What is a B.S. in Criminal Justice?
Criminal Justice is a program within the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences combining aspects of criminal justice, sociology, social work, psychology, history and law. Students study with a variety of instructors with expertise in law, juvenile delinquency, counseling, corrections, probation, parole and law enforcement. Students develop a broad range of communication skills through discussions, presentations, and writing. These skills provide an excellent foundation for careers in law enforcement, probation, parole, counseling, and law. Students will experience lectures, class discussions, and hands on training in a variety of law enforcement areas. Students are also required to complete a two hundred (200) hour internship which must occur during a semester of study. The hallmark of this program is its flexibility. Many courses are offered during evening hours to accommodate working individuals. The program also offers transfer credits for approved state police, municipal/local police, and correction academy graduates. West Liberty University also offers a minor in Criminal Justice.
Am I a good candidate for the Criminal Justice program at West Liberty?
If you have an interest in law enforcement, probation, parole, law, or counseling, are willing to work hard and enjoy challenging yourself then you are a good candidate for the Criminal Justice program. You will need to be self-disciplined and able to attend class on a regular basis and meet the deadlines of those classes. You should also have the desire to and enjoy working with the general public.
Entry Requirements, Field Placement, Senior Seminar
Currently, there are no entry requirements to enroll in the Criminal Justice program at West Liberty University. Every Criminal Justice student must complete a two hundred (200) hour field placement (internship) during a semester of study. The students work in an agency setting. This will expose the student to the criminal justice environment. The work done at the agency is to help the student accomplish defined learning objectives developed jointly by the student, the placement coordinator and the agency. The work is supervised by an on-site supervisor as well as the faculty supervisor. The Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice is a comprehensive examination of technical core subjects and focuses on the student’s preparation for entry-level employment in criminal justice. This course is generally taken during the student’s final semester of coursework. As part of the class, the students prepare a portfolio, make a presentation to the class over a current topic in criminal justice and take a Major Field Test. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the Criminal Justice courses as well as overall in order to graduate. Students in the Criminal Justice Program have the ability to attend The Washington Center as a field placement option. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars is a Washington D.C. based organization that provides internships and academic seminars for students in governmental, corporate, international, and nonprofit organizations. Students spend 10-15 weeks in Washington, D.C., and are required to spend four-and-one-half days per week at their internship site, take a three hour course, attend a Presidential Lecture series, and participate in an 8-12 hour community service project. Students earn between 9-12 hours of academic credit, and increase employment opportunities in the Criminal Justice field.
Examples of field placements through The Washington Center:
- DEA, Interpol, Treasury Department
- US Marshal Service, NCIS
Examples of local field placement options:
- Ohio County Sheriff’s Department
- Marshall County Sheriff’s Department
- Brooke County Sheriff’s Department
- Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department
- Wheeling Police Department
- Weirton Police Department
- Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office
- Jefferson County Juvenile Court
- Wintersville Police Department
- Sargus Juvenile Center
- Ohio County Probation Department
- Lee Day Report Center
- Brooke County Probation Department
What are the opportunities in the field of Criminal Justice?
The need for Criminal Justice professional is always going to exist. For example, the country has been experiencing an explosion of individuals in the corrections system. As a result, there is going to be a need for individuals to supervise, treat, counsel and arrest those who violate the law. A Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice can lead to the following careers:
- Law enforcement officer (federal, state, county, municipal)
- Corrections (federal, state, county)
- Probation (adult and juvenile)
- Private security
Criminal Justice Honor Society (Eta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma)
Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, is not a fraternity or sorority. It is a society formed to recognize outstanding scholastic achievement in the study of Criminal Justice. Not only is it an honor for you to be invited, it is recognition of your hard work. The requirements for the Criminal Justice Honor Society at West Liberty University are that you be a student at West Liberty University; have completed three semesters of study; have completed at least four Criminal Justice courses; maintain a 3.2 overall GPA; and maintain a 3.2 GPA in your Criminal Justice courses.
SAMPLE CURRICULUM – B.S. IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
General Studies Core………………………………………..48 cr
Required Criminal Justice Courses..…………………..42 cr
CJ 152 – Intro to Criminal Justice
CJ 236 – Criminology
CJ 238 – Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice
CJ 281 – Contemporary Corrections
CJ 302 – Ethics in Criminal Justice
CJ 303 – Criminal Law
SOC 320 – Victimology
CJ 353 – Correctional Assessment, Casework
SOC 416 – Research Methods in Sociology
CJ 452 – Criminal Procedure
CJ 480 – Contemporary Law Enforcement
CJ 483 – Field Placement (6 cr)
CJ 485 – Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice
Restricted Electives…………….…………………………12 cr
Must be approved by the advisor and should be 300 or 400 level
Plus Electives to Total……………………….. 120 credit hours