The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at St. Edward’s prepares you to work in law enforcement agencies, youth and criminal justice centers, and for local, state and federal security departments.
This major provides the foundation for students interested in pursuing careers in the law, law enforcement, probation and parole, court administration, and corrections. Our mission is to prepare our graduates to be productive professionals who are competent in their field and able to compete for entry-level positions in law enforcement, court administration, probation, parole, and corrections at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels of government. We achieve this by providing a well-rounded interdisciplinary liberal arts program of study reinforced by a commitment to providing real-world experience through community-based internships. Over the course of your studies as a Criminal Justice major, you will …
Strong communication and management skills, along with the ability to quickly analyze and solve problems, are key qualities for success in this field. This is also a good major for students who are interested in the study of various types of law.
Major Requirements: The BA in Criminal Justice requires 21 hours of criminal justice major courses, which include a combination of foundation courses about the criminal justice system, corrections, law enforcement and criminology. In addition, 21 hours are taken to add an area of emphasis from Administration of Justice, Pre-Law or Law Enforcement.
Electives: Students complete 12 hours of elective courses in any area of study they choose. These courses do not have to relate to the major.
General Education Requirements: The degree requires 54 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for the major (PDF).
A few examples of courses students in this major take:
Student Support Services
Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success.
We encourage students to take advantage these resources that help them thrive and excel:
The Criminal Justice faculty come from a wide variety of criminal justice-based disciplines. We are dedicated to providing the best student experience possible through classroom innovation and engaged-learning styles. Faculty also ensure a personal advising experience which allows individual students to share their dreams and aspirations for their future within the criminal justice discipline.
"The field of criminal justice requires that students use their brains and their hearts to work through complicated problems. In the classroom, students use their intellect and empathy, as well as actual criminal justice data, to identify, diagnose and respond to real-world challenges."
-Warren Anderesen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
"Criminal Justice is an ever-evolving field and the excitement of sharing these things in the classroom is unparalleled. My favorite part of teaching is bringing my 'real world' experience into the classroom, and showing students how concepts and techniques learned in an educational setting translate to graduate programs and/or jobs post-graduation. My ultimate goal is to help students gain knowledge and experience so they are successful, thoughtful citizens in their pursuits to serve the public."
– Casie Parish-Fisher, M.S., Ph.D., Chair, Department of Criminal Justice
"Teaching is my passion and St. Edward’s allows the opportunity to engage with students on many different levels. Criminal Justice is an important field in our society, and is ever changing. Criminal Justice students at SEU have the opportunity to gain foundational knowledge of the system, interact with criminal justice professionals on campus and off, and study the latest research trends. My research focuses primarily death penalty issues concentrating on future dangerousness, race, and ethics; as well as, juror decision-making, moral foundations and crime, veterans’ treatment court, and incarcerated mothers."
Lisa Holleran, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Criminla Justice
Students have the opportunity to participate in regional conferences and pursue internships. This helps students build knowledge and skills in preparation for careers within the field. Students are introduced to more than academic content through an ongoing array of guest speakers. Guest speakers teach students about aspects of professionalism and prepare them for post-graduation career experiences.
Students are encouraged to enroll in an internship course in order to complete internships with local police, jails, courts, probation or parole agencies. Previous internship sites have included:
Students may engage in self-directed research by enrolling in a credit course and working closely one-on-one with a faculty mentor.
Each year, a Criminal Justice major is awarded the Randall Vetter Memorial Scholarship. This award recognizes a current student who excels in scholarship, community service, and civic leadership.
The scholarship honors Randall Vetter '94, a DPS trooper who was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop near San Marcos. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Criminal Justice from St. Edward's University in May 1994. During his days as a St. Edward's University student, Vetter served as both vice-president and president of the university's chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice academic society. He was described as the "quintessential poster-boy for what professional law enforcement in our democratic society should stand for at the dawn of the new millennium," by Dr. David M Horton, who taught Vetter at St. Edward's University.
The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice at St. Edward’s University provides the foundation for students interested in pursuing careers in the law, law enforcement, probation and parole, court administration, and corrections. Our mission is to prepare our graduates to be productive professionals who are competent in their field and able to compete for entry-level positions in law enforcement, court administration, probation, parole, and corrections at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels of government. We achieve this by providing a well-rounded interdisciplinary liberal arts program of study reinforced by a commitment to providing real-world experience through community-based internships.
Many of our Criminal Justice majors apply for law school; other students pursue work in the field after graduating.
Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.
Students who are interested in doing work related to the criminal justice system can expand their knowledge and experience by getting a minor in Criminal Justice. A minor in Criminal Justice is particularly helpful for students who are interested in pursuing criminal investigations and enforcement.
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.