Criminal Justice

The University of Dubuque Criminal Justice (CJ) major enables students to develop a foundation of basic principles relative to the field of criminal justice. Students will build a solid base of knowledge which will be used to guide them through their criminal justice careers. The CJ Program further refines oral and written communication skills while expanding upon the role of justice and the social issues prevalent in today's society.

What You Will Learn

  • Gain an understanding of the criminal justice system by taking courses that focus on the primary components of the criminal justice system:  police, courts, and corrections, as well as other basic principles important in working in the criminal justice field; 
  • Learn to think critically while analyzing situations from different perspectives in order to handle them in an efficient and ethical manner; 
  • Enhance written and oral communication skills needed to be successful in various career stages; and
  • Achieve practical experience by partaking in a variety of internships and courses that offer hands-on learning within the criminal justice field.

Program of Study

The Criminal Justice program helps provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the nature of crime and the personnel, institutions, and processes that prevent or respond to crime. Students are introduced to the theory, principles and practice of the criminal justice system with a focus on leadership, equity and justice. The curriculum covers crime and criminal behavior, law enforcement, courts, corrections, and investigation as well as emphasizes contemporary social issues, criminal behavior analysis, and legal and ethical principles.  Students will apply critical thinking to key issues, to case studies involving ethical dilemmas, and examine criminal data, associated procedural laws, and public policy.

The CJ program provides a solid foundation for further entry into a variety of professions such as policing, corrections, courts, and other related disciplines, as well as prepares students for graduate studies in fields such as criminal justice, sociology, social work and law. The University of Dubuque has a 3 + 3 agreement with the University of Iowa’s School of Law which enables students to earn their undergraduate degree and law degree in six years. The B.A. or B.S. is awarded from the University of Dubuque following the successful completion of the first year of law school at the University of Iowa.

Students in the CJ program are able to apply concepts and theories to a practicum experience, such as an internship, participation on mediation team and/or moot court, a research project, or other department-approved substitution. 

What Our Students Do

The University of Dubuque Criminal Justice Program allows students the opportunity to learn from professors that have the experience to teach you what you need to know to excel in the criminal justice course work. Professors will guide you in each area of criminal justice and allow you to learn from shared experiences within the classroom.

Where Our Graduates Go

A major or minor in Criminal Justice prepares graduates for effective participation in a variety of public and private sector careers in areas such as police, courts and corrections. They will also be prepared for jobs in community service, mental health services and human services. Students may also seek careers as researchers and/or university teachers by continuing study at a graduate level. The study of Criminal Justice provides an excellent background for graduate programs in law, criminal justice, social work and other related disciplines. 

News from the Department

There are a number of clubs, organizations or activities in which the student can become involved to enhance her/his learning experience. Organizations include the Justice Force, which focuses on hands-on police related activities; the Justice League, designed to assist the student in achieving at the University of Dubuque and advancing in the field of Criminal Justice; and, the Spartan Nation Liberation Foundation, which is designed to raise awareness about and prevent human trafficking. Additionally, the University of Dubuque is proud to have both moot court and mediation teams.

The University of Dubuque earned a national championship in the mediation category at the National Undergraduate Mediation Tournament in 2016.  UD received an invitation to the International Law School Mediation Tournament in Glasgow, Scotland.  Additionally, the University of Dubuque earned a bid to the national tournament for moot court held at Stetson School of Law in Gulfport, Florida, in 2016.  Additionally, the University of Dubuque had three of its four teams advance to the semifinals in the Upper Midwest Regional Tournament for moot court held at the University of Iowa School of Law.

Criminal Justice - Program of Study

The courses below are a program sample of what students may encounter. Students will meet with their advisers to develop a personal educational program to plan their elective course choices, internships, undergraduate research, and other educational opportunities and experiences.

Year One

Fall Semester
WVS 101: World View Seminar One (3)
ENG 101: Composition and Rhetoric (3)
COM 101: Speech Communication (3)
SOC 111 or SOC 112: Introduction to Sociology(3) or Social Problems (3)
SCJ 110: Introduction to Criminal Justice (3)
SCJ 120: Writing Proficiency in CJ (3) *
* if required

Spring Semester
WVS 102: World View Seminar Two (3)
REL 110: Judeo-Christian Journeys (3) or other course in Judeo Christian Traditions category
History 121: World Civilization I (3) or other course in History/Philosophy/Politics category
SCJ 211: Criminal Law (3)
SCJ 210: Introduction to Law Enforcement (3)

Year Two

Fall Semester
ENG 112 or 260 or other course in the Literature category (3)
Quantitative Literacy - Mathematics (3)
RES 104: Introduction to Research Writing (3)
SCJ 212: Criminal Procedure (3)
SCJ 200+ Elective (3)

