This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Amy Cook, Ph.D.
Associate 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.

This concentration is offered for those students who are interested in careers in crime scene investigation at the local, state or federal levels.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will 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

Additionally, students in the forensic crime scene investigation concentration will know how to do the following: 

  • Clearly describe the four major crime scene processing and evaluating steps
  • List applicable CSI equipment and provide a brief summary/conclusion of the overall crime scene process