At a glance

The Criminal Justice Program at Carthage leads students on a thorough examination of the various institutions that make up the traditional criminal justice system. Students evaluate and discuss the types of laws and practices that constitute a free, humane, secure, and responsible society.


  • Criminal Justice


  • Criminal Justice

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Earn your criminal justice degree at Carthage

Carthage’s interdisciplinary program gives students a complete understanding of criminal justice, from law-making to law-breaking. 

Students take political science and sociology courses in addition to traditional criminal justice courses like Criminal Law and Constitutional Criminal Procedure. Criminal justice personnel need to fully appreciate the legal issues involved in their work, the nature of the social problems they encounter, and the psychology of people’s attitudes toward law enforcement. Without this understanding, criminal justice personnel are not well-equipped for their jobs.

Students considering law school are advised to complete the pre-law track within the criminal justice major.

  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.jpg" alt="Nicole Biba ?24" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/100/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2137,2136/489_Nicole_Biba.rev.1638389813.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2137" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p>  “The professors at Carthage are very helpful and very knowledgeable about their areas of study. I love how engaged they are in the class.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/505-">Nicole Biba</a> ’24</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>

“Students leave here and they’re not just trained to be police officers. They can do all kinds of things in their careers, and our graduates reflect that flexibility.” — Rick Matthews, Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Experienced, Expert Faculty

The criminal justice faculty includes professors with Ph. D.s in sociology, professional law enforcement officers, and attorneys. The department regularly invites alumni to speak to current students, which allows criminal justice majors to hear directly from graduates who have worked in various positions and fields.

Criminal justice faculty


beyond the classroom

Students interested in law, criminal justice, or politics can take the four-credit Mock Trial course and represent Carthage in regional or national competitions. Additionally, Carthage has an award-winning chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, the world’s largest law fraternity. Students often secure internships with one of the many agencies in the area.

Opportunities for criminal justice Majors


Special academic options: Pre-Law Advising

A Carthage education thoroughly prepares students for the rigors of law school. Faculty advisors provide specialized guidance for those interested in legal careers, regardless of their major.

Pre-Law at Carthage


Where Carthage criminal justice Majors go

The criminal justice major at Carthage is designed for students planning a career in criminal justice, such as law and judiciary fields, law enforcement and administration, probation and parole, criminology, adult and juvenile corrections, and urban planning and affairs. There is a wide range of local, state, and national criminal justice careers. Students who graduate with a degree in criminal justice also leave Carthage with a solid foundation in the liberal arts. They have learned to read critically, think independently, and communicate effectively.

Recent alumni have taken positions as dispatchers, probation officers, and law enforcement officers at the local, county, and state levels of government, as well as federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Others have been accepted to graduate programs in law and social work.

Careers in criminal justice