Criminology and Criminal Justice

Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
Academic Unit: 
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Science program in criminology and criminal justice is for students who want to understand the causes of crime, the role of criminal justice actors and agencies in the control of crime, and the consequences of crime. Students learn sociological, psychological, biological and economic explanations for individual crime as well as differences in crime across neighborhoods, states, countries and over time. They also learn about the history, legal issues, and current practices of crime control via police agencies, the court system, prisons, probation and parole. This course of study prepares students to think critically and problem-solve in ways that meaningfully contribute to society by enhancing public safety. Opportunities for graduates include: working at the local, state or federal level as a practitioner or continuing their studies in graduate programs in criminal justice, criminology, law or related fields.

This education is delivered by nationally-recognized faculty who offer students hands-on research opportunities, as well as by experienced criminal justice professionals with intimate knowledge of the daily realities of crime and criminals. Students are encouraged to take advantage of internship opportunities in more than 200 agencies; multiple study abroad programs around the globe; and flexible course scheduling offered in-person, online, and across multiple campuses.

Any Barrett student who is considering majoring or minoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice should contact the lead FHA.

Faculty Honors Advisors

Cody Telep
FHA Office Hours: 
T & TH 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Thesis/Creative Projects: 

The Honors Thesis/Creative Project is an opportunity for Barrett students to work closely with Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty. Students conduct research in an area of interest with greater intensity than is possible in a single course. The thesis/creative project should be on a topic about which students are passionate. 

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is open to a wide range of thesis and creative projects for Barrett students. They may involve quantitative, qualitative, or legal research projects that result in a traditional scholarly paper that may be suitable for presentation at academic conferences and even for publication in scholarly journals. Alternatively, honors theses/creative projects may involve nontraditional forms of scholarly inquiry, such as working in a justice-related community service setting that allows the student to write a participant-observation research paper; creating something that a justice-related agency or organization might use to disseminate important information; or even participating in some performance of scholarly value like a mock trial or community service that draws upon the student’s knowledge and expertise. Honors theses/creative projects may be researched and written as individual ventures or may be created with other Barrett students as part of a group project. 

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice requires two-person committees who supervises honors theses/create projects, one of whom serves as the Chairperson/Director of the Thesis Committee and the other whom serves as a secondary member. Secondary committee members can be anyone who possesses expertise in the thesis topic. They may be ASU employees or they may work elsewhere in a relevant field. By contrast, chairs/directors of Criminology and Criminal Justice thesis committees must be full-time members of the School’s tenured/tenure-track faculty (i.e., people who hold the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Foundation Professor, President’s Professor, or Regents Professor) or members of School’s full-time, nontenure-track faculty (i.e., people who hold the rank of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Principal Lecturer, Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Professor, Assistant Research Professor, Associate Research Professor, Research Professor, or Professor of Practice). Conversely, faculty members who hold the rank of Instructor or Faculty Associate usually may not serve as the chair/director of an honors thesis/creative project committee, although select long-term instructors who hold terminal degrees are authorized to act in that that capacity. See the Lead FHA for more information.

Academic Preparation: 

To successfully complete a thesis in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, students should have completed all of the following courses: CRJ 100 (Introduction to Criminal Justice); CRJ 201 (Crime Control Policies); CRJ 302 (Research Methods); CRJ 303 (Statistical Analysis); CRJ 309 (Criminology); and at least one course that deals with the subject matter of the proposed thesis/create project. 

Thus, for example, someone wishing to complete a thesis/creative project concerning some aspect of policing should take CRJ 230 (Introduction to Policing) and would be even better served by then taking some upper-division electives relevant to policing, such as CRJ 315 (Police Organization and Management) or CRJ 409 (Police Accountability). Similarly, someone interested in completing a thesis/creative project in corrections should take CRJ 240 (Introduction to Corrections) and would be even better served by then taking some upper-division electives relevant to corrections, such as CRJ 317 (Inside/Out Prison Exchange), CRJ 443 (Community Corrections), CRJ 444 (Institutional Corrections), or CRJ 445 (Tools for Engaging Correctional Populations). And someone interested in completing a thesis/creative project having to do with the legal aspects of criminal justice should take CRJ 203 (Courts and Sentencing) and CRJ 260 (Substantive Criminal Law) and would be even better served by then taking an upper-division electives relevant to the intersection of law and criminal justice such as CRJ 350 (Law and Social Control), CRJ 410 (Procedural Criminal Law), or CRJ 411 (Legal Issues in Corrections). 

