Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at St. Edward’s provides the foundation for students interested in pursuing careers in the law, law enforcement, probation and parole, court administration, and corrections. 

This program offers a robust and comprehensive selection of courses designed to introduce students to the law, judicial philosophy and the institutions of crime control within the United States and internationally. Students have the opportunity to explore interesting special topics courses, participate in regional conferences and pursue internships as they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare them for careers within the field.

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice


BA in Criminal Justice majors at St. Edward’s become focused in their academic pursuits once they declare their area of interest. By working closely with department faculty, students explore the fundamentals of law, investigation, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, punishment and rehabilitation. Students are introduced to more than academic content through an ongoing array of guest speakers, from whom they learn aspects of professionalism and preparation for their post-graduation career experiences. Close interaction with faculty, through advising sessions, classes, research and internship opportunities, helps students target options for careers and graduate work.

With a BA in Criminal Justice, our graduates have obtained work as city, state and federal law enforcement officers, adult and juvenile probation/parole specialists, court administrators, legal professionals, crime analysts, death investigators and corrections staff. Criminal justice graduates have secured positions with a variety of agencies, including the United States Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Border Patrol, Federal District Courts, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and many large metropolitan police departments.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, and elective courses, BA in Criminal Justice majors take courses from these groups:

Criminal justice majors complete core courses to develop competency in areas of substantive and procedural law, criminal justice agencies and institutions, and the assessment of deviant behavior in terms of legal standards. To achieve this, students are enrolled in classes that include Administration of Justice, American Court Systems, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Comparative Legal Systems, Criminal Law, Law of Evidence and Proof, Prosecution and Adjudication, American Law Enforcement, Corrections, Juvenile Delinquency, and Criminology.

A variety of classes from other disciplines accentuates understanding of the core courses and provides a greater understanding of the major’s themes. Criminal Justice majors are exposed to the knowledge base of supporting disciplines such as sociology, psychology, social research, statistics and American national and state government.

BA in Criminal Justice majors, depending on their academic goals, may pursue either of two areas of specialization: Criminal Justice or Pre-Law.

  • The Criminal Justice emphasis allows students to further investigate interesting topics within the Forensic Science or Criminology programs. Students are required to enroll in a minimum of nine hours of specialized electives, three of which must be upper division. These electives allow them to explore a variety of innovative topics or tailor their degree specifically to their career interests.
  • The Pre-Law emphasis allows students to work toward their goal of attending law school. Students in this tract must complete three upper-division courses: Criminal Evidence and Proof, Criminal Law II, and Prosecution and Adjudication.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.


Students majoring in criminal justice at St. Edward’s have the opportunity to gain valuable field experience through traditional internship placements with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; the judicial system; and allied criminal justice agencies. Internships are excellent opportunities for criminal justice majors to see the theories and methodologies they have studied in the classroom at work within their community. Through these placements, students can further explore areas of interest and evaluate their career goals more accurately. In the competitive career environment, an internship can prove to be a critical addition to your résumé and provide key networking opportunities.

Our students have gained on-the-job training through internships at local, state and federal organizations, including these:

  • Austin Police Department
  • Child Support Enforcement Unit (Texas Attorney General)
  • Gardner-Betts Juvenile Justice Center
  • Internet Child Pornography Prosecution Unit (Texas Attorney General)
  • McCabe Center (federal convict re-entry)
  • Specialized Units of Cyber Crimes, Fugitive Apprehension, Money Laundering (Texas Attorney General)
  • Travis County State Jail
  • United States District Court
  • United States Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • United States Marshals Service


At St. Edward’s, criminal justice students are encouraged to pursue research in areas of their interest. Easily approachable faculty members help guide independent studies and research to fulfill Capstone or class-related assignments, or to expand students’ knowledge base outside the classroom. These investigations help build students’ confidence and skills and prepare them for graduate studies, law school or the professional work environment. Students are encouraged to submit completed works to appropriate regional conferences and campus publication forums, such as the World History Association of Texas (WHAT) and the Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE) at St. Edward’s University.

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