As a broadly structured interdisciplinary curriculum, the mission of the Criminal Justice Studies Program is to provide students with knowledge of the historical, philosophical, social, political and legal theories, concepts, practices, and events which affect the criminal justice system, its agencies and components in contemporary society. The interdisciplinary nature of the program demonstrates and understanding and/or appreciation of the diverse areas. Through its curriculum design, students experience courses offered in the humanities and social sciences thereby supporting the liberal arts mission of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Students are encouraged to appreciate sensitivity to the arts, view philosophy and religion as a means of human expression, and examine opportunities for further intellectual development. Students are also encouraged to use the sciences and mathematics as a means for analyzing, organizing, quantifying and expressing their ideas. Courses offered in the criminal justice studies program, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology and social work provide students with the knowledge on the interdependence of people in communities and the world through differing cultures, systems of government, and global organizations and networks. Students learn about the interrelationship of the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth of individuals in interaction inside and outside the social units of peers, the family, the church, popular media, and the local community's social service and justice agencies.
As an interdisciplinary program within a Catholic university founded upon the Marianist tradition, students are encouraged to become "improvement agents" in their service to the community. They are expected to demonstrate the behaviors necessary for effective personal and group relationships while incorporating the rights and responsibilities of individuals, accepting and utilizing criticisms, and respecting human differences. The Criminal Justice Studies Program attempts to instruct majors, minors and interested students, who upon graduation will take an active interest in their community either as professionals or concerned citizens. Criminal Justice Studies majors are encouraged to demonstrate an independent willingness to advance the practice of criminal justice through their classes and seminars, meetings with their student associations, and interactions with the faculty.
The interdisciplinary program's scholarly structure assists students in 1) understanding both the instruments and institution of law, our normative legal system and the criminal justice process, 2) identifying the various fundamental propositions of justice, the myths regarding coercive power and the reductionist view of rationality in traditional criminal justice thought, and 3) contributing to a more humanistic generation who are willing to address the social, political, and economic roots of criminality while advancing the cause of civic responsibility.