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Criminology and Criminal Justice

Become a better practitioner by studying criminological theory, the justice system and law.

You’ll develop the knowledge, skills and ethical training that are essential for pursuing a career in law enforcement, corrections, the legal system, probation and parole — or a variety of social service agencies. This program also prepares you for graduate studies in law, criminology, or public policy and administration.

Study the intersection of society, crime and justice

By studying human behavior and social institutions, you’ll get a complete picture of the causes of criminal behavior and crime’s impact on society. You will learn about the agencies that make up the criminal justice system, each with its own important function and relationship with other agencies.

Build an interdisciplinary foundation

Excelling in the criminal justice system or a related field requires a background in several different subjects. Your studies will incorporate theory, research, and practical applications — with an emphasis on understanding crime and criminal behavior, criminal justice systems, as well as criminal and constitutional law. Your major will be enhanced with foundational courses that draw from sociology, political science, psychology, global studies, public policy and more.

Get real-life field experience

As a requirement of the major, you’ll complete an internship in a criminal justice or related agency. This opportunity — combined with your coursework that involves service learning, research projects, and field trips to justice agencies — will give you direct experience with the day-to-day operations of the criminal justice system.

One of our most popular learning experiences includes the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, where students have an opportunity to take a college course alongside inmate classmates in a correctional facility.

Develop ethical leadership skills

Today’s competitive job market and our global society require leaders who think critically, communicate clearly and find ethical solutions to complex problems. Our courses are designed to incorporate these skills throughout your coursework, rather than addressed in separate courses.

At a Glance

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science


Criminology and Criminal Justice


College of Arts and Science

Next Steps

Interested in this major? Here's what you can do next:

The Curriculum

With challenging and relevant courses, outstanding faculty, small class sizes, and an emphasis on hands-on learning, the criminology and criminal justice program will position you to succeed in your chosen career.

Program Details

Find out what it takes to earn a degree in criminology and criminal justice and explore the courses.

Highlighted Courses

Get familiar with some of the courses you might take in this major.

CRIM 340: Violence & Victimization

Victimology addresses the sources of violence, the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system, and the social, legal and institutional responses to violence and victimization. There is specific focus on the victims of violent crimes such as spousal abuse, workplace violence, predatory crime, and terrorism.

See description
CRIM 365: Comparative Justice Systems

Comparative justice systems analyzes crime patterns and justice procedures of common law or Western justice systems, with non-Western nations around the world. Specific emphasis on comparing criminal laws, law enforcement, the judicial process, and punishment philosophies of different countries.

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CRIM 404: Constitutional Law in Criminal Justice

Emphasizes Supreme Court decisions and constitutional issues relevant to the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth amendments. Students are expected to research and present cases from the text and other legal sources.

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CRIM 410: Substance Abuse

An overview of drug use in a historical and social context, primarily in the United States. The course covers alcohol and other controlled substances, paying particular attention to the implications of past and current drug use practices and policies for criminal justice agencies.

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CRIM 430: Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Crime

This course critically examines the impact of gender, race, ethnicity and class on crime and how the criminal justice system operates within these contexts. Also examines the impact of perception, stigmatization, theory, law and social policy on minorities and women as offenders, victims, and practitioners.

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CRIM 451: Forensic Investigations

Forensic investigations will familiarize students with the process of criminal and forensic investigations as they relate to the criminal justice process. Students will learn the various applications in criminal investigations which include forensics, interview/interrogation, search and seizure, use of DNA, policies and procedures.

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Recommended Minors

Want to add even more value to your degree? Consider one of these minors to gain a unique combination of skills and perspectives.

The Experience

We offer hands-on opportunities that give you the freedom to explore your passion through real-world work and prepare for a fulfilling career.

