Bachelor Degree (B.A.) in Criminal Justice
JUSTICE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD
In this major, you’ll become familiar with America’s criminal justice system and criminal behavior, both in the classroom and during hands-on internships. By studying crime from a variety of perspectives, including psychology, biology, and theology, you will learn how to make creative and data-driven decisions about crime and other social policy. All faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice are former or current practitioners. Guided by their academic credentials and real-world experience, you’ll grow into your own role in this important field.
Possible career paths:
Municipal, state and federal law enforcement, investigative and correctional agencies, state and federal court systems, law school, public administration
median salary for police and detectives
In addition to the specific requirements listed in the section below, all students at the Abbey are required to earn credits in our core liberal arts curriculum.
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:
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 306: Criminal Justice Research
CJ 314: Criminology
CJ 360: American Criminal Courts
CJ 403: Ethics in CJ Systems
CJ 408W: Senior Thesis
CJ: Electives and/or Internships**
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 completion of one of the following options:
3 CJ course electives
2 CJ course electives and a 3-credit internship
1 CJ course elective and a 6-credit internship
*It is the student’s responsibility to verify that all degree requirements for graduation are fulfilled.
In the spring semester of odd-numbered years, the Criminal Justice Department has traditionally offered an eight-week course “English Foundations of American Law.” The course includes a study abroad trip to London during Spring Break. Students visit Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Churchill’s War Room, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and more.
Criminal Justice students can complete an internship for academic credit. Students will discuss with their advisers an area they would like to pursue: law enforcement, courts, corrections, juvenile justice, drug counseling, private investigations, etc. The student and adviser will work together to identify an appropriate position and submit an application. The student is encouraged to do the “legwork” as a way to hone his or her job-seeking skills. The internship proposal is then presented to the adviser for approval.
More about the experience
Sgt. J.J. Sturm Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship fund has been created in the memory of J.J. Sturm, a retired sergeant from the Greensboro, N.C. Police Department at the time of his death in 2019. Sgt. Sturm’s career spanned 28 years, some of which he shared with his son. Their commitment to Catholic education and the law enforcement profession helped create this scholarship.
Preference for the annual scholarship award of $1,000 will be given to a current Belmont Abbey College Criminal Justice student who is the son or daughter of an active or retired law enforcement officer(s). Others may be eligible, including the son/daughter of active/retired law enforcement in another major, or a current Criminal Justice major planning to pursue a career in law enforcement.
The James W. Buie Scholarship
This scholarship is an initiative of Belmont Abbey College, the Gaston County Police Department and Gaston County Schools. The scholarship is named for Belmont Abbey College alum, (’86) who served the Gaston County Police department for 29 years and was the county’s first African-American chief.
The goal of the scholarship is to increase diversity in the department with minority and female applicants receiving priority. The scholarship is awarded to two students each year. Upon completion of their degree and qualifications of the Gaston County Police Department, the GCPD will offer these students full-time employment with the department for a period of not less than five years.
Professor Stephen Ward created a Mock Trial class to give students a chance to experience the process of a trial. Students prepared opening statements, examined witnesses, and made closing statements. A U.S. magistrate judge came in to “preside” over the session. Students enjoyed getting a taste of what happens in a real courtroom, and many were inspired to go to law school.
JAMES BUIE ’86
“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.”
KODI SHATZER ’19
“The Abbey helped me get in touch with Pineville Police Department…and gave me the opportunity to complete a summer internship. My experience with Pineville PD was unlike anything I had expected. They allowed me to work hands-on in the field with patrol units, the 911 call center, the K-9 Unit and also the detective unit. Not only was this experience interesting and exciting, but it also helped me to confirm that the Criminal Justice field is where I want to be working for the rest of my life with the degree I am receiving from the Abbey.”