The Mission of the criminal justice department is to teach students the importance of service, to advocate for the rights of victims, and to become lifelong learners.
Alvernia University’s Criminal Justice Administration major provides students interested in police work, criminal law, or corrections with an interdisciplinary study of crime and justice in today’s society.
Taught by practicing professionals in law enforcement and professors with backgrounds in the FBI and as government consultants, the program at Alvernia offers current practices and timely information to its students.
Interpersonal skills as well as managerial and administrative subject matter prepare students for positions of responsibility and leadership within the criminal justice community and related professions. Students can specialize in areas such as Probation and Parole or Corrections and Rehabilitation, and focus on either organized crime or white color crime.
Criminal justice students gain theoretical, practical, and professional knowledge needed to be successful in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, courts, probation, parole, private security, and the related service careers. The curriculum is designed to provide students with expert instruction on the most current trends, policies and practices in the field. This is not a “one size fits all” major, but one that encourages each individual to build a personal program for the future, with the assistance of a faculty advisor.
The Criminal Justice Administration major is innovative and demands intensive classroom learning combined with extensive research and required field experience. Most courses offer an opportunity for field experience and there is a required field practicum.
Alvernia’s Criminal Justice program was founded in 1974 by the late Sister Pacelli, under the same Franciscan values that inform our other programs. At the time, Sister Pacelli was the only woman in the nation to head a college criminal justice program. In the first year, a large group of male students, mostly police officers who came to be known as “Pacelli’s boys,” joined the forward-thinking program, virtually making the college co-ed overnight.
In 2009, with support of a grant, the program received new classroom and lab space, complete with a state-of-the-art interrogation room and lie detector equipment that gives students exposure to situations that they would face in the real world.
Students with career goals in law enforcement have the option of attending the Reading Police Academy to obtain Municipal Police Officer Certification (Act 120) as part of their four-year degree without extended time or expense. Students are eligible to apply for the Academy during their junior year in order to attend in their senior year.