Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
Our undergraduate program seeks to develop core competence in the basic components of the criminal justice system. We prepare criminal justice graduates to fill positions in all areas related to criminal justice, as well as to provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue their education in the social sciences or law. The undergraduate program prepares our graduates to pursue career interests in the core criminal justice areas of policing (both public and private), courts and corrections, as well as positions seeking knowledge of criminal justice information and data, homeland security, victim services, and other social service agencies that are typically linked in many ways to the criminal justice system.
The School of Criminology & Justice Studies at UMass Lowell has been a major academic unit within the University since its inception in 1977. The school has always placed a high priority on its efforts to be a nationally recognized criminal justice program emphasizing applied policy research and public service to the University, communities of Massachusetts, and nation as a whole.
The Criminal Justice program aims to integrate liberal arts with a criminal justice education by offering a curriculum, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, reflecting the changing needs of students, practitioners, policy makers, and academic communities. We have a commitment to establishing and maintaining working relations with our service communities by fostering the teaching and research necessary to address current and projected problems and needs.
In accordance with the outreach and service mission of our University, our faculty currently work with agencies to solve real problems by assisting them in the development and execution of research and evaluation studies. Our faculty has worked, often with student involvement, with numerous federal, state, and local agencies in this capacity. The faculty also undertakes public speaking engagements to help in public awareness and education endeavors and serve on advisory boards for our service community. These outreach efforts set the school apart from traditional academic departments, reflecting our real world approach to criminal justice education. As such, faculty involvement in these areas is viewed as an integral component of the school’s mission.
The School of Criminology & Justice Studies also acknowledges the stated mission of the University to provide a stimulating environment for teaching, learning, research, dissemination of professional skills, and the pursuit of knowledge. The University believes that the quality of the faculty is the most important factor contributing to excellence in teaching and scholarly research.
In accordance with this objective, our school has actively recruited faculty who are, or have the potential to become (in the case of junior faculty), nationally recognized researchers. All our faculty contribute to improving the delivery of criminal justice services by providing an extensive array of innovative research and publishing books and articles widely read by students, researchers, criminal justice professionals, and policy-makers. This accumulated knowledge is not only made available to our students but, in many cases, students themselves have also actively participated in the research and scholarly pursuits of the faculty.
In addition, our University has now established Lecturer positions. Lecturers focus entirely on teaching and service and thus help support the need for tenure track and tenured faculty to engage in quality research and scholarship.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of our undergraduate program is to develop core competence in the basic components of the criminal justice system. We prepare criminal justice graduates to fill positions in all areas related to criminal justice, as well as to provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue their education in the social sciences or law.
Our curriculum provides students with multiple courses to represent these substantive areas. Students now begin their studies with a one (1) credit Freshman Seminar providing them with an overview of the University. Our core curriculum focuses specifically on the areas below:
- Criminal justice and juvenile justice processes (law, crime and administration of justice)
- Criminology (the cause of crime and typologies)
- Law enforcement (police organization, discretion, defense and court procedures, and decision-making)
- Corrections (incarceration, community-based corrections and treatment of offenders)
- Crime prevention (social, community, situational interventions and public policy)
- Research and evaluation (principles of social science research and policy evaluation)
- Technology and crime analysis
Overall, the key objectives of our undergraduate program with regard to our curriculum are:
- To provide students with a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system and current issues in criminal justice;
- To assist students in applying theory and research to real world problems in criminal justice;
- To provide students with knowledge about methods of crime prevention and crime control in public and private settings;
- To train students in the application of technology in the criminal justice system and;
- To prepare students to apply critical thinking skills and apply knowledge to positions in the criminal justice field and/or their graduate education.
Additional Programs in Criminal Justice
5-Year BS/MA Program
Juniors and seniors at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who have a 3.000 GPA or higher and have earned a ‘B’ or better in 44.395 Statistics in Criminal Justice are eligible to apply for the BS/MA program. This program allows completion of both degrees in five (5) years if desired. As part of that program, two (2) graduate classes may be counted towards both the 120-credit hours required for the undergraduate BS degree and the 33-credit hours required for the MA degree.
Once a student graduates with his/her undergraduate degree and enters the Master’s program, he/she must transfer the credits for the graduate courses taken in his/her undergraduate degree to the graduate program. This is done by filing an academic petition
asking for the credit to be transferred into the student’s Master’s program.