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Criminal Justice

Who’s innocent? Who’s guilty? Are you sure?  What should the punishment be? Why? How can we help convicted criminals thrive after they’ve been punished? What should we be doing to prevent crime in the first place? As a major in Criminal Justice at McDaniel, you’ll explore our system of law and order in all its complexity.

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Graduate School Preparation
Pre-Law Advising

Whether you want to fight crime as a law enforcement officer, shape the laws that citizens follow, understand why people commit crime, or study how crime affects society at large, you’ll be at home as a student in McDaniel’s Criminal Justice major.

Hands-on in the Real World

Thanks to McDaniel’s relationships with organizations of all types, you’ll complete an internship in a setting that will give you an up-close look at the type of work you can do with your Criminal Justice degree. This internship will help you build skills, grow your network, and give you a better idea of the opportunities out there for you.

Future Career Paths

Graduates of Criminal Justice programs go on to a number of rewarding careers in many different fields. After your time at McDaniel, you’ll be qualified to pursue careers like:

  • FBI Agent
  • Corrections Manager
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Paralegal
  • Police Officer

Distinctive Courses

PHI 1103 - Philosophy & Black Lives Matter

In this course we will treat the assertion that Black Lives Matter is a rejection of the devaluation of Black life. In so doing, we will conduct philosophical investigations into the ways in which Black lives have been devalued in America. Throughout the semester, we will also consider the vast perspectives on iterations such as all lives matter, protests as a form of resistance, and the use of violence by the police state.

SOC 2205 - Criminology

A study of the theoretical aspects of criminal behavior and crime causation; the measurement of crime and crime statistics as well as techniques of crime prevention and societal reaction to crime.

ENG 3308 - Writing in Law and Policy

A study of the conventions of legal and analytical writing. Focused on analysis of legal problems and the presentation of findings in forms employed by legal and paralegal professionals, attention will also be devoted to critiquing new developments in the profession.

PHI 3301 - Feminist and Gender Theory

This course examines significant conversations and debates in feminist social and political theory since the mid-twentieth century. The class will read major foundational and cutting edge works by feminist thinkers, analyze the theoretical perspectives they represent, discuss the commonalities and differences between them, and situate them within a genealogy of feminist knowledge. These readings are not all in agreement, but they are drawn together by the joint search for answers to the causes and consequences of gender difference-making hierarchies, and  inequalities. Readings are drawn from both local U.S. feminist sources and from feminists around the globe. Our examination of gender takes an intersectional approach, focusing particularly on formations of race, ethnicity/nationality/religion, class, and sexuality. Throughout the course, we will also consider the relationships between feminist theory, contemporary women’s movements, and other social and political movements.

Criminal Justice Program Requirements

Special Opportunities

An employer talks to students at a job and internship fair.


Internships are a key part of the education you’ll receive as a Criminal Justice major. Recently, McDaniel students have completed internships at:

  • Baltimore City Police
  • Suffolk County Police Department, NY
  • Maryland State Police Forensic Lab
  • Maryland State Police Fire Marshall Office
  • Emergency Management Homeland Security Prince Georges County Youth Program

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Get to Know Our Green Terrors

A students sits in a chair in front of a window while holding a book.

Senior Spotlight Class of 2024: Teresa Grace Djapa Criminal Justice Major

"The best class I took was Restorative Justice with Dr. Delmas Wood. This class taught me about forgiveness (personal, societal, systemic) and helped me understand that justice comes in many forms and most of the time it is a process from within."


Meet an Alum Courtney Schlotterbeck '21 Criminal Justice Major

When McDaniel launched the Criminal Justice program in her junior year, Courtney Schlotterbeck '21 knew it was the right major for her. With instructors with decades of professional experience as lawyers, law enforcement, and judges, the program gave her a deep dive into subjects that tie right in to her work as a paralegal.

Religion Prison Student Group standing in front of bus.

Course on religion in prison rattles students’ preconceptions Liberal Arts Lessons

“Religion and American Prisons” seems an odd combination and an even stranger course title, but the 25 students in Religious Studies professor Brad Stoddard’s class applaud their studies as surprising, thought provoking and at times even shocking. The course examines the relationship between religion and prisons in America — a nation that incarcerates more prisoners per capita than any other society today or in history, says Stoddard.

Photo of professor Kathi Hill standing on a beach.

Kathi Hill ’80 Faculty Feature

Lecturer Kathi Hill ’80 wants her students to learn that not every question has only one right answer. In courses like Criminology, Deviant and Criminal Behavior, and Criminal Law, Hill teaches subjects like civil discourse, the social construction of law and deviance, and elements of the justice system. She has a J.D. from University of Baltimore and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University. She was a trial attorney in criminal defense and family law for more than a decade before she returned to her alma mater to teach in the departments of Sociology and Psychology, and the Criminal Justice program.