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Learn about crime and the primary components of the criminal justice system: policing, courts and corrections

Criminal Justice Major

Criminal justice makes civilization possible. The goal of criminal justice is to set standards of behavior and ensure social capital, so we can trust other people and go about our daily lives.

What Will I Learn?

Criminal justice at SUNY Plattsburgh is not a police training program. You won’t learn how to conduct a highway stop or put on handcuffs. You will become familiar with law and the U.S. Constitution, and how our laws and rights apply to individuals. You will compare and contrast crime and delinquency in urban and rural areas. You will learn the legal foundations and theoretical premises that lie behind criminal justice practices. Most importantly, you will become familiar with the complexity of issues surrounding the criminal justice system.

In criminal justice classes, we ask and answer the questions:

  • Does the death penalty deter murder?
  • What is it like to live in prison and what is it like to work there?
  • What are the causes of crime and juvenile delinquency?
  • What are the social consequences of poverty, racism, and crime, and how can society deal with these issues?
  • Why do state and federal governments execute their own citizens?
  • What happens when someone is wrongfully convicted?
  • What are the rights of the accused?
  • How should criminal justice systems respond to social crises like immigration or addiction epidemics?

What is Unique About Our Program?

Our program emphasizes a liberal arts approach to learning, which will help you to become acquainted with diverse fields such as political science, psychology and sociology. You will build on those courses with more specific coursework in law, the courts, corrections and juvenile justice. Our program is flexible, which means that you can tailor it to fit your specific interests. And whatever your career choice — be it police work, law, corrections, research or administrative areas — you will graduate from our program well prepared for these career challenges. You will also be an informed citizen who understands the complexities of crime and criminal justice.

Choose a campus close you to you. You can study at the main campus in Plattsburgh or at our branch campus at Queensbury.

What Are My Career Opportunities?

Our liberal arts program qualifies graduates to pursue both professional and further academic goals. Employment opportunities for those with bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice include entry-level positions in the following areas:

  • Federal Government:
    • Border Protection
    • U.S. Marshals
    • Governmental Investigation Services
  • Law Enforcement:
    • State Police
    • Local Police
  • Court Administration & Investigation
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Corrections:
    • Administration
    • Corrections Officer
  • Graduate School:
    • Law School
    • Criminal Justice Graduate Studies
    • Behavioral Sciences
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