Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Arts

Criminal justice explores everything—from the sociological reasons behind crime—to the evaluation of public policies that respond to crime. Students with backgrounds in criminal justice are well-prepared for careers in social work, law enforcement and government intelligence.

Program Overview

Explore every aspect of the criminal justice system.

The Criminal Justice emphasis focuses on the three main institutions that make up the criminal justice system: crime, courts, and corrections. Through a dynamic blend of courses like Constitutional Law II and Psychopathology, you will critically examine the social constructions of social control and deviance, theories of crime and criminality, sentencing, punishment, alternate forms of punishment and rehabilitation.

To get a better sense of which career path you’ll want to take, industry professionals will teach some of your courses, including a law enforcement course taught by a local police detective and law courses taught by a chief district judge. Before graduating, you’ll have the opportunity to complete an internship in your area of interest including sheriff’s departments, police departments, domestic violence centers and other advocacy programs.

By the book

Students critically examine the social constructions of social control and deviance, theories of crime and criminality, sentencing, punishment, alternate forms of punishment and rehabilitation.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

All standard majors require a minor in a second discipline or a second major.

A minimum of 42 credits is required including:

POLS 301Constitutional Law II3
SOC 101Introduction to Sociology3
SOC 225Self and Society3
SOC 259Introduction to Criminal Justice3
SOC 285Criminology3
SOC 302Sociological Theory3
SOC 310Qualitative Research Methods3
SOC 349Law Enforcement3
SOC 367Corrections3
SOC 380Social Inequalities3
SOC 498Capstone3
One of the following:3
PSY 200
Statistics and Data Analysis
SOC 211
Quantitative Research Methods
Select at least two of the following:6-12
GEOG 340
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
PSY 368
Psychopathology
SOC 150
Environmental Sociology
SOC 168
Social Problems
SOC 303
Contemporary Sociological Theory
SOC 320
The Familly
SOC 322
Medical Sociology
SOC 323
Cultural Studies
SOC 340
Social Movements
SOC 350
Deviance
SOC 351
Juvenile Deliquency
SOC 355
Drugs and Society
SOC 397
Special Topics
SOC 399
Internship in Sociology
SOC 492
Independent Study
Total Credits42-48

Capstone Course Requirement

The following courses in the Sociology Major fulfill the capstone course requirement: SOC 498 CAPSTONE, or SOC 399 Internship in Sociology.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology 3
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
 Credits13
Spring
SOC 225
or SOC 259
Self and Society
or Introduction to Criminal Justice
3
MATH 113 Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1) 3
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
SOC 211 Quantitative Research Methods 3
SOC 259
or SOC 225
Introduction to Criminal Justice
or Self and Society
3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences w/lab 4
MINOR Minor of Interest 3
 Credits16
Spring
SOC 285 Criminology 3
Gen Ed Natural Sciences w/lab 4
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
MINOR Minor of Interest 3
SOC 150
or SOC 259
or SOC 285
or SOC 322
or SOC 397
or GEOG 340
Environmental Sociology (SOC ELECTIVE - prereqs may apply)
or Introduction to Criminal Justice
or Criminology
or Medical Sociology
or Special Topics
or Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
3
 Credits16
Year Three
Fall
Minor should be declared by the beginning of third year.  
SOC 302 Sociological Theory 3
SOC 349 Law Enforcement 3
SOC 380 Social Inequalities 3
MINOR: Minor Course 3
SOC 168
or SOC 259
or SOC 320
or SOC 323
or SOC 340
or SOC 350
or SOC 351
or SOC 355
or SOC 397
or GEOG 340
Social Problems (SOC ELECTIVE - prereqs may apply)
or Introduction to Criminal Justice
or The Familly
or Cultural Studies
or Social Movements
or Deviance
or Juvenile Deliquency
or Drugs and Society
or Special Topics
or Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
3
 Credits15
Spring
SOC 310 Qualitative Research Methods 3
SOC 367 Corrections 3
MINOR Minor Course 3
Elective Elective 6
SOC 150
or SOC 259
or SOC 285
or SOC 322
or SOC 397
or GEOG 340
Environmental Sociology
or Introduction to Criminal Justice
or Criminology
or Medical Sociology
or Special Topics
or Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
3
 Credits18
Year Four
Fall
MINOR Minor Course 3
Elective Elective 9
SOC 168
or SOC 259
or SOC 320
or SOC 323
or SOC 340
or SOC 350
or SOC 351
or SOC 355
or SOC 397
or GEOG 340
Social Problems (SOC ELECTIVE - prereqs may apply)
or Introduction to Criminal Justice
or The Familly
or Cultural Studies
or Social Movements
or Deviance
or Juvenile Deliquency
or Drugs and Society
or Special Topics
or Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
3
 Credits15
Spring
POLS 301 Constitutional Law II 3
SOC 498 Capstone 3
MINOR Minor Course 3
Elective Elective 9
 Credits18
 Total Credits126

Spotlight

Criminal Justice

Alyssa Ware

Student

“I’m really happy with the route that I took. Western has afforded me opportunities that I don’t think I would have had anywhere else. I don’t think I would have had the same access to different resources at a bigger school.”

Criminal Justice

Ming Goetz

Student

“Having small classes makes it easier to bring real-life examples into our curriculum.”

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 15 for 2021. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Board, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming freshman or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found here (click). Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Description

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Take advantage of everything Western Colorado University has to offer.

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Alpha Kappa Delta: This is a society of scholars (undergraduate, graduate and professional) who promote excellence in sociology, conduct research on social problems and involve themselves in other activities that attempt to improve the human condition.
  • Sociology Club: This student organization engages students in academic and social activities outside of the classroom.

Gaining an advantage

A Criminal Justice emphasis prepares you for work within the judicial system and gives you an edge in an industry that is more consistently requiring a degree.

News & Research

Western’s Mock Trial Team travels to Colorado Springs for competition

Western’s Mock Trial Team travels to Colorado Springs for competition

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Department Chairperson

Greg Haase, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology, Department Chair of Behavioral & Social Sciences Department

Administrative Assistant

Deanna Banker, B.S.

Graduate Program Coordinator

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Kelley Hall 240
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231