Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Major

The Saint Mary’s criminal justice and law enforcement major is designed to prepare students to serve in local, state, or federal law enforcement such as city policing, state highway patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other related professions.

Law enforcement track studies are structured around a core of criminal justice courses including topics such as law enforcement, the judicial process, drugs, crime, and the correctional system. Faculty at Saint Mary’s offer students both academic and real-world experience and provide a breadth of understanding and working knowledge in these areas. Students are also exposed to a wide variety of other disciplines including human services, political science, psychology, and sociology. 

Saint Mary’s criminal justice program is certified by the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (POST), which means majoring graduates will be certified and comply with the first step in licensing required by POST. To complete this process, graduates are also required to pass a statewide POST-administered examination.

Criminal justice studies also include a corrections track for students who want to pursue careers in the juvenile or adult correctional setting.

Career Options

Border patrol; correctional officer; customs inspector; drug enforcement administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation agent; government lawyer; judge; paralegal; police officer; private practice lawyer; probation officer; treatment specialist; protective services; security

High School Preparation

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

Enhance Your Experience

Criminal justice and law enforcement majors often pursue additional studies in history, human servicespsychology, 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.

S301 Crime and Delinquency (3 cr.)

The study of deviant behavior as it relates to the definition of crime, crime statistics, theories of crime causation, and crime typologies are treated. The course covers topics such as criminological research, explanations of crime and delinquency, and the development of criminal justice policies.

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 Business Statistics, B392 Biostatistics, or ST232 Introduction to Statistics.

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 Reasoning with Statistics.

Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215 Business Statistics, B392 Biostatistics, or ST132 Reasoning with Statistics.

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 (45 hours = 1 credit).

CJ498 Internship Integration (2 cr.)

Credit for this course requires students to complete an in depth 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.

CJ402 Minnesota Criminal Law (4 cr.)

Learning objectives of this course include an understanding of the problems faced by entry-level police officers in the area of criminal warrants and confessions, stop-and-frisk, and pre-trial identification procedures. A detailed understanding of the Minnesota Criminal Statutes is also expected.

CJ460 Law Enforcement Professional (4 cr.)

Learning objectives of this course include understanding the evolution of Law Enforcement, and the different issues that present themselves during this process. Each student is expected to demonstrate an understanding of the: selection and socialization of police professionals; organizational management; police deviance: corruption and controls; minorities in policing; community-based policing; the use of force and the hazards of police work.

PY220 Abnormal Psychology (4 cr.)

This course investigates the dynamics of abnormal behavior. Disorders manifested in childhood and adolescence, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse, sexual disorder, and dependence, violence and abuse, and personality disorders are studied. Etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, research, prevention and therapy are considered. The interactions among biological, psychological, social and cultural factors are emphasized.