The Criminal Justice program at Penn State Berks offers an education in the liberal arts tradition. In addition to breadth and depth of knowledge about criminal justice, the program cultivates skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, issue analysis and problem solving. Students who graduate from this program should be adaptable and flexible, participate in the civic and intellectual life of the community, appreciate cultural diversity and practice ethical behavior.
Skills for the Real World
A degree in criminal justice at Penn State Berks provides strong preparation for a growing market in corrections, parole and probation, law enforcement, and courts. Writing, speaking, research, and computer skills are also emphasized in each of the degree programs. The skills, combined with knowledge about sources of crime, the justice system, and criminal justice policy, provide a strong foundation for students interested in a criminal justice career. The program's focus on the traditional liberal arts skills of critical thinking, analysis, and communication will prepare you for a career in any criminal justice field.
Concentrations or Academic Tracks
Penn State Berks offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Criminal Justice. These degrees provide a comprehensive and detailed examination of procedures and practices in addition to an expanded general education curriculum.
- Bachelor of Arts - A four-year baccalaureate degree consisting of 124 credit hours which includes an expanded liberal arts program and skill in a foreign language. This is an excellent choice for those students whose career direction requires a more broad-based understanding of American and international culture. Beyond the traditional classroom experience, all of our four-year students complete internships in which they gain real life experience and valuable networking contacts.
- Bachelor of Science - A four-year baccalaureate degree consisting of 124 credit hours in which students fulfill part of their degree requirement by developing a structured skills enhancement component designed to meet the specific career goals of the student. Beyond the traditional classroom experience, all of our four-year students complete internships in which they gain real life experience and valuable networking contacts.
Students complete at least one internship, typically during their junior or senior year. Students prepare for their internship experience through an Introduction to Internship course, where they research possible internship sites, prepare a resume and cover letter, practice interviewing skills, and network with local professionals.
Graduates from this degree program have completed internships at:
- Berks County Detectives
- Berks County sheriff's office
- cybersecurity companies
- private security firms
- regional FBI offices
Students conduct independent and group research projects in their courses. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty members on research projects and to propose independent study projects.
Graduates from this degree program have conducted research in:
- Career aspirations of criminal justice students
- Women in criminal justice occupations
- Effectiveness of diversion programs
- Stigma of drug use
- Attitudes toward criminal justice policies and punishment
Students can pair the following programs with this degree program for a double major:
Students can pair the following minors with this degree program:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that industry job growth in the field of criminal justice is growing faster than the average of all occupations. Bachelor’s degrees are required for most federal jobs.
Jobs in this field include three major categories of positions that encompass careers in both governmental and private settings. These opportunities include protective services, law and corrections, and crime-related prevention and support.
Penn State Berks criminal justice graduates work in all phases of the criminal justice system. Other graduates have gone on to law school or are pursuing master's and Ph.D. degrees.
Graduates from this degree program have gotten jobs at:
- U.S. Capitol Police
- Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement
- Berks County Sheriff's Office
- Berks County Juvenile Probation Office
- Lancaster Police Department