• the history, philosophy, and practice of the criminal justice system in America.

You should consider the Abbey’s Criminal Justice degree program if you

  • are committed to the search for truth
  • want to pursue societal justice
  • enjoy working with people

When we teach Criminal Justice at the Abbey, we prepare you for your post-college career with top-quality classes and hands-on experience.

  • Benefit from both a liberal arts core and an applied social science degree.
  • Explore law enforcement, courts, correction systems, and dig deeper to examine the relationship between culture and the rule of law.
  • Broaden your knowledge and experience by studying crime, offenders, and victims from the perspectives of theology, history, psychology, biology, and business.
  • Pursue an internship during your senior year and let our department help you to find a suitable agency that interests you and supports your career goals.

With a criminal justice bachelor’s degree from Belmont Abbey College, you will be able to pursue a variety of careers including:

  • Municipal, state, and federal law enforcement
  • Investigative and correctional agencies
  • State and federal court systems
  • Law school
  • Public administration

The Abbey Difference:

A Christian Focus
At the Abbey we aim to help criminal justice majors, as future practitioners and citizens, continue to develop their sense of community with regard to the administration of law, under the guiding principle that God be glorified in all things.

Explore Ethics
Our criminal justice majors will develop knowledge of the building blocks of the criminal justice system, explore the schools of criminological thought regarding crime and criminal behavior, and explore the ethical issues surrounding the professional field of criminal justice.

Think Critically and Creatively
In the course of their education, criminal justice majors are taught to think critically and creatively about crime and other social problems. Students are encouraged to develop solutions to these problems and to support those solutions with empirical data. In this way, Belmont Abbey students of criminal justice will strengthen their oral and written communication skills as well as their knowledge of the field.

Learn about our recent trip to London! Click here.

CMPD Officers Clark and Shelton Scholarship

Charlotte’s Finest Legacy Foundation is excited to announce the 2016 CMPD Officers Clark and Shelton Scholarship Opportunities. These scholarships were created in memory of CMPD Officers Clark and Shelton who were killed in the line of duty on April 1, 2007. Two $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to two eligible students who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement. Please be sure to read the criteria below regarding eligibility of applicants. If you know a high school senior or a current college student interested in a career in law enforcement, please feel free to forward this information or find the application here. Eligibility Criteria includes but is not limited to: * Applicant who wishes to pursue a career in law enforcement. * Applicant must be a high school senior OR a currently enrolled college student. * Employee of law enforcement agency may be in either a sworn or non-sworn position. * Employee should be employed by the agency or can be retired from agency. * Students interested in a career in law enforcement without an immediate family member employed at a qualified agency may still apply for the scholarship. Please note priority will be given to applicants who meet all criteria outlined in scholarship application. Application deadline is April 30, 2017.

The James W. Buie Scholarship

In December 2016 Belmont Abbey College, the Gaston County Police Department and Gaston County Schools announced the James W. Buie Scolarship. The Gaston County Police Department will establish an initial fund at the College from drug forfeitures. The goal of the scholarship is to increase diversity in the department with minority and female applicants receiving priority. The Police Department, Gaston County Schools and Belmont Abbey will, for the first two years of the program select a current rising junior and one incoming freshman for this prestigious scholarship. High school seniors in Gaston County can receive applications from high school counselors. Current Abbey students can access the application here: James W. Buie Scholarship Application.


Dr. Julie Beeman (2017-2018 Recipient of the Adrian Award for Teaching Excellence) – I love the small classes and the numerous opportunities I have to get to know my students, in and out of the classroom. Our Criminal Justice majors are drawn to this field out of a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors and communities. I’m honored to guide them toward a deeper understanding of society and human nature. As a former practitioner, my experiences help students learn how to turn theory into practice.

In this course, the students will examine the field of victimology. Students will also discuss various practical applications and policies that have resulted from society’s increasing concern for victims. Emphasis is placed on exploring the etiology of trauma, motivational issues of offending, response patterns to victimization, secondary trauma effects of victimization, and community and media response.
This course will examine the historical basis of the American Legal System in the Common Law traditions of England. The course will meet twice weekly during the first two months of the Spring semester and culminate in a trip during Spring Break to London. Here, the students will visit the British Library to see the Magna Carta, tour Parliament, observe a criminal trial in the “Old Bailey” courthouse, and visit New Scotland Yard and the Middle Temple of the Inns of Court. In addition, there will be visits to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Hampton Court Palace. Visiting these sites will help the student understand the connection between the two legal systems is still strong and provide them with a unique perspective that cannot be gained in the classroom.
In the first half of the semester, students will explore the theological underpinnings of criminal punishment by engaging scripture and the writings of Augustine and Aquinas, the US Bishops, and other Christian writers attempting to reconcile divine justice with punishment, atonement and notions of damnation/salvation. In the second half of the semester, students will consider the application of these teachings to the realities of the Criminal Justice system in the U.S. How might theological and ethical approaches to justice inform our courts and prisons?

