Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Criminal Justice and Criminology (CJCR)

Professor: Richmond (Chair)
Associate Professor: Yingling
Instructors: Robbins

  • Majors: Criminal Justice, Criminology
  • Courses required: 11
  • Math prerequisite (not counted in major) for Criminal Justice: a statistics course of at least 3 credits
  • Capstone requirement for Criminal Justice: CJCR 441
  • Capstone requirement for Criminology: CJCR 445
  • Minor: Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice and Criminology majors are interdisciplinary social science majors. Course work leading to the baccalaureate degree in criminal justice emphasizes critical and in-depth interdisciplinary analysis of the causes of crime, of formal and informal efforts at preventing and controlling crime, and of treatment of the field of criminal justice as an applied social science where students are taught to integrate theory construction with practical application. The Criminal Justice major offers opportunities for internship and practicum experiences in the field and prepares students for careers in law enforcement, court services, institutional and community-based corrections, treatment and counseling services, and for further education at the graduate level. The Criminal Justice major also prepares students for policy analysis and leadership roles in their communities. Course work leading to the baccalaureate degree in Criminology is designed to critically examine the etiology of crime and to provide strong theoretical and methodological foundations for graduate-level work. Students may not double major in criminal justice and criminology.

Criminal Justice

Major Requirements

The major in Criminal Justice consists of 11 courses, distributed as follows:

A. Required Core Courses (six courses):

    • CJCR 100     Introduction to Criminal Justice
    • CJCR 247     Victimology
    • CJCR 300     Criminology
    • CJCR 343     Research Methods in Criminal Justice
    • CJCR 441     Crime Prevention and Policy
    • PSY 110        Introduction to Psychology

B. Foundations of Justice (select one course):

    • CJCR 210     Introduction to Administration of Justice
    • CJCR 211     Ethics in Criminal Justice
    • PHIL 318     Philosophical Issues in Criminal Justice

C. Criminal Justice System Domains (select one course):

    • CJCR 201     Policing and Society
    • CJCR 203     Correctional Policy
    • CJCR 204     Youth, Deviance, and Social Control
    • CJCR 240     Community-Based Corrections
    • CJCR 243     Courts and Sentencing Policy

D. Crime, Delinquency, and Law Electives (select two courses; it is highly recommended that students take either PSCI 231 or SOC 305):

    • CJCR 212     Reentry and Desistance
    • CJCR 213     Justice in Popular Culture and Media
    • CJCR 222     Drugs and Society
    • CJCR 223     Human Trafficking
    • CJCR 321     Gangs, Communities, and Violence
    • CJCR 324     Domestic Violence
    • CJCR 325     Juvenile Delinquency
    • CJCR 345     Special Topics in Criminal Justice
    • PSCI 231       Law in America
    • SOC 305      Sociology of Law

E. Diverse Communities (select one course):

    • CJCR 334 — Race, Class, Gender, and Crime
    • CJCR 346 — Comparative Criminal Justice
    • SOC 240 — Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
    • SOC 241 — Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
    • SOC 334 — American Immigration

Capstone Requirement

All majors must successfully complete CJCR 441 Crime Prevention and Policy

Diversity and Writing Courses

The following courses satisfy the Domestic Cultural Diversity Requirement: CJCR 321, 324, and 334. The following courses satisfy the Global Cultural Diversity Requirement: CJCR 223 and 346. A list of courses that, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement, can be found on the Registrar’s website and in the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS section of the catalog.

Minor Requirements

A minor in criminal justice consists of five courses: CJCR 100, CJCR 300, and three additional CJCR courses.


Major Requirements

The major in Criminology consists of 12 courses, distributed as follows:

A. Required Core Courses (eight courses):

    • CJCR 100     Introduction to Criminal Justice
    • CJCR 247     Victimology
    • CJCR 300     Criminology
    • CJCR 334     Race, Class, Gender, and Crime
    • CJCR 343     Research Methods in Criminal Justice
    • CJCR 445     Applied Research Methods in Criminology
    • MATH 214     Multivariable Statistics
    • SOC 110        Introduction to Sociology

B. Critical Analysis Electives (select two courses):

    • CJCR 325     Juvenile Delinquency
    • CJCR 346     Comparative Criminal Justice
    • CJCR 360     Analysis of Crime Patterns
    • PHIL 318       Philosophical Issues in Criminal Justice
    • SOC 305       Sociology of Law

