Criminal Justice

Follow your passion for Criminal Justice

The Loras College Criminal Justice major draws upon the perspectives of a number of academic disciplines, including criminal justice, social work, sociology, psychology and political science. Students who graduate from Loras with a Criminal Justice degree are able to apply their knowledge, assess consequences of alternative courses of action and make decisions based upon appropriate, legal, social and ethical considerations. The Criminal Justice learning experience culminates in a field-instruction component that puts into practice much of the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom.Many graduates are employed in traditional criminal justice careers including law enforcement and community-based corrections. A significant number of students also pursue graduate-level education or law school programs. Loras Criminal Justice alumni have found success as assistant professors, federal probation officers, attorneys, state troopers, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, customs and border patrol and nuclear security officers.

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Criminal Justice courses include traditional classroom activities and experiential components such as police ride-alongs, courtroom observations, field trips and presentations by criminal justice professionals.

Majors receive individual assistance in designing their educational experiences. Criminal Justice students regularly present their research at the Midwest Criminal Justice Association meetings.

Internship opportunities include a wide variety of settings at city, county and state agencies throughout the Midwest.

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Loras College not only values and provides quality education in the classroom but also understands the importance of real-world experience when it comes to being prepared for life after graduation. The Criminal Justice program provides ample opportunities for students to get involved in their area of interest. Read from past students about their internships and the value they received from the experiences.


Throughout my time with the San Diego Police department I learned valuable information and knowledge that I believe I would not have been able to get in other places. I look forward to sharing and putting this knowledge toward my schooling, and, hopefully future career with the San Diego Police Department. I could not be more grateful for my experience throughout the summer.


For three years I have wondered what to do with this degree in criminal justice and this internship helped me find out what I wanted to do. I do not just want to catch criminals and punish them. I want to help those that are struggling to get back on their feet. I want to make society better by helping to form criminals into good and productive members of society.


The lesson I learned through my experiences in my field instruction at the Madison Police Department is that there are things that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. It gave me a chance to apply all that I had learned in the classroom to see how the criminal justice actually works in comparison to how it is said to work in class. These hands-on experiences will stick with me for a lifetime as I have learned many important lessons in this instruction that will greater prepare me for a future in law enforcement.


I experienced many situations that taught me more than what a classroom can teach like how to investigate certain scenes or how to properly emotionally and factually appeal to a jury. I learned the most valuable lesson almost anyone working in the criminal justice system should know, that there are many sides to a story. Most importantly, I learned to be independent and professional. When speaking about the public defender’s office internship, I would recommend it to anyone who is seeking a job in the criminal justice system.


This internship has provided me with an exhilarating experience which a lot of people may never have. It is not every day that you have the chance to ride in the front seat of a police car and actually do what the police do. In my honest opinion the field instruction experience is an essential part of a students’ learning process. This is due to the fact that you are given the opportunity to be in the field putting into action what you have learned.


After 200 hours I can confidently say this is my dream job and I am hoping to be a part of the next academy class. This is the one job that I see myself doing. Every time I got to come in and do a ride-along or learn more I would be so excited the entire day or night. You get to help people attempt to get their life in order. One of my biggest strengths I have discovered in this internship is how driven I am. I noticed throughout the process all I would do is think “How can I better myself to apply for the police department?” I would try every day to better myself as a candidate for the job. After 200 hours there is not a doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do.

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Through instruction in the classroom and real-world experiences via internships, the Criminal Justice program at Loras College is committed to preparing students for work in their field. Hear from Loras alumni about how their time here set them up for success in their careers.


Patrol Officer
Highland Park Police Department

The criminal justice program at Loras made me realize my passion for the law and put me on a path that I am excited to start after I graduate. I feel confident in my abilities to make decisions based on ethical considerations, knowledge of the law and apply it in my internship at the United Marshal’s Service this summer!


