Criminal Justice Administration


The criminal justice system in the United States faces many challenges as we deal with mistrust in police officers, racial tensions, overcrowded prisons, impoverished communities and other serious issues.

This means that now, more than ever, society needs professional, ethical criminal justice practitioners who can assume leadership roles and are committed to helping others.

With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Alvernia University, you’ll be prepared for an entry level position in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, private security, social services, courts or another helping profession. You’ll have the knowledge, training and hands-on experience necessary for success in this challenging, but vital field.

Started in 1974, Alvernia’s well-established criminal justice program is highly regarded. Faculty members have served as an FBI agent, chief of police, Pennsylvania state trooper, probation and parole officer and assistant district attorney.

Students have opportunities for extensive field experience, and students working toward careers in law enforcement have the option of attending the Reading Police Academy to obtain Municipal Police Officer Certification as part of their four-year degree.

Our program attracts students from up and down the East Coast, as well as other parts of the country. If you are committed to service and making society a safer and better place, Alvernia University’s criminal justice program may be just what you’re looking for.


Why should you study criminal justice at Alvernia University?
Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed.

Research Opportunities
Alvernia offers opportunities for English majors to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides psychology students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities for experiences such as internships, co-ops, clinical experiences, field experiences, community service and campus events. Participating in these types of experiences help you stretch and grow toward your full potential.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Alvernia students have benefitted from participation in a Study Abroad program in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at


The field of criminal justice is varied, and includes jobs in many areas. Criminal justice practitioners serve as police officers, fraud investigators, paralegals, special agents, social sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, loss prevention officers, security directors, customs officials and federal marshals. Others work as social workers, victims’ advocates, or protective services workers.

Some students enroll in Alvernia’s criminal justice program in preparation for law school and a career in the legal field. Others choose to attend graduate school after earning their bachelor’s degrees to study sociology, criminology, psychology, criminal justice or other social science-related area.

With such a wide range of careers, the rate of job growth varies from one field to another. Overall, however, demand for criminal justice professionals is expected to rise throughout the next 10 years.

Alvernia criminal justice graduates have found success as detectives, parole officers, victims’ advocates, protective services workers, corrections officers, U.S. customs officers, employees for Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense and court employees.

Others were accepted to prestigious law schools and are enjoying careers as attorneys, judges and public defenders. Whatever your career goals, Alvernia will provide the knowledge and experience you need to succeed.

For more information about Alvernia’s criminal justice administration program, contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or


All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, and criminal justice majors must complete 42credits in the major.

Required courses for criminal justice majors are:
CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CJ 102 Criminology
CJ 201 Criminal Law
CJ 216 Gender and the Criminal Justice System –OR–
CJ 218 Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice
CJ 220 Writing for the Criminal Justice Professional
CJ 221 Research Methods I for Criminal Justice
CJ 272 Probation and Parole –OR–
CJ 274 Corrections and Rehabilitation
CJ 302 Judicial Process and Procedures
CJ 350 Professional Seminar/Criminal Justice
CJ 377 Juvenile Justice System
CJ 379 Ethics in Criminal Justice
CJ 403 Senior Seminar
CJ 408 Agency Practicum
CJ 422 Crisis Management
Plus 1 criminal justice elective course (3 credits)

Eighteen credits are required for a minor in criminal justice. Required courses are:
CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CJ 102 Criminology
CJ 218 Multicultural Issues in Criminal Justice
CJ 379 Ethics in Criminal Justice
Plus 2 criminal justice elective courses (6 credits)

You can learn more about all courses offered by Alvernia University by viewing the 2015-2016 Academic Course Catalogue at

Your Real World Learning Experience
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment. As a criminal justice major, you’re required to complete a work-study internship with a criminal justice agency, private business or corporation or social service agency.

