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The Criminal Justice program at Penn State Berks offers broad-based education in the liberal arts tradition. In addition to breadth and depth of knowledge about criminal justice, the program cultivates skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, issue analysis and problem solving. Students who graduate from this program should be adaptable and flexible, participate in the civic and intellectual life of the community, appreciate cultural diversity and practice ethical behavior. 

Recommended Academic Plan

Undergraduate Bulletin (BS)

Undergraduate Bulletin (BA)

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Degree Overview

A degree in Criminal Justice at Penn State Berks provides strong preparation for a growing market in corrections, parole and probation, law enforcement, and courts. Writing, speaking, research, and computer skills are also emphasized in each of the degree programs. The skills, combined with knowledge about sources of crime, the justice system, and criminal justice policy, provide a strong foundation for students interested in a criminal justice career.

Junior level courses in this major will be offered beginning in Fall 2015.

The criminal justice program at Penn State Berks offers broad-based education in the liberal arts tradition. In addition to the breadth and depth of knowledge about criminal justice, the program cultivates skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, issue analysis, and problem solving. Graduates of this program should be adaptable and flexible participants in the civic and intellectual life of their communities, appreciate cultural diversity, and practice ethical behavior. To learn more about the degree options, download the Criminal Justice Handbook.

Why Major in Criminal Justice? 

Nationwide, criminal justice is a labor intensive, growth industry; careers in criminal justice, especially corrections, continue to show strong growth. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2012-2022 Editions, employment of police and detectives is expected to grow 5 percent over the 2012-2022 decade; employment of correctional officers is expected to grow 5 percent between 2012 and 2022; and employment of lawyers is expected to grow 10 percent during the 2012-2022 decade. 

What Do Criminal Justice Majors Do? 

A degree in criminal justice is solid preparation for many careers. While many criminal justice majors indicate a preference for law enforcement, others find careers in prisons, community corrections, or court administration. Government positions in criminal justice are available at the local, county, state and federal levels, and private security is a growing and important source of jobs for criminal justice students. These opportunities include (1) protective services such as the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshal’s Office, police departments, security and loss prevention, law and corrections including court administration, legal aid/paralegal, delinquency prevention programs, juvenile court personnel, jails, prisons, and probation and parole offices; and crime related prevention and support such as shelters for victims of abuse, drug and alcohol problems, halfway houses, etc. 

The criminal justice major at Penn State Berks focuses on one of the most important public policy areas in our country today, and is good preparation for graduate study in law, criminology, and other fields. Also, like students in other majors, criminal justice students often find employment and build careers in fields not directly related to their major, such as insurance, journalism, human services, and the military. It is an excellent major both for a career and for life. 

Request Information

For more information, please e-mail Dr. Brenda Russell (BLR15@psu.edu), Program Coordinator, or call 610-396-6014. You can also fill out the Request for Information form online.