Students interested specialty areas should take at least one elective course in that specialty area before embarking on a thesis. Thus, students interested in completing a thesis/creative project in sex crimes should take CRJ 406 (Sex Crimes); students interested in completing a thesis/creative project in something related to drugs and criminal justice should take CRJ 408 (Drugs and Crimes) or CRJ 434 (Drug of Abuse); students interested in completing a thesis/creative project in something related to terrorism should take CRJ 412 (International Terrorism), CRJ 417 (Cyber-Terrorism), or CRJ 419 (Domestic Terrorism). This list is not exhaustive. Students should consult the full list of our courses in the Course Catalog and take whatever courses they can that are related to the area in which they intend to complete an honors thesis or creative project. 

Other Honors Opportunities: 

HONORS ONLY COURSES: Each fall, the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a section of CRJ 100 (Introduction to Criminal Justice) that is open only to Barrett Honors students. The goal of this course is to expose incoming students to the discipline in a cohort-based model. Thereafter, students may register for a variety of Criminology and Criminal Justice courses that are open only to Barrett Honors students. These honors-only sections of courses include the following in the fall semesters: CRJ 100 (Introduction to Criminal Justice), CRJ 302 (Research Methods), and CRJ 309 (Criminology). In the spring semester, we offer an honors-only section of CRJ 303 (Statistical Analysis ) and an honors-only section of some upper-division elective course.

HONORS ENRICHMENT CONTRACTS: Nearly every CRJ course taught by a full-time member of ASU's faculty is available for honor credit via an honors enrichment contract. Ask your instructors whether they offer honors enrichment contracts in their course and, if so, what learning experiences may be available to you. Typically, Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty offer one or more of the following options for honors credit: 

• Option A: Observational Learning Assignment – Faculty may opt to require their Barrett students to engage in observational learning in the community. This might involve the student doing a “ride along” with police, observing court proceedings, touring correctional facilities, or otherwise observing some aspect of the criminal justice system “in action.” Students are expected to spend four to six hours conducting such observations. They must then write a report on their observations. But the report must not merely summarize the student’s observations. Honors students are expected to compare and contrast their observations with the material being taught in the course for which the honors contract is approved. This should involve, at minimum, critically analyzing how the student’s observations compare with the textbook and primary sources of academic scholarship. Papers submitted in satisfaction of observational learning assignments must be between 8 and 10 pages in length, excluding references.

• Option B: Leading a Class Session – Faculty may opt to prepare their Barrett students to prepare and teach a class session of at least 60 minutes in length. The purpose of this type of honors contract assignment is to allow the student to demonstrate sufficient mastery of relevant course material (i.e., book chapters, primary-source articles, etc.) such that the student is able to teach his or her peers effectively. Faculty members opting for this type of extended oral presentation are encouraged to require their honors students to integrate various pedagogical methods into their classroom-based teaching, such as multimedia presentations, lecture, discussion, and an in-class cooperative learning activity.

• Option C: Media Assignment – Every day, mass media in the United States present news stories relevant to crime and justice. Faculty might option to have their Barrett students conduct a detailed analysis of such media depictions. This might take the form of a detailed case study in which the student investigates the news story from a variety of media sources and then writes a critical examination of how different media sources presented the case. Alternatively, this might take the form of a content analysis of multiple news stories on a particular topic (e.g., how different Arizona newspapers cover gang-related crime in the Valley; how the Phoenix-based Arizona Republic differs in its coverage of a particular criminal justice issue from the way the Tucson-based Arizona Daily Star covers that same issue). This type of assignment should require students to adhere to a valid social science method (case study, quantitative content analysis, qualitative content analysis, etc.) for gathering and analyzing media stories as a form of data. Moreover, students must write-up their research in a formal paper that is at least 10 pages in length.