  • Internships

    As a requirement of the major, you’ll complete an internship in a criminal justice or related agency. Our students have interned with:

    • Police Departments
    • California Highway Patrol
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Immigration & Naturalization Service
    • L.A. County District Attorney
    • U.S. Attorney’s Office
    • U.S. Secret Service
  • Student Club

    The Criminal Justice Student Association is a campus-wide club that encourages scholarship and discussion among members. Join them for food and interesting conversation!

  • Honors Society

    Alpha Phi Sigma is the national criminal justice honor society that helps students promote their research, receive national recognition, and meet and interact with leaders in the criminal justice field.

Student photo

I think every person can experience life-changing transformation through service. So I engage my students in meaningful learning and service opportunities to help them discover and live out their purpose.

Helen Lim
Associate Professor

Career Paths

The majority of our criminology and criminal justice majors secure employment in the field after graduation or go on to graduate school or law school. While most graduates are employed in a criminal justice agency, such as law enforcement or probation, many also find employment in government agencies, nonprofits, and private sector organizations such as insurance carriers and victim services.

Potential Careers

Public Safety Telecommunicators

Operate telephone, radio, or other communication systems to receive and communicate requests for emergency assistance at 9-1-1 public safety answering points and emergency operations centers. Take information from the public and other sources regarding crimes, threats, disturbances, acts of terrorism, fires, medical emergencies, and other public safety matters. May coordinate and provide information to law enforcement and emergency response personnel. May access sensitive databases and other information sources as needed. May provide additional instructions to callers based on knowledge of and certification in law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical procedures.

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Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers

Maintain order and protect life and property by enforcing local, tribal, state, or federal laws and ordinances. Perform a combination of the following duties: patrol a specific area; direct traffic; issue traffic summonses; investigate accidents; apprehend and arrest suspects, or serve legal processes of courts. Includes police officers working at educational institutions.

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Private Detectives and Investigators

Gather, analyze, compile, and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

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Correctional Officers and Jailers

Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institutions in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, prison, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.

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Intelligence Analysts

Gather, analyze, or evaluate information from a variety of sources, such as law enforcement databases, surveillance, intelligence networks or geographic information systems. Use intelligence data to anticipate and prevent organized crime activities, such as terrorism.

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Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.

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Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

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Compliance Officers

Examine, evaluate, and investigate eligibility for or conformity with laws and regulations governing contract compliance of licenses and permits, and perform other compliance and enforcement inspection and analysis activities not classified elsewhere.

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Looking for more career paths? Search these related areas to discover more options.


Graduates from this major have gone to work at:

  • Beverly Hills Police Department
  • Casa Pacifica Children Services
  • Department of Public Safety
  • FBI Cyber Division
  • Interface Children & Family Services
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • Oxnard Police Department
  • San Diego Police Department
  • Santa Barbara Police Department
  • Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office
  • Simi Valley Police Department
  • United States Customs
  • University Campus Safety Departments
  • Ventura County Probation Agency
  • Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Crime Analyst Division

Graduate Schools

Our alumni have pursued advanced degrees at:

  • California Western School of Law
  • Columbia University
  • George Mason University School of Law
  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Loyola Law School
  • Northeastern University
  • Pepperdine Law School
  • San Diego State University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Denver
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • University of Southern California
Vanessa Melendrez Jimenez
Cal Lutheran did not just help me with an education but provided me with internships and networking skills which is what allowed me to have the career path that I have right now. Through Cal Lutheran, I got to connect with my professors who have taught me to network and opened doors for me when I was looking for job opportunities. I was also given the opportunity to do a semester in Washington DC where I got to network and meet different people who continue to be a resource for my career.

Vanessa Melendrez Jimenez '22
Criminology & Criminal Justice, Political Science Major, Law & Public Policy Emphasis
Executive Development Officer, Ventura County Family Justice Center Foundation

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. Some occupations listed above may require a related graduate degree.

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After you graduate from Cal Lutheran, you receive free access to Career Services for life, as a valued member of our alumni family.

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of Cal Lutheran graduates find a job or enroll in graduate school within nine months

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