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Criminal Justice Major

The criminal justice major at UW-Eau Claire will help you prepare for graduate level work in criminal justice and law, and for careers at the local, state and federal levels in law enforcement, corrections and court related agencies. This major is designed for those concerned about crime and justice in America and intellectually motivated to do something about it.

Contact Info:
Geoffrey D. Peterson, Criminal Justice Program
Hibbard Humanities Hall 401
124 Garfield Avenue

Department Website


Comprehensive major (no minor required)
  • Criminal Justice

Where you'll find our grads

  • Police officer, detective bureau
  • Probation and parole agent
  • Investigations Service, United States Office of Personnel ManagementI
  • Office of District Attorney, victim/witness assistance program
  • Case worker, Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Juvenile justice intake office
  • Federal Air Marshal Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Surveillance investigator, Treasure Island Resort and Casino
  • Insurance claim representative, State Farm Mutual Insurance

The program did a tremendous job informing me of the multiple facets of the criminal justice system. Additionally, with the guidance and support of the professors, I am now pursuing my PhD in criminal justice and criminology.

Sou Lee | 2013 criminal justice graduate

Prepared for Success

This is the university’s largest multidisciplinary program with about 300 students in the major. Courses include political science, psychology, sociology, social work and philosophy. UW-Eau Claire’s criminal justice program combines this interdisciplinary coursework with practical experience, putting our graduates in high demand. In addition, we offer a rigorous liberal arts-based academic program that prepares students for success in graduate programs and law school.

Graduates of our criminal justice program have a variety of career opportunities. some go into law enforcement, while others go to graduate school, many to pursue their law degree. Others find careers in youth services, probation and parole, victim witness programs, etc. Typical positions held by criminal justice graduates include police officer, juvenile intake officer, I.R.S. agent, prison correctional officer, probation officer, D.E.A. agent, victim assistance coordinator, border patrol officer, private security, insurance claims agent, lawyer, parole officer, sheriff, state patrol.

Why UW-Eau Claire

Hands-On Experience

Students can gain in-depth exposure to a topic by working one-on-one with faculty through independent and directed study opportunities. Students can also earn up to 6 credits of on-the-job experience at over a dozen regional and national internship sites such as law enforcement, youth services, court services, and corrections. Popular internship sites include the Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), US Marshal Service in Madison and Federal Probation and Parole Services

Faculty Experts

Our faculty are highly-regarded experts and researchers in their field. Dr. Justin Patchin, professor of criminal justice at UW-Eau Claire and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, has done an extensive study on the subject of cyberbullying. Dr. Patchin has been invited to share his expertise at the White House and FBI Academy, and he has discussed his research and findings in national media, including CNN, NPR, the BBC, and the New York Times.


Some advantages criminal justice majors enjoy at UW-Eau Claire include small classes at the upper division level; a broad range of internship choices for students; and funded opportunities for student-faculty collaborative research.

Get Involved / Student Orgs

You will learn from outstanding faculty, who have been recognized for their research and public service. In addition, you will enjoy engaging with an active student Criminal Justice Association that sponsors field trips and meets regularly with criminal justice professionals to discuss career opportunities and pathways.

Research Opportunities

The criminal justice program often sends students to professional conferences to present individual projects or collaborative research with faculty, funded through UW-Eau Claire’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Recently, two students presented research papers at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association conference in Chicago.  

Suggested Freshman Curriculum

  • American National Politics
  • General Psychology
  • Intro to Sociology
  • University writing requirement—depending on placement exam. For test-out options, see seminar/testout.
  • Moral Problems in Contemporary Life
  • Survey of the Criminal Justice System
  • General electives

Course Work / Pre-Professional Courses

Students should plan to take the core courses in Criminal Justice once they have completed the prerequisite courses identified below and earned at least 30 credits.

Special Admission Guidelines

Students are encouraged to do well in English composition, mathematics, and social studies. Strong communication skills, verbal and written, should be developed as well.

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