Why Elms for your Criminal Justice degree?

  • Gain adaptable skills to succeed in law enforcement, the court system, or correctional, rehabilitative, and human service agencies.
  • Learn from faculty with extensive experience working in the local community.
  • Network with local police officers, lawyers, corrections officers, and other advocates of justice.
  • Apply what you’ve learned at an internship to gain real-world experience.

Be An Advocate for Justice

The criminal justice major at Elms College teaches you to act ethically, think critically, and communicate clearly while advocating for a more just society. Our program prepares you to make a difference in a wide range of settings, including law enforcement, the court system, correctional facilities, rehabilitative institutions, and human service agencies.

As a criminal justice major you will learn from experienced faculty members who uphold justice on a daily basis. Your instructors draw on personal experience in the field to explain topics ranging from how to provide a positive police presence in the community; advocate for offenders, victims, and witnesses in courts; and provide treatment and rehabilitation services through correctional facilities.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Before you can wear a badge, be a strong advocate, or develop successful treatment and rehabilitation programs, you need a broad understanding of the criminal justice system. In our program you will build this foundation from the ground up, learning the fundamentals of the American criminal justice and legal systems, the history of policing, and procedures for preserving the human dignity of people in the process of being incarcerated.

Instead of exploring criminal justice from a single perspective, CJ majors use an interdisciplinary approach, taking electives in psychology, sociology, social work, and even biology and religion. By examining the racial, social, political, and legal aspects of deterring crime, you will gain a deeper understanding of how peace is maintained in society.

Why do people commit crimes? How do we define violence? What role do ethics and morality have in preserving the status quo? Criminal justice majors ask questions of this nature to engage with the complex issues facing our world today.

Internships and Real-World Training

Before graduating, students in our program apply their skills and insights through internships to gain real-world experience. Elms faculty take a proactive role in helping you make connections with local police departments, court systems, correctional facilities, and human services agencies. Guest speakers working in these fields also visit different classes and give you the chance to ask questions about how to get involved.

Internship Turns into Employment

Rosa Colon Headshot

Criminal justice major Rosa Colon ’17 earned her associate’s degree at Holyoke Community College, but knew she needed her bachelor’s degree to get the job she wanted. But with a full-time job and a husband and two young sons, she had to be choosy when picking a college. “I wanted a small school, and I didn’t want to move far away,” she said.
Read Rosa’s story.


Click to view course requirements for the Criminal Justice (B.A.).

Minimum at Elms College: 24 credits/Minimum GPA: 2.5

Criminal justice majors complete an internship during their senior year.

Core Criminal Justice Requirements (37 credits)

Course #Course Name# of Credit Hours
CRJ 1000Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRJ 2600American Legal Systems3
CRJ 2800Principles of Criminal Investigations3
CRJ 3100Policing in America3
CRJ 3102Corrections and Rehabilitation3
CRJ 3402Effective Communications for the Criminal Justice Professional3
CRJ 4600Internship in Criminal Justice4
CRJ 4900Criminal Justice Capstone3
LEG 2009Criminal Law and Procedure3
LEG 3107Constitutional Law3
SOC 3005Social Research3
SOC 3006Criminology3

Criminal Justice Electives (choose 9 credits)

Course #Course Name# of Credit Hours
BIO 2105Anatomy and Physiology3
CRJ 3500Probation, Parole, and Restorative Justice3
CRJ 3600Private Security3
CRJ 3800Global Perspectives in Criminal Justice3
CRJ 3900Technology in Criminal Justice3
CRJ 3905Homeland Security and Terrorism3
LEG 2509Family Law3
LEG 3400Advanced Criminal Law3
LEG 4502Juvenile Law3
PSY 2006Social Psychology3
PSY 3004Forensic Psychology3
PSY 3305Psychology of Adolescence3
SOC 2009Social Deviance3
SOC 3200Special Topics: Violence in America3
SOC 3104Victimology3
SOC 3106Racial and Ethnic Groups3
SWK 2004Human Behavior in the Social Environment3
SWK 3901Substance Abuse3

Recommended courses that satisfy college core requirements (18 credits)

Course #Course Name# of Credit Hours
BIO 1103Forensic Science3
MAT 1009Statistics3
PED 1104Intro. to Physical Fitness (or PED 1301 Total Physical Fitness)3
PED 1301Total Physical Fitness (or PED 1104 Intro. to Physical Fitness)3
REL 4400Addiction and Recovery3
SOC 1001Introduction to Sociology3

Click to view course requirements for the Criminal Justice minor.

Minor in Criminal Justice (18 credits)

Course #Course Name# of Credit Hours
CRJ 1000Introduction to Criminal Justice3
CRJ 2600American Legal Systems3
CRJ 3100Policing in America3
CRJ 3102Corrections and Rehabilitation3
LEG 2900Criminal Law and Procedure3
SOC 3006Criminology3