Criminal Justice Catalog

Criminal Justice (BS)


Criminal justice is the study of criminal law, criminal procedure, and the enforcement of criminal law. It includes understanding the social context of criminal behavior and the way society upholds social control and sanctions 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. The major prepares 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. 


Students must have a minimum grade of C in all required courses and maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Students should consult with Dr. Kathleen M. Contrino, Director of Criminal Justice, for current advisement information.

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. This decision may be based on career goals, planned graduate studies, and/or other student interests. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement.  In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the Major/Minor Declaration form. This form will be submitted electronically and reviewed and approved by each department chairperson as well as the appropriate associate dean. 

Per university policy, each additional major requires a minimum of 15 credits that do not apply to the student's first or subsequent major.  Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in other cases additional course work may be required. Please note that students will receive only one degree unless completing the dual degree requirement including at least 150 undergraduate credit hours, regardless of the number of majors they complete. Both (all) majors appear on a student’s transcript.

Many of the department’s majors combine criminal justice with a second major in another discipline, such as sociology, psychology, political science, history, modern languages or communication studies.

Minors in Other Disciplines

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. To receive a minor, the student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their other credentials (i.e., majors, other minors). The complete list of minors is available on the Canisius website and in the catalog and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

MAT 131Statistics for Social Sciences3
or PSY 201 Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences
SOC 110Introduction to Sociology3
Select one of the following3
EDU 303
Research Methods in the Social Sciences (formerly HSV303)
SOC 375
Ethnography and Culture
CRJ 227Criminal Justice I3
CRJ 228Criminal Justice II3
CRJ 250Criminal Law and Procedure3
CRJ 325Restorative Justice and the Administration of Justice3
CRJ 382Criminal Justice Ethics3
CRJ 455Criminology3
Criminal Justice Electives (select 3 from list below) 19
Total Credits36

Students may choose to follow a specific concentration within the major.  We currently offer the following optional concentrations: environmental regulation and justice track, law enforcement, law and justice, and corrections. Concentrations will appear on the student's transcript.  The requirements for these concentrations are below.

Criminal Justice Electives

Students must take three Criminal Justice electives. Students may use any additional Criminal Justice (CRJ) course or any of the following courses as electives for the criminal justice major and minor:

PSC 103The American Constitution3
PSC 320American Constitutional Law I3
PSC 321American Constitutional Law II3
PSC 420The Constitution, The War on Terror and Civil Liberties3
PSY 303Psychopathology3
PSY 360Psychology and Law3
SOC 111Contemporary Social Problems3
SOC 315Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences3
SOC 340Sociology of the City3
SOC 355Deviant Behavior3

Optional Criminal Justice Concentrations

Environmental Justice and Regulation

Students who double major in Environmental Studies (EVST) and Criminal Justice (CRJ) should follow this concentration when selecting their electives.

Students select 5 of the following:15
ANZ 219
Animals in the Ancient World
CRJ 358
Green and White Collar Crime
EVST 250
Narratives of Nature and Culture
EVST 235
Environmental Policy
EVST 259
Environmental History of the United States
EVST 498
PHI 244
Environmental Ethics
PHI 245
Animal Ethics
PHI 264
Justice & the Environment: The Problem of Climate Change
PSY 329
Leadership and Motivation
RST 347
SOC 234
Environment and Society
SOC 273
Social Movements and Social Change
SOC 315
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences
or ECO 310
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
SOC 324
Visual Sociology
SOC 340
Sociology of the City
Total Credits15

 Law Enforcement

Select 5 of the following:15
CRJ 330
Current Issues in Forensic Psychology
CRJ 336
Drug Treatment Courts
CRJ 337
Violence and the Family
CRJ 345
Gangs in American Society
CRJ 351
Police and the Community
CRJ 354
Juvenile Delinquency
CRJ 356
Treatment of Offenders
CRJ 358
Green and White Collar Crime
CRJ 365
Criminalizing the Mentally Ill
CRJ 385
Death Penalty: Law and Policy
CRJ 390
Current Issues in Criminalistics
CRJ 498
Criminal Justice Internship
PSC 420
The Constitution, The War on Terror and Civil Liberties
PSY 303
SOC 111
Contemporary Social Problems
SOC 355
Deviant Behavior
Total Credits15

