Criminal Justice

    • Starting in fall 2016, a new 4+1 program will allow students to obtain their B.A. in criminal justice and M.S. in criminalistics in just five years.
    • Within a year of graduating, 97% of Gannon’s criminal justice students entered the workforce or graduate school.
    • The Forensic Investigation Center provides students with practical, hands-on experience, which gives them an advantage in the competitive job market.
    • Students learn forensic principles, such as evidence entry procedures, evidence documentation and collection, photography, crime analysis, reporting and testimony, latent fingerprint techniques, bloodstain pattern analysis, trace evidence and many other aspects of forensic investigation.
    • Partnerships with the local municipal police academy (Act 120), Advanced Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) and Homeland Security provide students with various training opportunities, allowing them to gain practical experience and the skill sets needed to succeed in the criminal justice profession.

    You Will Learn

    The criminal justice program is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major taught primarily by professionals with extensive field experience. It is dedicated to education, research and service in the fields of criminal justice, public safety and social justice. Building on this foundation, the program offers a diverse curriculum that balances the arts, sciences and humanities with professional training, and challenges students to make a difference in the lives of others. The curriculum emphasizes courses that stress critical thinking, theoretical concepts and practical applications. 

    Faculty include nationally recognized ATF, DEA, FBI and NCIS experts, in addition to local judges, attorneys and criminal justice professionals. The Forensic Investigation Center offers students a unique immersive learning environment, which includes an interview and control monitor room, a firearms training simulation room, crime-scene simulation rooms, forensic laboratory and a classroom.

    You Will Experience

    As a complement to classroom experiences, the criminal justice program requires students to engage in experiential learning through service-learning projects and internship placements. These opportunities allow students to observe and participate in the day-to-day operation of criminal justice agencies. Internship options include, but are not limited to:


    • county and state parole offices  
    • county, state and federal correctional institutions  
    • Court of Common Pleas  
    • Erie County adult and juvenile probation offices  
    • Erie County Public Defender’s office  
    • Erie County District Attorney’s office  
    • Honors Internship Program for FBI, ATF and DEA  
    • juvenile correctional facilities  
    • local police departments  
    • sheriff’s departments  
    • U.S. Congressional Internship Program  


    You Will Achieve

    Students graduating with a criminal justice degree have a variety of career opportunities available, including, but not limited to, the following:

    • computer forensic specialist  
    • corrections officer  
    • county/state parole officer  
    • county/state/federal probation officer  
    • crime scene investigator  
    • FBI, DEA, ATF or Secret Service  
    • fraud investigator  
    • information security analyst  
    • juvenile/adult probation officer  
    • local/state/federal police officer  
    • substance abuse specialist  

    You will Study

    In addition to a general criminal justice track, the program offers five tracks, or specializations, including corrections, cyber security, forensic investigation, juvenile justice and law enforcement. Criminal justice majors take various core and elective courses including:

    CRJS 210: Criminalistics: Introduction to Investigative Forensics

    This course is designed to help students collect and process physical evidence, analyze it thoroughly and understand its relevance in a criminal case. This is an essential, hands-on course for everyone involved with physical evidence, from the first responding officers to crime scene processors, laboratory technicians, investigators and attorneys trying a criminal case. 

    CRJS 242: Careers in Criminal Justice

    Each week, guest speakers provide students with an overview of a segment of the Criminal Justice system as a way to orient students to the field and tailor it to meet their interests and professional goals. Potential careers discussed include those in law enforcement, corrections, forensics and the court system. 

    CRJS 341: Basic Firearms and Law Enforcement Application

    This course trains students in basic firearms techniques, proper shooting principles and proficiency in handling various types of handguns, shotguns and rifles. To learn these techniques, students travel to various indoor and outdoor firearms ranges. As part of the course, students are also exposed to training in law enforcement decision-making with regard to the use of deadly force by participation in practical drills and training videos using the Firearms Training System.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

    Projected demand for well-trained professionals in the criminal justice field will continue to grow for the next 25 years. Median salaries for various career opportunities vary depending on the location and type of organization. 

    • forensic science technician: $52,840  
    • police officer/detective: $56,980  
    • private investigator: $45,740  
    • probation officer:  $48,190  
    • substance abuse counselor: $38,520  
    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale ( 

  • Believe It: Criminal Justice majors have a 90% retention rate.