“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.
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.
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, legal studies, 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.
Minor - 18 credits
Criminal justice majors complete an internship during their senior year.
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 Rosa’s story.