This program goes beyond the study of law and crime to explore complex issues of social justice related to crime, punishment and victimization, including race, class, gender and sexuality. Students explore current trends and controversies and gain cross-cultural competencies needed to work successfully with diverse populations. A distinguishing feature of this program is its emphasis on the growing field of restorative justice, a technique that involves working with victims as well as offenders.
Students graduate with a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Criminal Justice. The Political Science major itself develops in students an understanding of diversities and social structural arrangements among people affect the distribution of power and the ability of people to live meaningful, sustainable lives and co-exist in a fair and socially just world. (Note: Criminal Justice also is offered as a concentration in the B.A. in Anthropology & Sociology.)
The multidisciplinary concentration in criminal justice draws on JSC’s rich liberal arts tradition and commitment to high-impact education – “learning by doing” – to explore the relationships of crime, law and social justice. It also cross-cultural competency, preparing students to communicate and work with those from a wide range of backgrounds and with disparate life experiences.
Supported by a network of community partner organizations, the program offers internships in the field of criminal justice, particularly in the arenas of restorative justice and victim advocacy as well as in border patrol and other areas of law enforcement. Students complete these internships in their junior or senior year along with a concurrent senior seminar.
A range of disciplines are brought to bear on criminal justice, including anthropology, political science, psychology and sociology. The program prepares student for a careers in law enforcement and criminal investigation, crime analysis, juvenile justice, victim advocacy, restorative justice and community development, social justice and public policy. A criminal justice background also prepares students to pursue careers in law, from working as paralegals and legal assistants to attending law school.
In addition to meeting the learning outcomes of the B.A. in Political Science , upon successful completion of the concentration in criminal justice, students should be able to:
- Critically evaluate key theories about crime and criminal behavior.
- Critically assess existing criminal justice systems with the aim of improving their condition and function.
- Identify and assess alternative solutions to problems associated with existing models of crime control.
- Develop and demonstrate sufficient self-awareness to understand the influence of personal biases and values in interacting with diverse groups.
- Identify and analyze ways in which oppression, privilege, discrimination, and social and economic disadvantage contribute to inequalities and injustices within criminal justice systems.
- Understand key issues and approaches in the field of criminal justice, including mental health, substance abuse, youth development, trauma-informed care, and results-based accountability.
- Demonstrate familiarity with key skill sets in the field of criminal justice, including effective communication and conflict resolution and de-escalation.
- Apply understandings of research methods and data collection techniques for conducting research in criminal justice.
- Apply understandings of criminal justice policy and key controversies to field experiences.
Political Science Curriculum
Political science faculty strongly recommend a semester-long internship with such agencies or organizations as the Vermont General Assembly or Legislative Council, state and federal agencies, newspapers and wire services, U.S. Congress, international organizations, law offices, legal aid programs, public-interest groups, public affairs foundations, election campaigns, etc. Such experiences often lead directly to career opportunities in these fields. Internships enable students to meet many decision-makers and are particularly valuable when integrated with seminars in political science.
Required Core Courses (18 credits)
Choose 2 of the following:
Choose 5 of the following:
Criminal Justice Curriculum
Note: Criminal Justice requirements that meet requirements for the major are also applied toward the major.
Required Core Courses (16 credits)
Electives (take 12 credits)