Program goal

The Certificate in Criminal Justice is a post-baccalaureate graduate program designed to help facilitate career advancement in the criminal justice and/or criminology field. The program seeks to develop critical-thinking skills among the students through the use of current criminal justice and criminological topics, reports and research findings.

This certificate program offers specialization for individuals interested or involved in law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice or the courts. It combines survey and theory courses with research, management and policy courses on the justice system. The courses in the certificate program are the same as the master’s courses. With minimum grades of B and upon acceptance into the master’s degree program, these courses are fully transferable to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice degree program.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will identify concepts and issues that are relevant and/or appropriate for the research or content area.
  2. Students will demonstrate logical connections in concepts, facts and information identified in the literature.
  3. Students will be able to solve a problem, write a research paper or make a line of argument on a particular criminal justice topic.
  4. Students will be able to exemplify the trivium of learning.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Certificate Fall Apr 1 (Mar 1 for financial aid)
Spring Oct 1

The Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Criminal Justice program offers an abbreviated graduate-level course sequence of 15 credit hours for individuals with an academic and/or professional background in criminal justice. Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, five courses are required for the certificate, as specified in the chart list that follows. To receive the certificate, the student must achieve a B average in the five courses, earn no more than one C grade and complete the 15-hour certificate program within three years.

Curriculum requirements

Required courses

Course Title Hours
CRJS 501Principles of Criminal Justice3
CRJS/GVPA/PADM/URSP 623Research Methods for Government and Public Affairs3
Total Hours6


Course Title Hours
Select three of the following:9
Professional Ethics and Liability
Justice Policy and Administration
Other graduate-level elective (only three credit hours of internship are applicable to the certificate)
Total Hours9

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 15

Graduate program director
Amy Cook, Ph.D.
Program chair, Criminal Justice

Additional contacts
Christina Mancini, Ph.D.
Assistant chair, Criminal Justice

Denia A. Lee-Hing, Ed.D.
Director of graduate studies
Phone: (804) 827-1430

Program website: