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Undergraduate Minor in Criminal Justice

Program summary

Enhance your degree with an understanding of crime and the criminal justice system. This minor is a great complement to your studies if you are majoring in psychology, law and society, political science, social sciences, or related natural sciences.

Credits and costs

18 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Enhance Your Penn State Degree

Add a minor to get even more value out of your education.

Gain Specialized Knowledge

Earning a minor enables you to complement your major, pursue a personal interest, or explore a different field of study.

An understanding of crime and the criminal justice system provides an advantage in many careers, especially those dealing with politics, law and legal systems, and social work.

This minor offers a thorough exploration of the criminal justice system, including policing, corrections, and prosecution. In addition, you can choose to take courses in criminal systems administration, border security, ethics, or juvenile justice.

This minor is a great complement to your studies if you are majoring in psychology, law and society, political science, social sciences, or related natural sciences (e.g., forensic science).

Courses

The 18 credits in this minor allow you to delve into the foundational concepts of criminal justice, as well as explore supporting topics and specializations within the field.

You must complete 6 of these 18 credits at the 400 level. A grade of "C" or better is required in all courses that you take to fulfill requirements for the minor.

Required Courses (12 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Overview of the criminal justice system, including legal foundations, processing and correction of offenders, extent and types of crime, victims.

  • 3
    credits

    Police organization and operations in America.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100 or concurrent CRIMJ 100

  • 3
    credits

    Purpose and function of criminal courts in society, organization, jurisdiction and staffing; prosecution, adjudication, and sentencing of offenders.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100

  • 3
    credits

    Punishment and treatment of sentenced offenders, correctional institution organization, staffing, inmates, and subcultures.

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (select 6 credits)

    • 3
      credits

      Theory and research concerning behaviors and lifestyles viewed as significant departures from a group's normative expectations.

      • Prerequisite

        CRIMJ 12

    • or:
      3
      credits

      Theory and research concerning behaviors and lifestyles viewed as significant departures from a group's normative expectations.

      • Prerequisite

        CRIMJ 112

  • 3
    credits

    Principles of administration as they relate to a police organization and policy development.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100 or CRIM 100 and CRIMJ 210

    • 3
      credits

      The impact of inequality and discrimination on individual and group identity among various racial and ethnic groups.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      The impact of inequality and discrimination on individual and group identity among various racial and ethnic groups.

  • 3
    credits

    Control and treatment of offenders in the community, probation and parole organizations, diversion programs, innovative sentences, supervision techniques.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100, and CRIMJ 113 and CRIMJ 230, or permission of program

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides knowledge about government organizations charged with American border security, guiding laws, and policies.

    • Prerequisite

      6th semester standing

  • 3
    credits

    Historical and contemporary view of juvenile justice system. Focus on analyzing components of the system, their interactions, processing, and handling of youths.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100

  • 3
    credits

    Capstone course exploring past, current, and future developments in criminal justice.

    • Prerequisite

      Sixth-semester standing and CRIM 100 or CRIMJ 100

  • 3
    credits

    Ethical behavior in the criminal justice system.

    • Prerequisite

      CRIMJ 100 or permission of program

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Admissions Help

Please work with your adviser if you have questions about adding a minor. You can find your adviser's contact information in your student portal or by calling advising at 814-863-3283.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admittance into the criminal justice minor, you must:

  • be a current Penn State undergraduate student in your fifth semester and be in a bachelor's degree major
  • maintain a grade of C or better in all courses for the minor
  • confirm that you do not have a matching minor code and major code 

Adding a Minor

If you have achieved fifth-semester standing (60 credits completed), you can apply for admission to the minor. To begin, please follow these steps:

  1. Talk with your academic adviser about incorporating the minor into your major and to develop a semester-by-semester plan for meeting requirements.
  2. You can apply for the minor by adding it in LionPATH. You should do this as early as possible, but you can apply up to the late drop deadline of your graduating semester.
  3. You will receive a confirmation email once you declare the minor in LionPATH.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this program.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Minor in Criminal Justice, please contact:

World Campus Advisers
Phone: 814-863-3283
Email: [email protected]

Faculty

  • Eileen M. Ahlin

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, College Park
    • Degree
      M.A., Sociology, George Mason University
    • Degree
      B.A., Administration of Justice and Sociology, Penn State

    Dr. Eileen M. Ahlin is an associate professor of criminal justice in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. She joined the faculty in 2013 after 15 years with a private corporation, where she conducted criminal justice research at the federal, state, and local levels. Her teaching and research interests include violence, neighborhood effects, corrections, research methods, and criminological theory.

