The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers the baccalaureate in criminal justice, one of the largest degree programs at WCU. It is founded on the notion that understanding the causes of crime (criminology) is fundamental to assessing systems for responding to crime and delinquency (criminal/juvenile justice systems). The curriculum is designed from an interdisciplinary social science perspective. It is a well-rounded curriculum that provides students with an understanding of the crime problem, legal issues, research methodologies, knowledge of criminological topics, the justice system and challenges faced in a diverse democratic society. Graduates lead careers in law, law enforcement, victim services, probation, parole, institutional corrections, research and higher education. The largest portion of WCU graduates who have gone on to law school majored in criminal justice and many of our graduates attend topic graduate programs in criminology/criminal justice such as Florida State and the University of Cincinnati.
All tenured and tenure track faculty hold the PH.D. in criminology, criminal justice or sociology from top tier universities in the field. Our faculty have worked with an array of agencies and organizations in law enforcement, courts, corrections and victim programs. You will gain a broad understanding of the crime problem and our social control machinery. Engaged learning is our foremost feature, allowing our students the opportunity to research topics of special interest under the sponsorship of faculty and present their findings on campus as well as state and national conferences. Special emphasis is placed on research and communication skills throughout our curriculum. We have an array of opportunities to study criminal justice abroad. The Criminal Justice Club and Alpha Phi Sigma also undertake numerous extracurricular activities. Our internship program provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge in a work setting and gain a better sense of specific career settings.
Careers of our graduates cover a very broad range including policing, courts and corrections at the local, state and federal levels. Many of our alumni work with at-risk youth or adjudicated delinquents and in crime and delinquency prevention programs. Our graduates are also well represented in academe, the legal profession, victim services private security.