Criminal Justice

community interpreting certificate female student

Program Overview


The Criminal Justice major is designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully pursue a career in the criminal justice system.  Courses provide students with a comprehensive understanding of criminal justice in the United States, including the nature, extent, and causes of crime and delinquency; the structure and function of the police, courts, and corrections; and the effectiveness of the policies these agencies use to control the crime problem.  In addition, the curriculum cultivates research, critical thinking, and communication skills that are beneficial to students who are seeking employment or continuing their studies in graduate school. The program is strongly grounded in an interdisciplinary liberal arts tradition while also offering practical opportunities to gain field experience and professional certifications.

Program Goals

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of the components of the criminal justice system.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the major criminological theories and an ability to apply them to practical examples.
  • Students will be able to design and execute an original research project as well as critically evaluate the research of others.
  • Students will be able to think critically about criminal justice issues and policies.
  • Students will be able to effectively communicate their ideas orally and in writing.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the professional code of ethics and an ability to make decisions consistent with those standards.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the roles that class, race, and gender play in the workings of the criminal justice system.

What Makes Viterbo's Criminal Justice Program Special?

  • All of our faculty have teaching and research expertise in the field of criminal justice.  In addition, many courses are taught by current criminal justice professionals or individuals with extensive prior experience working in the system.
  • Our graduates secure jobs in all areas of the criminal justice system.  Job placements of some recent graduates include the La Crosse City Police Department, Juneau County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin Department of Probation and Parole, Columbia County Jail, ATTIC Correctional Services, and YWCA Mediation and Restorative Justice Services.
  • All criminal justice majors must complete an internship designed to prepare them for careers in their desired professions.  Students may choose to satisfy this requirement by completing the Law Enforcement Academy, which results in certification to be a police officer in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Students have the opportunity to complete the education requirements for Substance Abuse Counseling Certification, which is required to become licensed as a drug and alcohol counselor in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Our department houses a chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society.  Students who meet the eligibility requirements are welcome to join and enjoy the benefits of membership in this prestigious organization.