Criminal Justice

Program Highlights

  • Learn about the nature and causes of crime; justification and means of social control; administration of the justice system; and how to evaluate justice programs. Read course descriptions in the online course catalog
  • Our faculty mentor and form professional relationships with SAU students in the criminal justice program.

Program Distinctions

  • Do your own research as an undergraduate student through directed studies with a faculty member.
  • You'll have exceptional opportunities to network, earn clinical placements, and get a job.


Ambrose Advantages

  • Theoretical and Practical Application
  • Faculty with Employment in the Criminal Justice Field Prior to Academia.
  • Meaningful Mentorships and Community Connections

student in classroom

students studying

student studying

Our professors empower students with a meaningful education and provide support through mentoring and professional relationships. You gain the confidence to take action – now and in the future. At St. Ambrose, you can work with inmates at a county jail, serve the community, and stand up for social justice. Your experiences will strengthen your voice and goals.

Read our Criminal Justice Program Fact Sheet (pdf)

More Information About the Criminal Justice Program

What will I learn?

You will learn about the nature and causes of crime; justification and means of social control; administration of the justice system; and how to evaluate justice programs.

Courses include criminal law procedure, offender treatment, juvenile justice, evidence and investigation, forensics, crime theory, serial homicides, and race, gender and class. Read course descriptions here

What are my opportunities outside the classroom?

We've had criminal justice students research the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths and another study delved into state and federal prison data on the usage of educational programs.

Experiential learning will broaden your education. Complete an internship, or two. Our faculty can match your specific interests to their community connections. The Quad Cities region holds a number of city, county, state, and federal offices, giving you exceptional opportunities for networking, clinical placements, and jobs.

Read about the two summer internships that helped Madison Humphrey explore the professional role she wants to play in the field of criminal justice. 

Throughout the year, you can attend free community presentations, town hall meetings, and conferences hosted on campus. Many of these events focus on social justice topics and can help expand your learning and professional connections.

What are some possible job outcomes?

Criminal Justice majors can work for local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies, including law enforcement, corrections, probation, parole, or juvenile justice. Alumni also work for private and public security companies, children services, judicial offices, and some conduct social research for public, private or non-profit organizations.

You get a lot of return on your educational investment, including personal and professional satisfaction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cities the median annual pay for law enforcement officers, detectives, and probation officers ranges from $48,190 - $61,600 (2016).

What have alumni of this program done?

Carrie Landau '96, '02 MCJ is a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in south suburban Chicago and spent a large part of her working life battling the growing epidemic of human sex trafficking. Read this story

Grant Miller '14 added a psychology minor to his criminal justice major and today is the Assistant Director of Security at JLL in Chicago.

Wal-Mart VP Patricia Snyder '81 is an avowed advocate for diversity. She talks it, and she walks it. Read this story


Nicole Pizzini, PhD, Chair and Professor
Chris Barnum, PhD, Professor
Regina Matheson, PhD, Professor
Zachary Carlisle, PhD, Assistant Professor
Jeffrey McCraw, JD, Lecturer

Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree with a Criminal
Justice Major: 43 credits in Criminal Justice including:

  • Foundational Methods/Understanding: (16 credits): CRJU 101, 200, 400, WI-407, and 430.
  • Legal/Courts: (9 credits): CRJU 221, 311, and 316.
  • Corrections: (6 credits): CRJU 231 and 314.
  • Law Enforcement: (6 credits): CRJU 102 and 303.
  • Justice Issues Electives (6 credits) from the following:

CRJU 250, 313, 342, 350, 401, 402, 403, 420, 421, 487,
499; PSYC 321, 325, 328; or SOC 220, 235, 342.

View Criminal Justice courses and descriptions in the online course catalog


Minor (15 credits)

+CRJU 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CRJU 221 Criminal Law and Procedure
CRJU 400 Criminology Theory

An additional six credit hours of criminal justice

WI=writing intensive
+=satisfies general education requirement

Click here to read course descriptions for Criminal Justice

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.

This plan assumes the student has not met the foreign language requirement (three years of foreign language in high school).

Year One

CRJU 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3 CRJU 231 Contemporary Corrections* 3
ENGL 101 English Composition 3 CRJU Justice Issues Elective* 3
Philosophy/Theology 3 Oral Communication (COMM 129, 132, 230, 228, or 329) 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
NSS 101 New Student Seminar 1 Math 131 or 171 3
IL 101 Information Literacy 1 KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1
Total Credits 14 Total Credits 16

Year Two

CRJU 102 Introduction to Law Enforcement 3 CRJU 200 Research Methods in Sociology and Criminal Justice* 3
CRJU 221 Criminal Law and Procedures* 3 CRJU 316 Juvenile Justice* 3
Elective/2nd Major/Minor Course 3 Elective/2nd Major/Minor Course 3
Humanities # 3 Creative Arts 3
Natural Science 3 Philosophy/Theology 3
KIN Activity 1-2
Total Credits 16-17 Total Credits 15

