Q: What is the purpose of the Criminal Justice Studies minor at Elon?
A: The Criminal Justice Studies minor provides students with a balanced, multi-disciplinary background in the nature of crime and the workings of the criminal justice system. The emphasis is on criminal justice in the United States, but an examination of systems in other nations also is included. Students learn to think critically about issues involving crime and justice.
Q: If I want to pursue a career in the field of criminal justice, shouldn't I major in CJS?
A: Not at all. The CJS minor has been designed to provide a basic foundation in criminal justice while allowing students a high degree of flexibility in their choice of courses. Students find that they can combine the CJS minor with their particular major (whether it is Sociology, Human Services, Political Science, Psychology, Biology or virtually any other major on campus) in ways that enhance their educational experience and prepare them for a career in criminal justice or further educational training in graduate school or law school. See the section Tailoring Your CJS Minor for details on combining the CJS minor with various majors.
Q: Would the minimum number of courses in the CJS minor be enough to meet my needs?
A: Most students who minor in CJS indicate on an annual survey that the program meets their needs. However, if your schedule allows, you could benefit from taking more CJS courses. The wide variety of CJS courses ensures that you will find something to satisfy your interests.
Q: Is it OK to minor in CJS if I don’t plan to pursue a career in criminal justice?
A: Absolutely. A large number of students who minor in CJS are doing so simply out of personal interest. Others plan to use the knowledge and skills they gain with the minor to give themselves more breadth in their desired professional path, such as child psychology, American government or business.
Q: Do I need to be a CJS minor in order to take CJS courses?
A: No. In fact, the majority of students who enroll in CJS courses are not CJS minors. These students often take the courses because of the relevance to their major. Often they take CJS courses out of personal interest.
Q: As a student with a minor in CJS, would I be able to get real-life experiences?
A: Yes. Internships are available to interested CJS minors who meet certain requirements. Students have gained experience in police departments, the court system, law offices, the state bureau of investigation and so on.
Q: What if I have an interest in a topic that is not covered by a course, or a topic that was introduced in a course but was not explored in depth?
A: Although the CJS program offers a variety of courses that touch on many facets of crime and the justice system, it is impossible to cover all areas that every student might be interested in. A student wishing to further his or her knowledge can design an independent study course with the help of a CJS professor. In the past, students have studied such topics as Jack the Ripper and the biopsychological causes of crime.
Q: Is there a student organization associated with the CJS program?
A: Yes. Founded shortly after the CJS minor was established, the Crime Studies Club has been in operation for many years. The club has hosted several national crime experts who spoke about their professional exploits. Also, the Crime Studies Club has arranged for field trips to sites such as prisons and police labs.
Q: What are the opportunities after graduation for a student with a CJS minor?
A: CJS minors have found their experience useful for getting into graduate programs such as forensic psychology and social services, as well as law school. Other students with a minor in CJS have entered directly into careers such as law enforcement (on the local or state level).