Crime, Justice & Security Studies: 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.

With the myriad of challenges facing youth within and beyond our communities, the Crime, Justice & Security Studies program is building a youth studies academic experience that focuses on youth advocacy. The course work and opportunities for experiential learning offer students a  conceptual, theoretical, evidence-based youth work practice, and global understanding of youth issues. This concentration in Youth Studies also  prepares students for numerous youth related career paths such as youth program coordinator; camp counselor,  youth advocate; mentor, and others. Though housed in the Crime, Justice & Security Studies program, it aims to attract students across disciplines and inspire a campus-wide commitment to youth advocacy for justice and collaboration  with DC child and youth stakeholders and change agents.

The UDC Crime, Justice & Security Studies 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

While the Bachelor of Arts degree is in Administration of Justice, the name of the program is Crime, Justice & Security Studies, sometimes referred to as criminal justice. 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 Crime, Justice & Security Studies 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 youth work,  law enforcement, corrections, homeland security and related areas.

Faculty members 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   teamwork and civic engagement.

Crime, Justice & Security Studies: Vision, Mission, Goals & Student Learning Objectives


To prepare students for employment in careers broadly relating to justice, crime or security studies; or for graduate or professional school, as well as community service.


To design and implement an academic program that offers students an interdisciplinary curriculum from a public safety perspective that includes content from the social and behavioral sciences, human relations, ethics, legal studies, research, software application, professional practice, and crime statistical analysis.


  • Offer traditional classroom curricular, online courses and blended coursework and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Establish an enduring institutional capacity in homeland security science and technology.
  • Produce graduates from a diversity of racial and ethnic heritages, gender, geographic circumstances who are critical thinkers, technologically competent, problem solvers, research capable, strategic communicators, skilled analysts, and human rights advocates.
  • Establish a concentration in youth studies.
  • Expand the number of graduates assuming professional roles and pursuing graduate studies in the fields of criminal justice, security studies, homeland security, and forensic science.

Student Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the requirements in the Crime, Justice & Security Studies program, students will be able to:

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


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
  • Youth Studies

Computer-based research, computer software modeling, analytical writing and public speaking courses  are  required components of the applied research focus of the Crime, Justice & Security Studies  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

The Criminal Justice Association is the student organization for 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 Crime, Justice & Security 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

Dr. Michelle Chatman has a research background focusing on the areas of restorative justice, urban youth development, and urban inequality, specifically gentrification.  She publishes in the areas of Black women and breast cancer, gentrification, and urban education.  Dr. Chatman leads a contemplative learning initiative at UDC which offers a mindfulness meditation series, contemplative pedagogy workshops, and an annual campus retreat. She has directed youth enrichment, family literacy, and served as an educator for adjudicated youth.  She also initiated a youth development program in The Gambia, West Africa.

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 and build community resilience. Dr. Hill publishes in the areas of international solidarity and social movements. She has also designed and implemented training programs in diversity for law and enforcement and management skills for mid-level managers in the area of Corrections. She serves as the co-principal investigator for the program grant, UDC/Homeland Security STEM Scholars program.

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. His publications include research collaborations with students on virtual worlds and terrorism.  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 DHS Scientific Leadership Award Scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia.

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, youth work, 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