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Criminology and Criminal Justice Degrees

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice prepares graduates for some of today's most fascinating and rewarding careers, professions that serve the community and the society-at-large in law enforcement, the courts and corrections. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the nature of crime and of the criminal justice system through an interdisciplinary course of study and hands-on learning opportunities, such as participating in internships, conducting mock trials, observing actual trials and traveling abroad to see first-hand how other systems operate.


Bachelor of Science in Criminology - Prepares students for graduate school or an entry-level position in the criminal justice field. A law and justice minor is jointly administered by the government and criminology departments and offers a diverse course selection in business, criminal, constitutional, comparative and international law.  The major is interdisciplinary in that faculty have been trained in numerous fields and are thus able to offer students a diversity of courses.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science - Provides a solid foundation in basic science and the criminal justice system. Students learn to use the principles of chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics with social science theory and law to help solve crimes. Graduates typically are employed in local, state, and federal crime laboratories or law enforcement agencies, such as the FDA, EPA, and OSHA. Forensic chemistry is an option for pre-professional majors and for those interested in pursuing master's or doctoral degrees. Students successfully completing the program will also be awarded a minor in criminal investigation.

Criminal Investigation Minor - The criminal investigation minor is designed to provide students with substantive courses of study related to the investigation of criminal activity. The program incorporates the study of criminological theory with scientific methods and behavioral concepts necessary for the successful apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders. Students develop critical thinking skills and analytical abilities that will be invaluable for those pursuing law or graduate school, as well as those seeking careers as forensic scientists or criminal investigators. 

Criminology and Criminal Justice Minor - The law and justice minor is administered jointly by the Department of Political Science and International Studies and the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and provides students with the unique opportunity to complete a substantive study of law at the undergraduate level. This interdisciplinary program offers the best of a theory-based yet practical education. Students are provided with a substantive exposure to the content of the law while being encouraged to develop critical thinking skills.


M.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice
Students gain the theoretical groundwork along with the research and statistical skills needed to design and evaluate effective public safety policy and practice. Courses also cover the structure of the criminal justice system and the nature of successful crime prevention programs.


Pre-Law Professional Program - The University has not established a specialized pre-law major, but encourages prospective law students to pursue a course of study that includes a wide variety of liberal arts classes. Students should also consider a major in criminology, history, or government and world affairs, or a minor in law and justice. The B.A. in Political Science also offers a concentration in law and government.

Experiential Learning

The department has a long tradition of experiential learning. Examples include the course Trial Advocacy (mock trial), requiring students to prepare and argue a case for trial, and Appellate Advocacy (moot court), a simulated court hearing in which students attempt to persuade a panel of judges that a trial reached a "correct" or "incorrect" decision.

In Introduction to Victimology, students develop and deliver a creative presentation on date rape, child abuse, dating violence or bullying to children held in the Hillsborough County Juvenile Detention Center. Students can also conduct research with faculty, which may lead to conference presentations and journal articles.

Students also have opportunities for comparative summer studies in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Scotland. These trips allow students to compare the enforcement of laws and the functioning of the criminal justice systems not just in a textbook, but in the countries themselves.


Additionally, criminology students can begin a criminal justice career before graduation through internships in all areas – police work, the courts, customs, corrections, juvenile facilities, enforcement, investigation, safety and security, public defender’s office, and various other offices and departments – and on all levels of government. Majors can also take part in an FBI mentoring program.


Criminology and criminal justice graduates have been accepted to the best graduate and law schools in the country. Other students who choose to enter the work force have found employment in a variety of criminal justice agencies, such as U.S. Customs, Associated Marine Institutes (alternative juvenile facility), Capital Collateral (Florida’s Death Penalty Appellate Agency), Bay Area Youth Services, police departments and prisons throughout the nation.