C. Topical Course Electives (select two courses, at least one must
     have a CJCR prefix):

    • CJCR 201       Policing and Society
    • CJCR 203       Correctional Policy
    • CJCR 204       Youth, Deviance, and Social Control
    • CJCR 212       Reentry and Desistence
    • CJCR 213       Justice in Popular Media and Culture
    • CJCR 222       Drugs and Society
    • CJCR 223       Human Trafficking
    • CJCR 240       Community-Based Corrections
    • CJCR 243       Courts and Sentencing Policy
    • CJCR 321       Gangs, Communities, and Violence
    • CJCR 324       Domestic Violence
    • CJCR 345       Special Topics
    • ECON 224      Urban Economics
    • HIST 230       African American History
    • PSCI 220       Public Policy in America
    • PSCI 231       Law in America
    • PSCI 242       Human Rights
    • PSCI 362       Terrorism
    • PSY 310        Forensic Psychology
    • SOC 325       Program Evaluation and Grant Writing
    • SOC 334       American Immigration

Capstone Requirement

All majors must successfully complete CJCR 445 Applied Research Methods in Criminology

Diversity and Writing Courses

The following course satisfies the Domestic Cultural Diversity requirement: CJCR 334. The following course satisfies the Global Cultural Diversity Requirement: CJCR 346. A list of courses that, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement, can be found on the Registrar’s website and in the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS section of the catalog.

Explores the role of law enforcement, courts, and corrections in the administration of justice; the development of police, courts, and corrections; the scope and nature of crime in America; introduction to the studies, literature, and research in criminal justice; basic criminological theories; and careers in criminal justice.

Who are the police and what is policing? Exploration of these questions provides a context for critical inquiry of contemporary law enforcement in the United States. Attention is given to law enforcement purposes and strategies, the work force and work environment, and why sworn officers do what they do. Emphasis is also placed on being policed and policing the police. Treatment of these issues enables exploration of basic and applied questions about the projection of state power in community relations, including those related to homeland security. Prerequisite: CJCR 100.

Presents an overview of offenders, punishment, correctional ideologies, and societal reaction to crime. Examines the historical and philosophical development of the correctional system. The primary emphasis is on critical analysis of contemporary correctional programming for adult and juvenile offenders in the United States. Other social issues and structures directly related to corrections are explored. Prerequisite: CJCR 100.  

Provides the student with a general understanding of juvenile deviance and state processes intended to interrupt youth deviance and juvenile delinquency, particularly in the juvenile justice system. Explores historical perspectives, deviant juvenile subculture, underlying philosophies, the formal processes and organization of juvenile justice systems, promising prevention/treatment approaches, and juvenile probation practices. Students are asked to think critically and offer solutions or strategies to a range of dilemmas confronting the juvenile justice system, including the transfer of juveniles to adult status and the movement to privatize juvenile justice services. Prerequisite: CJCR 100.

Provides a study of the history, characteristics and philosophy of the system of administration of criminal justice in the United States. This course identifies unique challenges to administrators of criminal justice organizations. The structures, functions, and processes in the administration of criminal justice organizations are also examined. Topics include a variety of public management theories, the role of leadership, and communication as it relates to criminal justice organizations. This course connects academics to practice, examining best practices, challenges encountered in the public sector and how capacity-building is accomplished. While the justice structure and process are examined in a cross-cultural context, emphasis is placed on the U. S. justice system, particularly the structure and function of the police, probation/parole, courts and corrections. Prerequisite: CJCR 100

Professional ethics are essential to the proper functioning of the criminal justice system. Brutality, misconduct, corruption, abuse of power, deviance, and dishonesty undermine the public’s trust in the ability of the criminal justice system to address criminal behavior and protect victims. This applied ethics course evaluates professional ethical dilemmas throughout the criminal justice system with the goal of reducing justice errors. Students use the standards set by various criminal justice professions and an ethics framework to address common issues met by criminal justice practitioners. It also explores the roles of professional organizations, laws, and oversight in responding to ethics violations and setting up ethical policy and procedure. Prerequisite: CJCR 100

What is the experience of returning home like for individuals who have served a period of incarceration? How do they face the challenges and barriers of transitioning back into the community, such as finding a job, reconnecting with their family, and staying sober? Contrary to public perception, ninety to ninety-five percent of individuals who are sentenced to prison are released. And yet, within three years, over half are reincarcerated. In recent years, more attention has been paid to the reintegration process and how the challenges individuals experience impact their ability to be successful upon release. This course discusses the experience of reintegration from the individual, family, and community perspective.

