Frequently asked Questions

Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about the Criminal Justice Studies Program.

Are accredited internships available for one majoring in criminal justice studies at the University of Dayton?

The program has a full-time coordinator for community relations whose primary responsibility is to assist criminal justice studies majors with their career decisions through a nationally recognized internship operation. Known as the "Dayton Model," criminal justice studies internships contribute to educational goals in several important ways.

Knowledge acquired through an internship experience is firsthand. The student actually is a key player in the learning event. This is a very different approach to knowledge acquisition than the usual classroom experience where learning may be lecture, textbook, or teacher-centered. Here, in the field, student becomes teacher and assumes full responsibility for learning.

The internship experience enables the student to compare knowledge learned in the classroom to what happens in the real world. Acquired knowledge becomes applied knowledge. Do the theories work? Can what is learned in the classroom be applied in the real world? What happens when things don't go according to plan? Dealing with these questions takes on an importance and urgency not present in the classroom environment. Situations in the real world don't end when the bell rings!

Internships promote skill development. Dealing with the public, clients, supervisors, and other professionals demands exemplary verbal communication skills. Writing skills also are an important component of almost every job description in criminal justice. As technology becomes a more integral part of criminal justice process, technical knowledge and skill make the criminal justice practitioner more effective and marketable. Interns have many opportunities to develop and practice these skills.

Opportunities for personal development are ever present during the internship experience. Self-confidence comes from handling new situations. Teamwork is learned when we work with others to accomplish goals unattainable by individual effort. Self-reliance is enhanced when we are forced to handle a situation without help from another. When another person's idea works and ours does not, we learn that we are not always right and must compromise to get the job done.

Finally, internships present us with numerous opportunities for professional growth. We meet and work with individuals who can provide valuable information and experience, even after the internship experience has ended. Internships look great on a resume. Professionals with whom we have worked are often willing to be employment references. Sometimes internships result in part-time or full-time jobs. Internships are a win-win experience!

Are there criminal justice student organizations that help one learn more about the professional field of criminal justice?

Yes, the University of Dayton's criminal justice studies program is one of the few in the country that has two criminal justice student organizations available. The curriculum has Omega Phi Delta (the criminal justice student/professional association) on campus. Social, athletic, cultural and professional events and services comprise the association's major activities. Presently, there are 61 students actively involved with this organization.

The program also hosts the Zeta Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma (the national criminal justice honor society). The organization serves the University's honor community and works very closely with the criminal justice multi-disciplinary faculty on curriculum matters. One student has been recognized, at one of the Alpha Phi Sigma national conventions, as the "Outstanding Criminal Justice Honor Student in the United States." The Zeta Chapter has also won the Outstanding Chapter Award for three consecutive years and a number of years ago hosted the national headquarters on campus.

As an undergraduate curriculum, does criminal justice studies have any research assistantships available to students?

The curriculum awards to the outstanding senior a research assistantship partially supported by the University's Fellows Fund and the program's own budget. The selected research assistant works directly with a number of criminologists on their research projects. The criminal justice studies research assistant's responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Undertaking Literature Searches
  • Writing Abstracts
  • Collecting Data
  • Undertaking Computer Runs with SPSS-X
  • Organizing Data and Materials

Does the University of Dayton's criminal justice studies curriculum have any scholarships?

Yes, the criminal justice studies program offers the Sheriff Bernard "Beno" Keiter Memorial Scholarship Award that annually recognizes the "outstanding" criminal justice studies junior and/or senior. Monies awarded partially defray the student's tuition during their selected year of study, while a plaque is given at the annual graduation banquet acknowledging their academic achievements and contributions to the program, the University and/or the community.

I've been told I will be required to purchase a laptop computer when I come to the University of Dayton. As a criminal justice studies major, what can I expect to be doing with the computer I purchase?

As a multi-disciplinary program in the College of Arts and Sciences, you will meet criminal justice faculty members who are criminal justicians, criminologists, sociologists, social workers, psychologists, political scientists and a legalist. In many of the courses these faculty members offer, you will be required to do on-line class assignments, become involved with "threaded discussion sites," create your own electronic portfolio, publish as an electronic magazine, or "zine," your senior synthesis paper, complete weekly on-line quizzes or CAL (computer assisted learning) assignments and so much more. In fact, there are several courses in the Criminal Justice Studies Program that use the WebCT format to gain access to class information.

What career opportunities are available for one majoring in criminal justice studies?

Occupational responsibilities and tasks depend upon the objectives, charters, by-laws and organizational structure of each criminal justice agency. Some examples include law enforcement, criminal investigation, intelligence, probation and parole counseling, research, consumer advocacy and international services.

Positions are available with correctional agencies at the federal, state and county level; in municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies, as well as with some prosecutor and public defender's offices as online investigators. Positions are also available in industrial security, the consumer advocacy arena and with select law firms as possible paralegals.

Opportunities for employment with a federal justice administration agency are dependent on a candidate's particular professional talents, past occupational experiences and academic credentials.