Criminal Justice

Examine U.S. and global criminal justice systems in a hands-on bachelor’s degree program that takes you beyond how systems work to understand where there are failures and how you can be an agent of change.

Why do people break laws, and what happens when they do? In the Criminal Justice bachelor's degree program at Wells College, you'll connect and compare justice systems around the world, analyzing each through the critical lens of race, class, and gender to understand who benefits and who suffers and why. You can choose courses in the Criminal Justice program based on your interests and career goals, adding specialization and focusing your expertise in a specific area. The Criminal Justice program offers both a major and a minor.

Daniel Renfrow, Associate Professor of Sociology

A Look Inside the Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Program at Wells

Our major in Criminal Justice centers on an understanding of social theory—examining the structures that lead to rule-breaking and addressing it at that level. We offer courses that explore timely subjects such as terrorism, genocide, racial profiling, and other national and global issues that help to shape criminal justice systems. You can also specialize your area of study in related disciplines, such as Political Science or Women's and Gender Studies.

Guest speakers including law enforcement professionals, attorneys, and other experts provide firsthand accounts of the way that criminal justice is practiced, and you’ll have exciting and rewarding opportunities to take your education into the field through internships, research, and other hands-on opportunities. For example, our professors have organized class trips to local correctional facilities that offer rare and eye-opening insights into the criminal justice system.

Wells is a small, private liberal arts college, so you’ll also benefit from small class sizes and supportive, personalized feedback from your professors and your peers. In addition to being accomplished researchers and experts in diverse areas of criminal justice, our faculty are accessible and dedicated teachers who are responsive to the needs and interests of students in the program.

What You’ll Learn as a Criminal Justice Major

  • How criminal justice systems work at home and abroad and how you can be an agent of change
  • How to write and speak about a range of criminal justice issues from petty theft to war crimes
  • Research methods and critical thinking skills you can apply to a variety of careers

Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning in the Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Program

As a criminal justice major at Wells, your classroom studies are complemented by firsthand experience through internships, options to study overseas, and other experiential learning opportunities in the New York region and around the globe.

Internship and Study Abroad Opportunities

Our internship programs give you the chance to work in a professional setting and discover what you like or don't like about potential careers in different criminal justice fields. Wells students have recently held internships with:

  • Suffolk County Police Department, New York
  • District Attorney's Office, Auburn, New York
  • Election Campaign for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Legal Aid Society, Rochester, New York
  • Genesee County Sherriff, Batavia, New York
  • Lakeside Behavioral Health, Auburn, New York
  • Wells College Campus Safety, Aurora, New York

Want to learn more about internships at Wells? Our Experiential Learning and Career Services Office is dedicated to helping you find the right opportunity and get the most out of it. 

You can also study criminal justice overseas in countries such as Italy, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and Ireland. Learn more about study abroad programs at Wells.

Related Minor Degree Programs

The program in Criminal Justice can be combined with other disciplines to add specialization and additional expertise. For example, a Political Science focus will explore links between democracy and the justice system, a Women's and Gender Studies focus might take on a research project examining the role of gender within or in opposition to terrorist activity, or a Psychology focus might examine possibilities for therapy within domestic violence shelters or intersections between mental health and drug use. 

If you’re interested in the field of criminal justice, minor degree programs you might be interested to explore include: 

Career Options for Criminal Justice Majors

A bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Wells will prepare you for a variety of careers in law enforcement, legal practice, corrections, social services, and governmental or non-profit advocacy work. You might also choose to continue your education in law school or other graduate school programs.

Current Research in the Criminal Justice Bachelor’s Degree Program

Shilpashri Karbhari, Visiting Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, published her Book Review: Yen Le Espiritu, Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es) in the International Sociology Reviews (ISR).

Dan Renfrow, Associate Professor of Sociology and coordinator of the Criminal Justice program, published the paper 'But That’s Not Sexting': Accounts from Emerging Adults, in the Routledge Handbook of Deviance Studies. Several Wells students contributed to the research and writing.

Apply Now to Pursue Your Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Take the first step toward earning your bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Wells College. Apply now.

Request More Information

Ready to learn more about Wells College and our Criminal Justice Bachelor of Arts program? Request more information. 

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Abena Poku ’16
Visual Arts: Art History Major, Community Court Chair
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Program Faculty
Daniel Renfrow
Associate Professor of Sociology; 315.364.3340
Internship Opportunities

Internships offer firsthand views into the professional world and opportunities to make connections with those in potential career paths. All Wells students will take more than one experiential opportunity—whether an internship, semester abroad, work-study or a related opportunity.

Learn more about internships at Wells.


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