A criminal justice degree can help you make a difference in the world. Whether you want to investigate crimes, prosecute the law or fight for criminal justice reform, a Temple University education will give you the knowledge you need to forge your path. At the College of Liberal Arts, criminal justice experts teach students in our minor, major, honors and +1 programs how to navigate the world of criminal justice.

A Hands-On Approach

Majoring in Criminal Justice helps to prepare students for careers as practitioners, researchers and academics in a variety of public and private sector professions in both adult and juvenile systems of justice at the federal, state and local levels of government. It also provides the core liberal arts foundations for students interested in alternative career paths or advanced education in law school and graduate programs in criminal justice, criminology and related social-science fields. Students have a wide variety of internship opportunities and our classes emphasize experiential learning. Our internationally recognized “Inside Out” program offers the opportunity to attend classes in a prison.

The mission of the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree is to train students to think critically about issues related to criminal behavior, the operations of the criminal justice system and the effectiveness and fairness of society’s efforts to prevent and control it. Students are exposed to different ways of thinking about and responding to the harms associated with criminal behavior. They learn the importance of social science research and the need to inform crime policies and related social policies through rigorous research and evidence. And they acquire the skills to design and conduct research and to consume and synthesis existing scholarly knowledge.

Highly Qualified Faculty

Our faculty members have spent years working in criminal justice and related fields and bring their research and experience into the classroom. They also have a wide variety of contacts that translate into interesting guest speakers and networking opportunities with individuals who work in all facets of criminal justice. The faculty includes many internationally recognized scholars who conduct grant-funded research on new and emerging issues of the day. Through this cutting-edge research, faculty bring fresh topics and debates to the classroom, keeping students abreast of the latest developments related to criminal justice policy and practice.

Picture of Mary Byerly

Mary Byerly

BA in Criminal Justice, '22

Criminal Justice at Temple University prepared me by providing a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system, including its theories, policies, and practical applications. The program equipped me with critical thinking skills, research abilities, and a deeper appreciation for issues related to justice and equity.

Read more about Mary and her journey!

Criminal Justice Major

As a liberal arts degree, the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice trains students to think critically, to solve problems, to communicate effectively, and to conduct research designed to improve our understanding of crime and related social problems. Through the lens of criminal justice, students tackle larger issues related to effectiveness and fairness of existing policies and practices. Students learn that criminal justice is a complex system connected to other systems in society (e.g. health, education). In short, students will attain translatable skills that are relevant to many different career paths that require critical thinking, communication and knowledge building.

Students declaring the Criminal Justice minor are preparing themselves for a chance to work in several different areas of criminal justice and other relevant areas of social policy. The minor provides them with the fundamentals of criminal laws and the criminal justice system while offering them the ability to choose from a variety of upper-level electives that interest them.

Degree Offerings

Criminal Justice +1 BA/MA

High-achieving undergraduates will be invited by the faculty of the Criminal Justice Department to apply for the BA/MA 5 year program. Students admitted to this program begin taking graduate courses along with their undergraduate curriculum in their last three undergraduate semesters. They then complete the remaining requirements of a MA in Criminal Justice in the subsequent year. Eligible students will receive notification at the end of their Sophomore year, and applications will be accepted until October 7th of their Junior year.

New Certificate in Cybersecurity and Human Behavior

The five-course Certificate in Cybersecurity and Human Behavior focuses on the human and social elements of cyberattacks and cybersecurity. In addition to obtaining a broad understanding of cybercrime and cyber-investigations, students will learn how technology has impacted various other crimes, such as organized crime, terrorism, hate crimes, and white-collar crime.

Certificate Offerings

Criminal Justice Honors Program

The department has its own Honors Program in which majors who are also University Honors students may tailor their honors experience to include a criminal justice specialization. In addition to the honors-level elective courses offered, an invaluable part of the program is the opportunity for students to develop an honors thesis based upon an undergraduate research project individually mentored by a Criminal Justice professor.


Criminal Justice internships offer the opportunity to put what you’re learning into practice and start making professional connections in your field. Collaborate with your peers as they intern in a variety of criminal justice agencies under the guidance of Criminal Justice faculty by taking Criminal Justice Internship (CJ 4085) and the co-requisite Criminal Justice Seminar (CJ 4075).

Our students have interned with a variety of organizations, federal and state government agencies, local law enforcement, probation/parole, prosecutor’s office, public defenders, victims’ services organizations, and nonprofits all over the city. Check out some of their placements below! …

  • District Attorney’s Office
  • Homeland Security
  • DEA
  • Defender Association of Philadelphia
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
  • Northcentral Victims Services
  • Philadelphia Police Department
  • Adult Probation and Parole
  • Pennsylvania Innocence Project
  • Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia
  • Federal Probation and many more!

We are here to help! Reach out to Dr. Cheryl Irons, our Internship Coordinator to learn about next steps and for help finding a site to match your goals. Learn More about Criminal Justice Careers, Internships & Opportunities

Additional Resources