Criminal Justice

Explore your many options when pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Valerie Bell, Ph.D.

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.

Learn About Our Major in Criminal Justice

Student Experience

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.

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.

Learn More

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 a variety of opportunities for students to get involved in their area of interest.


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.”


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.”


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.”

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.


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.”

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
Dubuque, Ia

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.”

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

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.


View Highlighted Courses

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 non¬violent victimization, issues related to restorative justice, victim-offender mediation and the emergence of the movement to support victims’ rights.

Law Enforcement Decision-Making and the Use of Force: A Virtual Reality Training Ground.
This course examines 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.

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.

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.

Criminal Justice Courses

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major or minor in Criminal Justice. 

Degree Requirements

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Criminal Justice degree?”

As a Criminal Justice major, you will be prepared for a variety of interesting careers.

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

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. Scholarships, grants and special awards are offered to all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for schlarships and financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and review our financial aid resources for detailed information, scholarship opportunities and much more.