Criminal Justice Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do I need to succeed in this major?

If you're considering a criminal justice major at CMU, you should have a solid foundation in listening, empathy, conflict resolution, and flexibility. Any career in criminal justice requires following legal, ethical, and moral standards. Having a diverse knowledge base will help, as you develop a well-rounded understanding of legal issues, criminology and criminal behavior, juvenile justice, and investigations.

How will I know if this major fits me?

If you are interested in crime control, seeking justice, working for fairness, and being of service to society, a career in criminal justice is for you. CMU's criminal justice major will allow you to dive into these areas, and quickly determine where you belong as a professional in this field.

What can I expect to learn?

As a criminal justice student at CMU, your coursework will further develop skills in social science. You will learn to identify and explain patterns of criminal behavior, and analyze society's ability to control crime and delinquency. You'll study crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system as a whole. You'll focus on the definitions, causes and preventions of crime. Additionally, you can expect to learn about the legal and correctional systems of the U.S., the philosophy of punishment, and ethical codes of behavior.

What technology will I use in this major?

There are numerous technologies that can affect the practice of criminal justice agencies - the technologies of drug testing, DNA, crime scene investigation, information technology, social media technology, and hardware technology (drones, body cameras, Tasers, weapons detection, etc.) The agencies of government have begun to embrace the promise of technology in criminal justice as a tool, not a solution.

Will I have opportunities for internships and hands-on learning experiences?

CMU's criminal justice department maintains relationships with agencies from each of the areas of the criminal justice field. You will have opportunities to work with law enforcement, courts, corrections, juvenile justice programs, and victim services programs. Additionally, many CMU classes incorporate in-class and out-of-class hands-on learning experiences through projects, guest speakers who are active professionals, and class trips to numerous agencies and organizations.

What are CMU criminal justice majors saying about their experience?

"I chose criminal justice because I wanted to go into a field where I can help people overcome some of life's most difficult challenges. My experience at CMU is preparing me by giving me opportunities to put what we have been learning in class into real life settings, such as being part of Pi Lambda Alpha and competing in crime scene and academics at competitions, or learning how to pick up fingerprints off of glass." - Tiffani Knecht

"CMU has prepared me to be a leader. I've always wanted to work with children and I've always wanted to make a difference in the world. Sometimes we worry about punishing our juveniles or criminals, and we don't think about how their pasts have built them into the people they have become. I want to be that deciding factor in someone's life, and I want to help that person overcome their darkness and bring them into the light." - Keonna S. Bush

What are CMU students who graduated with this degree doing now?

Recent graduates of CMU's criminal justice program carry professional titles such as police officer (local, state and federal), criminal investigator, juvenile officer, caseworker, fingerprint technician, domestic violence counselor, probation and/or parole officer, victim advocate, attorney, security specialist, evidence technician, park ranger, conservation agent, courtroom security officer, credit investigator, intelligence analyst, and more. Many graduates have used their degree as a stepping stone to advance into law school or other graduate programs, as well.

Who can I speak with for more information about this major?

For additional guidance and information about the criminal justice major, contact CMU's Admissions Department at 660-248-6251, toll-free at 877-CMU-1854, or

To read more about this major, visit our Major Resources page provided through CMU's Career Development Center.