Elm Street Residential Officer

Lastly, the biggest thing that the internship did for me was show me a different realm of criminal justice that I was unfamiliar with. My entire time here at Loras, I was focused on becoming a police officer in a small community. In looking through internships, I came across the Residential Facility on Elm St. I had remembered touring it my freshman year at Loras but I did not know what happened there on a daily basis. I knew it was a community corrections program but I did not know where that path would lead me. After completing this amazing experience, I realized that a place like the Residential Facility is where I am supposed to be. My whole focus for joining the criminal justice field was to help people in my own community. The Residential Facility offered me a great experience to understand that it was the perfect platform for me to showcase my skills and abilities to help others. Overall this experience has showed me the way to my future and I plan on working at the residential facility full time in the near future.

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The Criminal Justice Program maintains a list of internship opportunities. The following are examples of where students have interned in the past.

Asbury Police Department – Asbury, IA
Aurora Police Department – Aurora, IL
Bellevue Police Department – Bellevue, IA
Bettendorf Police Department – Bettendorf, IA
Bolingbrook Police Department – Bolingbrook, IL
Burlington Police Department – Burlington, IA
Carol Stream Police Department – Carol Stream, IL
Cedar Rapids Police Department – Cedar Rapids, IA
Clayton County Sheriff’s Department – St. Olaf, IA
Clinton County Conservation – Comanche, IA
Cook County Sheriff’s Office – Maywood, IL
Dane County Sheriff’s Office – Madison, WI
Deerfield Police Department – Deerfield, IL
Des Plaines Police Department – Des Plaines, IL

Drug Enforcement Administration (

DEA) – Department of Justice – Chicago, IL
Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office – Dubuque, IA
Dubuque Police Department – Dubuque, IA
DuPage County Sheriff’s Department – Wheaton, IL
Dyersville Police Department – Dyersville, IA
Elgin Police Department – Elgin, IL
Evergreen Park Police Department – Evergreen Park, IL
Fairview Heights Police Department – Fairview Heights, IL
Frankfort Police Department – Frankfort, IL
Freeport Police Department – Freeport, IL
Glenview Police Department – Glenview, IL
Hinsdale Police Department – Hinsdale, IL
Jackson County Sheriff’s Department – Maquoketa, IA
Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office – Galena, IL
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office – Iowa City, IA
Joliet Police Department – Joliet, IL
Iowa City Police Department – Iowa City, IA
Iowa State Patrol
Illinois State Police
Lake Forest Police Department – Lake Forest, IA
Libertyville Police Department – Libertyville, IL
Lincolnwood Police Department – Lincolnwood, IL
Madison Police Department – Madison, WI
McHenry Police Department – McHenry, IL
Morrison Police Department – Morrison, IL
Mount Prospect Police Department – Mount Prospect, IL
Naperville Police Department – Naperville, IL
Northbrook Police Department – Northbrook, IL
Oak Brook Police Department – Oak Brook, IL
Oak Lawn Police Department – Oak Lawn, IL
Oak Park Police Department – Oak Park, IL
Palos Park Police Department – Palos Park, IL
Palos Heights Police Department – Palos Heights, IL
Peoria Police Department – Peoria, IL
Peoria County Sheriff’s Office – Peoria, IL
Plainfield Police Department – Plainfield, IL
Rochelle Police Department – Rochelle, IL
Rockford Police Department – Rockford, IL
San Diego Police Department – San Diego, CA
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms – Chicago, IL
U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Customs & Border Protection Agency – Rosemont, IL
U.S. Department of Homeland Security – FEMA – Chicago, IL
U.S. Marshals Service – Northern District of IA – Cedar Rapids, IA
U.S. Marshals Service – Chicago Office – Chicago, IL
Waterloo Police Department – Waterloo, IA
West Virginia Department of Natural Resources – Farmington, WV
Wheaton Police Department – Wheaton, IL
Will County Sheriff’s Office – Joliet, IL
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office – Rockford, IL
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Madison, Wi


Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Markham, IL
Dubuque County Attorney’s Office – Dubuque, IA
Dubuque Public Defender Office – Dubuque, IA
Jo Daviess County State’s Attorney’s Office – Galena, IL
Juvenile Court Services – Dubuque, IA
Linn County Juvenile Court Office – Cedar Rapids, IA
Macon County State’s Attorney Office – Decatur, IL
Reynolds & Kenline Law Firm – Dubuque, IA
Stephenson County Public Defender’s Office – Galena, IL
Victim/Witness Assistance Program – Dubuque, IA


Anamosa State Penitentiary – Anamosa, IA
Department of Correctional Services – Dubuque, IA
Dubuque Residential Facility – Dubuque, IA
DuPage County Probation Department – Wheaton, IL
Four Oaks of Iowa – Cedar Rapids & Dubuque, IA
Hillcrest Family Services – Dubuque, IA
Jo Daviess County Probation Department – Galena, IL
Lawrence Hall Youth Service – Chicago, IL
Lee County Probation Department – Dixon, IL
McHenry County Probation & Court Services Department – Woodstock, IL
Ogle County Probation Department – Oregon, IL
Sandstone Federal Corrections Institution – Sandstone, MN
Scott County Sheriff’s Office (Jail Division) – Davenport, IA
Stephenson County Probation Department – Freeport, IL
United State Probation/Southern District of IA– Davenport, IA
United States Probation/Northern District of Illinois – Chicago, IL
West Union Residential Facility – West Union, IA

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My internship gave me extremely valuable experience that helped me stand out from other applicants when I started applying for jobs after graduation.

My Loras College criminal justice internship proved to be one of the most valuable experiences of my academic career. My goal was always to pursue animal welfare and law, but my education at Loras and my internship provided me with the guidance and direction I needed to start down that path. It strengthened my passion for animal welfare, and left me wanting to do more and to continue working with animals. It also made me realize I am capable and good at this job, and it is a field I have the possibility to be great at and climb the career ladder in.

My internship was for the Dubuque Regional Humane Society as an animal cruelty investigator. After I finished my required hours in the field for school, I stayed with the Humane Society for another three years and became the city’s primary investigator. This job involved a lot of on-the-spot decision-making, weighing out the options and doing what I morally think is best from situation to situation.

My internship gave me extremely valuable experience that helped me stand out from other applicants when I started applying for jobs after graduation. I was offered the position of cruelty investigator for the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). My time at Loras College helped me understand what it takes to be successful and allowed me the opportunity to follow my aspirations.

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Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes – Criminal Justice
1 Students will reflect on diversity and differences through writing and speaking.
2 Students will exhibit a working knowledge of CJ policies and professional standards
3 Students will illustrate the components and functions of the CJ system.
4 Students will apply knowledge of CJ systems and criminological theories.
5 Students will describe factors in conformity and deviance.
6 Students will explain the value of contributing knowledge to the community.
Major Requirements

Division of Teacher Education & Behavioral Sciences
Leonard Decker, Ph.D., Chair

Requirements for the major in Criminal Justice (B.A.):
Required and elective courses in the CJ major must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0. Students double majoring in CJ and psychology, sociology, or social work should consult with advisors in both majors to review reduced program requirements. Students should be informed that no criminal justice coursework taken at another school shall be applied to their major or minor program requirements once they have enrolled. Students must take 3-9 credits in elective courses based upon the number of credits they take in L.CRJ-490: Field Instruction. The number of CJ elective course credits and CJ Field Instruction credits must equal a minimum of 12 credits.

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.CRJ-120: Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
2 L.CRJ-224: Criminal Law 3
3 L. CRJ-251: Introduction to Law Enforcement 3
4 L.CRJ-252: Criminology 3
5 L.CRJ-253: Introduction to Corrections 3
6 L.CRJ-320: Juvenile Delinquency and Justice 3
7 L.CRJ-323: Research Methods in Criminal Justice 4
8 L.CRJ-480: Senior Seminar-PJ 3
9 L.CRJ-490: Criminal Justice Field Instruction 3 to 9
Select one to three courses from Req 10:
10 L.CRJ-260: Victimology 3
10 L.CRJ-280: Ethical Considerations in the CJ System-AV 3
10 L.CRJ-300: Criminal Investigation 3
10 L.CRJ-312: Crime Prevention 3
10 L.CRJ-321: Police and Society 3
10 L.CRJ-325: White Collar Crime 3
10 L.CRJ-401: Law Enforcement Decision-Making and Use of Force: A Virtual Reality Training Ground 3
37 total required credits

