Who We Are

The College of Criminal Justice was created by the Texas Legislature in 1963 with four mandates:

  • To educate undergraduates and graduate students in criminal justice
  • To conduct research in the criminal justice field
  • To train professionals in the latest tools and practices
  • To provide technical assistance to agencies
  • Mission/Vision

    PREAMBLE: The College of Criminal Justice is committed to providing students with a quality liberal arts education. Furthermore, students will gain an appreciation of their role as criminal justice professionals and as contributing members of society. As a part of a public university, the College also is committed to public service. The university baccalaureate core curriculum will provide the foundation for talents necessary to succeed in the criminal justice profession and in society. These talents include:

    • An ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
    • An ability to use numbers and symbols in the representation of reality and to engage in logical thinking.
    • An appreciation of the scientific method and the contribution of the sciences.
    • An appreciation of culture through the visual and performing arts.
    • An appreciation of human diversity and the imperative of human values in the preservation of a free society.
    • An understanding of the political nature of society and its role in the Union of the United States.
    • An understanding of the role of the individual as part of the family, groups, organizations, and society.
    • An appreciation of moral and ethical judgment.
    • An appreciation of self through physical, social, and psychological development.

    Knowledge, Reasoning, Judgment: The College of Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with the opportunity and assistance to acquire knowledge of the roles of policing, courts, laws, and corrections as they contribute to social order. Students will gain knowledge of the history, concepts, and critical issues in these areas through required courses. The curriculum further provides a theoretical foundation of the discipline, combined with a thorough understanding of the scientific method as it applies to criminal justice. This combination is expected to sharpen the students' talents of reasoning and judgment - qualities imperative to rational functioning in the field.

    Ability, Skills, Integration: The College of Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with the ability to achieve the professional goals of criminal justice. Students will learn how to integrate knowledge and practice in criminal justice. Furthermore, the curriculum provides students with an opportunity to develop the individual and group skills necessary to meet various role expectations. Conduct, Professionalism, Ethics: The College of Criminal Justice curriculum will provide graduates with an appreciation for the complexity and dilemmas associated with the criminal justice profession. Criminal Justice students will be exposed to the moral and ethical dimensions of the various careers within the discipline and will be charged with the essential aptitudes necessary for their professional conduct.

    Vision, Change, Adaptation: The College of Criminal Justice curriculum will provide students with an understanding of the discipline as it currently exists and as it is envisioned to be in the future. The Criminal Justice student will be able to apply vision in the face of change and to respond to the evolving nature of criminal justice and society. Furthermore, students will be equipped with the tools of adaptation for making these changes.

    The Criminal Justice program at Sam Houston State University was established by the Texas Legislature in 1965 under House Resolution 469, which directed the university to establish a program of excellence in criminal justice with four objectives:

    1. Provide training for undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers in criminal justice;
    2. Provide a program of continuing education for professionals already employed in the field;
    3. Provide technical assistance and consultation services to criminal justice agencies;
    4. Promote research on problems in crime and the administration of criminal justice.

    The College of Criminal Justice has developed a regional and national reputation for excellence. The academic programs include a major in criminal justice at the bachelor's level and graduate degrees at the masters and doctoral levels.

    (obtained from undergraduate catalog - https://www.shsu.edu/catalog/cj.html)

Since opening its doors in 1965, the College continues to fulfill its mission as a center for lifelong learning for students and practitioners in the fields of law enforcement, corrections, victim services, forensic science, and homeland security. Its extensive alumni network stretches across the world in criminal justice positions that impact the daily lives of the citizens they serve.

Students at the College learn from world-renown faculty who are recognized as specialists in many aspects of the field, earning awards and accolades for their contributions and service. Each faculty brings a wealth of experience to the College, as practitioners in the field, for prominent research in their disciplines, or for intimate knowledge of criminal justice systems abroad. Together, faculty provide a well-rounded experience for graduates to help bring research into practice in their careers.

The College enjoys an outstanding reputation in the field, regularly placed among the top programs by U.S. News & World Report and other private organizations ranking undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2014, the College ranked fifth in the country for its online criminal justice program and continues to earn high marks for research and scholarly work.