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


B.S. Criminal Justice Program (Philadelphia)

West Chester University's Department of Criminal Justice offers a quality undergraduate degree completion program to qualified students who wish to earn a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Our "Philly Finale" program:

  • Is designed for students who have substantially completed their general education and lower division criminal justice courses at an accredited two- or four-year institution of higher education
  • Enables students to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice by completing as few as 30 credits of upper division criminal justice courses
  • Provides an exceptional opportunity for students who desire a career in criminal justice

Advantages of the "Philly Finale" Program

  • Lowest tuition in the region
  • Convenient Center City location (see below for address)
  • Quality degree completion program for those aspiring to criminal justice careers
  • Required Practicum provides students with work experience in the discipline prior to graduation
  • Course instruction by faculty with advanced degrees in the discipline and practical experience in the field
  • WCU is in the Top 100 Kiplinger's Best Buys in Higher education (click on Kiplinger's Best on the left)

Convenient Location

Philadelphia Multi-University Center (PMUC)

Concourse Level

701 Market Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

(267) 386-3001

Admission Requirements

  • Successful completion of most core general education requirements (including English Composition I and English Composition II).
  • Successful completion (a minimum grade of C) of a minimum of at least 12 credits of introductory criminal justice courses, including:  Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Corrections, and Policing.
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 with college-level writing skills.
  • A strong commitment to impeccable standards of integrity and ethics.

Criminal Justice Program Requirements

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 30 credits of upper division criminal justice courses
  • Earn a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in all criminal justice courses
  • Earn a minimum grade of C in all criminal justice courses

Course Requirements

Required courses (21 credits)

  • Criminal Law (3 credits)
  • Criminal Justice Research (3 credits)
  • Criminal Procedure (3 credits)
  • Criminal Justice Practicum (12 credits)

Criminal justice electives (minimum of 9 credits):

  • Organize Crime (3 credits)
  • White Collar Crime (3 credits)
  • Terrorism (3 credits)
  • Victimology (3 credits)
  • Animal Cruelty (3 credits)
  • Gender, Crime & Justice (3 credits)
  • Environmental Crime (3 credits)
  • Computer Crime (3 credits)
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • Interviewing & Assessing the Offender (3 credits)
  • Cutting-edge Topical Seminars (3 credits)

Degree Requirements

  • Successfully complete 120 credits of college-level courses
  • Overall minimum grade point average of 2.0
  • A minimum of 30 credits taken at West Chester University in Philadelphia

Criminal Justice Practicum (12 Credit)

All Criminal Justice students are required to work full time (37.5 hours per week) for twelve continuous weeks for an approved criminal justice agency. Over 600 federal, state, municipal, and local agencies (public and private) have been approved by the Department for Practicum students.  In addition to full time work commitment, students are also required to write several quality research papers to meet course requirements.  This course is offered only in the summer.

Benefits of the Criminal Justice Practicum

  • Gain practical work experience in the discipline prior to graduation
  • Begin networking in the field
  • Learn to apply concepts acquired in the classroom
  • Establish competency in specialized areas of the discipline
  • Acquire letters of reference from established practitioners
  • Learn of position openings in advance of publication

Approved Criminal Justice Agencies

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • United States Marsha's Office
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Pennsylvania's Attorney General's Office
  • Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
  • Philadelphia Public Defender's Office
  • Various regional police departments
  • Private investigation firms
  • Einstein Health Network
  • Juvenile probation and treatment facilities
  • Victims' services

Admission Requirements

Individuals wishing to pursue the B.S in Criminal Justice at the Philadelphia location must apply and be accepted as a West Chester University Student. Regular admission requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5.

For more information on the B.S. in Criminal Justice "Philly Finale" Program, contact:

Dr. Jana Nestlerode, Chair

Department of Criminal Justice

West Chester University

(610) 436-2647



To start the WCU application process visit, Click on "Apply Now" and follow the directions. There is a $50 application fee.


M.S. Criminal Justice Program (Philadelphia)

West Chester University's Criminal Justice Department is now offering Master of Science courses in a convenient center city Philadelphia location. The WCU M.S. Criminal Justice Program is geared toward providing the working professional the opportunity to pursue an affordable higher education from in a convenient Philadelphia location.  Courses are taught by experienced professionals with advanced educational credentials and in state of the art classrooms at the Philadelphia Multi-University Center (PMUC) in the Mellon Independence Center at 701 Market Street. 


Having an advanced degree in Criminal Justice may benefit individuals in a variety of ways.  A M.S. in Criminal Justice may provide additional opportunities for advancement in criminal justice organizations.  Individuals with advanced degrees may also receive pay differentials associated from their employer or may receive educational pay incentives upon hiring.   Those considering a second career in criminal justice education will benefit from a Master's in Criminal Justice.  Completion of the M.S. Criminal Justice degree allows for individuals to pursue teaching assignments at public and private educational facilities including technical institutions, community colleges, and police academies. 

Program Highlights


Earn your degree from a highly-respected university with experienced faculty, many of whom have worked in the criminal justice system. The program requires the completion of a 30-credit generalist program which includes 5 core classes and 5 electives. 


Students may attend courses at either the Philadelphia Multi-University Center (PMUC), West Chester University's main campus, or both.


In addition to a choice of locations, student have the option of attending during regular fall and spring semesters, during 5-week summer sessions, 3-week winter sessions, or taking an online elective.  Students may pursue their degree part-time (1 or 2 courses per semester) and complete the program in as little as two years. Full-time students (3 or 4 courses per semester) can complete the program in as little as 12 months.  The program allows for students to enroll as non-degree students or they can formally apply and, if admitted, attend classes as a matriculated student.


A West Chester University education is completely affordable.  Kiplinger's Personal Finance named West Chester University among the top 100 Best Buys in Public Colleges.  Total cost of a 3-credit course (including tuition, technology fee, and general fee) is $1,602.15.  For a reference, the same degree at St. Joseph's University would cost $2,256 ($1,692 with the 25% law enforcement discount). 

Admission and Application

Admission Requirements

Individuals wishing to pursue the M.S. Criminal Justice degree must provide official undergraduate transcripts.  Regular admission requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.  Provisional admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.8. Applicants must proved at the names and e-mail addresses of at least two recommenders that will be contacted through College Net for recommendations (no actual letters are required).  Potential students must provide standardized test scores.  The MAT is listed as a requirement on the application, however the MAT can be waived.  After completing and submitting the online application, e-mail Dr. Mary Brewster ( to have the MAT waived.


To fill out an application, visit  Click on "Apply Now".  There is a $50 application fee.

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.