The public often learns about the justice system through television, film, newspaper, and the internet. Society has long been fascinated with criminality and those who respond to crime. Given the prevalence of conflicting media and popular culture viewpoints, this course examines the social construction of crime and justice, the framers of these narratives, and the consequences of that social construction. This course explores the sources of public attitudes towards crime and justice and its effect on actual and perceived crime and policy. Topics include understanding the intersection of crime, media, and politics as related to moral panics, consumer and ideological culture, the social construction of criminals and victims, and local and national policies.

An examination of drug use and the social construction of drug policies. Possible topics of discussion include: the methods used to study patterns of drug use and theories of drug abuse, histories, pharmacologies, and patterns associated with the most popular drugs in modern society. Other possible topics include the social control of drugs and the connections between drugs and crime, among other current, political issues, including the causes and consequences of modern U.S. drug policies, the War on Drugs, and the legalization of marijuana. This course examines international drug policies, media reports on drug related issues, and recent/emerging drug policies.

Designed to help students gain a better understanding of contemporary human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Students learn important terminology in this field, the different types of human trafficking that exist and an understanding of the scope of the problem, both domestically and globally. Possible topics include the physical, emotional, and psychological trauma experienced by victims of human trafficking and the methods used to recruit and control victims. The roles that entities such as government, the media, faith-based organizations, organized crime, and culture play in this complex issue are also explored. Pre-requisite: CJCR 100. Fulfills Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

An in-depth study of community-based correction programs, with emphasis on the role of probation and parole and their impact on the offender, the criminal justice system, and society. Particular attention is given to advancements in technologies used to monitor and track offenders within the community, prison overcrowding, re-entry programs, officer discretion and ethics, and the role of specialized treatment courts. Prerequisite: CJCR 100.

Examines the role of municipal, state, and federal courts in the American criminal justice system. Many important steps in the processing of criminal cases involve the courts or courtroom actors, including arrest, booking, charging, arraignment, trial, sentencing, and appeal. Considers the responsibilities and constraints of the courts and courtroom actors in each of these steps. The ideal American criminal court is a site where society’s desire for punishment is tempered by its obligation to protect the rights of those accused of crime. This course examines the historical evolution of this ideal and considers the degree to which modern American courts have been able to achieve it. Additional topics may include the use of courts to affect change in other components of the criminal justice system (e.g., police, prisons) and the emerging trend of “specialized” courts (e.g., drug courts). Prerequisite: CJCR 100.

Examines victimization in the United States through an overview of the history and theory of victimology, an analysis of trends and patterns with a special emphasis on types of victims and crimes, and an exploration of the effects of criminal victimization on individuals and society. The role of the victim within the criminal justice system as well as responses to victimization will also be considered with respect to services and policies for supporting victims of crime.  Prerequisite: CJCR 100.

Analysis of the sociology of law; conditions under which criminal laws develop; etiology of crime; epidemiology of crime, including explanation of statistical distribution of criminal behavior in terms of time, space, and social location. Prerequisite: CJCR 100 or SOC 110.

There is a complex relationship between violence and criminal behavior within the community. It is therefore important to conceptualize and examine crime and delinquency at the group-level. This course examines gang history, theory, measurement, and research and emphasizes gang formation, identity, characteristics, composition, and violence. Topics focus on contemporary juvenile street gangs and other organized criminal groups and contrast them with other less cohesive violent groups. The course also explores the preventative and deterrent strategies that communities use in response to violent behavior. This includes multidisciplinary responses in both the public and private sectors that address violence locally and internationally.  Fulfills Domestic Cultural Diversity Requirement.