Faculty members and your academic advisor will work with you to identify an internship that best matches your interests and career goals. You are required to spend at least 252 hours with the agency you choose for your internship. Your internship will be during your senior year. You’ll need to have at least 2.0 overall and major GPAs to participate, and background clearances are necessary.

Criminal justice students also have the option of attending the Reading Police Academy during their senior year. Located on Alvernia’s campus, the academy is owned by the City of Reading and operated by the Reading Police Department. Students who are accepted into and successfully complete the academy course will have the training necessary to serve as a municipal police officer in Pennsylvania. The 860 hour course is completed in a 20-week program.

Learn more about real world learning at

Research Opportunities
Research is a valuable aspect of any education. Criminal justice faculty at Alvernia conduct research in a variety of areas, including crisis communication, school violence, forensic psychology, hostage negotiation, juvenile delinquency and justice, victimology and workplace violence.

As a criminal justice major, there may be opportunity for you to assist in faculty research, and to benefit from knowledge gained through faculty research.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alverania’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at

The Eight-Semester Plan
You can do it! It’s easy to stay on track to graduate in four years if you pay close attention to what classes you need and make sure to take them in a timely manner. Advisors are available to assist in planning academic programs, course selection and registration, but it’s your job to make sure that you meet all academic requirements and comply with University policies.

Every criminal justice major receives a student handbook that is specific to the major. The handbook includes a suggested eight-semester plan that can help to guide you in choosing courses and programs.

Academic programs vary among students. Start planning well in advance for admission to the Reading Police Academy, your internship or other off-campus experience, as you’ll need to assure that you will be able to complete all required coursework.

Study Opportunities beyond Campus
Your college years are the perfect time to broaden your horizons and participate in experiences that will change your life. Alvernia offers some great opportunities for students who want to spend some time studying beyond its campus.

In addition to spending a semester at the Washington Center, you might want to consider a semester abroad. History can really come alive when you study it in the very area in which it unfolded.

Study Abroad Programs
Alvernia’s Study Abroad Office works closely with students who want to spend one or more semesters in a different country. Criminal justice students have studied and traveled in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Morocco, Palestine and China.

You pay the regular Alvernia tuition while studying abroad, and continue to receive financial aid, if applicable. Credits earned count toward your Alvernia undergraduate degree.

If you’re interested in studying in another country you should start planning early, as you’ll need to start the application process about a year in advance.

You can get more information about these programs from the Study Abroad Office at or by contacting

The Washington Center
Some criminal justice majors spend a semester at The Washington Center, an organization that offers residential academic programs and internships in the nation’s capital. If you participate in the Washington Center program, you can gain practical experience by working in a government agency, a non-profit devoted to legal affairs or a private security firm.

More information about the Washington Center and opportunities available there can be found at

Year-by-Year Major Map


Think Globally

  • Explore opportunities for study abroad, alternative break trips, pilgrimage to Assisi, the Washington Center and service trips
  • Start at the Study Abroad Office or

Take the Right Classes

  • Review general education, University and major requirements
  • Be aware of which semester required courses are offered
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Get to know criminal justice faculty and your advisor
  • Visit the Educational Planning Center on the first floor of Bernardine Hall

Real Life Learning

  • Explore opportunities for upcoming practicums
  • Utilize skills acquired in First Year Experience

Make the Right Connections

  • Identify peers that support your academic goals
  • Get involved by joining the Criminal Justice Association. Think about getting involved with the Student Government Association, or consider some of the many other student clubs and community organizations

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Develop a working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Begin the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


Think Globally

  • Review opportunities for extended learning and, if applicable, start planning with the Study Abroad Office

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you’ve reviewed which semester required courses are available
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to criminal justice faculty and your advisor about your career interests and opportunities that may enhance your chances of finding a job in that area
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that relate to your specific interests
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Volunteer for community service
  • Stay involved in clubs and organizations
  • Observe the roles of those in leadership positions
  • Form study group

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Update working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Complete the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


Think Globally

  • Participate in Study Abroad program, if applicable
  • Participate in service trips or “May”mester

