- Offered as:
- Graduate program
Criminal justice examines the causes and patterns of criminal behavior, the institutions and individuals that work within the criminal justice system, and the role law plays in prevention and responses to crime.
- Strengths of the program
- Graduates from our program receive a bachelor of arts in criminal justice and criminology. This differentiates WSU’s program from other programs where criminal justice may be an emphasis area under another degree field rather than its own stand-alone degree.
- Our criminal justice program is a policy-based curriculum drawing from the social sciences, specifically from the areas of sociology, psychology, and political science. It is not a vocational/technical program, unlike programs found at some other schools.
- Our program is the oldest existing criminal justice program in the nation, established back in 1943 as the Department of Police Science.
- The criminal justice national honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma, was founded here at WSU and has grown to over 360 chapters nationwide.
- The department emphasizes learning beyond the classroom by encouraging students to participate in study abroad programs and internships. Our students have traveled to London to visit various criminal justice system components (i.e. Parliament, Scotland Yard) and our interns have worked with various local, state, and federal agencies ranging from the WSU Police Department to the State Legislature in Olympia.
- Scholarships and financial aid
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.
For all students at WSU
Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
To get all the financial help WSU can provide, you'll need to do these two things:
- Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration, including departmental awards.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need. Get started here.
For criminal justice students
The College of Arts and Sciences awards more than $50,000 in scholarships each year. For more information, see the CAS scholarships page.
- Careers in criminal justice
What you can do with a degree in criminal justice
• Law enforcement
• Crime analysis
• Community corrections
• Victim advocacy
• Child protective services
• Border security
• Cyber crime prevention
• Security loss prevention
• Private security
• Court administration
Skills you can market with a degree in criminal justice
• Advanced critical-thinking skills to address real world problems
• Capacity to evaluate the consequences of polity and practice in the administration of justice
• Ability to use data and research methods to inform policy makers
• Understanding of criminal procedure and the rights guaranteed by the constitution
• Understanding of theoretical explanations for the causes of crime
• Strong verbal and written communication skills
• Understanding of ethical and diversity issues