Jay S. Albanese, Ph.D.
Professor and program chair

The major objective of this degree program is to prepare students for effective professional careers in criminal justice, forensic crime scene investigation, public service and other helping professions, and/or prepare them to pursue studies in law and other related graduate programs. Career opportunities are available in federal, state, local and private justice-related endeavors. These careers include law enforcement, crime scene investigation, juvenile justice, corrections and the courts.

This program also prepares students to enter law school or to pursue graduate studies in criminal justice or in several of the human services fields, usually related to justice. This program offers and encourages in-service justice employees and others to enhance their professional career development through higher education.

Students majoring in criminal justice receive a broad educational background, professionally oriented courses in their special area of interest and various skill courses designed to enhance their career opportunities. Through core courses and electives in the major, students have the opportunity to orient their course work to fit their educational objectives and career plans.

It is essential that students seek and follow the advice of an adviser in the progression of the core courses, the selection of criminal justice electives and in the identification of complementary courses in other disciplines that can benefit the student and assist in the accomplishment of career goals. Whether the student is interested in general criminal justice, policing, crime scene investigation, legal studies, juvenile justice or corrections, faculty and advisers can assist in identifying the appropriate curriculum.

The justice concentration is offered for those students who are interested in a broad theoretical and practical education in the field of criminal justice.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Identify concepts and issues that are relevant and/or appropriate (research/content)
  • Demonstrate logical connections in concepts, facts and information identified in the literature
  • Gather and synthesize knowledge pertaining to a criminal justice or criminological issue
 

Special requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 39 credits in criminal justice courses a minimum of 75 credits in courses outside of VCU-offered criminal justice, and a minimum cumulative and major area GPA of a 2.0. No more than half of the criminal justice courses applied to the major can be transferred from another college. Students must earn a total of 45 credits in classes at the 300-level and above, including upper-level criminal justice course work. The criminal justice curriculum includes the core and concentration requirements.

Degree requirements for Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in justice

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional General Education requirements
HUMS 202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities3
Select six to eight credits of approved H&S general education electives6-8
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)
Experiential fine arts (course offered by the School of the Arts)1-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-8
Total Hours11-23

Collateral requirements

STAT 210Basic Practice of Statistics (fulfills quantitative literacy)3

Major requirements

Core requirements
CRJS 181Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRJS 253Introduction to Corrections3
CRJS 254Introduction to Policing3
CRJS 355Criminological Theory3
CRJS 380Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CRJS 475Criminal Procedure3
CRJS 480Senior Seminar3
CRJS electives 118
Total Hours39
1

May include 12 credits selected from HSEP 301, HSEP 302, HSEP 320 and HSEP 330

Open electives

Select 35-49 open elective credits35-49

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
CRJS 181 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics (fulfills quantitative literacy) 3
UNIV 101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
CRJS 253 Introduction to Corrections 3
CRJS 254 Introduction to Policing 3
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Approved H&S general education elective 3-4
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior 3-4
 Term Hours: 16-18
Sophomore year
Fall semester
CRJS 355 Criminological Theory 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved H&S general education elective 3-4
Approved H&S literature and civilization 3
Foreign language (101-level) 4
 Term Hours: 16-17
Spring semester
CRJS Elective 3
Open elective 3
Approved H&S science and technology 3-4
Experiential fine arts 1-3
Foreign language (102-level) 4
 Term Hours: 14-17
Junior year
Fall semester
CRJS 380 Research Methods in Criminal Justice 3
CRJS elective 3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
CRJS electives 6
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
HSEP 320 The Intelligence Community and the Intelligence Process 3
CRJS elective 3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
CRJS 480 Senior Seminar 3
CRJS elective 3
Open electives 7-9
 Term Hours: 13-15
 Total Hours: 120-128

CRJS 181. Introduction to Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Comprehensive overview of criminal justice; assesses the extent of crime; reviews law enforcement, judicial and correctional processes at all levels of government; discusses history and philosophy of public safety; evaluates career opportunities.

CRJS 252. Juvenile Justice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181 or permission of instructor. Examines all segments of juvenile justice and special procedures designed for young persons; recognizes the importance of proper handling of the juvenile by the police and the courts; reviews recent developments in juvenile rehabilitation.