Take the Right Classes

  • Focus on getting good grades and improving GPA
  • Work with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to criminal justice faculty members about career opportunities
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Get familiar with, a career services library available on Educational Planning Center’s website

Real Life Learning

  • Work with faculty members and your advisor to identify internship for senior year
  • Find out admission requirements for the Reading Police Academy, if applicable
  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that relate to your specific interest
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Assume leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Get feedback on working resume from Educational Planning Center
  • Get resume ready for practicum applications and job fairs
  • Work on getting recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Look for coaching opportunities


Think Globally

  • Look for service opportunities

Take the Right Classes

  • Stay on track and complete your internship
  • Participate in Reading Police Academy, if applicable

Get Good Advice

  • Work closely with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Talk to faculty members about career opportunities
  • Ask for advice from professionals in your area of interest

Real Life Learning

  • Participate in off-campus activities, such volunteering with an Alvernia community partner

Make the Right Connections

  • Continue in leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field
  • Attend campus events at which alumni are present
  • Meet professionals in the community who work in your area of interest

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Fine tune your resume
  • Search for jobs through
  • Finalize recommendations
  • Make sure all necessary clearances are in place
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Attend the Alvernia Job Fair

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at, or by emailing

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at or by emailing

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the criminal justice program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-8269 or at

Faculty Members
Alvernia’s criminal justice program is staffed by dedicated, highly qualified professionals who bring their professional expertise to the classroom. Faculty professionals include:

  • Federal, state and local law enforcement officers
  • Judges from the courts of common pleas
  • Probation department supervisors
  • Criminalists from forensic laboratories
  • Forensic psychiatrists
  • Attorneys with prosecutorial, administrative and defense experience

Faculty members in the criminal justice department are actively engaged in research, have written articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and have presented nationally and internationally at conferences. They often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

You can learn more about Alvernia’s criminal justice faculty at


There is so much more to college than classes, and criminal justice majors at Alvernia have some excellent opportunities to get involved in activities that are both enjoyable and provide beneficial, hands-on experience. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy include:

  • The Criminal Justice Association of Alvernia University focuses on all aspects of the criminal justice system. The club meets regularly, brings in speakers and participates in community activities, service projects and trips. It is open to anyone interested in criminal justice.
  • Alpha Phi Sigma is the national honor society for criminal justice majors. Alpha Phi Sigma’s goal is to honor and promote academic excellence, service, leadership and unity. Students who complete 15 credits in criminal justice while maintaining a 3.2 or better GPA are eligible to join. Active member of the criminal justice association completed three full semesters or equivalent. Ranked in the top
  • Saint Thomas More is an Alvernia honor society, and is open to criminal justice students who have completed 15 credits while maintaining a 3.2 or better GPA.
  • Alphia Phi Sigma and Saint Thomas Moore Honors Societies criteria include:
    • A Criminal Justice major/minor on main campus.
    • An active member of the Criminal Justice Association.
    • Completed 3 full time semesters or equivalent.
    • Completed 12 credits in Criminal Justice or related field.
    • Maintain a 3.2 grade point average in Criminal Justice coursework and a 3.2 cumulative grade point average overall and rank in the top 35% of their class
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the life of Saint Thomas More as a model and patron for society members.
    • Dues and initiation fees of $125.00 should be paid as follows:
      $50.00 cashiers check or money order payable to Alpha Phi Sigma Headquarters
      $25.00 cash or check payable to Alpha Phi Sigma – Gamma Nu Chapter
      $50.00 cash or personal check payable to Saint Thomas More Honor Society
  • Maybe you’re like to serve as a member of the Campus Activities Board, or get involved with Alvernia’s Student Government Association. You can learn about these opportunities, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. The Center partners with a variety of organizations to provide Alvernia students with opportunities to serve. You can read more about volunteer opportunities at

bachelors in criminal justice administration

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