Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration

Defined as science that is used for purposes of the law, forensic science is an exciting and fascinating field for students who have a strong interest in chemistry and biology. Forensic scientists work closely with investigators, attorneys and others to discover, analyze and deliver evidence during criminal investigations. As a forensic science major at Alvernia, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a modern crime lab in your hometown, or at the regional, state or federal level. Alvernia's program prepares students for a life of personal and professional integrity grounded in a commitment to serving others, enhancing understanding that science can provide vital information to make the world a better, safer place.

Classes and labs are offered in the O’Pake Science Center, a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on Alvernia’s Reading campus. You’ll have access to sophisticated science instrumentation throughout your curriculum, including UV/Vis, Infrared and Fluorescence spectrometers, a high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS), a Raman spectrometera flame/graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectrometer, and a system capable of doing laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS).


Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration program is available at the following Alvernia University campus:

General Notes
  • A minimum of 123 credits are required for graduation.
  • Credits earned for COM 100 and MAT 100 do not count toward the 123 credits required for graduation; however, COM 100 students may petition for elective credit.
  • Where appropriate, courses required for the major can be used to satisfy General Education requirements. However, the credits earned for these courses are applied to either Gen Ed requirements or the major, not both.
  • Paths of Knowledge coursework may count towards major or minor requirements, but may not fulfill a second Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration requirement.
  • Students are expected to follow the catalog requirements for General Education, the major, and additional requirements.
  • A minor or second major within the areas listed under Paths of Knowledge automatically fulfills that area of the Gen Ed requirements.
Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective undergraduate students — including first-year, transfer, and international students — may apply via the Alvernia web portal or The Common Application. To learn more about how to complete your application, please visit our application page.

Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our Student Financial Services page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about tuition, the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email

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Criminal Justice
Why Choose Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers more than 50 majors and minors.
• An ever-expanding number of experiential learning opportunities includes internships, field experiences, co-ops, research projects and study/service abroad programs.
• A rich campus life allows students to enjoy a full calendar of activities and events, more than 50 clubs, intramural sport and student leadership and governance opportunities.
• In growth mode, Alvernia continues to add value to its student experience: expanding academic programming in new facilities; adding student living space and updating residence halls; partnering with a community health provider; and adding amenities including a game room and new performance space.

Program Overview

Curriculum: General Education

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. You’ll need to complete 54-56 liberal arts core credits and complete community service hours. In addition, Criminal Justice Administration majors must complete 48 credits in the major.

First Year Curriculum: Enduring Questions

  • SEARCH Seminar-Enduring Questions or Honor Search-Enduring Questions (3 credits: SRH 101 or HNR 160)
  • COM 101 Composition & Research: Must earn a C or higher (3 credits)
  • THE 105 Foundations of Theology (3 credits)
  • PHI 105 Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)

Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration Credits

  • Exploring the Natural World (6-8 credits)
    • Lab Science (Met in major)
    • Math (Met in related area)
  • Individuals & Communities (6 credits)
    • History or Political Science
    • PSY 101, HIS, POS, SOC, SSC, or ECON 3 (Met in related area)
  • Culture & Language (9 credits)
    • Communication (Not COM 100 or 101)
    • World Language – 2 courses in sequence
  • Creative Expressions (6 credits)
    • Literature (ENG)
    • Art, Music, or Theatre (Met with PHI 200, 210 or 220)

Ethical Leaders and Followers Credits

  • Theology or Philosophy (200-400 level) (3 credits)
  • Theology or Philosophy (Ethics/Morality @ 200 level) (3 credits) (PHI 290 recommended)
Curriculum: Paths of Knowledge

Paths of Knowledge may count towards minor or Related Requirements, but not Mid-Level Arts Exploration requirements. Choose one path.

PATH 1: Interdisciplinary Study (IS)

Three courses, at least two from Liberal Arts disciplines, not the major, at the 200-400 level from the interdisciplinary minors of Women & Gender Studies, Digital Media, Community & Environmental Sustainability, Community Engagement, Cultural Studies, Leadership Studies or Pre-Law.

PATH 2: Multi-disciplinary Study (MS)

Three courses, at least two from Liberal Arts disciplines, not the major, at the 200-400 level employing multiple disciplinary perspectives to explore the Enduring Questions in one of the following themes: Cultural & Global Studies, Imagination & Creativity, Peace & Conflict, Poverty & Wealth or Sustainability, Science & Technology.

PATH 3: In-depth Disciplinary Study (DS)

Three courses at the 200-400 level in one Liberal Arts discipline other than one’s major, guided by common ideas and methods of inquiry. Students choose from Art, Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Theatre or World Languages. This path may be used to give students a firm foundation in a discipline supporting their chosen major, or to pursue an interest in one of the Liberal Arts disciplines. 