Focuses on intimate partner violence which includes physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse within a relationship. Possible topics of discussion include the critical examination of different approaches and definitions of domestic violence to understand how they impact statistics. This course examines what intimate partner violence looks like against women and men, including LGBTQ victims, and the different ways these victims are treated within the criminal justice system. Topics include intimate partner homicide, child abuse, elder abuse, alcohol, and firearms. Possible topics of discussion may also include intimate partner violence from the perspective of criminal justice system actors, including law enforcement, prosecutors, sexual assault nurse examiners and domestic violence shelters and the roles they play in assisting victims and holding offenders accountable. Prerequisite: CJCR 100

Examines the historical development of juvenile delinquency, the causes of delinquency, how society treats young people who break the law, and rates of juvenile delinquency. Students explore criminological and sociological theories related to deviance. Particular attention is paid to the role of family, the school, and peer groups in promoting delinquency. Prevention and rehabilitation are examined and situated within each institution. Current events, including school shootings, law enforcement in schools, bullying, and substance use, are also discussed. This class centers intersectionality in the discussion of what acts are viewed as delinquent, who is considered delinquent, and what happens to juveniles accused of delinquency. Prerequisite: CJCR 100.  Fulfills Domestic Cultural Diversity Requirement.

Provides a theoretical and practical exploration of the link between gender, race, class, and criminal justice practices. Focuses on the link between masculinity and violent behavior, exploring factors influencing aggressive behavior among men. Also focuses on women in the criminal justice system, exploring the nature and extent of criminal offending among women, including interactions of women as offenders and workers within the criminal justice system. Finally, utilizes a critical stance while exploring aspects of race and class pertaining to victimology, criminology, and justice processing. Prerequisites: CJCR 100 and 300. Fulfills Domestic Cultural Diversity Requirement.

Students learn social science methods, research design and implementation, and evaluation of contemporary research in criminal justice. Topics covered include the logic of causal order, sampling theory, qualitative and quantitative design, data collection, proper analysis of data, and basic statistical selection and calculation. Emphasis is placed on understanding social science research and on communicating research in writing. Prerequisite: CJCR 300 and a statistics course of at least 3 credits. 

A seminar for advanced students offered in response to student request and faculty interest. Sample topics include the death penalty, hate crimes, civil liability in criminal justice, justice in the media, environmental crime, etc. May be repeated for credit with consent of chair when topics are different. Prerequisite: CJCR 100 and one other CJCR course.

National criminal justice systems are rooted in each country's particular legal system and traditions. After reviewing the major legal systems, this course examines criminal justice systems representative of each legal system. The elements of criminal justice systems (policing, prosecution, the judiciary, and corrections) are compared across several countries, but with special emphasis placed on comparisons to the United States. Prerequisites: CJCR 100 and one other CJCR course. Fulfills Global Cultural Diversity Requirement.

Why are crimes and other social problems concentrated in certain locations? This course tries to answer this question by exploring environmental criminology theories of how the built environment shapes human behavior. This theoretical and analytic approach tries to explain the criminogenic features of the community that lead to crime and the fear of crime. Rather than asking why an individual is more likely to commit a crime, environmental criminology attempts to explain why a place is more likely to experience crime. Multiple research methods are used to explore the connections between criminal behavior and the physical environment. Prerequisites: CJCR 100 and one other CJCR course

Crime prevention measures may reduce crime through altering offenders’ motivations to commit crime or restricting offenders’ opportunities to commit crime. Evaluations of crime prevention policies and programs are reviewed to determine what works, what does not, and why. In addition to the criminal justice system’s ability to prevent crime, the impact of families, schools, communities, and broader economic and social policies on offending is critically examined. Prerequisites: Senior status, CJCR 300, and CJCR 343.

Provides students with the opportunity to apply the theoretical and research skills they have obtained through the criminology major by completing an independent research study. Topics are selected by individual students and prior research is examined to develop an original research question to explore. An appropriate methodology, such as surveys, qualitative interviews, experimental design, secondary data analysis, or program evaluation, is chosen. Upon completion of the data collection and analysis, a formal research paper is written and presented.  PrerequisiteS: Senior status, CJCR 343, and MATH 214.

448, 449
Students are placed with criminal justice agencies, providing opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in an organizational setting, encouraging development of professional skills, helping students identify and clarify career interests, and providing opportunities to conduct hands-on field research. Prerequisites: Junior or senior status and successful completion of the CJCR Department’s practicum application.


Represents an opportunity to pursue specific interests and topics not usually covered in regular courses. Through a program of readings and tutorials, the student has the opportunity to pursue these interests and topics in greater depth than is usually possible in a regular course. Prerequisite: CJCR 100 and consent of chair.