Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

Courses & Curriculum

Criminal justice is the study of criminal law, the law of criminal procedure and the procedures and activities having to do with the enforcement of criminal law. It includes understanding the social context of criminal behavior and the system of practices directed at upholding social control and sanctioning those who violate the criminal law. The major is grounded in a liberal arts curriculum; it emphasizes not only how the criminal justice system has developed in its present form, but also how changes in the system affect other parts of society. In addition, the major is constructed to prepare students for a broad spectrum of occupations, including law enforcement, corrections and allied mental health. Finally, students who wish to pursue careers as lawyers can major in criminal justice and also take advantage of the college’s Pre-Law program

Qualifications for the Major

Students must have a minimum grade of “C” in each required course in the major and an overall GPA of 2.0 in the major

Criminal Justice Curriculum:

1. Core Curriculum Requirements: 
Learn more information regarding the Core Curriculum requirements. All students complete these requirements as part of their overall Canisius education.

2.  Major Course Requirements (12 courses)

MAT 131 Statistics and Computers 3 credits
SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology  3 credits
SOC 342 or ANT 351 Research Methods  3 credits
CRJ 227 Introduction to Criminal Justice I  3 credits
CRJ 228 Introduction to Criminal Justice II  3 credits
CRJ 320 Criminology 3 credits
CRJ 449 Criminal Law  3 credits
CRJ 450 Criminal Procedure  3 credits
CRJ 382 Criminal Justice Ethics 3 credits
Criminal Justice Electives: three courses  3 credits

3.  Free electives: 
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Criminal Justice Minor

The Criminal Justice minor is designed for students who have chosen another academic major (e.g. Psychology, Political Science) but who may have an academic and/or career interest in the area of criminal justice. Three courses are required. The two CRJ electives can be chosen from any of the criminal justice offerings, with at least one course at the 300 or 400 level.

SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology  3 credits
CRJ 227 Introduction to Criminal Justice I  3 credits
CRJ 228 Introduction to Criminal Justice II  3 credits
CRJ elective (2 courses) 6 credits
TOTAL   (5 courses) 15 credits


CRJ 227  Criminal Justice I           3 credits
Focuses on the nature and extent of crime, policing, and court system including constitutional rights and trial process. Fall

CRJ 228  Criminal Justice II             3 credits
Sentencing, corrections, juvenile court, drug court, and global crime issues. Spring

CRJ 280  Language for Legal Professionals             3 credits
Explores the use of language in the administration of law, including ways to read and brief cases and to read statutes. (Field 5) Spring

CRJ 300 Special Topics in Criminal Justice           3 credits
Critical examination of a selected topic in criminal justice. Subject matter determined by the instructor. Fall and Spring

CRJ 320 Criminology              3 credits
Classical and contemporary theories of criminal behavior and the role of theory in the Criminal Justice system. Explanations for why crime occurs, understanding of criminal behavior and its impact on society.  (Justice) Prerequisite: CRJ 227 and 228 Spring

CRJ 330  Current Issues in Forensic Psychology             3 credits
Application of the science of psychology to questions and issues relating to criminal law and the criminal justice system. Topics discussed include competency to stand trial, assessment of mental state for an insanity plea, and prediction of violence and assessment of risk. Fall.

CRJ SL337 Violence and the Family             3 credits
How family dynamics can contain elements that give rise to violence, including “battered women” and abused children. Fall and Spring

CRJ 344 Violent Crime in American Society             3 credits
Examination into the theories that cause violent crime and behavior.  Analysis into the factors attributed to violence - mental illness, racism, poverty, and interpersonal relationships. Fall or Spring

CRJ 345 Gangs in American Society            3 credits
Examines the theoretical causes for the growth of gangs; including youth and criminal gangs.  Topics include the social theories, measurement, and solutions. Fall or Spring

CRJ 351 Police and the Community             3 credits
Critical examination of the operation of all levels of law enforcement in America.  Topics include the selection process, training, ethics, and police accountability. Fall or Spring

CRJ 354 Juvenile Delinquency             3 credits
Legal processes in juvenile delinquency as well as understanding and analysis of current practices and historic and contemporary issues. Suggested programs for rehabilitation and prevention of delinquency. Fall or Spring

CRJ 356 Treatment of Offenders              3 credits
Correction theory, offender typologies, and nature and diagnosis of offenders and future trends in dealing with criminal offenders. Fall or Spring

CRJ 358 White Collar Crime             3 credits
Crimes committed by “respectable people” in positions of responsibility in private or public sector. Nature of these crimes, how regulatory bodies and legal systems treat these criminals and how they seek to avoid detection and prosecution. Fall or Spring

CRJ 359 Women and Crime             3 credits
Classical and contemporary accounts of the etiology of female crime, patterns of female criminal behavior, and the role and treatment of women in the criminal justice system. Fall or Spring

CRJ 449 Criminal Law             3 credits
The substantive criminal law, including offences against persons, property and public morality with emphasis on New York State Penal Law. Criminal responsibility and defenses. Prerequisite: CRJ 227, CRJ 228. Fall

CRJ 450 Criminal Procedure             3 credits
Key Supreme Court decisions on search and seizure, arrest, interrogation and identification of criminal suspects. Sentencing and punishment, appeal and post-conviction relief.  Prerequisite: CRJ 227, CRJ 228.  Spring

CRJ 461  Senior Capstone             1 credits

CRJ 382 Criminal Justice Ethics            3 credits
The personal, social and criminal justice contexts for understanding justice, crime and ethics. Skills necessary to deal effectively with ethical issues in criminal justice systems. Problems and case studies for active exploration of social issues. (Ethics)  Prerequisite: CRJ 227, CRJ 228, ANT 351 or SOC 342 Fall

CRJ 498 Criminal Justice Internship           3 credits
Opportunity for selected students to participate in daily work in a law enforcement agency. Students must apply the semester before they take the internship. Prerequisite: Background check; G.P.A. of at least 3.0; junior or senior status; signature of major advisor. Fall and Spring

CRJ 499 Individual Reading and Research            3 credits
Independent studies allow in-depth study of a specific topic and are most often reserved for seniors who cannot otherwise fulfill a graduation requirement. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor, department chair and associate dean. Fall and Spring

The following courses offered by other departments or programs count as satisfying the requirements for the criminal justice major and minor: 

ANT 280 Language for Legal Professions; 
ANT 333 Forensic Anthropology; 
ANT 351 Qualitative Research Methods; 
PSC 103 Constitutional Foundations of American Government ; 
PSC 320 American Constitutional Law I; 
PSC 321 American Constitutional Law II; 
PSC 345 International Crime after 9/11; 
SOC 342 Research Methods

The following psychology courses will count as satisfying the requirements for criminal justice majors pursuing a dual major with psychology: 

PSY 201 Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences; 
PSY 202 Experimental Psychology; 
PSY 303 Abnormal Psychology; 
PSY 307 Adolescent Psychology; 
PSY 369 Forensic Psychology.