Curriculum: Major Requirements

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. You’ll need to complete 54-56 liberal arts core credits and complete community service hours. In addition, Criminal Justice Administration majors must complete 48 credits in the major.

Required Courses (45 credits; 'C' or better required in all courses)

  • CJ 101: Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CJ 102: Criminology (pre-requisite: CJ 101)
  • CJ 201: Criminal Law (pre-requisite: CJ 101)
  • CJ 217: Gender, Race and Crime (pre-requisite: CJ 101)
  • CJ 220: Writing for Criminal Justice Professional (pre-requisite: CJ 101)
  • CJ 221: Research Methods I for Criminal Justice (pre-requisites: CJ 101, CJ 102)
  • CJ 273: Corrections, Probation & Parole (pre-requisite: CJ 101)
  • CJ 302: Judicial Process and Procedures (pre-requisite: CJ 101, 201)
  • CJ 350: Professional Seminar for Criminal Justice (pre-requisites: CJ 101, junior status)
  • CJ 377: Juvenile Justice System (pre-requisites: CJ 101, 102)
  • CJ 379: Ethics in Criminal Justice (pre-requisite: CJ 101)
  • CJ 403: Current Issues in Criminal Justice (pre-requisites: CJ 101,221, junior status)
  • CJ 408: Agency Practicum (pre-requisites: CJ 101, 102, 201, 221, 350; 2.0 overall GPA, 2.0 GPA in major, senior status, & background clearances)
  • CJ 422: Crisis Management (pre-requisites: CJ 101, 201, & 217; senior status or permission of Department Chair)

Required Criminal Justice Electives (3 credits; 'C' or better required)

  • CJ 470: Police Academy (pre-requisites: CJ 102, 201, 220, 221 and 350; senior status, permission of instructor, successful application process and acceptance by the Reading Policy Academy)
Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Opportunity to attend the Reading Police Academy.
  • Internships: fraud investigations; federal, state and local law enforcement; probation and parole; juvenile institutions, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; Berks County District Attorney's Office Victim/Witness Program, government policy agencies.
  • Trips to the FBI Academy, the FBI Headquarters and Museum, PA State Police Academy, crime labs, National Law Enforcement Museum, local jails.
  • The Criminal Justice Association of Alvernia University is made up of criminal justice majors, forensic science majors and other students interested in the criminal justice field. The club focuses on all aspects of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, probation and parole, the court system, corrections, victims and forensic science. In addition to meeting regularly, the club engages in various community activities and service projects, organizes trips, and brings in outside speakers.
Accreditation Statements
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

After earning your Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Police Officer
  • Correctional Officer
  • FBI Agent
  • Private Investigator
  • Crime Prevention Specialist
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • State Trooper
  • Criminal Law
  • Corrections
  • Criminal Justice Professor
  • Probation Officer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the range of jobs available with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice is projected to grow up to 12 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wage in those professions in 2021 ranged from $48,000 to $80,000.

Opportunities for Majors

Criminal Justice Association

The purpose of the Criminal Justice Associations is to expose and educate members about the field of Criminal Justice. Interested
students should contact Criminal Justice faculty in BH003.

Alpha Phi Sigma

Alpha Phi Sigma is the Criminal Justice National Honor Society. The purpose is to promote critical thinking, rigorous scholarship and lifelong learning, to keep abreast of the advances in scientific research, to elevate the ethical standards of the criminal justice professions and to sustain in the public mind the benefit and necessity of education and professional training. Students also have
the opportunity for membership in the Saint Thomas More Honor Society. The Saint Thomas More Honor Society is the local honor
society of the Criminal Justice Department. Membership is by invitation only to those students who meet the membership criteria.
Students interested in any of these organizations should see Rosemary McFee, Chair of the Criminal Justice Department, or email at

The Washington Center Experience

Alvernia students have an opportunity to earn college credit by spending a semester or summer in Washington, D.C. where they serve as interns in a congressional office, government agency, major corporation, newspaper or news network, or agencies devoted to legal affairs, international relations, or business and economics. They also may intern with one of several non-profit groups dealing with the environment, women’s issues, the arts, education, science, or labor relations among others. Participants are customarily juniors or seniors who have achieved grade point averages of 2.5 or better and who have the endorsement of the appropriate academic area. In addition to their internship, students select one seminar dealing with the arts and humanities, communication, public policy, the legal system, business, and government. Interested students should see their academic advisor.

Get to Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Criminal Justice Administration program contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 610-796-5187 or Or reach out directly to Department Chair Rosemary McFee at 610-796-8313 or