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


West Chester University's Department of Criminal Justice offers its students an opportunity that is unique among undergraduate programs. Our students are required to work full-time over one summer in an approved criminal justice agency. Criminal justice is an applied discipline making the advantages of such a program numerous. Students

  • gain valuable full-time work experience in the field of criminal justice
  • work at the federal, state, or local government level or at private agencies
  • apply knowledge gained in the classroom in a real-world setting
  • learn practical skills to prepare for a career in the profession
  • develop relationships and connections with professionals working in the field
  • receive job offers and/or earn recommendations from agency supervisors and colleagues
  • learn about job openings at agencies before they are announced to the general public
  • earn twelve academic credits toward graduation

We currently maintain a database of over 600 local, state, federal, and private organizations where are students are gladly accepted for summer practicum. Access the Criminal Justice Practicum database here (username and password required).


What do students think of the practicum experience?

           "This was an extraordinary experience and a wonderful grand finale to my undergraduate education. It offers a real insiders view of the system."

"This has been the best class/experience of my whole college career. It is why I chose WCU over other schools."

"I chose West Chester's Department of Criminal Justice specifically because of its practicum program, and I'm so glad I did.  I would recommend this experience to every student."

What do practicum agency supervisors think of the practicum program and WCU students?

"Your students are very well-prepared for this work.  They had an excellent sense of the issues related to our agency, and a mature and respectful attitude.  I was impressed by how engaged and motivated these students were."

"The practicum program at the Department of Criminal Justice is a win-win as far as we are concerned.  The student has the opportunity to gain real-world experience, and the agency has the advantage of assistance from well-educated and enthusiastic students."


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.