Undergraduate Information

The study of criminal justice offers students the opportunity to study fascinating issues of crime and justice that are critical to the functioning of a healthy society. Understanding patterns and causes of crime, the challenges facing criminal justice agencies as they seek to balance crime control with preservation of civil liberties, and the growing importance of security management in what has been called the “risk society” are just some of the issues you will study as a criminal justice major.


Information For Fall 2020 & Spring 2021

For the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Semesters, all Criminal Justice advising will be remote. Please use our Criminal Justice Advising Virtual Office below for resources!


  • Advising

    The School of Criminal Justice’s advisors provide academic and career advice to all students within the school. The undergraduate academic advisor’s primary goal is to help undergraduate students with matters pertaining to academic progress issues and life plans. While you are responsible for understanding University, College, and Department requirements, advisors can provide current information about requirements, options, and procedures. Students are encouraged to visit an academic adviser once per semester to assure all academic requirements are met prior to graduation. Students may also visit the career counselor at any time to discuss internship and career opportunities in criminal justice.

    Schedule an Appointment with an Advisor

    Visit Our Virtual Advising Office!

    Contact Us:

    Other Links:


  • Careers & Internships
    The School of Criminal Justice offers many options for students to find and prepare for future careers. Students may explore internship opportunities, which involve working in a criminal justice agency for course credit. Students can earn internship credit during the school year, but many choose to complete internships while spending the summer off-campus. Either way, internships are a valuable opportunity to investigate potential careers while still earning credit toward graduation.

    In addition, the School’s annual career fair (held each February) exposes our students to the wide variety of careers available in criminal justice. Students can interact with representatives from a large number of agencies to determine whether they might be interested in different careers. Thanks to our vast alumni network, returning alumni can share their experiences with our students, and describe how their MSU experience has translated into work in the field.

    Schedule an Appointment with a Career Development Coordinator

    Contact Us:


    The School of Criminal Justice highly encourages students to participate in internships. An internship is a great way to integrate classroom learning with real world situations. Internships offer a planned program of observation, participation, and study in a selected criminal justice agency. They also give students an opportunity to explore a possible career choice and learn professional skills necessary to be competitive in the job market.

    Internship Information for Students

    Internship Information for Agencies

    Other Links:

    MSU Career Services and Placement
    Career Resources
    Criminal Justice Career Fair
    MSU School of Criminal Justice LinkedIn Page


  • Override Requests
    On occasion, overrides are given to students who need to take a course that is full, are missing the prerequisite coursework, are not a criminal justice major, or request a course that is restricted based on the student’s class level. Every department on campus takes care of its own overrides, so the School of Criminal Justice cannot give overrides to other courses outside of Criminal Justice. If you need an override outside of Criminal Justice, contact the department offering the desired course to find out the override procedure for that particular department.

    Overrides will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Nonmajors will not be issued overrides to enroll in CJ courses until after the scheduled enrollment period is over. Overrides for nonmajors will be granted on a space-available policy. You will be notified as to whether the override was granted. If the override is granted, you may need to enroll yourself in the course.

    To request an override, fill out this override request form.
  • Get Involved

    Student Involvement refers to the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the college experience.
    ~Astin, 1984

    College is about more than going to class. It’s about learning that extends outside of the classroom into the real world – learning that can take place in internships or independent studies, in student organizations, or on study abroad. MSU graduates should be leaders and life-long learners.

    So yes, go to class. Learn about your field of study. But don’t forget to learn about yourself, others, and the world.

    For questions on how these opportunities fit into your academic plan, make an appointment with an advisor.

    Independent Studies and Undergraduate Research

    MSU’s Office for Undergraduate Research works to increase opportunities for MSU students to engage in scholarship and to expand the pool of faculty and partners engaging undergraduate students in their scholarly work. The Undergraduate Research Office is housed within the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education. Information about College and University research opportunities can be found here.

    At times, academic personnel in the School of Criminal Justice have research projects with which they could use assistance from undergraduate student(s). We encourage students to review the list of research expertise by academic personnel and reach out to faculty during office hours or via email.

    Independent studies are a great opportunity for students to spend time focusing on a particular area of interest not already offered in a class. Students who are interested in an independent study should find a faculty member who is able to facilitate the independent study over the course of the semester, and complete the application for independent study.

    Inside-Out Program

    The Inside-Out program is a course held at the Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. The course is comprised of a group of traditional MSU undergraduate students along with a group of non-traditional inmate students.

    To learn more about the program, visit the website for the International Headquarters of The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: http://www.insideoutcenter.org/

    For questions about MSU’s Inside-Out course or enrolling in the course, contact Dr. Jennifer Cobbina.


