Penn State Berks to offer criminal justice degree

READING, Pa. -- Penn State Berks has recently received approval from the University to offer both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees in Criminal Justice, beginning in the fall semester of 2014.

The Criminal Justice degree program provides strong preparation for the growing market in corrections, parole and probation, law enforcement and the court system. The program emphasizes written and oral communication skills, research and computer skills. These skills, combined with knowledge about the causes of crime, the justice system and criminal justice policy, provide a strong foundation for students interested in a criminal justice career.

The Penn State Berks criminal justice degree program provides a broad-based education in the liberal arts tradition. In addition to the breadth and depth of knowledge about criminal justice, the program cultivates skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, issue analysis and problem solving. Graduates of this program should be adaptable and flexible participants in the civic and intellectual life of their communities, appreciate cultural diversity and practice ethical behavior.

Graduates of the program will be well prepared to work in all phases of the criminal justice system or to continue their studies in law school or pursue master’s and doctoral degrees.

Penn State Berks offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Criminal Justice.

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is an expanded liberal arts program and includes skill in a foreign language. This is an excellent choice for those students whose career direction requires a more broad-based understanding of American and international culture. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice allows students to focus their degree requirements by developing a structured skills designed to meet their specific career goals. Both degrees include internship components in which students gain real-life experience and valuable networking contacts.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that industry job growth in the field of Criminal Justice is expected to be at an annual rate of 10 percent through 2018. Furthermore, bachelor’s degrees are required for most federal jobs. Predictions of job growth by the Bureau in the field indicate above average increases in this field.

Jobs in this field include three major categories of positions that encompass careers in both governmental and private settings. These opportunities include (1) protective services such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshal's Office, police departments, security and loss prevention; (2) law and corrections including court administration, legal aid/paralegal, delinquency prevention programs, juvenile court personnel, jails and prisons, and probation and parole offices; and (3) crime-related prevention and support such as shelters for abused women and children, drug and alcohol programs and halfway houses.

The Criminal Justice degree will join the college’s 16 other baccalaureate degree programs, providing a full complement of diverse and varied degrees to meet the needs of students in the Berks County community and beyond. For more information about the B.S. in Criminal Justice program, contact program coordinator Belen Rodríguez Mourelo at 610-396-6171 or before July 1. After July 1, contact Brenda Russell at 610-396-6014 or

Media Contacts: 

Dr. Belen Rodriquez-Mourelo

Work Phone: 

Dr. Belen Rodriquez-Mourelo, Associate Professor of Spanish and Division Head of HASS

Brenda Russell

Work Phone: 

Professor of Psychology, Program Coordinator of Applied Psychology at Penn State Berks

Last Updated April 16, 2014