Criminology and Criminal Justice

The study of crime prepares students for any field within the criminal justice system. Studying criminal events, the correctional system, and those involved with criminal offenses including victims, perpetrators, and law enforcement officials, helps students make the world a better place after graduation.

Taking a deeper look

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers in:

  • Policing/Law Enforcement
  • Probation & Parole
  • Correctional Officers
  • Social Services
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Pursue Graduate School or Law School

Students often enter this major with the sense that they’d like to help others, whether juveniles or adults, and begin working in three stages:

  • They begin by asking questions such as, “Why do we have crime? What are some societal issues?” BVU students seek to understand the why’s of crime. 
  • For a more practical approach, students take the next step by looking deeper into law enforcement and theories such as victimology, coping mechanisms, what victims have access to in moving forward.
  • Finally, students look toward the future for offenders and ask questions such as, “How do we keep a juvenile from going back to crime?  It’s all a part of preparing people to become productive members of society.

Talk to Us

We'd love to get to know you. Tell us a bit about yourself, and we'll be in touch with the scoop about BVU.

Double Major

Many students find that adding sociology or social work helps them take a closer look at the brain, behavior, and what society is doing in terms of caretaking and prevention. These students are taking a cross-disciplinary approach and may even consider attending graduate school after BVU.

Summer School in Prague

More than half a dozen BVU students have attended Prague Summer School on Crime, Law, and Psychology, an international conference bringing students together from across the globe. This opportunity allows students to discuss issues such as prevention and education around the world.


Students present research findings on topics such as methods of crime and punishment, cognitive issues, and group dynamics related to crime at BVU's annual Scholars Day. And, through the BVU organization "SAVE," students engage in group discussions, preparing them for related issues in the workplace.

Become a Positive Solution

National connections through BVU

BVU students want to be a part of the positive solution in crime in the U.S., which is why the conferences they attend and the research they present is 100 percent intentional and meaningful.. For example, BVU students present to tens of thousands of people at the annual American Society of Criminology Conference where they also connect with graduate students, professors, and professionals. But what else do they learn about there? Projects on certain neighborhood crime, high crime rates, and how crime works in an environmental level. Who’s to say you can’t work in a national park with a criminal justice and criminology major?!  

Beyond the Academy

An educational background to succeed

Considering becoming a police officer, but want to have a deeper understanding of crime with a bachelor’s degree? BVU students learn how officers make good decisions, and how society prepares officers for the important job. For students looking to excel in a police force to a management position, or simply be the most effective police officer possible, they seek a greater understanding of society and are able to answer questions on the why’s of crime taught by BVU, providing the proper skills to lead others.


  • Buena Vista County Juvenile Court Services
  • Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault
  • Fifth Judicial District of Iowa


  • South Dakota State Penitentiary & Jameson Annex, Correctional Officer
  • Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders, Psychiatric Security Specialist
  • Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy 
  • Community-Based Services Specialist, Seasons Center Behavioral Health

Graduate School

  • Drake University Law School
  • University of Central Florida
  • Iowa State University

Major in Criminology and Criminal Justice (48 credit hours)

Support work

  • CRIM 230 Survey of Criminal Courts or PSCN 240 Judicial Process
  • PSYC 100 General Psychology or PSYC 102 The Science of Psychology
  • PSYC 203 Social Psychology or PSYC 239 Abnormal Psychology
  • SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology or SCWK 100 Modern Social Problems

6 credit hours from the following, one must be 200 level or higher

  • PSCN 110 Introduction to American Government
  • PSCN 115 Introduction to Politics
  • PSCN 245 Introduction to American Law
  • PSCN 465 Civil Liberties
  • PSPA 165 Introduction to Public Administration
  • PSPA 320 State and Local Politics
  • PSPA 360 Introduction to Public Affairs
  • PSPA 380 Administrative Agencies

Major Courses

  • CRIM 101 Criminal Justice Systems
  • CRIM 102 Survey of Criminology
  • CRIM 220 Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • CRIM 290 Institutional Corrections
  • CRIM 343 Juvenile Justice Systems
  • CRIM 398 Criminological Research Methods
  • CRIM 470 Criminological Theory
  • CRIM 498 Capstone in Criminology and Criminal Justice

6 additional credit hours in CRIM at the 200 lever or higher - excluding CRIM 495 Internship

Minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice (21 credit hours)

Minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice

  • CRIM 101 Criminal Justice Systems
  • CRIM 102 Survey of Criminology
  • CRIM 220 Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • CRIM 290 Institutional Corrections
  • CRIM 343 Juvenile Justice Systems
  • 6 additional credit hours in CRIM at the 200 lever or higher -excluding CRIM 495 Internship


Dr.   Stephanie  Hays

Stephanie Hays

Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Meet the professor