Helping. Protecting. Defending. For students majoring in criminal justice, those aren’t just goals—they’re a part of day-to-day life. Criminal justice majors help people in need. They protect the greater good. They serve others above themselves. All while demonstrating the love of Christ to people who need it.
As a criminal justice major, you can learn from faculty with a variety of experience. For example, our department chair Jon Moeller is a retired FBI agent who worked national investigations such as responding to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and the DC sniper killings. Prior to his work in the FBI, he served as a 24/7 undercover detective for three years. Hear from Professor Moeller about his work serving in law enforcement and now as the president of the Iowa and Nebraska chapter of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), as a part-time and reserve county deputy, and how his faith and work as a law enforcement officer correlate.Request Info
As a criminal justice major, you’ll take classes in forensics, political science, law, psychology, and social work. You’ll learn key concepts needed to work in the field. You’ll also go beyond the basic facts and learn to think critically about justice.
Of course, you’ll train outside the classroom too. Learning from industry experts. Participating in hands-on activities like processing a crime scene. Experiencing a firearms training simulator. Interning with an organization in the criminal justice field. It’s all part of developing God-centered insight, skills, and knowledge to serve in the criminal justice system.
What can I do with a degree in criminal justice from Dordt University?
When it comes to career options, criminal justice majors have a long list to choose from. Some pursue careers in law enforcement or the court and legal system. Others find success as private investigators, crime scene investigators, or social workers. Whatever path you choose, your ability to apply a Christian perspective to criminal justice will set you apart in more ways than one.
The career outcome rate for our Criminal Justice graduates in 2021 was 100%.
Paralegals are responsible for assisting lawyers by performing multiple different tasks such as conducting research and organizing documents and information.
An Intelligence Analyst is responsible for understanding and neutralizing threats by breaking down given information into components that help to develop plans of action.
Private Investigators perform a variety of tasks that collectively search for information pertaining to a crime or case.
Criminal Justice Major
Criminal justice can be a challenging career due to our fallen world. Dordt’s program will teach you how to work with a Christian mindset, showing guidance and the love of Christ to others who need it while seeking justice for the oppressed.
Dordt’s program takes an interdisciplinary approach to criminal justice education. You’ll take classes in the psychology, social work, political studies, and the health and human performance departments. Other classes may be applicable as well, depending on your anticipated career. Just as your core curriculum at Dordt will help you appreciate the broad scope of God’s work in both his people and his creation, your core criminal justice classes will give you a broad understanding of many different areas within criminal justice.
To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.
Graduates from Dordt’s criminal justice program have worked for businesses like the San Jose Police Department, the Family Crisis Center, and the U.S. Marine Corps.
You’ll be encouraged to take an active role in the learning process—to express your opinion and think critically about the subjects you study. And you will get the opportunity to learn from industry experts and participate in hands-on activities like processing a crime scene. We also take your learning off-campus, with the chance to experience a firearms training simulator and visit a penitentiary. You’ll also complete a field experience, interning with an organization in the criminal justice field.
As criminal justice majors, students will take classes in policing, criminal law, political science, and forensics. As a part of their coursework, students will perform field work. These classes will prepare students to face whatever challenges might be thrown at them in their future career.
- Introduction to Criminal Justice: Overview of the criminal justice system, including criminal justice research, criminal law, procedure, evidence, criminology, victimology, policing, the courts, and corrections. Students will explore how our views of crime and the criminal justice system have been influenced by government leaders and the media. Students will also seek to apply biblical norms to our analysis of the criminal justice system with suggestions on reform.
- Policing: This course provides an overview of the history, function, administration, and challenges facing modern police. Emphasis will be placed on major reform efforts, including evidence-based practices, community policing, and the challenges of militarization. Students will also evaluate the role of police in society, especially within the framework of a biblical, Reformed worldview.
- Corrections: This course provides an overview of the various means used to punish criminals and protect society. Students will develop an understanding of the concepts of incarceration, prison management, and rehabilitation (penology), especially in the United States. Students will study correctional philosophies, the challenge of prison violence and subcultures, rehabilitation efforts, and recidivism. This course will encourage students to critically assess the challenges facing the American correctional system through evidence-based policy analysis and comparative study of international approaches.
- Juvenile Justice: Students will review causal theories of juvenile crime and will also examine the history and philosophy of the treatment of juveniles in the criminal justice system and the goals and effectiveness of the system. Promising alternatives rooted in a biblical reconciliation worldview will be included. Problems such as gangs, drug usage, and school violence will also be explored. The emphasis will be on how to be a salt and a light in a strategic part of society.
