Criminal Justice

The nature of and responses to crime are important social phenomena that affect all of our lives. The criminal justice program at SDSU provides students with an in-depth analysis of all facets of crime and crime control. Students who choose this major study the development, functions and structure of the criminal justice system. They examine the role of law enforcement agencies, courts, correctional agencies, and private agencies that aid in the prevention and control of crime and delinquency. The in-depth study of criminal and social justice issues is designed to foster the capacity for balanced and critical evaluation of criminal justice problems, including the role of the criminal justice system as it relates to other institutions in society.

The criminal justice major will appeal to undergraduates who are interested in preparing for a career in criminal justice, policing, corrections, law, or a related field; students who are currently employed in the criminal justice community; and individuals who are generally interested in studying how public policies about crime and its control are created and implemented.

Program Overview

The purpose of the criminal justice program is to provide current and future decision-makers in criminal justice with the foundation for critical, balanced, responsible and effective administrative responses. Lower-division course work for the major consists of classes focusing on sociology, psychology, statistics and American and California government and politics.

Upper-division course work consists of classes in law and social control, social policy and systems of justice, applied planning, and research and program evaluation. Criminal justice electives are offered in the areas of corrections, courts and the judiciary, delinquency, juvenile justice, and law enforcement.

Special Features

Open to all students with a grade point average of 3.2 or above, The Criminal Justice Honors Society sponsors campus functions that expose students to representatives of criminal justice agencies and career opportunities. Students who are specifically interested in law are also urged to join the SDSU Pre-law Society. The department also offers student chapters of the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

The Public Administration Center and the Institute for Public and Urban Affairs offer access to government documents, journals, and intensive specialized courses. Periodically, the department hosts guest speakers who offer specialized knowledge in the area of criminal justice.

Work Experience. Students are able to gain firsthand field experience through internship opportunities with criminal justice, juvenile justice, or community agencies. Full-and part-time paid criminal justice-related positions are also available to students.

Career Opportunities

The program is designed to prepare graduates for positions in public and community agencies that deal with various areas of crime and delinquency prevention and control. At the local level, graduates can begin service in various capacities with police, loss prevention, sheriff's and marshal's offices, probation, county supervisors, city administration, and criminal justice planning agencies. At the state level, graduates may enter the Highway Patrol, Attorney General's Office, California Youth Authority, or related agencies. At the federal level, graduates are eligible to be employed in such agencies as the FBI, Border Patrol, Secret Service, ATF and the CIA.

Because the school provides an excellent program with emphasis on the legal basis of the criminal justice system, Criminal Justice majors will have an outstanding foundation should they plan to attend law school or pursue graduate studies.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Criminal Justice program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.