 Law and justice

Select 5 of the following:15
CRJ 275
Criminal Courts
CRJ 280
Legal Writing and Advocacy I
CRJ 285
Legal Writing and Advocacy II
CRJ 336
Drug Treatment Courts
CRJ 354
Juvenile Delinquency
CRJ 358
Green and White Collar Crime
CRJ 365
Criminalizing the Mentally Ill
CRJ 385
Death Penalty: Law and Policy
CRJ 386
Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
CRJ 498
Criminal Justice Internship
LEG 101
Mock Trial
PHI 240
PHI 261
Philosophy of Law
PSC 103
The American Constitution
PSC 320
American Constitutional Law I
PSC 321
American Constitutional Law II
PSC 420
The Constitution, The War on Terror and Civil Liberties
PSY 360
Psychology and Law
Total Credits15

 Corrections: Including Probation, Social Work and Juvenile Court

Select 5 of the following:15
CRJ 300
Special Topics in Criminal Justice
CRJ 336
Drug Treatment Courts
CRJ 337
Violence and the Family
CRJ 345
Gangs in American Society
CRJ 354
Juvenile Delinquency
CRJ 356
Treatment of Offenders
CRJ 365
Criminalizing the Mentally Ill
CRJ 498
Criminal Justice Internship
EDU 302
Children, Schools, and the Community
or PSY 334
Child, Family and Community Psychology
PHI 271
Philosophy of Human Rights
PSC 215
National Issues and Public Policy
PSY 453
Theories of Counseling
SOC 111
Contemporary Social Problems
Total Credits15

Criminal Justice and Psychology Double Major

Students double majoring criminal justice and psychology may satisfy the statistics and methods requirements with the following courses:

PSY 201Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences3
PSY 202Research Methods in Psychology3


Many internship opportunities upon approval are available to qualified juniors and seniors. As an urban center situated on the Niagara Frontier, Buffalo offers numerous internship experiences where students can explore careers and get valuable real life experience. A GPA of 3.0 of higher is required.

Foreign Language and Study Abroad

The department encourages criminal justice majors to study a foreign language of their choice and to participate in the college study abroad program.


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

SOC 110MAT 131 or PSY 201
CRJ 227CRJ 228
CRJ ElectiveCRJ 250
CRJ 382CRJ 325
Select one of the following:CRJ Elective
SOC 375
EDU 303 (formerly HSV303) 
CRJ ElectiveCRJ 455

Learning Goals and Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Criminal Justice Majors will evaluate the administration of the criminal justice system within the context of ethics, global awareness, diversity and justice.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Describe the organization and administration of the criminal justice system;
  • Objective B: Identify issues in the criminal justice system as they relate to ethics, global awareness, diversity and justice.

Student Learning Goal 2

Criminal Justice majors will be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to become scholar-servant-leaders in the criminal justice community.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Evaluate and critique systems and policies in the criminal justice system terms of justice;
  • Objective B: Apply social science research and ethics to criminology and the administration of the criminal justice system.

Student Learning Goal 3

Criminal Justice majors will become information literate within the context of criminology and the administration of the criminal justice system.

Students will:
  • Objective A: Evaluate appropriate information within the context of criminology and the administration of the criminal justice system;
  • Objective B: Analyze how ethical principles and ethical codes of conduct apply to criminal justice professionals;
  • Objective C: Synthesize criminology and information with the administration of criminal justice systems. 


Department Minors

Related Interdisciplinary Minors

*Criminalistics course CRJ 390 recommended in addition to the minor requirements.

Minors are an important part of the undergraduate curriculum.  If students declare a minor by sophomore year, they can usually complete it in a timely manner.  Students should work with their advisor to determine if it is possible that the minor can be completed by graduation.  

To receive a minor, a student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their major(s) and from other minors, and students must complete more than 50% of the coursework required for the minor at Canisius. Please note that “ancillary/supporting” courses required for a major may still count as distinct courses as long as the remaining coursework still meets the 30 credit-hours required for a major. For more information about minor policies, please see the Declaring Majors and Minors page in the catalog.


