The Criminal Justice Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a comprehensive major administered within the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. It is the largest interdisciplinary program on campus with between 250 and 300 current students.The liberal-arts orientation of the program prepares the student for a variety of paths following graduation, including law school, graduate-level work in criminology and criminal justice, and for careers at the local, state, and federal levels in law enforcement, corrections, and court related agencies.
The multidisciplinary criminal justice curriculum is designed to familiarize the student with the complex nature of the American criminal justice system. The study of criminal justice focuses on the structure and functions of law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. Included is an analysis of the political, social, cultural, philosophical, and psychological forces that shape the policies, programs, and practices in the system.
As a comprehensive major encompassing 60 credits, students are not also required to have a minor (though some do). Students can choose to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in criminal justice. For either degree, the criminal justice coursework is identical. Univeristy and/or college requirements do differ, however. Students electing to earn a B.A. degree in criminal justice must take additional humanities courses and must acheive minimum competency in a foreign language (usually two semesters of coursework). For a B.S. degree in criminal justice, students are required to take a higher level math and additional courses in the sciences, including at least two lab classes. As a result, B.S. students have fewer humanities elective courses to take. The vast majority of UW-Eau Claire criminal justice students choose the B.A. degree. Those students interested in forensic science or crime scene analysis might be better served by the B.S. degree. Students are also able to develop a customized Topical Minor in criminal justice, which consists 24 credits of coursework. It is best for prospective and current students to consult with a faculty member within the criminal justice program to discuss the options.