One definition of the discipline of Criminal Justice (CJ) is that it is the study of both domestic and international structures, functions, behaviors, and public policies related to the apprehension, prosecution, sentencing, and incarceration of offenders. Though somewhat formal, this definition makes an important point…Criminal Justice is the "study of." Some people think that CJ is all about learning how to be a field practitioner (i.e., probation officer, police officer, FBI agent, etc.). While your Criminal Justice degree will prepare you for employment in the CJ arena, it is not a degree that involves specific job training; rather, it is the scholarly study of how justice is dispensed in our system of government and around the world.
In the United States, individuals are given many rights and liberties that are safeguarded in the Bill of Rights. This places our justice system in a difficult but fascinating dilemma. How does the system balance individual liberty with the need for order? Order is certainly essential, but not at the expense of our rights and liberties. The criminal justice system is, therefore, held accountable to treat individuals equally and with "due process." Our social system benefits when this accountability is appreciated and acted upon by criminal justice practitioners.
Our graduates are prepared for a wide range of careers (almost too numerous to mention here!) in the criminal justice arena at the local, county, state, and federal levels, as well as numerous opportunities in the private sector. Many graduates go on to law school or graduate school. Graduates can also be found working in the social welfare field, business, and in regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, among other areas.
You are encouraged to meet with a faculty member to discuss your career goals and options and learn more about this truly exciting and highly relevant are of study.