CRJ 227 Criminal Justice I 3 Credits

Analyze the field of Criminal Justice. Specifically, the course examines police and policing within the context of US history. It analyzes structure of the US Court System along with its practice, including the trial process and sentencing. Evaluate the structure, functions, practice and policies of the US correction system with a focus on alternatives to incarceration. Examine the Juvenile Delinquency System with an emphasis on Juvenile Courts.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: fall.

CRJ 228 Criminal Justice II 3 Credits

Analyzes the field of Criminology by defining crime from both Consensus and Critical perspective. It examines selected crimes, such as terrorism and white collar crimes, as examples of the critical concept of crime. It explores major criminology theories that explains crime as well as related policies to fight crime and criminal activities.

Offered: every spring.

CRJ 250 Criminal Law and Procedure 3 Credits

The substantive criminal law, including offenses against persons, property and public morality with emphasis on New York State Penal Law. Criminal responsibility and defenses. In addition key Supreme Court decisions on the criminal justice related constitutional amendments (4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendments). Finally, Appeals and post-conviction relief will be discussed.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227.

Offered: every spring.

CRJ 275 Criminal Courts 3 Credits

This course will explore the legal, social and political institutions that affect the dynamics of the criminal process. Topics will include the adversarial process and the decision-making of different participants in the system. The course will also look at the interrelationships that affect and influence court decisions and justice. A thorough examination of this subject will lead to a better understanding of criminal courts and its function within the criminal justice system.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227 and CRJ 228.

Offered: occasionally.

CRJ 280 Legal Writing and Advocacy I 3 Credits

Explores the use of language in the administration of law, including ways to read and brief cases and to read statutes.

Fulfills College Core: Justice, Oral Communication

Offered: spring.

CRJ 285 Legal Writing and Advocacy II 3 Credits

Introduces undergraduates to the practical written and oral application of legal principles by giving them basic tasks a lawyer would perform. Students gain a basic knowledge of the legal system and legal culture, and they also learn to analyze fact situations to spot and present legal issues from different perspectives: the defense, the plaintiff/prosecutor, the judge, and law enforcement. Class discussion includes legal, political, social, and moral implications of facts and law necessary to understand fact- based legal scenarios and to complete the following written assignments expressing this understanding:

Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive

Offered: every fall.

CRJ 300 Special Topics in Criminal Justice 3 Credits

Critical examination of a selected topic in criminal justice. Subject matter determined by the instructor.

CRJ 325 Restorative Justice and the Administration of Justice 3 Credits

Explores the significance of social inequality, especially race/ethnicity, gender and social class, for crimes and criminal justice system. Restorative justice theory, practices and policies are examined as a tool to mitigate the harm of discriminatory practices in the administration of justice.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227 and CRJ 228.

Offered: every 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.

Prerequisites: CRJ 227 and CRJ 228.

Offered: spring.

CRJ 336 Drug Treatment Courts 3 Credits

Examination of drug prohibition and the administration of diversional treatment courts and other treatment of drug offenders.

Offered: occasionally.

CRJ 337 Violence and the Family 3 Credits

How family dynamics can contain elements that give rise to violence, including 'battered women' and abused children.

Offered: fall & 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.

CRJ 350 Policy Issues in the Administration of Criminal Justice 3 Credits

Critical examination of a selected policy related to criminal justice phenomenon. Subject matter determined by the instructor.

Prerequisite: None.

Offered: every 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.

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.

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.

CRJ 358 Green and White Collar Crime 3 Credits

Analyzes the definition, nature, extend and social cost of white and green collar crimes from both a legalistic and critical approach. Special attention is given on how perpetrators of white and green collar crimes avoid criminal prosecution and the role that the corporate structure has in avoiding the prosecution of these crimes.

Offered: occasionally.

CRJ 365 Criminalizing the Mentally Ill 3 Credits

This course examines the legal and policy issues regarding the practice of criminalization of persons with mental illness. Topics investigated include the history of criminalization of persons with mental illness, constitutional issues, law enforcement responses to persons with mental illness, mentally ill offenders in jails and prisons, civil commitment, mental health courts and community supervision strategies.

Offered: occasionally.

