Why Choose Criminal Justice?
Criminology and Criminal Justice are evolving, multidisciplinary fields that address the presence, causes, consequences, and prevention/control of crime in society. The Criminal Justice Studies program at Bradley University is designed to prepare students for a variety of career opportunities, as well as for graduate studies in any of several interrelated academic disciplines. Our graduates have enjoyed successful careers as:
- Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and administrators, including:
- Police chiefs and senior police administrators
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.) agents
- Secret Service agents and officers
- U.S. Deputy Marshals
- Immigration, Customs, and Border Patrol agents
- Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) agents
- Probation and Parole officers and administrators
- Correctional counselors and educators
- Victim and witness advocates
- Private security officers and private investigators
- Counselors and administrators within the juvenile justice system
- Mental health and social service providers and administrators
- Local, state, and federal judges
- University Professors
- Policy analysts and researchers
- And many other fulfilling professions within criminal justice and beyond
At Bradley, you will work closely with faculty who are deeply dedicated to your educational and professional success – passionate about accompanying you on your path toward knowledge and skill that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Unlike many larger universities, our professors are not only outstanding in the classroom, but are also supportive mentors who are happy to set aside time to listen and assist you along the way.
Opportunities for Field Experience
Criminal Justice Studies majors have the opportunity to gain relevant and valuable “real world” experience by interning at one of many criminal justice sites within the greater Peoria area. Examples of recent internship placements include U.S. Marshals Service, federal prisons, state patrol, local police agencies, court services, and legal research settings.
Personal Learning Environment
Unlike larger universities where even junior and senior-level courses may have upwards of 100 students enrolled, the average class size at Bradley University is only 25 students – even fewer for many upper-level courses within Criminal Justice Studies. This translates to a personal learning environment with ample opportunity for individual attention from instructors.
Active Student Organizations
Bradley University has an active Criminal Justice Student Organization which regularly participates in events, ranging from hosting guest speakers and seminars on criminal justice topics, to police ride-alongs and tours of local correctional facilities and crime labs.
Individual Academic Counseling and Advising
All Criminal Justice Studies majors are counseled and advised by criminal justice faculty members who are motivated not by personal or departmental interests, but by student success.
The faculty of and affiliated with the Criminal Justice Studies program at Bradley are committed to providing a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary education in crime, law, and justice that pushes the boundaries of traditional criminal justice education. They have educational backgrounds and research interests in a variety of disciplines and fields, including forensic psychology, sociology, history, political science, law, and computer science and information systems. As a result, students have distinctive opportunities for coursework and directed research on topics ranging from police investigations and criminal law to forensic computing, social justice, and forensic psychology.
Critical and Historical Perspective
The Criminal Justice Studies major at Bradley University emphasizes the historical context within which issues of crime, law, and justice exist, and promotes a critical approach to understanding these issues. Students gain an appreciation for the rich history of crime and societal response to crime, and are encouraged to adopt a critical posture and entertain a diversity of theoretical and methodological perspectives in examining the individual and social contexts within which crime and social control can be understood.
Focus on Justice
The Department recognizes and promotes in students a healthy respect for the notion that pursuing justice means more than operating within and manufacturing adjustments to the existing system of police, courts, and corrections. Rather, the problems of crime and crime prevention are multifaceted, requiring concern for social and distributive justice, restorative justice, as well as attention to the more conventional matters of criminal punishment and rehabilitation.
Focus on Ethics and Professionalism
Increasingly, the field of criminal justice is emphasizing not only the importance of university education for a new generation of practitioners, but also the significance of ethics, integrity, and moral character more generally. This focus on ethics is an essential thread running throughout the coursework required for our Criminal Justice Studies major. Preparing the next generation of ethical leaders is a fundamental part of the mission of the Department of Criminal Justice Studies.
Emphasis on Theory and Application
Bradley University’s Criminal Justice Studies program is not a “training” program; rather, it is designed to provide an integrative learning experience which is firmly rooted in theory and research, and provides ample opportunity for application and exploration of provocative and timely “real life” concerns. One of the guiding principles of the program is that theory and practice must always go hand-in-hand. Effective leadership demands an understanding of both for, as the expression goes, “those who know how will always work for those who know why.”
Emphasis on Quantitative and Analytical Skills
Data analysis is a critical component of the criminal justice system’s response to crime and crime prevention/control. Quantitative methods are employed, for instance, to assess and predict “hot spots” for crime, to predict offenders’ potential for future violence, and to test the effectiveness of strategies and programs designed to reduce criminal recidivism. The Criminal Justice Studies major at Bradley University emphasizes the skills necessary to understand and apply quantitative (data-driven) concepts to best prepare students for both graduate studies and careers in the ever-changing field of criminal justice.