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Explore the criminal justice bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

Help protect and serve our communities with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Designed for those concerned about crime and motivated to further justice, this growing program combines rigorous coursework with practical, real-world experience.

Explore the structure and functions of law enforcement, the courts, and corrections through internship and research opportunities. Interdisciplinary projects will not only enhance your knowledge of the field but will build your critical thinking, ethical leadership and analytical skills.

Study abroad, immersion programs and participating in the National Student Exchange are highly encouraged. These eye-opening experiences can help you to develop a deep understanding of the many political, social, cultural, philosophical and psychological forces that shape our justice system’s policies, programs and practices.

At UW-Eau Claire, our criminal justice degree isn’t just about helping you understand the causes of crime. It also empowers you to be part of the solution. Whether you decide to patrol neighborhoods, serve in a courtroom or work in a correctional facility, you and your degree will help make a difference.

Learning in the courtroom

Being in the foster care system growing up, Taz Smith became familiar with the courtroom at a young age.

Now, a criminal justice major and an intern for a local judge, Taz learns about real court cases and analyzes them from multiple perspectives. She will take this valuable, firsthand experience into her career to help improve the lives of her future clients.

Why criminal justice at UW-Eau Claire?

Cultural immersion programs. Many Blugolds seek out opportunities to learn about other cultures. Ranging from week- to semester-long, these faculty-led experiences focus on a variety of interesting topics and often lead to life-changing perspectives. Recent programs students have participated in include the Civil Rights Pilgrimage in Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana; the Social and Environmental Justice Experience in Guatemala; Women's Lives and Experiences in Nicaragua; and Culture, Society and Economics in Argentina. 

Real-world experience. See what it's like to work in probation offices, public defenders' offices or even the secret service. Longstanding partnerships with local organizations provide you with direct paths to more than a dozen internship sites, allowing you to earn up to 6 credits of on-the-job experience. Students have held internships at places like the Eau Claire County District Attorney's Office, Eau Claire Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Eau Claire Restorative Justice Center and the United States Secret Service. 

Research opportunities. Criminal justice faculty are regularly engaged in research and actively encourage students to become involved in their latest projects. These opportunities often lead to a chance to travel to state, regional and international conferences and present your findings. 

Expert faculty. Our professors are highly-regarded experts and researchers in their field. For example, professor Dr. Justin Patchin, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, has done extensive research on the subject of cyberbullying. Dr. Patchin has shared his expertise at the White House and FBI Academy and has discussed his findings in national media, including CNN, NPR, the BBC and the New York Times.

Ability to enter the field quickly. Thanks to our partnership with Chippewa Valley Technical College's (CVTC) Law Enforcement Academy, you can apply to earn your academy certification while still enrolled at UW-Eau Claire. This shortens the amount of time it takes to begin your career in law enforcement.

Connection to local employers. Annual on-campus Career Conferences and a Non-Profit and Government Career Fair bring potential employers right to you. These events are excellent opportunities to network and submit your resume for current and future job openings. 

More than

a dozen internship sites

100% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2021-2022 Graduate Report

Quick facts

Criminal justice program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
 Student organizations
  • Criminal Justice Association (CJA)
  • Association of Student Social Workers

What can I do with a criminal justice degree from UWEC?

The criminal justice major at UW-Eau Claire will help prepare you for a career in law enforcement, corrections and court-related agencies at the local, state and federal level. The program is also an excellent path for those who wish to go on to graduate school in the fields of criminal justice and criminology.

Where are criminal justice alumni now?

Criminal justice jobs

I fell in love with this field, and I know that this is what I want to do. I want to live my life serving others and helping people live their best lives.

Breah Ostertag Criminal Justice

Faculty spotlight: Dr. Ming Li Hsieh

Whether she's exploring community corrections, comparative criminal justice or campus safety, Dr. Ming Li Hsieh is finding collaborative ways to make our community a better place.

Since joining the Blugold family in 2016, Hsieh has engaged in several faculty-student collaborative research projects, all aimed at helping students understand how policing practices from other countries and evidence-based research can help understand the criminal justice system.

Criminal justice bachelor's degree program curriculum

One of UWEC’s largest interdisciplinary programs, the criminal justice major includes courses in sociology, psychology, social work and political science. A variety of elective courses will help fuel your criminal justice passion and provide you with the opportunity to pursue internships and collaborative, student-faculty research. 

What classes do criminal justice majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the comprehensive criminal justice major in the UWEC course catalog.

Learn more about UWEC

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Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Photo of Hibbard Humanities Hall during sunset

Political Science

Hibbard Humanities Hall 401
124 Garfield Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Visit the Political Science department website