Criminal Justice

Why Study Criminal Justice

The Department of Criminal Justice offers a Bachelor of Science degree focused on the comprehensive study of crime and delinquency as well as prevention and control strategies. Undergraduate students complete courses that develop their understanding of theory; these courses are complemented by courses that emphasize the development of analytical skills, which will enable you to conduct and understand applied criminal justice research. Criminal justice majors are prepared to enter graduate school and other advanced professional programs.

Why Study Criminal Justice at Ship

Students in the Criminal Justice undergraduate degree program at Shippensburg University benefit from faculty members with a wide range of both professional and academic backgrounds. With small class sizes and a low student to instructor ratio, students in our Criminal Justice program have multiple opportunities for mentorship and collaboration.

Internships are available at the local, state, and federal level, and provide students with practical experience, and networking opportunities. The Criminal Justice internship provides students with a real-world work experience in a criminal justice agency. Internships enhance a graduate's ability to enter the job market, with some interns being hired at the conclusion of their internship experience.

Career Opportunities and Salary Estimates

Criminal Justice is one of the most popular undergrad programs at Ship. Our students have gone on to find employment as corrections officers, law enforcement agents, prison administrators, loss prevention professionals and more. Because the Criminal Justice major program combines theory and practice, students are prepared for further study, either at the graduate level or in a JD program.

The average salary for criminal justice jobs in PA is $49,000.

Major and Minor Requirements

All undergraduate Criminal Justice students must complete a total of 120 credit hours:

  • General Education Courses: All students are required to complete the university's general education program, which provides a balanced liberal arts foundation.
  • Criminal Justice Core Courses: Students in the criminal justice program take a core of required courses designed to provide initial exposure to the separate areas of police, law, courts, and corrections. The core program provides students with courses emphasizing theory and research skills. The core has one capstone course where students demonstrate their understanding of the operation of the criminal justice system.
  • Criminal Justice Minor: Students who wish to supplement their degrees with a fundamental exposure to the dynamic field of criminal justice must complete 18 credit hours within the department. Many are available online.   


Shippensburg University's undergraduate criminal justice degree recently received certification from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), becoming the first and only certified bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

Student Groups

The Criminal Justice Club provides a forum for interaction between students, faculty, program alumni, professionals employed in the field, and members of the broader community. Becoming a member is a great way to get involved on campus and in the community. Criminal justice students learn team building and leadership skills and develop meaningful communication with others members within this community.

Students who want to learn how a courtroom operates can join the Mock Trial Team and participate in a national competition where schools compete in a mock or fake trial.  

Contact Information

Criminal Justice
Shippen Hall 321, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
Department Web Site