Criminology and Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science

Become a better practitioner by studying criminological theory, the justice system and law.

You’ll develop the knowledge, skills and ethical training that are essential for pursuing a career in law enforcement, corrections, the legal system, probation and parole, or a variety of social service agencies. This program also prepares you for graduate studies in law, criminology, or public policy and administration.

The Curriculum
Understand society, crime, and justice

By studying human behavior and social institutions, you’ll get a complete picture of the causes of criminal behavior and crime’s impact on society. You’ll learn how the criminal justice system is made up of several agencies, each with its own important function and how they work together. You’ll study:

  • Policing
  • Judicial processes
  • Corrections
  • Forensics
  • Law
  • Victimology
  • Crime research and statistics
  • Public policy
  • Theories of crime and criminality
Learn from different fields

Excelling in the criminal justice system or a related field requires a background in several different subjects. Your studies will incorporate theory, research, and practical applications with an emphasis on understanding crime and criminal behavior, criminal justice systems, as well as criminal and constitutional law. Your major will be enhanced with foundational courses that draw from:

  • Sociology
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Global studies
  • Public policy and administration
Gain field experience

As a requirement of the major, you’ll complete an internship in a criminal justice or related agency. This opportunity — combined with your coursework that involves service learning, research projects, and field trips to justice agencies — will give you direct experience with the day-to-day operations of the criminal justice system. One of our most popular experiential learning experiences includes the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, where students have an opportunity to take a college course alongside inmate classmates in a correctional facility.

Be a strong, ethical leader

Today’s competitive job market and our global society require leaders who think critically, communicate clearly, and find ethical solutions to complex problems. Our classes are designed to incorporate these crucial skills throughout your coursework, rather than addressed in separate courses.


Offered as a major (BS).

Recommended Minors

Want to add even more value to your degree? Consider one of these minors to gain a unique combination of skills and perspectives.

The Experience

Cal Lutheran and the Criminology and Criminal Justice department are preparing me for success in my future career by providing a high quality education that includes studying a variety of important subjects within Criminology and Criminal Justice. Some of the most impactful classes I’ve taken in this program are ‘Criminology’, ‘Contemporary Corrections’, ‘Family Violence’, ‘Substance Abuse’, and ‘Deviance in U.S. Society’. All of these classes have provided invaluable knowledge that will be very useful in my career.

Matthew Burciaga ’22

In Introduction to Criminal Justice, we had the opportunity to tour Ventura County Jail, which completely shaped my opinions on corrections. The ‘Procedural Law’ class with Professor Oakman helped me understand our laws and court systems. Professor Oakman gave us the opportunity to watch a case live and it put into context everything we learned in the classroom.

Sophia Placencio ’22

Your Future

Majority of our criminology and criminal justice majors secure employment in the field after graduation or go on to graduate school or law school. While most graduates are employed in a criminal justice agency, such as law enforcement or probation, many also find employment in government agencies, nonprofits, and in private sector organizations such as insurance carriers and victim services.

Our alumni study at:
  • California Western School of Law
  • Columbia University
  • George Mason University School of Law
  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Loyola Law School
  • Northeastern University
  • Pepperdine Law School
  • San Diego State University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Denver
  • University of Nevada, Reno
  • University of Southern California
Our alumni work for:
  • Beverly Hills Police Department
  • Casa Pacifica Children Services
  • Department of Public Safety
  • FBI Cyber Division
  • Interface Children & Family Services
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • Oxnard Police Department
  • San Diego Police Department
  • Santa Barbara Police Department
  • Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office
  • Simi Valley Police Department
  • United States Customs
  • University Campus Safety Departments
  • Ventura County Probation Agency
  • Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Crime Analyst Division
Career paths:
  • Border Patrol and Immigration Officer
  • Correctional Officer
  • Crime Analyst
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Customs Inspector
  • Juvenile Justice Officer
  • Law Enforcement (local, county and federal levels)
  • Lawyer
  • Legal Assistant
  • Park Ranger
  • Parole and Probation Officer
  • Professor
  • Researcher
  • Social Worker
  • U.S. Customs Agent
  • Victim Advocacy and Social Services

of Cal Lutheran graduates find a job or enroll in graduate school within nine months

More Career Outcomes

One of my favorite classes in the Criminology and Criminal Justice program was ‘Senior Seminar’. This course covered a variety of topics including moral and ethical issues within the criminal justice field, as well as professional development. This class really demonstrated how this program is focused on developing well-rounded professionals who will be entering fields in which we shape policy, philosophies and influence the lives of the people in the communities we serve.

Jacqueline Tovar-Bernal '20
Criminology and Criminal Justice Major
Legal Assistant, First Year Law Student, The Law Office of Lilian H. Jiang, California Western School of Law

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