Criminal Justice Major

Millikin's vision for a degree in criminal justice is based on the leading-edge theory and practice of Restorative Justice (RJ). RJ refers to a collaborative form of justice involving active participation among victims, offenders, and the community in repairing, reconciling, and restoring relationships among all parties affected by a crime. Restorative justice is more than just a recent trend in criminal justice. It is the wave of the future for criminal justice practitioners, which beckons us to prepare our students for new careers in criminal justice where these principles will be in effect in future criminal justice programs.

Learning Goals

  1. Increase understanding of the theoretical foundations and practices of Criminal Justice (University learning goals: knowledge; a personal life of meaning and value).
  2. Critically examine current CJ practices and alternative approaches to crime. (University learning goals: critical reasoning; democratic citizenship in a global environment).
  3. Make judgments about the Criminal Justice system that includes ethical reasoning. (University learning goals: critical reasoning; democratic citizenship in a global environment).
  4. Demonstrate professional writing skills, as appropriate to the discipline.  (University learning goals: professional success; performance learning).

Internship Highlights

The Criminal Justice Internship encourages career exploration in the criminal justice system, as a required final course for students pursuing the minor. The structure of this program stresses integration of academic studies and workforce experience, determination of learning goals, cultivation of independent learning skills, development of increased awareness of community and public affairs, and understanding of diversity in the work place. By working with criminal justice agencies, students will be placed in a community setting which will help students answer their own questions about possible career choices in these fields.

Plans of Study

8 semester plan for a BA in criminal justice

8 semester plan for a BS in criminal justice


31-32 hours of core courses are required of all Criminal Justice majors
9 hours of 300 level electives are required of all Criminal Justice majors
Required Courses: 31-32 credit hours

  • CJ100. Introduction to Criminal Justice Professions (1)
  • SO100. Introduction to Sociology (3) or PO105. The American Political System (3)
  • SO201/PS201. Social Statistics (3)
  • CJ211/SO211. Juvenile Delinquency (3)
  • CJ233/SO232. Deviance (3)
  • CJ235/PO235. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (3)
  • PH211. Ethical Theory and Moral Issues (3) or PH305/PO305. Philosophy of Law (3) or
    • PH310. Political Philosophy (3)
  • CJ361/SO361. Criminology (3)
  • SO221. Methods of Sociological Research (3) or PO280. Methods of Political Research (4)
  • CJ311/SO312. Restorative Justice (3)
  • CJ470. Criminal Justice Practicum (3) or CJ 471, Teen Justice Practicum (3)

Students must choose a minimum of 3 additional courses; 9 credits must be at the 300 level:

  • CJ2XX or CJ3XX. Any courses not listed as required CJ courses above
  • PO334. Civil Liberties and the Constitution
  • PO330. Constitutional Law
  • PO360. Human Trafficking (currently a Special Topic Course)
  • PO360. Transnational Crime (currently a Special Topic Course)
  • PO360. International Conflict and Security (currently a Special Topic Course)
  • HI210. Violence in America
  • CO343. Communication & Conflict

Other courses per approval of program director

Courses Descriptions

Introduction to Criminal Justice Professions Criminal justice careers typically fall into one of two categories: law enforcement or legal. But contrary to what many may know about the career opportunities in criminal justice, it is more than just becoming a cop or a lawyer. In this course, students will be given a practical, comprehensive toolkit that easily explains the extensive operations and the scope of employment possibilities and opportunities in the criminal justice profession. They cover many criminal justice functions and career paths that are seldom discussed when preparing for a career in criminal justice. There will be a focus on how to obtain employment in a career field that fits personal strengths and aspirations and emphasizes the value of internships and service learning as tools to obtain the desired position. (CJ 100)
Juvenile Delinquency What, exactly, is delinquency? Are young people becoming more delinquent/violent? Why do some youths engage in relatively high levels of delinquency and drug use? How do popular conceptions of delinquency compare to reality? Are current delinquency-control policies effective? These questions and others will be the focus of this course. Through readings, lectures, and class discussions we will explore some of the core issues in the study of delinquency and youth violence. These issues will be approached from the wide variety of perspectives that have influenced criminologists including biological, psychological, sociological, and historical perspectives. (Special attention will be given to social-psychological theories as they currently dominate the field). Cross-listed with IN251.
CJ233 Deviance This course will examine the varied behaviors considered to be deviant in contemporary western societies, the socially constructed nature of deviance, and the development of public policies for the control of deviant acts. Special emphasis will be given to the definition of deviance, the measurement of deviance, theories of deviant behavior, the deviant career and the development of social control strategies in contemporary society. Cross-listed with IN251.
CJ235 Introduction to the Criminal Justice System This course introduces students to the criminal justice system, by reviewing and understanding the roles of the three main components; police, courts and corrections. Cross-listed with IN251.
CJ305. The Law of Evidence This survey course focuses on the Federal Rules of Evidence (and in some instances, the Illinois Evidence Code), related case law, and those constitutional concepts that limit proof at criminal trials. Students will explore the origin, development, philosophy and constitutional basis of the rules of evidence used in criminal proceedings in the United States. Students will become familiar with the features of evidentiary procedures, such as real and physical evidence, relevance, burdens of proof, presumptions, stipulations, competency, privileges, cross-examination, hearsay and its exceptions, and expert opinion testimony
CJ311. Restorative Justice This course will introduce students to the theory, concept, and practice of restorative justice. After an extensive review of the tradition and history of restorative justice, and contemporary research and scholarship, students will have a performance learning opportunity to participate in a restorative justice program or activity in the local community. Course learning materials and assignments will be directed toward a cumulative assignment in which students evaluate a criminal justice program or agency in relation to its use of restorative justice principles and practices.
CJ315. Crime and Public Policy Crime in the United States has fluctuated considerably over the past thirty years, as have the police approaches to deal with it. During this time criminologists and other scholars have helped to shed light on the role of incarceration, prevention, drugs, guns, policing, and numerous other aspects to crime control. Yet the latest research is rarely heard in public discussions and is often missing from the desks of policymakers. The course is designed to review existing literature, discuss the methodological rigor of the research, identify what policies and programs the research suggests, and then point to policies now implemented that fail to reflect the evidence. Students will learn of the criminal justice system (juvenile justice, police, prisons, probation and parole, sentencing) and how broader aspects of social life inhibit or encourage crime (biology, schools, families, communities).
CJ317. Judicial Process and Constitutional Issues This course will first acquaint students with the process of judicial decision making in trial courts as well as courts of review. The binding effect of court decisions through case law precedent will be explained. The course will then shift emphasis to a discussion of court decisions regarding constitutional issues raised in criminal cases. Students will learn about the various stages of a criminal prosecution from the time of arrest through final court resolution. Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, as well as other courts of review, will be analyzed throughout this process. Constitutional issues commonly raised in criminal cases will be discussed in detail, including 4th Amendment Rights related to search and seizure, 5th Amendment Rights related to police interrogations, and the 6th Amendment Right to counsel.
CJ318. Community Policing This course will review the current focus on community based policing and its use in contemporary society. Students will be asked to consider whether this is a new approach or a return to historic policing approaches. Students will be expected to identify the effectiveness of emerging practices that focus on community based policing. Students will learn to identify the differences between generalist and specialist applications of community policing tactics.