Criminal Justice Department

West Chester University

Criminal Justice Department
200A Ruby Jones Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2647
Mary Brewster, Ph.D., Department Chair


The Department of Criminal Justice offers a strong core of required courses, enhanced by an eclectic selection of electives designed to meet the interests and needs of our students. Each course is taught by a qualified faculty member who has direct experience in the particular subject matter.

Criminal Justice is very interdisciplinary in nature. Students interested in Criminal Justice may be interested in careers such as law enforcement and investigation, criminal prosecution or defense, probation and parole, juvenile treatment, corrections victims' advocacy, crime mapping, research, and more.  The program is designed to offer flexibility so that the student can tailor course selection to professional career goals. In this regard, students work closely with advisors to select courses each semester.

Course material is constantly updated to incorporate the ever-changing base of knowledge in this quickly evolving field. We offer such diverse electives as:  Victimology, crime Mapping, White Collar Crime, Terrorism, Environmental Crime, Organized Crime, Criminal Investigations, Interviewing and Assessing the Offender, Animal Cruelty,Evidence and Advocacy, Contemporary Legal Issues, and Justice Studies.  We also offer a content-flexible Topical Seminar course to address the most current issues in the discipline.  Such topics have included:  Psychology of Arson and Sex Offenders, Homeland Security, Environmental Crime, Death Penalty, and Sex, Drugs, and the Bill of Rights. 

The Department is constantly reviewing its curriculum to ensure that it includes the very latest data and information. It is an exciting and rapidly changing field, and that vitality is reflected in the program.

Students who graduate with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice should be able to:

  • communicate intelligently and authoritatively the concepts of criminal justice;
  • demonstrate research skills that reflect the ability to access information in a variety of ways, and the ability to discern authoritative sources of information from unreliable sources of information;
  • demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues in the discipline and exhibit skills reflective of sound ethical and moral judgements;
  • demonstrate confidence, maturity, and practical skills gained from practical experience in a criminal justice setting;
  • demonstrate elevated oral and written communication skills;
  • demonstrate elevated critical-thinking skills when addressing the complex issues raised in the multiple subdisciplines of criminal justice.

Undergraduate Catalog
Graduate Catalog

Students & Alum

  • “West Chester University's Criminal Justice Department gave me the skills and confidence I needed in order to perform as a Police Officer. The courses, practicum, professors and staff were each an integral part of the preparation I needed to help me gain full time employment in the criminal justice field.” - Officer Nathan P. Kutz, Badge #8306, Ocean City Police Department, Maryland

  • "The West Chester University Criminal Justice Department delivers an uncompromising level of excellence and dedication, providing students with the edge needed to compete in today's difficult job market." - Paul Iffrig (Class of 2013) and President of the Criminal Justice Club

  • Brandon Oyama (Class of 2014) is a junior at WCU. He transfered to WCU from Green River Community College in Washington State and is a member of the Men's Tennis Team. He is looking forward to completing his practicum this summer with the Pierce County Juvenile Court in his home state. Brandon states, "WCU was a good choice for me. The faculty are helpful, the courses are interesting and relevant to my future occupation."

  • Mary-Elizabeth Keeney (Class of 2013) is the current president of the Criminal Justice Honor Society and a Fast-Track student. Mary-Elizabeth completed her practicum with the Department of Homeland Security and is looking forward to graduating with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. As a Fast-Track student, she will earn her Master's Degree in 2014.