- Crime Scene Investigation: Students will become acquainted with the forensic sciences, learn how to gather evidence and use it to solve crimes, and understand how proper investigation promotes justice. Considerable emphasis will be placed on how to conduct interviews and interrogations, write reports, and testify in court. Students will learn how to evaluate criminal investigations in current and high profile cases. Students will apply biblical norms and discuss police ethics in conducting investigations. Intended for anyone interested in criminal investigation and hands-on learning.
- Diversity and Inequality: Students examine the historical and contemporary factors related to diversity and inequality in North America and increase their appreciation for the contributions of diverse groups in culturally-pluralistic societies. The course assumes that human diversity is created good and explores how to discern that goodness after the Fall. Students assess their own biases in light of course material and increase their sensitivity to diversity.
- Speaking and Writing for Public Service: This course will help students develop their skills in interviewing, report writing, and giving court testimony, including a basic introduction to the rules of evidence and procedure as they pertain to this process. Students will engage the material through a series of simulations that allow them the opportunity to see the impact of decisions and performance in earlier phases of the process from initial contact to sworn testimony.
- Criminology: A theory-based course that studies crime causation, typologies of crime, and crime control. It looks at both historical and modern theories,
including those that look to individual, social, and structural causes. It also broadly analyzes the guardianship and enforcement functions of the criminal justice system. Students will be able to identify criminology theories in modern media and engage in theory-building exercises.
- Victimology and Family Violence: The victimology section will look at the various harms suffered due to crime, how victims interact with various agencies and players, public reaction to victims, the victims’ rights movement, and how to better serve the victims of crime through our criminal justice system. Students will also identify and describe the problem, measure its true dimensions, and review evidence and hypotheses of victimologists. In the family violence portion, theories on family violence will be analyzed, the consequences of family victimization will be considered, as well as how to recognize child abuse and understand the dynamics of partner violence. Students will analyze legal and enforcement responses, consider how institutional responses can prevent or lessen revictimization, and look to how a restorative justice model can alleviate some of the harms of victimization.
- Criminal Law: This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of criminal law focusing on a study of what constitutes particular crimes, both in the common law and by statute, including certain defenses. Principles learned in this course will help students develop a deeper ability to discern what constitutes fair administration of justice: dealing fairly with the accused while continuing to uphold the interests of both victims and society at large. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
- Criminal Procedures: This course continues the material covered in Criminal Law, this time focusing on the procedural protections guaranteed by the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments to the Constitution, helping students develop a more sophisticated understanding of things like searches and seizures and the right to an attorney. Students will learn the crucial role these protections play in protecting the rights of those suspected or accused of criminal activity.
- American Constitutional Law: This course focuses on the American Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Through analysis of landmark cases, this course will study both historical and recent developments in constitutional law with the goal of gaining deeper insight into the way our system works and the reasons for the freedoms we hold dear.
- Domestic Preparedness: This course will introduce students to the complex issues surrounding response to a major incident, be it man-made (such as terrorism) or natural. Drawing on the roles of police as first responders, emergency management personnel, and protectors of public order, this course will look at major historic incidents, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, to encourage students to think critically about how to learn from the past and how to be always ready to pursue one’s vocation, especially in times of trial.
- Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice: This capstone course to the Criminal Justice curriculum will integrate topics from across the discipline to help students critically evaluate the system as a whole. Students will discuss themes of justice, Christian perspective, and special consideration will be given to the most recent developments in news, technology, and popular culture regarding the criminal justice system.
- Field Experience in Criminal Justice: This field experience provides exposure to the type of activities in which Criminal Justice graduates are likely to be involved. Requires 8-10 on-site hours per week plus one hour of weekly supervision.
- State and Local Politics: Provides a basic introduction to the political process at the state and municipal level, examining the role of the individual citizen, various groups, and governmental institutions. Attention is given to the special policy needs at the state and community level, their links with the federal government, and the particular character of local politics.
- Introduction to Public Administration: Provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Public Administration. Subjects to be considered include the role of the public service in society, public service values and ethics, accountability and political control of the public service, the budgetary process, organizational forms in government, human resources, principles of public management, and new forms of delivering government services.
- Conversation [Spanish]: Designed to give the student practice in listening and speaking. The content of the courses will be altered each year. The class will meet two times each week. (Graded on a pass/no record basis.)
Criminal Justice Minor
A minor in criminal justice can be an ideal complement to many majors offered at Dordt. Combined with a criminal justice minor, majors such as psychology, political science, English, and biology can all lead to a rewarding career. Your education will help you understand the social and criminal issues families and communities face. Better yet, it will equip you to pursue a career that helps you solve those problems.
Ready to take the next step?
Despite growing up in Northwest Iowa, Adam feels more than prepared for his job in the concrete jungle of New York City after the experiences and education he received at Dordt.
Adam Vander StoepRead More
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Still looking for the right fit? Here are some additional program options that we think might interest you or are often paired with this program. You can also view the programs page to keep exploring your options.