Why I Chose to Study Criminal Justice at RIT

RIT is known for its engineering and technology programs, but it is an incredibly diverse school with a lot of options for students interested in majors and minors in numerous other disciplines. They also offer tons of diverse electives.

Take me for example, I’m a first-year criminal justice student here. And while it may come as a shock to some to choose a liberal arts degree at a tech school, it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Here are some of the reasons why I know I made the right decision.

Great Opportunities

When I was looking at schools, there were several reasons that RIT stood out to me, but one that stood out was the opportunities the criminal justice program offers. Most degrees require an internship or co-op, or real-life, workplace experience. Here in the criminal justice department, there are many.

Options for your internship, so many that it’s hard to choose what you want to do.

Opportunity to study abroad. The criminal justice department goes to Dublin, Ireland, every year to work with their justice departments. It is a unique experience that allows you to explore different cultures and justice systems, and I can’t wait to go.

Accelerated Degrees. As with plenty of other programs at this school, you can get a master's degree in a 4+1 program, in which you just add on another year. But there is also, the option to do a 3+3 program with the law program at Syracuse University, where you spend your first three years here at RIT, and then your fourth-year credits you earn at Syracuse, where you get to start your law degree early. It saves time, money, and it allows you to get out into the real world, and into the career faster.

The Faculty

I cannot stress enough how exceptional the faculty of the criminal justice department here at RIT is. They are a group of experienced, diverse, funny, and genuine people. I came to campus over a year ago for an open house and met two professors. I was shocked by how honest they were, the incredible advice they gave me, and the fact that they took the time with all of us to find out what we wanted to go into. And my positive experiences with the faculty haven’t stopped there. Everyone I’ve had as a professor, or who I have seen at meetings or events has been incredible. They all genuinely care about the students in the program and want to help them however they can. Even if their help is just them listening and offering a little bit of expertise.

Student speaks in class while sitting at their laptop

Specialized Classes

There are so many different classes that are offered within the department and in so many different areas of the criminal justice world. Several classes in this department are not offered anywhere else in the world, and I highly recommend expanding your horizons. When I looked at other programs across the country, I found that most of the classes offered were basic justice classes. But RIT was different; they offered specific and relevant classes, which would really allow me a leg up when it comes to entering the field.

Criminal Justice Student Association

The Criminal Justice Student Association is a group that meets on campus once every two weeks. We have speakers who could be professors, alumni, or other professionals who tell us their story and their experiences in the criminal justice system. We also go on tours of jails and prisons and have gone to courts and crime labs in the past. We also take on projects that make people more aware of our program at RIT. It is also nice to meet students and faculty in the program. It can be easy to forget that there are people within the major when it seems like the only people you meet are engineering students.

Center for Public Safety Initiative

CPSI is a group that meets weekly on campus and discusses issues and divisive points within our current justice system. The students within the group have research projects that they work on, with the potential to be published researchers before they graduate. And the center even hires some of the students. It is an incomparable opportunity. Though I haven’t been able to go to a meeting yet, I can’t wait to get involved at the center.

RIT was the perfect place to be when I looked at all the options I had in front of me. And it has proven itself to me with great opportunities, incredible faculty, and broadening horizons. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Even though it may seem a little crazy to some to be pursuing a liberal arts education at a tech school, it was the perfect choice for me, and I think that if more people gave it a chance, they might find that it works perfectly for them too.

About the author

Criminal Justice

Hi! I'm Emma and I'm a first-year criminal justice major, and I'm going to pursue a psychology minor. I'm from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and moved here after taking a gap year last year. I like to read, paint, and crochet in my free time. Thanks for checking out the blog!