Department of Criminal Justice


The Department of Criminal Justice degree programs, minors, and immersions emphasize the social scientific study of crime, criminal justice, and legal studies. RIT’s approach combines theoretical perspectives with hands-on experience, emphasizing areas of crime, criminal behavior, social control mechanisms, administration, planning, and management, as well as problem-solving techniques based on current research in the field. Students are encouraged to be active participants in the process of creating this knowledge through undergraduate research projects. A variety of opportunities exist to engage in active research and to present the results of these projects at professional conferences.

Criminal Justice at RIT

MS Criminal Justice at RIT 


Sponsored research funding (2017-2018)

Top 50

Ranked among top 50 criminal justice programs nationwide by College Factual


Criminal Justice courses offered

Latest News

  • July 29, 2020

    aerial view of buildings on RIT campus.

    RIT and Syracuse University College of Law enter into 3+3 admissions agreement

    RIT has partnered with Syracuse University College of Law to establish a “3+3” program for students interested in earning a law degree. A memorandum of understanding between the two universities was recently signed to allow students to complete three years of liberal arts and other studies at RIT, then transfer to the College of Law for three years to complete their doctorate in law.

  • May 18, 2020

    LaVerne McQuiller Williams, interim dean, College of Liberal Arts.

    LaVerne McQuiller Williams named COLA interim dean

    LaVerne McQuiller Williams, senior associate dean of RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, has been named interim COLA dean effective June 1. McQuiller Williams succeeds Dean James Winebrake, who is leaving RIT on June 30 to become provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. 

Internship Examples

The internship program is designed to give students the opportunity to interact with criminal justice professionals in a work environment. Students will be closely supervised at the selected agency, developing their professional skills while learning the agency’s organization, programs, and methods.

Examples of recent internship placements:

Monroe County Correctional Facility, Erie County Correctional Facility, Monroe County  Jail, New York State Department of Corrections, Albion Correction Facility

Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office, Monroe County Public Safety Lab, Monroe County Forensic Psychology Unit, Forensic Consulting

New York State Division for Youth, Hillside Children’s Center, St. Joseph’s Villa

Rochester Police Department, Buffalo Police Department, Syracuse Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Kodak Corporate Security, Bausch & Lomb, Ingraham Investigation, Marine Midland Corporate Security, New York State Police, New York State Park Police, American Civil Liberties Union, Department of Environmental Conservation, J.T. Genier Security Services, CVS Health Loss Prevention, Disney Corporate Security, Monroe Community College PAC TAC-downtown student police patrol. Federal Agencies: A.T.F., D.E.A., Homeland Security, U.S. Marshal, I.R.S., Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspector

Honorable Marjorie Byrnes, Honorable Roy King, Honorable Joseph Valentino, Attorney General’s Office, Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York-Jury Selection, Public Interest Law Firm, Legal Aid Society, Monroe County Family Court, Monroe County Criminal Court, Capital Defender’s Office, Anthony Levy-Attorney at Law, Schogan & King, Harter & Secrest, Garrison & Wiles, Phillips, Lytle & Hitchcock, Blaine & Huber

Monroe County Probation, Erie County Probation, Orange County Probation, U.S. Probation

ChemSept (drug testing), DWI Victim Advocacy (court monitoring), Victim Services (Rochester Police Department), Victim Services (District Attorney’s Office), Rape Crisis (counseling), Society for the Protection and Care of Children, National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, General Code Publishers Corporation, Camp Good Days, Journey's End Refugee Services, H.E.A.R.D.-Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf, Paper Bag Ladies of Rochester, as well as out of state placements

Degree Programs

Undergraduate Programs

Students complete criminal justice core courses along with program electives that can be customized according to personal interests and goals. The wide variety of courses available prepares you for a variety of careers in local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies, as well as the private sector. You are also well-prepared to continue your education in a graduate or professional program in criminal justice, public policy, business, or law. A BS/MS 4+1 option in criminal justice is also available.

A criminal justice degree that explores issues of law and justice as you evaluate the intended and unintended consequences of criminal justice policies and decision-making.

Learn More about Criminal Justice BS 

Graduate Programs

The graduate program emphasizes training in policy analysis and practice, particularly as it is relevant to community and urban issues. You’ll gain a strong foundation in criminal justice theory and social scientific research skills, and you’ll graduate ready for a career in criminal justice policy analysis or well-prepared to continue your studies in a doctoral program.

In this dynamic criminal justice master's degree, you'll develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills as you engage in applied research that contributes to the creation and dissemination of criminal justice knowledge and policy analysis.

Learn More about Criminal Justice MS 

Minors and Immersions

The criminal justice immersion provides students with the appropriate foundation to analyze crime, crime control policy, and the role of the criminal justice system in the maintenance of order in society. Courses focus on the social definition and measurement of crime, a broad understanding of the causes of crime, and societal responses to crime through the police, courts, and corrections.

Learn More about Criminal Justice Immersion 

The criminal justice minor provides a foundation in the formal process of social control through the criminal justice system, how behavior is defined as criminal, how crime is measured, and how society responds to crime.

Learn More about Criminal Justice Minor 

The legal studies immersion provides students with a foundation in the study of law and legal institutions, and in the relationship of law to other aspects of society and culture. Courses provide a broad perspective on law and legal institutions including historical, ethical, sociological, political, and philosophical approaches to these areas.

Learn More about Legal Studies Immersion 

Recognizing the critical role that law plays in societies, the minor in legal studies provides students with courses that deepen and expand their understanding of law as practiced, especially its influence on social, political, and economic institutions.

Learn More about Legal Studies Minor 

Center for Public Safety Initiatives

The Center for Public Safety Initiatives is a unique collaboration between RIT's Department of Criminal Justice, the City of Rochester, and the criminal justice agencies of Greater Rochester including the Rochester Police Department and Monroe County Crime Lab. Its purpose is to contribute to criminal justice strategy through research, policy analysis and evaluation. Its educational goals include training graduate and undergraduate students in strategic planning and policy analysis.

Learn more about Center for Public Safety Initiatives >

Student Resources

Here you will find additional resources for the Department of Criminal Justice, such as graduate handbook, master’s thesis, and student organizations

See Resources for the Department of Criminal Justice