Requirements for the minor in Criminal Justice:
Required and elective courses in the CJ minor must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0. Students should be informed that no Criminal Justice coursework taken at another school shall be applied to their major or minor program requirements once they have enrolled.

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.CRJ-120: Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
2 L.CRJ-251: Introduction to Law Enforcement 3
3 L.CRJ-252: Criminology 3
4 L.CRJ-253: Introduction to Corrections 3
5 Additional CRJ credits (not L.CRJ-490: Field Instruction) 3
6 Additional CRJ credits (not L.CRJ-490: Field Instruction) 3
18 total required credits


Course Descriptions

L.CRJ-120: Introduction to Criminal Justice

Introduction to Criminal Justice is designed to give students an academic and applied understanding of the criminal justice system. Students will be expected to conduct observations in law enforcement, courts, and corrections outside of class. Current research publications on immigration, sentencing reform, incarceration rates, street drugs, and evidence-based smart approaches to crime will be explored. Students will also learn about the history and philosophy of criminal justice through class discussions, assigned readings, observations, field trips, and guest speakers. 3 credits. Each semester.

L.CRJ-224: Criminal Law

The history of criminal law, the elements of crime, and the development of both in the United States. Included also are arrest and courtroom procedures. 3 credits. Each fall semester.

L.CRJ-251: Introduction to Policing

Introduction to Policing challenges students to critically think about 21st century policing and to evaluate the current role of police in modern society. Topics in the course include the foundations and systems of police work, the different functions of police, hazards involved in policing, strategies and the future of policing

L.CRJ-252: Criminology

A comprehensive analysis of crime in the United States, emphasizing the causes and consequences of criminal activity. Consideration is also given to theories of crime and societal responses to criminal behavior. 3 credits. Each semester.

L.CRJ-253: Introduction to Corrections

An introductory examination of the treatment of criminal offenders in the United States. The history of punishment and its relationship to current competing correctional philosophies is discussed. Major topics include probation, prisons and their operation, and parole. 3 credits. January term, each semester.

L.CRJ-260: Victimology

A study of the origins of crime victimization and the various theories related to this area of criminal justice and an exploration of the historical trends and responses to the issue of crime victimization. Emphasis will be placed on the differences between violent and non­violent victimization, issues related to restorative justice, victim-offender mediation and the emergence of the movement to support victims’ rights. 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand.

L.CRJ-280: Ethical Considerations in Criminal Justice-AV                                   

This course is an examination of ethical considerations within the context of decision-making by criminal justice practitioners and policies of the American criminal justice system. As such, the course will examine morality, ethics, and human behavior from the perspective of various ethical philosophies and their application to a system of social control agencies. In addition, specific ethical dilemmas and controversies associated with the administration of justice in law enforcement, the judiciary, and corrections, as major components of the criminal justice system, will be addressed. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand. Not open to cross-registration.

L.CRJ-300: Criminal Investigation

The fundamentals of criminal investigation, including crime scene procedure, crime scene search, collection and preservation of evidence, a survey of related forensic science, police reports, interviews and interrogations, and methods of surveillance. Methods of preparing and presenting the case to the court are also studied. Prerequisites: L.CRJ-120, L.CRJ-252, L.CRJ-253. 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand.

L.CRJ-312: Crime Prevention

Familiarization with various theoretical approaches to crime prevention and the framework for describing and understanding current crime prevention initiatives. Emphasis will be placed on the examination and evaluation of current institutional and community crime prevention programs. Prerequisites: L.CRJ-120, L.CRJ-252, L.CRJ-253. 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand.