Criminal Justice Resources:

CJ students have the opportunity to complete an Internship for academic credit. The majors have discussions with their advisers about the area of the system they would like to pursue: law enforcement, courts, corrections, juvenile justice, drug counseling, private investigations, etc. The student and their adviser work together to identify an appropriate position and submit an application. The majors are strongly encouraged to do the “leg work” as this is a good experience for them to hone their job-seeking skills. The internship is presented to the adviser for approval.

Alumni in Focus


James Buie ’86

Formerly a Chief of Gaston County Police Department, and the county’s first African-American chief, Buie recently retired from Gaston County and served the department for 29 years. Buie is the namesake for the Belmont Abbey College Criminal Justice scholarship (see below) that provides for an education at Belmont Abbey College as well as employment after graduation.

When asked to reflect on his time with Belmont Abbey College Chief Buie had this to say:

 “As a Belmont Abbey Alumni, I often reflect back on the value of my time spent there and how much of an impact it had in my career as an officer and Police Chief. Although I did not realize it at the time, It was through the Abbey that my subconscious was being developed into a consciousness of integrity, which is a must in the field of criminal justice.   A career in Criminal Justice is very rewarding but demands a commitment to virtue.  It’s a field so varied, from accident investigator to a U.S. Marshall, that there is enough to capture the most inquisitive mind to the most detail-oriented individual. Most importantly, it is now and will always be one of the cornerstones to maintaining our democracy and preserving an orderly society.” 


Jena Reisenauer ’16JenaReisenauerHeadshot100517 Cumulative GPA 3.9, Summa Cum Laude Graduate Receipt of Criminal Justice Department Award: Outstanding Senior Student Athlete: Softball Current Job Jury Coorinator Trial Court Administrator’s Office for the 26th Judicial District of North Carolina

  • Assist and coordinate 100+ Mecklenburg County citizens on a daily basis
  • Responsible for summoning jurors and sending out an average of 5,000 summonses per month
  • Assist in the coordination of juror show cause hearings and testify when needed
  • Present a live orientation daily to prep jurors for courtroom entry and ensure each juror is legally qualified
  • Closely work and interact with the community, court clerks, attorneys, judges, and other key court officials
  • Process juror requests that are considered exempt or excused from jury service by completing detailed analysis of submitted documentation
  • Research, process, and configure jury related data and reports
  • Responsible for processing juror payments and empanelment
  • Plan and organize special events such as Mecklenburg County’s month long Juror Appreciation event

Program Requirements

To be eligible for acceptance into the program, the student must have completed CJ 201 with a grade of C or better. Students may submit an Intent to Declare form after they have successfully completed CJ 201. To graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice, the student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the major. In addition to the other Core Curriculum requirements, the following are specific core requirements:

Major Requirements:

  • CJ 201* Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CJ 300 Law Enforcement in the United States
  • CJ 304 Institutional and Community Corrections
  • CJ 360 American Criminal Courts
  • CJ 307 Research Methods I
  • CJ 308 Research Methods II
  • CJ 414 Criminology
  • CJ 403 Ethics in CJ Systems
  • CJ 408W Senior Thesis (fall semester)
  • CJ Electives and/or Internships**

Other Courses

  • Social Science Division Courses: 3 PC/PO/SO Electives
  • General Elective courses

*CJ 201 is a prerequisite for all upper-level CJ coursework for all students, including those pursuing a major or minor in Criminal Justice.

** Students must complete a minimum of 9 hours in CJ internships and/or electives. This requirement is met through one of the following options:

  1. completing three (3) CJ course electives
  2. completing two (2) CJ course electives and a 3-credit internship
  3. completing one (1) CJ course elective and a 6-credit internship

NOTE: Students must also pass the Computer Proficiency Exam or complete CS 100.

It is the student’’s responsibility to see that all degree requirements for graduation are fulfilled.

  • CJ 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CJ 300 Law Enforcement in the United States
  • CJ 304 Institutional and Community Corrections
  • CJ 360 American Criminal Courts
  • CJ 414 Criminology

NOTE: All coursework must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.

It is the student’’s responsibility to see that all degree requirements for graduation are fulfilled.


Dr. Julia Foster BeemanChair and Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
A.A.S., Central Piedmont Community College
B.S., University of North Carolina-Charlotte
M.S., University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Ph.D., Nova Southeastern University

Mary Summa, J.D.
BA, Chestnut Hill College
J.D., Campbell University

Stephen Ward – Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
B.A., North Carolina State University
J.D., Mercer College

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