Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice

The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is an interdisciplinary unit in the College of Arts and Sciences containing two academic, undergraduate programs.  The specific objectives of the Political Science Program are as follows:

  • To help students develop an understanding of the operation of government at various levels
  • To encourage students to engage in critical discourse of political and social issues
  • To prepare students for advanced study
  • To provide skills for employment in public and private organizations

Political science is the study of governments, public policies, and political behavior. Political science uses both humanistic and scientific perspectives and skills to examine public power, social transformations, the nature of democracies, elections, public opinion, constitutions, technology and society, public policy, and similar issues. The Department of Political Science offers courses in the following fields: American Government, Criminal Justice, Public Policy and Administration, Political Theory, Research Methodology, and International Affairs.

The Department of Political Science requires students to develop competence in the use of modern political technology and information management systems. Students have access to excellent computing facilities as well as access to the Political and Social Research Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory. Students learn how to design, administer, and analyze surveys by working with the Political Science and Criminal Justice Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing Laboratory (CATI).

The specific objectives of the Criminal Justice Program are as follows:

  • To provide a broad-based liberal arts education with particular focus on the nature and causes of crime and delinquency, the prison system, the courts, the police, the juvenile justice system, and domestic violence
  • To increase the pool of students with research skills and techniques in the field of criminal justice
  • To provide an interdisciplinary focus of study in the field of criminal justice
  • To serve as a strategy for recruiting a larger and more diverse student body
  • To increase the pool of talented and qualified minority students in this growing area of public service and professional practice.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice will provide students with knowledge of the nature and causes of crime, criminal justice processes, and law enforcement. Students will be introduced to social scientific methods and theoretical models needed for analysis and critique of the criminal justice system. Students majoring in Criminal Justice will receive a broad-based interdisciplinary education with particular focus on the nature and causes of crime and delinquency, corrections, the courts, law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, and domestic violence.

The Criminal Justice Program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to criminal justice where the departments of political science, psychology, and sociology and social work provide a core of courses in the criminal justice curriculum. Students in this program will have the same access as Political Science majors to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory and the Political Science and Criminal Justice Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing Laboratory (CATI).

The Department of Political Science and Criminal justice offers the following degrees.

  • Political Science: Bachelor of Arts
  • Criminal Justice: Bachelor of Science
  • Criminal Justice: Bachelor of Science with Certificate in Forensic Science – Crime Scene Investigation
  • Certificate in Forensic Science – Crime Scene Investigation (non-degree)
  • Leadership Studies – Doctor of Philosophy *


*See the Graduate School Bulletin

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