Spring Semester
BIO 110: Human Biology (4) or other 4 credit course in the Natural Science Course category
ART 111: Survey of Western Art (3) or other course in the Fine and Performing Arts category
PRF 201: Career Development Strategies (1)
SCJ 225: Corrections (3)
Sociological Perspective (3): Choose one: SCJ 217, SOC 202, SOC 331, SOC 336 or SCJ 317
HWS 110: Physical Activity (1) or other offering in the Physical Wellness Category Two category

Year Three

Fall Semester
SCJ 231: Criminology (3)
SCJ 313: Constitutional Law (3)
SPAN 111: Elementary Spanish I (3) or other course in the Intercultural Engagement category
BIO 125: Population, Resources and Environment (3) or other course in the Environmental Stewardship category
SCJ 200+ Elective (3) or other Electives

Spring Semester
HWS 248: Wellness & Healthy Lifestyle (2)
SCJ 215: Court Systems and Judicial Process (3)
PRF 200: Personal Empowerment (3) or one course in the Personal/Financial Stewardship category
SCJ 200+ Elective (3)

Year Four

Fall Semester
SCJ 495: Senior Seminar: Ethical & Contemporary Issues in CJ (3)
SCJ 200+ Elective (3)

Spring Semester
SCJ Practicum: SCJ 485 Internship or approved substitute (3)
SCJ 200+ Elective (3)

John Shook (2018)


John Shook

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Head
Associate Professor
MPA, Ohio State University
BS, Pennsylvania State University

Phone: 563.589.3452
Office: 323 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3576

Ben Bartels (2018)


Ben Bartels

Assistant Professor
JD, Loyola University
MAE, University of Iowa

Phone: 563.589.3562
Office: 317 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3576

Phil Baskerville (2018)


Phil Baskerville

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice
MA, University of Northern Iowa
BA, Upper Iowa University
AA, Hawkeye Institute of Technology

Phone: 563.589.3457
Office: 315 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3576

Kim Hilby (2018)


Kim Hilby

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice
MSW, St. Ambrose University
BA, Loras College

Phone: 563.589.3718
Office: 320 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3576

Alice Oleson (2018)


Alice Oleson

Associate Professor of Sociology
PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison
MA, University of Wisconsin - Madison
BA, University of Iowa

Phone: 563.589.3307
Office: 318 Severance Hall
Fax: 563.589.3576

Mark Dalsing (2018)


Mark Dalsing

Adjunct Instructor
MBA, University of Dubuque
Graduate FBI National Academy - Session 245                  
BS, UW-Platteville


Kelly Francois (2018)


Kelly Francois

Adjunct Instructor


Leisa Graves (2018)


Leisa Graves

Adjunct Instructor


Stefani Weber (2018)


Stefani Weber

Adjunct Instructor


No Picture


Abby Wessel

Adjunct Instructor
JD, Roger Williams University
BS, Lewis University


Heidi Zull (Date Unknown)


Heidi Zull

Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
BA, University of Dubuque



Careers in Criminal Justice

Many careers which stem from the Criminal Justice (CJ) Program include: police and corrections officers, lawyers, probation officers, and social workers. To meet these different needs, students are offered course choices and extra-curricular opportunities that allow them to narrow their focus to their specific desires. For example, students looking to enter law enforcement have the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular training programs and seminars on campus with local police officers. Likewise, students looking to experience other aspects of the legal field can compete on UD's mediation and moot court teams. Additionally, CJ students participate in student organizations like the Justice League, a group focused on social justice and helping students to achieve their career and higher education goals.

BA Opportunities

A criminal justice degree provides entry into the following careers and/or entry to the graduate study necessary to pursue the following careers:

Law Enforcement: police, sheriff, state police/state patrol, federal law enforcement, FBI, postal service, DEA, border patrol, Secret Service, Homeland Security, and US Marshal Service.

Judiciary: attorney, security, bailiff, investigator, judge; court officer

Corrections: city/county jail, state prison, federal prison, juvenile probation, juvenile correction/detention centers, adult parole/probation

Rehabilitation: counseling, mental health, advocacy, programming, administration

Private Security: industrial, financial, residential, loss prevention, health/safety compliance (OSHA)

Post-graduate Opportunities

Many students with sociology and criminal justice majors have gone on to graduate or law school to prepare for careers in social science fields such as anthropology, criminal justice, education, ethnic studies, history, international human rights, law, non-profit management, public policy, psychology, sociology, social justice, and social work.

Successful Outcomes

Anna Stoeffler BS, 2013 Criminal Justice

As a student in the Criminal Justice Program you will have the opportunity to learn from professors that have the experience to teach you what you need to know to excel in your course work.  The professors will be able to guide you in a wide variety of criminal justice areas.  By learning from the experiences shared in the classroom, I was better prepared for a career in criminal justice.