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.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227 and CRJ 228.

Fulfills College Core: Ethics

Offered: fall.

CRJ 385 Death Penalty: Law and Policy 3 Credits

This course examines the major legal and policy issues relating to the practice of the death penalty in the United States. Topics investigated include the history of the death penalty in the United States, the constitutional limits on the types of crimes and criminals for which the death penalty is permitted, and contemporary controversies regarding the death penalty including potential innocence, special populations, methods of execution, race and gender biases.

Offered: occasionally.

CRJ 386 Comparative Criminal Justice Systems 3 Credits

Examines criminal justice systems across the globe including their historical significance and policy implications. Students will also analyze international and transnational crimes within the context of globalization. Students will understand diversity by analyzing similarities and differences across criminal justice systems within the broad categories of policing, legal institutions and correctional structures.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227.

Offered: every fall & spring.

CRJ 390 Current Issues in Criminalistics 3 Credits

Application of the science to the recognition, documentation, preservation, and analysis in the process of collecting physical evidence as it relates to crime, criminal law and criminal procedure. Topics discussed include evidence collection, analysis, criminal procedure and criminal justice, including civil rights.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227 and CRJ 228.

Offered: occasionally.

CRJ 455 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. Students will be produce a policy analysis research paper that will explore criminal justice policies, criminal theory and justice theories.

Prerequisite: CRJ 227, CRJ 228, CRJ 325.

Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive, Justice

Offered: every fall & spring.

CRJ 498 Criminal Justice Internship 3-15 Credits

Opportunity for selected students to participate in daily work of law enforcement agencies, courts, law firms, and social service agencies. Students must apply the semester before they take the internship.

Prerequisite: minimum GPA of 3.0, junior or senior status, & signature of major advisor.

Offered: fall & spring.

CRJ 499 Independent Study 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. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.

Offered: fall & spring.

3+3 BS JD Program  

Director: Robert Klump, Esq. at 716.888.2884

The 3+3 Accelerated BA/BS-JD program through the University at Buffalo School of Law is open to a variety of majors. By participating, you can:

  • Complete your undergraduate education and law degree in less time (and for less cost) than the 7 years typically required
  • Become fully eligible for scholarships and grants offered to qualified incoming students at the University at Buffalo School of Law
  • Upon successful completion of the first-year curriculum at UB Law School, a student's credits for the year will be transferred to Canisius to complete his or her bachelor's degree which will then be conferred by Canisius.


This unique program is open to pre-law students who:

*The LSAT score must be at or above the median LSAT score for the UB School of Law’s previous year’s enrolled class or the GRE score must be at or above the 70th percentile for Verbal Reasoning and the 40th percentile for Quantitative Reasoning.

For more information, contact the Raichle Center director.

3+3 BS JD Roadmap 

ENG 111ENG 112
RST 101PHI 101
Attribute: Global AwarenessField 7: Mathematical Sciences
SOC 110MAT 131 or PSY 201
CRJ Elective CRJ 227
Field 1: Religious Studies and Theology Field 2: Philosophy
Attribute: Justice Attribute: Ethics
Skills: Advanced Writing-Intensive Attribute: Diversity
CRJ 228CRJ Elective
CRJ 250CRJ 325
Field 3: Literature and Arts Field 4: History
Field 5: Social Sciences Field 6: Natural Sciences
Skills: Oral Communication CRJ Elective
CRJ 382CRJ 455
SOC 375 or EDU 303Capstone
1st year JD courses taken at UB 1st year JD courses taken at UB
LAW 509: TortsLAW 507: Property
LAW 501: Civil Procedure LAW 505: Criminal Law
LAW 503: ContractsLAW 511: Constitutional Law
LAW 515: Legal Analysis, Writing and Research ILAW 515: Legal Analysis, Writing and Research II
ATTRIBUTES - Can be fulfilled using a variety of courses including Field of Knowledge courses and electives with attribute designation
Global Awareness
Advanced Writing Intensive - Must be at the 200-level or above
Oral Communication Skills

Ethics is required of all students

Note: All students must complete a total of 60 hours of Arts and Science course. We strongly recommend that all students run a Griff Audit to check for this and any other additional requirements.