Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice: The UDC Edge

Our emphasis on homeland security (including a graduate program in Homeland Security combined with UDC’s location in the heart of the nation’s capital, provides students a unique opportunity to learn from the practitioners and policy-makers shaping our nation’s security strategies.  The UDC/Homeland Security Science and Technology Summer Student Research Institute, a national program for undergraduate students, and the UDC Department of Homeland Security(DHS) Scientific Leadership Award are two of the many opportunities designed to prepare students for career pathways in Homeland Security.

The UDC Criminal Justice program also manages the Institute for Public Safety and Justice. It   provides research, education and training for local criminal justice practitioners, and enables students to pursue grant-funded training and research opportunities while interacting with leading professionals in the field.

Administration of Justice - Bachelor of Arts Degree

Criminal justice is about more than police officers and prisons, with an emphasis on crime, justice and security.  It is the scientific and humane study of crime, examining how the justice system works and how we can effectively promote public safety in our community. Do you enjoy “CSI” or “Law and Order”? We can give you a chance to see how the process really works.

The Criminal Justice program provides you the ethical foundation and commitment to human rights to succeed in any context of the field, whether working with youth in your community or researching emerging technologies such as the geo-mapping of crime data. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice  at the University of the District of Columbia prepares you for a career in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security and related areas.

The program faculty are highly qualified professionals, actively involved in discipline-related national and  international professional associations.  They serve students as teachers and mentors in an engaging learning environment that encourages the teamwork required by the profession.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of requirements in the Criminal Justice program, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the complex organizational structure of the criminal justice system.
  2. Describe and defend the public safety  approach to criminal justice.
  3. Explain and critique major theoretical explanations of crime causation and the research on types of crime.
  4. Explain diversity issues based on race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship status and disability in society.
  5. Apply quantitative and qualitative research techniques.
  6. Apply geospatial analytic concepts to an understanding of the distribution of crime.
  7. Describe legal issues and the legal processes underlying the criminal justice system.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of special topics encountered in the criminal justice system.
  9. Demonstrate  writing and technology proficiency.
  10. Demonstrate skill-sets associated with the professional practice of criminal justice.


Curriculum and Requirements

Program of Study

Students must complete 120 credit hours, including 82 credits required by the major, to earn the Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice.  You can learn through a core curriculum and plan of study that emphasizes modern aspects of the criminal justice field including:

  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Conflict Resolution and Mediation
  • Human Relations and Ethics
  • Homeland Security
  • Mapping Software Applications
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Skills
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Computer-based research, computer software modeling, analytical writing and public speaking courses  are critical  required, components of the applied research focus of  the Criminal Justice program. A  concentration in homeland security science and technology and the opportunity to take courses from a specific area of interest, such as youth studies, law enforcement, corrections or STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are also available.  Students conclude the degree program by completing a senior research project.

Related Programs:

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Criminal Justice Program

The Criminal Justice Association is the student organization for criminal justice majors and others interested in the field. The Association is active on campus and in the community, and helps participating students build a professional network.

The criminal justice program also frequently draws upon criminal justice experts and professionals from the D.C, community and hosts seminars, films and speakers on social justice and human rights issues.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Criminal Justice Program

Dr. Sylvia Hill, Program Coordinator, has extensive international experience with human rights organizations. She is internationally recognized for her work in the anti-apartheid movement and as one of the organizers of the first historic visit by Nelson Mandela to the United States in 1990. One of her primary areas of expertise focuses on research and community organizing techniques to mobilize communities to address public safety, specifically the development of a geo-spatial neighborhood intervention model.

Dr. Sinclair Jeter has an extensive background focusing on the use of virtual worlds and agent-based computer modeling applications in the criminal justice field.  He serves as the Co-Principal investigator  for the program grant,  UDC/Homeland Security  STEM Scholars program.  His professional career includes international development experiences in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Professor Cotina Lane Pixley has background in research, training and evaluation, service and outreach to government agencies, community-based organizations, faith based organizations, and other non-profit entities.   Her research interests lie in the areas of risk communication and community resilience, ranging from the development and utilization of effective risk communications and the examination of such communications; to the examination of underserved population and their impact on recovery and resilience in disasters.  She serves as the early career faculty support for the Department of Homeland Security, Scientific Leadership Award Scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Program.  

Dr. Pamela Mertens specializes in  the areas of Homeland Security and Emergency Management with a specific focus on gender and crime, domestic terrorism,  and disaster/crisis management. Her current research focuses on radicalized women within United States borders.  She serves as the early career faculty support for the Department of Homeland Security, Scientific Leadership Award Scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Program.  Her professional career includes service in the United States Marine Corps, the Naval Reserves, and as a practitioner in the criminal justice field.

Career Pathways and Prospects

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice prepares you to pursue a career in law enforcement, paralegal work, corrections, public policy research, or the various entities of the criminal justice system. It also offers you an array of professional opportunities in non-profit research and community-based social service organizations and associations, as well as in the fields of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Forensics.  This degree is also a valuable foundation upon which to pursue graduate studies, such as in the UDC Homeland Security Program or law school. 

Contact info:

Dr. Sylvia Hill, Program Director
E: | T: 202.274.5687 | F: 202.274.5715