“I knew I wanted to help people, but I also knew that I wasn’t a person who could work a normal desk job. I thought criminal justice was a way to challenge myself mentally and physically, but still have an opportunity to engage the community in a mutually rewarding way.”
Lauren spent three years upholding justice in New Hampshire as a patrol officer with the Winchester Police Department. She is now on the verge of completing her training to join the Northampton Police Department, which emphasizes community engagement.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Elms College teaches you to act ethically, think critically, and communicate clearly while making a difference in law enforcement, courts, corrections, rehabilitative institutions, and human services agencies.
Criminal justice majors learn from experienced faculty members who uphold justice on a daily basis — whether that involves providing a positive police presence in their communities, advocating for offenders, victims and witnesses in the courts, or providing treatment and rehabilitation through correctional institutions.
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. Students in the Elms criminal justice program build their foundation from the ground up, learning the fundamentals of the American criminal justice and legal systems, the history of policing, and how to preserve the human dignity of those being processed in the criminal justice system.
Instead of focusing on criminal justice from a single perspective, students take electives in psychology, sociology, social work, legal studies, and even biology and religion in order to consider the racial, social, political, and legal aspects of deterring crime and maintaining peace in society.
Why do people commit crimes? How do we define violence? What role do ethics and morality have in preserving the status quo? Students explore complex questions of this nature to expand their thinking about criminal justice.
Internships and Real-World Training
Before graduating, criminal justice majors apply their skills and insights through internships to gain real-world experience. Elms faculty take a proactive role in helping students 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 students the chance to ask questions about how to get involved.
Minor - 18 credits
Criminal justice majors complete an internship during their senior year.
Class of 2017
Internship Turns into Employment
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 more