Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Majors

John Jay offers a number of criminal justice-related majors, all of which examine aspects of the criminal justice system, though their goals and emphasis are different. All include a measure of analysis, research, and problem-solving, and their disciplines may often intersect and engage with each other. What aspects of criminal justice most interest you? Do you enjoy asking questions that relate to the causes of crime, effective anti-crime policies, crime’s impact on communities, and implementing humane practices in prisons? Are you mostly interested in the different components of the criminal justice system and how they interact? Are you curious about in-depth research and designing a project that works to improve the criminal justice system? Are you interested in crime at the international level? Is your interest more in management of criminal justice agencies? These are important questions to ask yourself as you learn about the John Jay majors that focus on criminal justice concerns and issues.

Criminal Justice (Institutional Theory and Practice) Bachelor of Science (CJBS)

The Criminal Justice Institutional Theory and Practice (CJBS) major is intended for students who seek a career in criminal justice and would like to explore the field from a broad perspective. It is devoted to understanding criminal justice institutional theory and practice in the context of diverse multicultural societies. The major underscores the rule of law as the glue which holds together the arenas of police, courts, and corrections that along with other social institutions and the public, are the co–producers of justice.

Criminal Justice (BS) Major Information Flyer

In the CJBS major, you will:
  • Understand the historical development, functions and roles of each component of the criminal justice system.
  • Describe and critically examine the major criminological theories on crime causation and prevention, and apply them to criminal justice practice.
  • Critically analyze the social response to crime and the practice of criminal justice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to access, conduct, interpret, and apply criminal justice research.



Criminal Justice (Crime Control and Prevention) Bachelor of Arts (CJBA)
The Criminal Justice Crime Control and Prevention (CJBA) major views crime as a social problem and seeks to develop in its students the capacity to critically assess the normative structure of the existing criminal justice system with an aim to improving its condition and function. The emphasis of the major is on developing analytical skills, ethical reasoning, and a capacity for solving problems. It aspires to cultivate creative and original thinking about one of the most challenging social problems of our time.

There is strong emphasis on statistical analysis, quantitative inquiry, and hypothesis testing in this major as students analyze data about crime, punishment, and justice. Core courses in the major provide foundation for students to select a criminal justice research question before their junior year and then design their own individual research project to answer it, always considering ethical issues and challenges inherent in criminal justice research.

Criminal Justice (BA) Major Information Flyer

In the CJBA major you will:
  • Critically evaluate ethical arguments regarding criminal justice policy decisions. 
  • Critically evaluate the impact of race, gender, and ethnicity on criminal justice policy decisions.
  • Construct an original research question, manifesting a familiarity with the existing literature, and an implementable research design.
  • Implement that research design through the collection and interpretation of data and to articulate proposals for policy reform.
  • Display clarity of expression



Criminal Justice Management
Criminal Justice Management majors develop an understanding of the criminal justice system and its institutions as you learn the skills necessary to manage criminal justice agencies. About half of the major's requirements are public administration courses.

Criminal Justice Management (BS) Major Information Flyer

In the Criminal Justice Management major you will:
  • Study how ideas become policy, and then how to implement that policy effectively
  • Learn how to use information systems in the administration of public programs
  • Learn how to plan and administer a budget in the public sector to keep an organization viable
  • Understand how to identify needs, make decisions, and implement changes in the criminal justice system at the administrative level
  • Develop the foundation for taking a leadership role in developing policy and making it happen in the functioning of criminal justice institutions. 



Criminology is the study of crimes, criminals, crime victims, theories explaining illegal and deviant behavior, the social reaction to crime and criminals, the effectiveness of anti-crime policies and the broader political terrain of social control. The major contains courses in sociology, other social science disciplines and the humanities. Students who are planning to attend graduate or professional schools and students who are currently working in criminal justice or other public service fields as well as those planning to do so in the future will find this major of interest.

Criminology takes a broad view that doesn't focus only on the criminal justice system, but on the larger society beyond it as well.  What social factors contribute to criminal behavior, and what strategies can help prevent it? How can communities and law enforcement work together to decrease criminal activity? What practices can help incarcerated individuals return to their communities with new perspective and opportunities that will deter them from re-entering the criminal justice system? Criminologists strongly influence how criminal justice institutions carry out and improve their work, since these institutions turn to criminology research for guidance and recommendations.

Criminology (BA) Major Information Flyer

In the Criminology major you will:
  • Know the core literature and debates that make up the discipline of criminology.
    Understand the key components of criminological theory and apply theory to specific contexts. 
  • Understand the methods of criminological research.
  • Make reasoned and informed judgment on issues relating to crime and punishment.
  • Organize thoughts and communicate arguments effectively in writing.


More examples of Criminology questions
  • How do we establish order and control in society? 
  • How do factors such as  poverty, racism, sexism, corruption, the problems of urban life, mental illness, addiction, etc. play a role in criminal behavior?
  • How effective are certain anti-crime policies?
  • What are effective and humane ways of dealing with prisoners?



International Criminal Justice (ICJ)
The major in International Criminal Justice (ICJ) introduces students to the nature and cause of crime at the international level and to the mechanisms for its prevention and control. Components of the criminal justice system as they apply to transnational and international crime are studied, as well as the impact of international law and human rights in addressing crimes against humanity. The major is intended to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for careers in which the globalization of crime plays an important role. It also is designed to prepare students for advanced work in graduate or professional school.

The International Criminal Justice major includes a language requirement; students must achieve language proficiency at least through the level of one intermediate (200 level) language course (i.e. successful completion of a 201/211 language course or language test placement beyond that level).

International Criminal Justice (BA) Major Information Flyer

In the ICJ major you will:
  • Define international and transnational crimes.
  • Summarize national, bilateral and multilateral responses to such crimes.
  • Describe theories for understanding crime and crime control from a global and comparative perspective.
  • Use theory to interpret and explain empirical developments in the fields of international criminal justice.
  • Critically evaluate the use of such methods by others
  • Elaborate informed opinions about issues and ideas in the fields of internationl criminal justice.