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Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Program Information

Criminal justice is a career-oriented liberal arts major focusing on the dynamics of criminal and delinquent behaviors, the interaction between law enforcement, the legal system and society, and the critical issues of justice in the United States and the world. Criminal justice majors complete 45 credits in order to earn a B.S. degree. 

Some of these requirements include:

Introduction to Sociology or Social Problems
Social Inequality
Introduction to Criminal Justice
Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
Restorative Justice

Additional electives that are offered include:

Juvenile Delinquency
Criminal Investigations
Deviance and Social Control
Inside-Out Prison Exchange

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Learning Experiences

At Chestnut Hill College, criminal justice is not just a cop-training program. With an emphasis on real-world applications of restorative and social justice, as well as faculty who bring years of experience, and courses that are tailored to experiential and service learning, students not only learn about what criminal justice is, but how to live it.

CHC's program challenges students to think about the gap between theory and practice, question assumptions in the field, consider professional ethics and promote social justice. Through its direct relationship with the departments of Sociology and Human Services, criminal justice majors have the unique opportunity to blend their study with fields such as juvenile justice and child welfare.

Class Field Trips

In the criminal justice major, one of the common elements of the curriculum is the class field trip. Students are exposed to court rooms, prisons and other criminal justice agencies, as well as those who work there, as a way to show them first-hand, what a career in the field might entail.

Students enrolled in CRJU 230 01 Juvenile Delinquency, visit The Glen Mills School. Founded in 1826, The Glen Mills School houses between 400 and 500 young boys who are court-ordered to attend the school. Chestnut Hill College students are escorted by the The Glen Mills School students, who provide a wealth of information about their lives at the school.

Restorative Justice Seminar

Criminal justice majors are required to participate in the Restorative Justice Seminar, which is truly a unique classroom experience. The class is limited to 12 students and the semester is structured around a Peacemaking Circle, a core component of the restorative justice process. It is a very hands-on learning experience for the students involved.

Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

Additionally, students are invited to take part in an experiential course called "Inside-Out Prison Exchange." Inside-Out was started at Temple University and is currently a model that is used in criminal justice education across the country. The program allows students to meet once a week inside of a local state prison where half the class is made up of CHC peers and the other half, prisoners on the inside. Students have credited this course as broadening their understanding of individuals and helping to break down the wall between common stereotypes. It truly is a life-changing experience for all who participate.


Click here to read the course catalog for more information.

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Student Activities

Criminal justice majors are exposed to a variety of major specific activities, honor societies and programs while at the College. These include:

  • Alpha Pi Sigmaqualifying students who have declared a Criminal Justice major, who have completed at least four courses in their major and who have a career and major GPA of 3.20, may be invited to join the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Eligible students are approved by the department.
  • Film and Lecture Series - Understanding the importance for students to hear from professionals in the field and to see the work that is being done ahead of them, the department sponsors a series of lectures and films. Recently, these have included a lecture by the Commissioner of Prisons for the State of PA, a showing of the film 'Cash for Kids,' and a lecture from the prosecutor in the Jerry Sandusky case.
  • Just-Us Club - Open to students in all majors, this club helps promote real-world applications of restorative justice through a series of service projects and poverty simulation events among other things, that enable students to get involved in the surrounding community and learn about how rewarding a career in restorative justice can be.
  • Griffin Bobbies Facebook Page - Students can follow the Griffin Bobbies Facebook page for updates on events planned within the major, relevant articles and job and internship opportunities.

Experiential learning is a very important component of the criminal justice curriculum at Chestnut Hill College. For this reason, CHC employs a professional internship director who has organized the program efficiently while establishing new requirements. Among these, is the corresponding class students in internships are required to take, which allows them to share their own experiences while also reflecting on those of others.

Our students have held internships in a variety of fields, including but not limited to:

  • Montgomery County and Philadelphia County District Attorney's Office
  • Families of Murder Victims
  • Montgomery County Detectives Bureau
  • Victim Services Center
  • Philadelphia Crime Scene Unit
  • Alchohol, Tobacco, Fire-Arms and Explosives (ATF) Division
  • NJPD Department of Homeland Security
  • Postal Inspection
  • US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
After Graduation

A criminal justice degree prepares graduates for a variety of occupations within law enforcement, court systems, corrections, local, state and federal government, human services agencies, as well as graduate study in criminal justice, criminology, law, public policy, social work, and other related fields. Career options include:

  • city or state police and task forces
  • probation officer
  • prison administrator
  • federal law enforcement agencies (FBI, CIA, DEA, FDA, Secret Service)
  • private security and investigation
  • victim advocacy
  • juvenile advocacy
  • community counselor
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Contact Information

If you are interested in becoming a criminal justice major at Chestnut Hill College, please contact Lauren Barrow, Ph.D., Chair of the Center for Education, Advocacy and Justice Studies.

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