Oakland University will encourage students to take a critical look at crime and punishment issues this semester, with the launch of the new bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Housed in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, the new major will accommodate a fast-growing interest in the field, and offer a program unique to Oakland County.
“There is a real hunger among students − particularly in this geographic region − for a four-year, dedicated criminal justice major, and we are thrilled to be able to offer that beginning this fall,” said Amanda Burgess-Proctor, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice.
The program, which will incorporate an interdisciplinary component, an internship and a capstone course, will allow students to tailor their studies to specific career area interests such as law enforcement, courts, corrections and treatment, juvenile justice, information security and assurance, and homeland security. Courses will be offered both on OU's main campus and at the Anton Frankel Center in Mount Clemens.
Several established courses in the criminal justice concentration are being revamped and renamed to line up with the priorities of the new program. The capstone course, along with several other new courses, will debut in the fall 2013 semester.
“This interdisciplinary requirement is unique among criminal justice programs, and was put into place to ensure that students have a broad perspective given the complexity of both criminal offending and crime control policies,” Dr. Burgess-Proctor explained.
“An internship is particularly important because popular media depictions of criminal justice careers are, unfortunately, often wildly inaccurate. It is crucial that students get realistic, hands-on experience before deciding whether to pursue a career in the criminal justice system.”
At the same time, the capstone course is designed to ensure that students can marshal the knowledge they have gained throughout their coursework in order to link theory, research, and policy, she continued.
“The capstone is an important final step in students' degree program as it will enable them to put all of the pieces of their degree program together to complete the "picture" of what they've learned before graduating.”
Already nearly 50 students have registered for the criminal justice major, adding to the more than 80 students in the concentration. As the program continues to grow and develop, administrators anticipate reaching 250 majors.