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.


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.

Code Title Credits Description
GEOG 340 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 3 View
POLS 301 Constitutional Law II 3 View
PSY 200 Statistics and Data Analysis 3 View
PSY 368 Psychopathology 3 View
SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology 3 View
SOC 150 Environmental Sociology 3 View
SOC 168 Social Problems 3 View
SOC 211 Quantitative Research Methods 3 View
SOC 225 Self and Society 3 View
SOC 259 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3 View
SOC 285 Criminology 3 View
SOC 302 Sociological Theory 3 View
SOC 303 Contemporary Sociological Theory 3 View
SOC 310 Qualitative Research Methods 3 View
SOC 320 The Familly 3 View
SOC 322 Medical Sociology 3 View
SOC 323 Cultural Studies 3 View
SOC 340 Social Movements 3 View
SOC 349 Law Enforcement 3 View
SOC 350 Deviance 3 View
SOC 351 Juvenile Deliquency 3 View
SOC 355 Drugs and Society 3 View
SOC 367 Corrections 3 View
SOC 380 Social Inequalities 3 View
SOC 399 Internship in Sociology 1-6 View


Criminal Justice

Alyssa Ware


“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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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