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Criminology & Criminal Justice

Criminology and Criminal Justice is an academic discipline that focuses on the causes, consequences, prevention, and control of criminal activity. At Portland State, the Criminology & Criminal Justice Division emphasizes the practical application of empirical evidence to real world crime problems. Its goal is to produce engaged students and high quality, policy-relevant research.

The CCJ Division houses one of the most popular undergraduate majors at PSU. It brings together students with diverse backgrounds who are interested in taking what they learn back to their communities. We see evidence of CCJ student’s contributions in many ways in the local community but also around the country and around the world -- particularly through students attending PSU through CCJ’s thriving fully online undergraduate program.

Bachelor degree graduates from the CCJ program are highly competitive candidates for jobs in local, state, and federal law enforcement; probation and parole; corrections; non-profit social services; security; public service; and for law and graduate schools. The CCJ program has a commitment to providing students with real job experiences through an internship requirement and course mapping and advising to ensure students graduate on time.

Student’s in CCJ's Master's degree program come to build their knowledge and skills for higher level career advancement and lay the foundation for doctoral studies. The program provides a high degree of flexibility, allowing students to tailor it to their particular interests and goals. CCJ graduate students go on to careers in a variety of agencies and settings - from crime analysis and computer forensics to law enforcement and non-profit services.

While in the graduate program, many students seek the opportunity to work with faculty on their research, which is housed and disseminated through the Division’s Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute. The Institute was initially established by the Oregon Legislature as an independent source of criminal justice policy analysis and research. It reach has grown far beyond the state borders, as national recognition continues to grow for the quality and national relevance of CCJ faculty research.


History of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Portland State

Criminal justice education began at Portland State University in 1949 with a limited number of professional courses for police officers. A Law Enforcement Certificate Program was implemented in 1965. This certificate program served the needs of the law enforcement community throughout the urban and campus unrest of the late 1960's. It also provided the instructional base for the further development of a comprehensive degree-granting program which could be responsive to the total educational requirements of persons involved in the criminal justice process.

A bachelor’s degree was established in 1972. This undergraduate program has evolved over time and today provides a coordinated series of educational experiences within an interdisciplinary social science curriculum. The Division was previously known as Administration of Justice. In 2004 the Division changed to its current name, Criminology and Criminal Justice, to better reflect the broad expertise of the faculty and the emphasis of the program.

The Division offers the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, both on campus and fully online, a minor, a post-baccalaureate certificate, and a Master of Science degree. It is also a participating division in the Public Administration and Policy and Urban Studies doctoral programs. The Division also houses the Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute which supports the development and dissemination of CCJ faculty research.