Year Three

WI-CRJU 400 Criminological Theory* 3 CRJU 303 Police, Problems, and Practices* 3
**CRJU 430 Data Analysis in Social Research 4 CRJU 314 Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections* 3
Elective/2nd Major/Minor Course 6 Elective/2nd Major/Minor Course 9
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 15

Year Four

**WI-CRJU 407 Seminar in Criminal Justice 3 CRJU Justice Issues Elective* 3
CRJU 411 Constitution and Criminal Justice* 3 Elective/2nd Major/Minor Course* 12
Elective/2nd Major/Minor Course* 6
300-level Philosophy/Theology 3
Total Credits 15 Total credits 15

*Prerequisite CRJU 101
** Other prerequisite
WI=writing intensive
# Humanities course must be from two different departments

Scholarships and Grants


St. Ambrose offers excellent scholarships and grants, work-study and other financial aid options! Full-time students may be eligible based on your strong academic performance in college, your talent in fine arts or athletics or your demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code for the FAFSA is 001889.

First-Year Scholarships and Institutional Aid 2024-2025

Merit-Based Scholarships

4.0 GPA: $24,000
3.75-3.99 GPA: $22,000
3.0-3.749 GPA: $20,000
2.5-2.99 GPA: $18,000
2.0-2.49 GPA: $14,000
If GPA is 2.0-2.49, additional documents and review required for admission.

Merit-Based Scholarships

4.o GPA: $17,000
3.75-3.99 GPA: $16,000
3.0-3.749 GPA: $15,000
2.5-2.99 GPA: $14,000
2.0-2.49 GPA: $13,000
If GPA is 2.0-2.49, additional documents and review required for admission.


Ambrose Advantage Full-Tuition Scholarship
Pell-eligible Iowa residents, learn more here

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship: $500 per year
Parent is a St. Ambrose graduate

Catholic Traditions Scholarship: $1,000 per year
Students with Catholic religious denomination or plans to graduate from Catholic high school 

Minority Scholarship: $500 per year
Ethnically diverse student

Athletic Scholarships: varies
Performance and ability

Fine Arts Scholarships: varies
Performance and ability in music, art and theatre

Faith Learning Justice Campus Ministry Scholarships: $2,000 per year
Recognition of involvement in church and community service and interest in strengthening faith and growing as a leader in campus ministry

Scholarships are determined by unweighted GPA, and are renewable for four years of undergraduate student. Increases in scholarship awards due to change in GPA will be reviewed until March 1.

State and Federal Grants, Work Study

Grants are money that you don't repay, and they can come from government or private sources. SAU receives all financial aid funds directly - including loans and grants - then applies them to your account: once in the fall term and once in the spring term. Grants can be used to cover your tuition, books, and housing costs. You must apply for grants each academic year. If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. For all of these grants, you must complete the Free Application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it is available.

Iowa Tuition Grant
To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant, you must be a resident of Iowa as defined by the State Board of Regents and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an eligible Iowa college or university (SAU is eligible). Iowa College Aid administers need-based college financial aid for Iowans, such as the Iowa Tuition Grant.
Award: $7,500 maximum

Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to students of the highest need based on how much your family can contribute to your education. The U.S. Department of Education sets a threshold. Then, when you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it computes where you land within that threshold and determines if you qualify for the grant and for how much.
Award: $6,895 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
You must file a FAFSA to qualify for a Pell Grant. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who have submitted all required documents for review and in time for the review to be complete. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or SEOG, the awards will appear on your financial aid award letter.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Must secure campus employment.
Award: $2,560

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant 
Provides aid to students intending to teach in a high-need field at a school that serves low-income families (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or a state education agency). Review criteria and all details here.
Award: up to $4,000

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Student Financial Services where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Madison Humphrey '19

Madison's interest in the criminal justice field was sparked by CSI television shows, but the experience she got was very real and very hands-on. She completed two, four-week internships helping incarcerated people transition to civilian life. Madison worked closely with parole officers and supervisors who provided guidance and tips about working in the field. And, she used skills she learned in the classroom, including how to question people in a way that helps her, and them, gain insight.

Read Madison's Story
Grant Miller Cutout Mobile Image Grant Miller Cutout Image

Grant Miller

Criminal Justice and Master of Criminal Justice,Director of Security for JLL, Chicago,Class of 2013

High expectations and a deep, relevant education gave Grant Miller the skills he needed to achieve. And, our accelerated BA-MCJ program allowed him to earn both degrees in just five years.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info


Nicole Pizzini, PhD, Chairperson

Sociology and Criminal Justice
Ambrose Hall 300B
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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