CRJS 253. Introduction to Corrections. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. A survey of societal responses to the offender; traces the evolution of practices based on philosophies of retribution, punishment and rehabilitation; reviews contemporary correctional activities and their relationships to other aspects of the criminal justice system; introduces the emerging area of correctional programming within the community.

CRJS 254. Introduction to Policing. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. A survey of different facets of law enforcement including the activities of public police agencies and private security organizations. Assesses changes in law enforcement philosophy and practices, police relationships with the public and the political arena and anticipated future trends in policing.

CRJS 255. Introduction to Legal Studies. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Overview of the American legal system, processes, terminology; analysis of historical and philosophical bases of law. Examines the systems that adjudicate criminal and civil law; considers the role of law in the functioning of the justice system.

CRJS 300. Forensic Criminology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. The intersection of law, predictions of dangerousness, mental disorder and crime. Behavioral prediction, classification and the development of typologies of offenses and offending will be considered. Issues in the use of clinical and statistical prediction methods in criminal justice will be presented.

CRJS 302. Legal Writing. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: UNIV 200 or HONR 200, and ENGL 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 211, 215, 236, 291, or 295. Intensive practice in writing on subjects related to law or legal problems. Emphasis on organization, development, logical flow and clarity of style. May not be used to satisfy the literature requirement of the College of Humanities and Sciences. Crosslisted as: ENGL 302.

CRJS 305. Policing Theories and Practice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and 254. An overview of the nature and application of law enforcement theory. Examines the theoretical underpinnings of a variety of law enforcement practices, with emphasis on evolving trends.

CRJS 320. Principles of Criminal Investigation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Surveys the fundamentals of criminal investigation procedures and techniques. Examines crime scene management, searching, collecting, handling and preserving of evidence as applied to forensic crime scene investigation.

CRJS 324. Courts and the Judicial Process. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Examines the systems that adjudicate criminal and civil law; includes constitutional authority, jurisdictions and trial processes, with particular emphasis on reform in court administration, disposition without trial and sentencing.

CRJS 350. Evaluation and Treatment of the Offender. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and 253. An analysis of the issues and procedures involved in evaluating individual differences in offenders and among classes of offenders; current diagnostic and treatment methods are discussed; introduces the student to case analysis and correctional counseling techniques. Includes analysis of evaluation and treatment resources external to corrections.

CRJS 351. Community Corrections. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and 253. A comprehensive review of various community-based rehabilitation and treatment efforts; includes analysis of probation, parole, work release, halfway houses and other methods of re-integrating the offender into society.

CRJS 352. Crime and Delinquency Prevention. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Review and analysis of the problems associated with prevention of crime and delinquency, viewed in a total systems context. Programs and activities involving citizen, community and agency interrelationships will be developed and examined. Students are responsible for preparing and evaluating projects with crime preventive goals.

CRJS 355. Criminological Theory. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181 or permission of instructor. Examines the intellectual underpinnings of the criminal justice system. Includes analysis of evolving values and ideas regarding social control, individual and collective responsibilities and rights, the role of punishment, politics and the law, practitioners as public servants, and criminological and other foundations of the criminal justice system.

CRJS 358. Lawyer's Role in the Justice System. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Examines the multiple responsibilities of lawyers from an historical and contemporary perspective. The basic techniques of the lawyer's craft will be studied with emphasis placed on case advocacy, negotiation skills and legal reasoning, and problem-solving.

CRJS 360. Foundations of Criminal Law. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Clarifies both the content and role of criminal law within criminal justice and its administration in America. Explores the moral, theoretical and historical foundations of American criminal law and jurisprudence; elements and classification of criminal conduct; burdens of proof; defenses to criminal culpability; and a variety of crime types focusing in particular on crimes against person and property.

CRJS 370. Criminalistics and Crime Analysis. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. A comprehensive evaluation of current developments in research, instrumentation and laboratory technology utilized to detect, identify, analyze and compare evidence.

CRJS 373. Crime Scene Evidence: Law and Trial Procedure. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Provides a fundamental understanding of evidence law. Examines the nature and admissibility of various forms of evidence. Provides an understanding of the investigator's role in the judicial process including the presentation of testimony and adversarial proceedings.

CRJS 380. Research Methods in Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and STAT 210. Designed to familiarize the student with current and applied research methods in criminal justice, including the application of data and information processing techniques and procedures; analyzes research in criminal justice journals and government reports; and enhances the capability to evaluate contemporary research.

