Jun 22, 2024  
2022 - 2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Undergraduate Catalog [FINAL EDITION]

Criminal Justice, BA

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The criminal justice major prepares students for careers in corrections, the court system, probation, police work, and other law-related professions. The program is also intended as a good preparation for graduate work in law, public and criminal justice system administration, and the social sciences in general.

The major provides a solid understanding of theory and research related to the criminal justice system at local, state, and federal levels. The curriculum emphasizes the development of analytical and research skills, which prepare criminal justice graduates to effectively meet the challenges of administering justice in applied settings. Coursework is designed to enable students to appreciate the interrelations between theory, research, and practice. The major is broad-based, emphasizing the study of crime and the criminal justice system within the context of the social and behavioral sciences.


Total Credits: 55

The program of study that appears here applies to students who were admitted for the summer session of this catalog year and later.  Students admitted prior to that term should select the appropriate catalog year of their admission.  Choose previous catalogs from the Home, Graduate, or Undergraduate Catalog Page at http://Catalog.widener.edu.


Credit for Graduate Coursework

Undergraduate criminal justice majors may petition the MCJ (master’s in criminal justice) director to take a maximum of two 500- or 600-level MCJ courses. Students must have senior standing and must file a written petition with the MCJ director. Students will receive undergraduate criminal justice credit, as well as credit toward completion of the graduate MCJ program for each MCJ course they successfully complete.

Accelerated BA/MA Criminal Justice Program

The accelerated BA/MA program enables high achieving undergraduate CJ majors to begin fulfilling requirements for a master’s degree while completing the bachelor’s degree. The program is designed so that students may complete their MA degree in one year, including courses during two summers, after graduating with their BA degree.  The total completion time for the accelerated program is 15-months post-graduation. 

Widener undergraduates with an overall GPA of 2.8 and a Criminal Justice GPA of 3.0 may apply for the combined BA/MA program once they have junior-level status. Students must complete at least four undergraduate criminal justice courses before applying to the accelerated program.  The deadline for application is October 1 of the junior year.

Upon acceptance to the accelerated program, students will take three graduate classes (9 credits) in their senior year that will count toward both their BA and MA degrees.  Students accepted into the accelerated program will not take the undergraduate required CJ 380 course (Research Methods), and will be required to take one fewer general elective (3 credits), and one fewer Criminal Justice elective.  Students are advised to save their electives so that the graduate level classes can count as electives in their major. Students, after graduating with their BA degree, will take the remaining 21 credits as a graduate student during their fifth year at Widener University (including two summer semesters, a fall semester, and a spring semester).  Students in the accelerated program will be able to participate (walk) in the May commencement ceremony for their MCJ degree if all 30 graduate credits are not yet completed when the following requirements are met: they have successfully completed Thesis Part 1 (CJ 697), they have no more than 6 remaining credits, and they are registered for those credits in the upcoming summer session.  Students accepted into the accelerated program must meet with the Program Director prior to registering for any graduate level courses.

Students accepted to the accelerated program are expected to complete the Master’s degree and cannot apply graduate courses taken during their Senior year to a graduate certificate in Criminal Justice. 


Pre-Law Option

Criminal justice is one of the majors traditionally chosen by students interested in going to law school. By special arrangement with Widener’s Delaware Law School and Commonwealth Law School, criminal justice majors may choose a “3+3” option whereby they use the first year at Widener Law to complete the last year of their Widener undergraduate degree in criminal justice. Eligibility for participation in the “3+3” program is based upon receiving a minimum grade of B in English 101 and having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of your freshman year.

Criminal justice students considering the study of law should also pursue the legal studies and analysis minor offered by the College of Arts & Sciences.

Students seeking further information on these programs and on preparation for law school admissions should contact pre-law advisor Professor Suzanne Mannes.

Curriculum Sequence


Academic Policies for Criminal Justice Majors

Criminal justice majors are required to maintain a 2.0 average in the major from sophomore through senior year. This GPA is calculated using the criminal justice core requirements only. Student GPAs will be reviewed at the end of each academic year in May. If the student’s GPA falls under a 2.0, the student is required to retake the courses in which he/she received below a C in order to raise the GPA to a 2.0. The student will retake the courses during the following summer or fall. If a student needs to repeat a core requirement elective, he/she must choose one that is offered in the following fall semester. All classes in which students receive an F must be repeated as soon as the course is offered again.

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