Criminal Justice and Corrections Major

Within the criminal justice program, Saint Mary’s offers a corrections track for students seeking careers in juvenile or adult corrections and associated fields within various correctional settings. 

Corrections track students study subjects organized around a core of criminal justice courses with topics including law enforcement, the judicial process, drugs, crime, and the correctional system. They are also exposed to a variety of other disciplines within the social sciences such as political science, psychology, sociology, and human services. With faculty who bring both academic and field experience right to the classroom, students receive an educational understanding along with real-world knowledge as they prepare for a career in the corrections field.

Criminal justice studies also include a law enforcement track for students who desire careers as police officers or in other law enforcement roles. For those seeking that path, Saint Mary’s is certified by the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (POST) and graduates comply with the first step in licensing by POST.

Are you an adult looking to finish your bachelor's degree? Please visit our bachelor's completion program page.

Career Options

Border patrol; customs inspector; correctional officer; drug counselor; drug enforcement administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation agent; police officer; probation/parole officer; protective service; security

High School Preparation

European History; Government; Psychology; Sociology; Statistics; U.S. History

Enhance Your Experience

Criminal justice and corrections majors often pursue majors in history, human services, pastoral and youth ministry, psychology, sociology, theology, and other social sciences.

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

CJ111 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 cr.)

This course is intended to provide the students with an introduction to the historical, political and social aspects of the criminal justice system. Students explore issues that impact the overall functioning criminal justice system, with a focus on the three main components of the system: police, courts and corrections.

CJ250 Police Process (3 cr.)

This is an in-depth study of the organization management and function of the police in our modern pluralistic society. Topics covered include: basic police administration and organization relative to police staff and operational functions, operational methods, basic criminal investigative techniques, written and oral communications to include report taking, writing, and testifying in court, and an overview of the legal requirements regarding criminal procedure and evidence.

CJ302 Correctional Processes (3 cr.)

This course examines the history, philosophies, and components of the American correctional system. It provides an overview of the origins of corrections and an introduction to the philosophical ideas with which specific correctional approaches are associated. The history, nature and recent developments of major institutions and programs that make up the current correctional system: jails, probation, intermediate punishments, prison, and parole are explored.

PS332 American Constitutional Law (3 cr.)

This course examines the social, philosophical and legal problems faced by the Supreme Court in translating the abstract language of civil liberties contained in the U.S. Constitution into concrete reality with an emphasis upon current problems and the evolving nature of the process.

S110 Sociological Imagination (3 cr.)

The nature and foundations of society and the individual, the main forces that strengthen and weaken social groups and the conditions that transform social life are examined in this course.

S250 Logic of Analysis (4 cr.)

This course examines the major sociological perspectives in conjunction with an instruction in the logic and procedures of gathering information about social phenomena. The course covers topics such as: the logic of the scientific method, research design, hypotheses formation, theory and methods of scaling, and research analysis.

S320 Children and the State (4 cr.)

This course focuses on the concept of youth in contemporary society in terms of their behaviors, roles, experiences, and treatment. It does so within the context of the evolution and structural development of two major social institutions: the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The course uses a sociological framework to emphasize the social, economic, and political realities of childhood in American society.

S350 Field Methods (4 cr.)

This course offers a working experience in the purpose and tools of qualitative field methods. The course covers rapport, methods of observation, field notes, data coding and analysis, ethnography, focus groups and interviews, as well as an introduction to quasi-experimentation.

B. One of the following:

ST132 Reasoning with Statistics (3 cr.)

This course is designed to develop student facility in the use of statistical methods and the understanding of statistical concepts. The course takes a practical approach based on statistical examples taken from everyday life. Topics include: descriptive and inferential statistics, an intuitive introduction to probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, regression and correlation. Appropriate technology is used to perform the calculations for many applications, and correspondingly an emphasis is placed on interpreting the results of statistical procedures. Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215, B392 or ST232.

ST232 Introduction to Statistics (2 cr.)

This course is designed to provide the basic ideas and techniques of statistics. Topics include: descriptive and inferential statistics, an intuitive introduction to probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, regression and correlation. This course makes significant use of appropriate technology. Topics in this course are treated at a higher mathematical level than they are treated in ST132. Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215, B392 or ST132.

C. Section C or D:

CJ489 Thesis Development (1 cr.)

Registration for this course initiates a student's work on the thesis requirement. The student is expected to select a topic and design the research project. The course is conducted primarily on an independent basis in consultation with the student's advisor. The result of this course is the completion of thesis proposal.

CJ490 Research in Criminal Justice (2 cr.)

In this required course for majors, the student must complete an original research project that results in the completion of a thesis.

D. Section C or D:

CJ496/497 Internship in Criminal Justice (1–17 cr.)

An off-campus internship provides qualified juniors or seniors an opportunity to participate in field experience under the guidance and supervision of competent professionals. Students are required to complete a full time internship of 270 hours on site. Up to six credits equal a full time internship. Each additional credit requires 45 additional hours at the internship site.

CJ498 Internship Integration (2 cr.)

Credit for this course requires students to complete an indepth paper based on a student's experience in a criminal justice internship. The research paper requires students to review scholarly research on a topic related to their internship, and discuss the relationship between scholarly research and their internship experience. All assignments leading up to the completion of the paper requires students to apply academic knowledge to real world settings. Must be taken either concurrently or after completion of CJ496/497.

E. All of the following:

CJ352 Drugs in American Society (3 cr.)

The primary objective of this course is to provide a comprehensive survey of the use and/or abuse of drugs in the United States and their impact on the criminal justice system. Special attention is given to the historical and sociological contexts in which drug laws have evolved and the implication of those laws on drug prevention policies.

CJ425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender (3 cr.)

This course provides numerous theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, class and gender along with a variety of activities which ensure each student an opportunity for developing an experience base with members of various ethnic, social class and gender communities.

HS352 Public Policy (4 cr.)

This course is devoted to a thorough review, analysis and evaluation of public welfare policy and at least one other topic. These topics may include but are not limited to the following: health care; environmental regulations; energy; consolidation of federal programs; affirmative action, etc. Special emphasis is given to the formulation, adoption, implementation, impact, and evaluation of public policy.

S319 Social Theory (3 cr.)

This course examines the historical development of modern sociological theory from its roots in 18th century normative social philosophy to contemporary, empirically-based theory.  In simple terms, social theory explains and guides the social observations sociologists make in their practice.  In many cases, social theories attempt to predict future occurrences in society as well.  Social theory attempts to answer those "big" questions human beings have perennially asked like:   What makes society possible?  How do societies maintain order?  Are humans free and to what degree?  Why is there inequality?  Why are societies different?  Why and how do societies change?