  • Shaun L. Gabbidon

    • Degree
      Ph.D. Criminology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      M.S. Criminal Justice, University of Baltimore
    • Degree
      B.S. Governmental Administration with focus in Criminal Justice, Christopher Newport University

    Dr. Shaun Gabbidon is the author of more than 100 scholarly publications. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Gabbidon was awarded the 2015 Julius Debro Award for outstanding service and the 2016 Outstanding Teaching Award, both from the Division on People of Color and Crime of the American Society of Criminology. He teaches course in the areas of race, ethnicity, and crime; research methods; and private security administration.

  • Jennifer Gibbs

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, College Park
    • Degree
      Certificate, University Teaching and Learning, University of Maryland, College Park
    • Degree
      M.S., Criminal Justice Administration, Niagara University
    • Degree
      B.A., Psychology, Keuka College

    Dr. Jennifer Gibbs' research interests focus on policing topics, including violence against police, public attitudes toward police, diversity in recruitment and retention, and terrorism. Her work on social distance and attitudes toward police, co-authored with Dr. Jonathan Lee, received recognition in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence. At Penn State World Campus, Dr. Gibbs typically teaches courses on policing (CRIMJ 210: Policing in America; CRIMJ 408: Police Administration) and ethics (CRIMJ 465: Ethics in Criminal Justice).

  • Don Hummer

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Social Science-Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
    • Degree
      M.S., Criminal Justice, Shippensburg University
    • Degree
      B.S., Sociology/Anthropology, Elizabethtown College

    Dr. Don Hummer is co-author/editor of The Culture of Prison ViolenceHandbook of Police Administration, and the forthcoming The Technology Revolution in Criminal Justice. His work, focused primarily on offender treatment and control, has appeared in peer-reviewed outlets such as Aggression and Violent BehaviorProbation Journal, Law & Policy, and The Prison Journal.

  • Jonathan Lee

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Criminology, Sam Houston State University
    • Degree
      M.A., Criminal Justice, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., Economics, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

    Dr. Jonathan Lee is an associate professor of criminal justice at Penn State Harrisburg's School of Public Affairs. He specializes in quantitative research on sociology and psychology of deviance, police-public relations, and police decision-making. He is associate editor of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, a consultant to Dauphin County DA's Office and police agencies, and principal investigator of criminal justice projects funded by U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Siyu Liu

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY)
    • Degree
      M.A., Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY)
    • Degree
      B.A., Biomedical English, Peking University Health Science Center
    • Degree
      B.S., Psychology, Peking University

    Dr. Siyu Liu specializes in quantitative research on the topic of criminal desistance, police legitimacy and the Forth Amendment process, and the death penalty in China. Dr. Liu is an active member of the Association of Chinese Criminology and Criminal Justice based in the U.S. and has been presenting her research projects in more than eight prestigious universities in China.

  • Jennifer L. Schally

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Sociology, University of Tennessee
    • Degree
      M.A., Community Psychology and Social Change, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Sociology, Penn State

    Dr. Jennifer L. Schally joined the faculty at Penn State Harrisburg in 2014 after earning her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests are mainly in green criminology and crimes by the powerful, including harms to nonhuman animals. She regularly teaches courses in criminology and race and crime. Dr. Schally’s work has appeared in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, the American Journal of Community Psychology, and the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Her book, Legitimizing Corporate Harm: The Discourse of Agribusiness, was published by Palgrave in 2018.

  • Emily R. Strohacker

    Degree
    Ph.D., Sociology, University of Central Florida

    Dr. Emily Strohacker joined the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg in August 2017 as an assistant professor of criminal justice. Her areas of research interest include criminology, deviance, and victimology, specifically in the areas of cyber victimization and sexual victimization. She regularly teaches courses in victimology, research methods, and criminology. Her published works have appeared in Crime & Delinquency, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, and Police Quarterly.