit your needs:

NOTE: Not all minors listed are available online. Please check with your advisor for the most up-to-date programming.

Learn more about the program

Video of Criminal Justice Studies: New Online Program

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  • Success for a lifetime No matter your goals, our innovative educational approach – delivered by distinguished faculty in dynamic formats – gives you the foundation you need to succeed.

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Whether you're interested in enrolling in one of our undergraduate programs, pursuing a graduate degree or just curious about Western Michigan University, we’d love to hear from you.