• Option D: Perceptions Research Critique – Various agencies, companies, and researchers routinely conduct polls or surveys to assess how the members of the public feel about a wide variety of issues, many of which concern criminology and criminal justice. Faculty might opt to have their Barrett students critique the methodology of one or more polls or research studies by examining the sampling frames and methods, as well as the phrasing of the substantive questions posed to respondents. Special attention should be paid to issues of reliability, validity, and generalizability. Students must be required to write-up their critiques in a formal paper that is at least 10 pages in length.

• Option E: Customized Honors Contract – The goal of standardizing honors contract is to bring uniformity to a process that has suffered from unfair disparities. But one of the negative consequences of standardization might be the stifling of creative learning experiences. To prevent such an outcome, if any members of the CCJ faculty have other approaches to honors contracts that they would like to utilize, they may submit a short written request for an exception to the policy outlined in this memorandum. The request for an exception should summarize the proposed honors contract work in a single paragraph, much like the options summarized in this policy. Such requests should be sent via email to the School's Faculty Honors Advisor for approval.

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH: The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice encourages its top tier performing students to participate in undergraduate research. Our faculty is listed number three in the nation for productivity. Together, this outstanding group of professors and scholars has written more than 40 books, including best-selling texts in policing, corrections, courts, criminal law, criminal procedure, and a variety of specialty areas including mental illness and crime; sex, sexuality, law, and justice; gangs; and victimology. The faculty includes award winning teachers, scholars, and mentors. Our faculty consistently works on a variety of research areas including, but not limited to, criminal law and procedure, gangs, drug use, court processes, prisoner reentry and reintegration, immigration, crime and social justice, and many others. As a high performing student, you could work side-by-side conducting research with one of our nationally ranked faculty member as an undergraduate! 

4+1 JOINT B.S. AND M.S. DEGREE PROGRAM: Have you thought about getting your master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice while working on your bachelors? Barrett Honors students who are nearing their senior year, who earn a 3.4 or higher GPA, and achieve high grades in their CRJ courses may be eligible for our joint bachelors to master’s program. This program allows students to take 9 credit hours of graduate level coursework and have it apply toward both their bachelors and master’s degrees. Doing this could result in finishing a master’s degree in one extra year beyond completion of the bachelor’s degree—saving both time and money. 

HONORS STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCES: The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers at least two short-term study abroad experiences each summer. One such experience is typically devoted to the study of counter-terrorism in Israel. This 14-day Summer Study Abroad program allows students to earn up to 6 credit hours toward their degree requirements. While being led by Criminology and Criminal Justice professors, students fly to Israel to learn intelligence gathering, national security and counter-terrorism strategies. With an emphasis on what works in Israel, students are tasked with considering what can and cannot be applied in the United States. This extensive on-site training gives students a glimpse into secure facilities and protected environments that Israel has developed over the years to deal with terror-related threats and risks. The experience includes intelligence briefings, lectures, and on-site tours. Students are also afforded the opportunity to experience the cultural aspects of Israel, including the Old City of Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Masada, and the Dead Sea. The other experience is typically offered in London. This 23-day Summer Study Abroad program allows students to earn at least 3 credit hours toward their degree requirements. Honors contracts are available to all Barrett Honors students who participate. Barrett Honors students may also earn up to 3 additional credits in directed research projects that integrate their experiential learning while abroad. Under the direction of Criminology and criminal Justice faculty, this program allows students to explore the British roots of the U.S. criminal justice system by providing a comparative overview of (1) English Common Law vs. U.S. constitutional and statutory law; (2) the criminal trial and appellate court systems in both countries; and (3) the differences in the ways that criminal justice system actors—especially police, criminal lawyers, and correctional officials—are trained and work. The program includes academic visits to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, then Houses of Parliament, the Inns of Courts, the Old Bailey, the Royal Courts of Justice, Her Majesty's Prison at Wormwood Scrubs, a working police department, and several museums. Additionally, the program includes sightseeing visits to Stonehenge, Oxford, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, theater experiences in the West End of London, and more!