About the Program

Academic and degree options

Murray State is proudly the only institution in Kentucky that offers the option of either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice [link to CRJ major in bulletin]. If you are considering graduate school, explore our research track.

For students looking for a minor, such as those individuals majoring in the Chemistry Department’s forensics track, we offer a minor in criminal justice as well as a juvenile justice minor  for students looking to earn a degree from another program and work with children in a manner relating to the juvenile justice system.

The University Studies (university-wide general education requirements) provides the necessary liberal arts education, while the criminal justice major further develops the students' oral, written, analytical, research, and problem-solving skills. Courses offered focus on topics such as law enforcement and criminal investigations, juvenile delinquency, organized crime, terrorism, ethics, fish and game law, crime and mental health, constitutional law, and much more.

For more curriculum information and course descriptions, please view the current Academic Bulletin.

Would you like to learn more about our programs?

Dedicated Criminal Justice faculty

Housed within the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work, the Criminal Justice (CRJ) Program boasts four dedicated professors. We may be smaller than some other programs, but we use this size to the advantage of our students, working diligently to challenge them but to also provide assistance as needed and to equip them with the tools necessary to succeed, not only in the classroom but also in their professional lives after graduation.

Internship opportunities

Internships provide great opportunities for students to gain firsthand professional training and experience by working with practitioners in the field. As a student in our program, you will have the opportunity to intern with state, local, and federal police departments, courthouses, law offices, corrections agencies, victims’ advocacy groups, juvenile advocacy groups, and many other related organizations. Check out the video to hear Josh Jones, a senior in Criminal Justice, talk about his experience.

Student organizations

Students are encouraged to join the Criminal Justice Society (CJS). Open to all Murray State students regardless of degree program, this student organization is designed to build professionalism and provide both practical and academic experiences outside of the classroom. Through CJS, you will be given the opportunity to hear from and interact with practitioners in the criminal justice field, go on trips and tours, and participate in fun and informative events, such as mock crime-scene investigations and K9 demonstrations. Student leadership opportunities are also available through CJS. 


EEQ Cert logoAs of 2022, the Criminal Justice Program has received the Essential Employability Qualities Certification as granted by the Quality Assurance Commons. This certification follows a rigorous process of external and independent review.

EEQ Certified programs foster a distinctive set of attributes in their graduates and completers. These qualities are intended to prepare students to make important contributions in their workplaces: communication, thinking and problem solving, inquiry, collaboration, adaptability, principles and ethics, responsibility and professionalism, and learning.


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