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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I declare a major/minor?: To declare a major or change from one major at the university into another you must meet certain criteria. Majors at Shippensburg are classified as either “impacted” or “non-impacted.” Students wanting to declare or change to a “non-impacted” major may submit a request form at any time during the semester. The change is subject to the approval of the dean of the college in which the new or intended major is located following a review of your academic record prior to the request.

Criminal Justice is classified as “impacted” and has limited enrollment. Your first step is to obtain, complete, and submit a change of major from your major department within the first three weeks of the semester. The major department will contact you regarding the status of your request. The major department will also notify the Registrar's Office of the major change and assign you a new academic advisor prior to registration. Acceptance into any major program at Shippensburg University is based upon space availability and specified GPA requirements.

Minors may also be “impacted” or “non-impacted.” In order to add/change a minor, the change of major/minor form must be completed and returned to the department within which the desired minor is located.

What are the requirements to become a Criminal Justice major/minor?: New incoming freshmen and transfer students (if criteria below is met) may declare criminal justice as their major prior to beginning classes at Shippensburg University. Currently enrolled students wishing to declare or change their major to criminal justice must complete the change of major/minor form and return it to the department within the first three weeks of the semester.

To declare Criminal Justice as a major, students must have a 2.6 QPA. Once students begin attending Shippensburg University, all major coursework must be completed at Shippensburg University.

To declare Criminal Justice as a minor, students must have a 2.5 QPA. Further, at least 50 percent of the minor must consist of coursework completed at Shippensburg University.

Introduction to Criminal Justice (CRJ 100) is the pre-requisite for all other Criminal Justice courses and should be taken first. Students can then schedule Policing a Democracy (CRJ 221) or Survey of Corrections (CRJ 241) the following semester. These classes may be taken during the same semester. Criminal Law and Procedure (CRJ 261) should be taken in your sophomore year. After you have completed the 200-level courses, you should schedule Theories of Crime and Crime Control (CRJ 309), followed by Research Methods (CRJ 310). Once you complete Theories of Crime and Crime Control, you may schedule Criminal Justice elective courses. The upper division courses, Race, Ethnicity, and Crime (CRJ 452) and Policy, Professionalism, and Ethics (CRJ 454) should be taken in your senior year. You must pass all Criminal Justice courses with a “C” or better before you can continue to the next course(s).

You must earn a grade of “C” or better in all Criminal Justice core courses or you must repeat and pass them with a “C” or better before you continue taking any other Criminal Justice courses. If you receive below a “C” in any Criminal Justice elective course, you may repeat the course or substitute another Criminal Justice elective, because only “A”, “B”, or “C” grades in the Criminal Justice elective courses count towards the graduation requirement.

If you are an upperclassman (i.e., sophomore, junior, senior), you can withdraw from a course online by dropping it from your schedule. This process is similar to adding/dropping courses during class registration. If you are a freshman, you must notify your college dean's office to withdraw from a course. You may withdraw from a course during the first week of the semester with no penalty. After the first week of classes, you may withdraw from a course and receive a grade of "W" if you submit your request before the deadline to withdraw (the deadline changes each semester). If you stop attending class but do not withdraw, you will remain registered and will receive a grade of "F" for the course. You will not receive refunds or adjustments to your account if you do not officially notify the University of your withdrawal.

Before you take the action to withdraw from a course you should discuss it with your academic advisor to determine how it may impact your status as a full-time student, satisfactory academic progress for financial aid or NCAA purposes, and other key considerations.

If you wish to do work at another college or university for transfer credit back to Shippensburg University, you must first obtain approval of the Department Chair. In order for transfer credit to be posted to your academic record, you must have an official transcript of the work sent to your dean for final review and approval. In general, a grade of “C” or better is required for transfer credit to be accepted. The transfer credit will appear on your transcript with a grade of TR and will not be used in calculating your QPA. Transfer credit will not be awarded to replace a “D” or “F” grade earned at Shippensburg University. Once you are attending Shippensburg University full-time, no transfer credit will be given for any Criminal Justice core courses.

What will happen if I miss the first day a class meets?: If you are unable to attend the first class session of a course in which you plan to remain enrolled, you must give notice of your intended absence to the instructor, academic department secretary, or academic dean's office of that course. Failure to provide such notification may result in your name being removed from the roster by the instructor and your place in that class lost for the semester. If you do not attend the first day of class, you cannot assume, however, that you have been dropped from this class. It is your responsibility to verify your enrollment status by checking your schedule.

What should I do if I miss class?: At Shippensburg University, your participation in class is viewed as essential to the teaching/ learning process. Therefore, it is expected you will miss classes infrequently and only for good reason. Each instructor shall state the course requirements including attendance expectations as part of the clearly written course information distributed at the beginning of each semester. An instructor must make provision for excused absences. However, if you elect to be absent from a class without being excused, you must be prepared to accept an evaluation for any graded activity, consistent with course requirements, which takes place at that session.

You will be held responsible for all material covered in classes. Students should provide advance notification of any absence to your instructor if possible and students should be aware that professors need NOT provide any make-up opportunity for missed quizzes, examinations, homework or in-class assignments.


If you are in good standing with a cumulative QPA of 2.0 or better, you may apply to your academic dean for a leave of absence. This would permit you to return to Shippensburg University without having to apply for readmission. Leave of absences may be granted for up to one year. If you do not return to the university within one year, you must apply for readmission. If you leave the University without notifying the Department or Dean, it may lead to permanent dismissal from the University. Remember, if you are experiencing academic or personal difficulties you are not alone and we are here to help you.

Regardless of your major, you must earn a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. Some majors may require more than 120 credits, and students who take developmental-level courses (e.g., 050) will complete more than 120 credits since developmental-course credits do not count toward graduation credits. Each course is assigned a credit value that typically identifies how many hours each week the class meets. A 3-credit course meets 3 hours a week. Some courses may be 4 credits and would meet 4 hours each week. So, to graduate from Ship, you will take around 40 courses.

The 120 credits will consist of:

  • General Education Courses - 48 credits
  • Major Courses - varies according to major
  • Minor or free elective courses - varies

What is a grad check? How do I apply for a grad check?: A graduation check (grad check) is completed to ensure that you have taken the correct courses in order to graduate. A grad check should be done in your second semester of your junior year to make sure you have taken the appropriate courses to graduate. A notice describing when and how to sign up for grad checks is sent to students by the department typically in October and March. Double majors should have a grad check completed by the appropriate College. For example, Psychology/Criminal Justice dual majors should request a grad check from the College of Arts and Sciences for their Psychology degree and from the College of Education and Human Services for their CRJ degree.

Contact the Criminal Justice Department 321 Shippen Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1558 Fax: (717) 477-4087