    The School of Criminal Justice highly encourages students to participate in internships. An internship is a great way to integrate classroom learning with real world situations. Internships offer a planned program of observation, participation, and study in a selected criminal justice agency. See "Careers & Internships" above for more information.


    Service-learning is a form of experiential education; service-learning engages students in structured activities that work to build a stronger community and facilitate student learning and development (CAS, 2009).

    Service-Learning and volunteer work have many positive personal, social, and academic outcomes. Service-learning helps students and communities build collaborative relationships and focus on community issues. It allows students to practice leadership and communication skills and apply in-class learning to “real world” situations. Service-learning opportunities also facilitate cultural understanding, create actively contributing citizens, and have an impact on critical thinking and cognitive development.

    For more information about service-learning at MSU, visit the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement or contact Erin Smith, Coordinator of Domestic Internships/Service-Learning for the College of Social Science at 517-353-9291.

    For an introductory course (with academic credit) focusing on leadership, social change, and community involvement, consider SSC 199 “Community Engagement: Act Locally, Think Globally.”

    Student Organizations

    The School of Criminal Justice has several student organizations available for students to get involved with:

    American Criminal Justice Association

    The American Criminal Justice Association (Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Mu Sigma Upsilon chapter) is devoted to the advancement of professionalism in all areas of criminal justice. Its objectives are to supplement a student’s criminal justice major with social and educational activities outside of the classroom, develop professionalism in the field of criminal justice among its members, promote awareness of criminal justice issues, provide a unified voice for students, and promote high standards of ethical conduct within the field.

    AJCA has more than 152 active chapters on campuses nationwide and is not just a college student organization; it contains members working in the criminal justice field, and related agencies also participate in LAE activities. For more information regarding the national chapter, visit their website.

    For more information on ACJA at MSU, contact Sara Tauqi. You can also contact ACJA by email, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

    Alpha Phi Sigma

    Alpha Phi Sigma (APS) is the nationally recognized honor society for criminal justice students. With more than 250 chapters nationwide, APS is made up of student members who share a commitment to learning and improving the criminal justice field.

    The society offers leadership and group organizational experiences to students who want to make the most of their time in college, and is a strong resume builder. Members receive a membership certificate, lapel pin, and honors cords to be worn at graduation. Typical activities include presentations by high-level guest speakers, volunteer activities, and field trips and tours, which allow members the opportunity to make useful connections and gain additional hands-on experience. Members also develop lasting personal and professional friendships through social activities during the academic year.

    For more information, contact Tim Homberg.

    National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice

    The National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ) is a multi-ethnic, nonpartisan, nonprofit association of criminal justice professionals and community leaders dedicated to improving the administration of justice.

    The MSU chapter is the first student NABCJ chapter in the Midwest. The mission of the association is to serve as a professional and social network for African-American undergraduate and graduate students in the field of criminal justice.

    Students will gain valuable communication, networking, and leadership skills. Programming throughout the academic year focuses on enhancing professionalism in criminal justice, community service, networking, and social activities. For information on membership, contact Barbara Kolar.

    Michigan State University has more than 650 registered Student Organizations, so visit the Department of Student Life for a complete list of groups to get involved with!



  • Student Resources

    There is a wide range of resources available to Criminal Justice students.

    Take a look at this list that we compiled.

  • Scholarships

    The School of Criminal Justice provides the following competitive scholarships to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students.

    Please click on each individual scholarship listed below for full application instructions. Funds from these scholarships are intended to offset the costs of books and tuition. Incoming freshmen must have applied to and been accepted by the university and will need to provide a copy of their high school transcripts. Awards will not exceed the estimated University cost of attendance for the year of the award.

    The School of Criminal Justice must receive applications for all scholarships by the last Friday in February for the following academic year. A selection committee will recommend recipients to the director of the School of Criminal Justice. The recipients will be notified in writing by the end of Spring semester.

    PLEASE NOTE: The receipt of any scholarship/fellowship may cause a reduction in a student's financial aid package.

    To see the full list of scholarships, click here.

    Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Study Abroad & Study Away

    Study Abroad

    Study abroad is an opportunity for students to grow personally, professionally, and intellectually by exploring new cultures and meeting new people. For more information follow the links below or visit the the Office of Study Abroad.
    The School of Criminal Justice offers study abroad opportunities in the Caribbean, Australia, Madagascar and the Philippines.

    Study Away

    MSU Study Away programs offer courses and internships at locations within the United States. Programs allow students to apply classroom knowledge in professional settings. College of Social Science study away programs include Boston, New York, Hawaii, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

    Visit their website for more information.