Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice: The UDC Edge

Our emphasis on homeland security (including the master’s degree program in homeland security), combined with UDC’s location in the heart of the nation’s capitol, gives students a unique opportunity to learn from the thinkers and decision-makers shaping our nation’s homeland security efforts. As just one example of the many opportunities available at UDC, you can apply for a spot in our competitive summer research fellowship program, part of our affiliation with the science and technology program of the Department of Homeland Security.

The UDC criminal justice program also manages the Institute for Public Safety and Justice. The Institute 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.

Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Criminal Justice

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

The bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice at the University of the District of Columbia prepares you for a career in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security and related areas. We will give you the ethical foundation and commitment to human rights to succeed in any context of the field, whether it’s working with youth in your community or researching emerging technologies such as the geo-mapping of crime data.

Our program is close-knit, with faculty who serve not only as instructors but mentors, and fosters a learning environment that encourages the teamwork needed in the field.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Criminal Justice Program

Students in UDC’s criminal justice program must complete 120 credit hours to earn the bachelor’s degree, including 15 credit hours of electives. You will 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 play pivotal roles in the program, and you may take computer-based courses in UDC’s criminal justice program. The criminal justice program also offers a concentration in homeland security science and technology, and the opportunity to take interdisciplinary  courses from a particular area of interest, such as youth studies, law enforcement, corrections or STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Students conclude the degree program by completing a senior research project.

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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

Program director Dr. Sylvia Hill has extensive international experience with human rights organizations. She is best known 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. Hill is currently studying the use of research and community organizing techniques to mobilize communities to address public safety, specifically the development of a geo-spatial neighborhood intervention model.

Dr. Margaret Moore, coordinator of practica and internships, is a national leader in the area of corrections.  As the first woman to head a major correctional institution, she formerly served as the Director of corrections in the District of Columbia and Director of the Pennsylvania state women’s prison.  Her research interests include: elderly inmates, violence against women, and intra-family violence.

Dr. Sinclair Jeter, who has background in international development work in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, studies the use of virtual worlds and agent-based computer modeling applications.  He is the University’s designated Department of Homeland Security HS-STEM Early Career Faculty member. 

Career Pathways and Prospects

With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UDC, you can pursue a career in law enforcement, paralegal work, corrections, public policy research, or the court system. Beyond government, the District offers students an enormous array of professional opportunities at non-profit research and community-based social service organizations, as well as in the fields of geographic information systems (GIS) and forensics.

You may also pursue a graduate degree program, such as UDC’s master’s degree program in homeland security, or law school.

Contact info:

Dr. Sylvia Hill, Program Director
E: shill@udc.edu | T: 202.274.5687 | F: 202.274.5715