L.CRJ-320: Juvenile Delinquency & Justice

A sociological analysis of the nature of delinquent behavior and key components of the juvenile justice system. An examination of family, neighborhood, school, peer group, social class and cultural determinants of delinquency. In addition, societal attempts to control and prevent delinquency will be considered. 3 credits. Each fall semester.

L.CRJ-321: Police & Society

An examination of the police image in a changing society, including police-citizen partnership in crime prevention. Issues in policing, including use of deadly force, stress, education, and corruption, together with administrative issues, including recruitment, promotion and management are considered. Prerequisites: L.CRJ-120, L.CRJ-252, L.CRJ­253. 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand.

L.CRJ-323: Research Methods in Criminal Justice

Course that will develop basic knowledge and skills of social research. Focus is on the research methods criminologists, sociologists, social workers, and other practitioners in the social sciences field employ to study social phenomena. Critical evaluation of all phases of the social research process. Requires that students memorize, comprehend, and apply social scientific terms to the analysis and evaluation of information. Juniors and Seniors only. Prerequisites: L.MAT-115 or equivalent statistics course. 3 credits. Each spring semester.

L.CRJ-325: White Collar Crime

An examination of both occupational and organizational criminality. Special attention will be directed to the unique nature of white collar criminality in light of our traditional understanding of crime. The course will explore such issues as the evolution of regulatory law, corporate responsibility, and the limits of the law and law enforcement in combating white collar crime. 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand.

L.CRJ-398: Empirical Research

Opportunity for student to conduct advanced research under the direction of criminal justice Faculty member. Faculty approval required. Prerequisites: L.CRJ-323. 1 to 3 credits. Dependent on staff and demand.

L.CRJ-401: Law Enforcement Decision-Making and the Use of Force: A Virtual Reality Training Ground.

This course examines at law enforcement accountability in use of force incidents through a number of lenses. First, the students will examine historical and current elements of accountability and contemporary issues related to accountability for law enforcement agencies. Second, the students will experience decision-making and be held accountable for decisions they make in simulations of well-known use of force scenarios. Finally, students will compare and contrast their learning experiences regarding accountability in and out of the classroom. This course will be held off-campus at NICC in downtown Dubuque. This class includes a course fee of $350. A medical release is required for this course.

L.CRJ-480: Senior Seminar-PJ

As a senior seminar and portfolio course, this course has three primary foci. First, the course provides students with the opportunity to reflect upon their experiences at Loras College both within and without the criminal justice major and to identify the ways that these experiences have prepared them to move forward in their lives after college (fulfilling the Portfolio requirement). Second, the course provides students the opportunity to examine the causes of crime from the viewpoint of offenders and to integrate that examination into the knowledge gained in prior criminal justice courses. Finally, the course requires students to engage in an in-depth research paper regarding a criminal justice career to gain greater insight into their future profession. Juniors and Seniors only. Spring semester.

Restrictions: Open only to students with senior status. Prerequisites: L.CRJ-120, L.CRJ-224, L.CRJ-252, L.CRJ-253, L.CRJ-320, L.MAT-115, and L.CRJ-323 OR L.PSY-211 OR L.SOC-332. 3 credits. Each fall semester.

L.CRJ-490: Criminal Justice Field Instruction

Individually planned and supervised experience in a criminal justice agency which will enable students to integrate criminal justice knowledge with practical experience. Students will earn 3-9 hours of academic credit for successful completion of their field instruction experience. Application for field instruction must be made to and accepted by the Criminal Justice Field Instruction coordinator. This course is offered only to criminal justice majors who have completed most of the required courses. Summer term. Each semester.

RELATED COURSES: Neuroscience, Psychology, Social Work

Career Opportunities

After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Community-Based Corrections
  • Assistant Professor
  • Federal Probation
  • Attorney
  • State Trooper
  • Police Officer
  • Sheriff’s Deputies
  • Customs and Border Patrol
  • Nuclear Security

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"Loras makes transferring easy for Community College Criminal Justice students."

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