CRJS 382. Gender, Crime and Justice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181 or permission of instructor. Examines the role of gender as it relates to crime and justice. Special attention will focus on the gendered experiences of practitioners, offenders and victims within the criminal justice system in terms of processing, adjudication and institutional responses. Crosslisted as: GSWS 382.

CRJS 400. Current Issues in Juvenile Justice. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Restricted to criminal justice majors. Examines key issues facing the modern American juvenile justice system. Integrates social science research, juvenile justice policy and legal scholarship pertaining to current law and policy controversies in juvenile justice.

CRJS 401. Sex Crime and Society. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Restricted to criminal justice majors. Examines the nature and extent of sex offending, societal responses to sex crime, and the laws and policies enacted to reduce sexual offending. Explores the etiology of sex offending as well as methods to evaluate the efficacy of sex crime laws.

CRJS 405. Special Issues in Juvenile Detention. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Restricted to criminal justice majors. Examines the operations of modern juvenile detention facilities with an emphasis on the special needs of youth detainees. Explores the challenges facing administrators, staff and youth residents within a juvenile correctional setting.

CRJS 406. Issues in Short-term Detention. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and 253. Restricted to criminal justice majors. Examines issues encountered by corrections officers who work in jails and other short-term detention facilities. Explores the role of jails within the criminal trial process, the diverse nature of the jail inmate population and the challenges of pretrial detention for both offenders and staff.

CRJS 407. Urban Jails. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and CRJS 253. Restricted to criminal justice majors. Examines issues encountered by corrections officers who work in urban short-term detention facilities. Explores the complexities of jails in urban settings as well as the diverse and dynamic offender population in urban jails.

CRJS 425. Violent Crime Scene Investigation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Introduces students to specialized tools and scientific aids used in the criminal investigation of homicide and rape cases. Applies investigative techniques and preparation of trial evidence used in homicides and rape cases.

CRJS 432. Criminal Justice: Organizations. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Considers the behavioral dimensions of administrations in criminal justice and public safety agencies. Examines the concepts of leadership and decision-making and the effect of environmental dynamics in the management of the criminal justice system.

CRJS 434. Police Administration. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 and 254. Examines major management concepts and principles with special emphasis on consideration of law enforcement. Policies and procedures formulated and followed by managers in law enforcement settings will be evaluated from a structural as well as a functional perspective. Contemporary and anticipated future problems, challenges and trends facing police managers will be addressed.

CRJS 450. Cyber Crime and Computer Forensics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Study of computer-related crime and related laws and policies. Focus on the investigation and processes of securing evidence for computer-related crimes.

CRJS 463. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Study of national and international criminal justice systems with an emphasis on historical, cultural and operational comparisons. Contemporary research relating to law enforcement, adjudicative and correctional systems will be considered.

CRJS 468. Economic and Organized Crime. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Analysis of the types of offenses which occur in the business and governmental work and the consequences of illegal practices. Primary attention will address the public sector through the methods utilized to detect and investigate criminal activities affecting governmental units. Relationships to organized crime will be described for each of the specific topics and techniques.

CRJS 475. Criminal Procedure. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181 or permission of instructor. Analyzes criminal procedure regarding the courts and their supervisory role over prosecutions and the use of testimonial and non-testimonial evidence. Examines the judicial interpretive processes by which the public safety is balanced with individual rights.

CRJS 480. Senior Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRJS 181 355 and 380. Restricted to seniors in criminal justice with at least 85 credit hours taken toward the degree. A capstone course designed to assist students to apply and to think critically about current knowledge regarding crime, crime trends, law, law enforcement, the adjudication process, corrections and crime prevention. Scenarios, research, projections and evaluation of different viewpoints will be employed to develop the student's ability to assess methods of argumentation, use information and apply existing knowledge to new fact situations.

CRJS 491. Topics in Criminal Justice. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. In-depth examination of selected administration of justice topics. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester and prerequisites.

CRJS 492. Directed Individual Study. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1, 2 or 3 credits. Maximum total of 6 credits. Prerequisite: CRJS 181. Available to all other criminal justice students who are seniors and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (with permission of department chair) as a substitute for a major elective course. Provides an independent study opportunity for the adult student who is (or was) employed in a criminal justice, safety or risk administration position and who does not require internship or volunteer experience.