As a criminal justice major, you will deepen your understanding of crime-related issues and criminal justice systems and policies, and will learn to apply this knowledge to address social problems.

What courses will you take?

Asst. Prof. Jill Portnoy researches bio-social factors in crime.

Our B.S. in Criminal Justice and Criminology curriculum is designed to provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of the criminal justice system as well as the benefits of a well-rounded liberal arts education. 

You will take core courses that cover topics such as criminal justice and juvenile justice processes, criminology, technology and crime analysis, law enforcement, corrections, crime prevention, and research and evaluation.

Beyond the general major, you may also elect to enhance your degree by specializing in one of the following areas:

  • Corrections
  • Crime & Mental Health
  • Homeland Security
  • Police

Upper-level students can take a three-credit internship or six-credit field studies course to assess their interest and apply their classroom knowledge in an area of criminal justice. These courses are characterized by training for specific job skills rather than education involving conceptual learning. Like other academic fields, our school does not offer courses nor award credit for vocational training courses designed for specific job preparation or advanced job training.

In addition, students majoring in criminal justice will fulfill a professional skills requirement. This consists of completing four courses in information technology and data analysis. 

Visit the Academic Catalog for a complete course listing and to learn about the Criminal Justice minor.

  • Degree Pathways are a semester-by-semester sequence of courses recommended for successful completion of a degree, diploma, credential or certificate from the university. The most current degree pathways are:

    Current Students: Visit the Academic Catalog for all degree pathways, including those from prior enrollment years.
    1. A thorough understanding of the criminal justice system and current issues in criminal justice;
    2. The ability to apply theory and research to real world problems in criminal justice;
    3. Development of critical thinking, ethical decision making, and an understanding of diversity as it pertains to crime, offenders, victims, and the criminal justice system.
    4. To prepare students to apply critical thinking skills and apply knowledge to positions in the criminal justice field and/or their graduate education.

Why study criminal justice at UMass Lowell?

Shaila Bornstein on stage at Durgin Hall as one of the two student panelists for debates among the Democratic primary candidates for Niki Tsongas’ seat in Congress

Hands-On Learning

Put your learning into practice. Check out some of the fun ways UML students come together.

Shot of the exterior of the Health & Social Sciences building on South Campus

Research Opportunities

Work with faculty on large-scale, national and international research projects, including: 

A group of students standing with Neil Shortland outside of the Department of Homeland Security’s P2P: Challenging Extremism competition.

Expert Faculty

Our faculty are leaders in the field, working collaboratively with communities and agencies around the world to assist with strategic problem solving, crime analysis, evaluation research and policy analysis.

Criminal Justice student Corey Lanier speaks at the morning Commencement ceremony.

Graduate Programs

Advance your career options in the criminal justice field through our highly rated graduate programs:

What can you do with a degree in criminal justice?

UMass Lowell's Criminal Justice and Criminology program prepares graduates to fill positions in all areas related to criminal justice or continue to graduate studies in the social sciences or law. 

Student Andrew Sciascia participated in a debate held at UMass Lowell

Our versatile graduates pursue careers in the core criminal justice areas, including:

  • Courts
  • Corrections
  • Cybersecurity
  • Homeland security
  • Intelligence and crime analysis
  • Law enforcement
  • Private investigation
  • Social services linked to the criminal justice system
  • Victim services

Meet Our Students, Faculty and Alumni

Sean Perry at University Crossing
Sean Perry '18
Criminal Justice

After earning a master's degree in criminal justice, Sean Perry plans to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor or private sector or government researcher whose studies could help improve police departments or criminal justice systems.

I received a really good education here. I feel like I never got anything less than Ivy Leaguers did.
Read More About Sean Perry 
William Cole-French
William Cole-French '23

Psychology major William Cole-French, a distance runner on UML’s men’s cross country and track and field teams, received an America East Helping Hands Award for his volunteer mentorship of a local elementary school student.

By talking with someone who’s younger through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, you’re reminded what really matters: relationships, being a good person and being kind.
Read More About William Cole-French 
UMass Lowell Image
Deborah Friedl '83
Criminal Justice, Psychology

Deborah Friedl ’83 broke barriers for women at the Lowell Police Department. Now president of the International Association of Women Police, she’s advocating for women to play a role in police reform.

Women bring a lot of value to building trust with communities.
Read More About Deborah Friedl 
Asst. Prof. Ryan Shields reads a book at Brew'd Awakening in Lowell, Mass.
Ryan Shields
Criminology and Justice Studies

Ryan Shields is taking a public health approach to a highly sensitive issue: child sexual abuse. The criminologist says that research suggests much of it can be prevented, and that’s reason for hope.

I believe in the power of prevention to make life better for people.
Read More About Ryan Shields 
Jamie Smorczewski and his wife at Fenway
Jamie Smorczewski '09, '21
History, Security Studies

2021 Student Commencement Speaker Jamie Smorczewski knows what it means to persevere, over injury, health issues, the pandemic and life’s curveballs.

I’m from a blue-collar family and there wasn’t a ton of money for me to attend college, so I found my own way.
Read More About Jamie Smorczewski 
Lisa teDuits with her husband and three sons
Lisa teDuits '18
Criminal Justice

It took Lisa teDuits 27 years to earn her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She pursued the paralegal option for better job opportunities – and to set a good example for her sons.

The online classes gave me the flexibility to juggle working full time, being a mom, not missing any of my sons’ sporting events and helping with elderly parents and their needs.
Read More About Lisa teDuits 
Air Force ROTC student Elinor Mayo leaving a plane in uniform
Elinor Mayo '20
Criminal Justice

Elinor Mayo has lofty dreams, and Air Force ROTC is helping her find her way to the cockpit.

When I was in seventh grade, I decided I wanted to be a fighter pilot because in my head, that was the most amazing job I could ever have. If I push myself hard enough, it might be within reach.
Read More About Elinor Mayo 
Angela King Lines looks down at an open book in front of a black bookcase filled with more books
Angela King Lines '18
Criminal Justice

Angela King Lines is already on the front lines of fighting crime as a manager at Walmart. She says her degree in criminal justice helped prepare her for her next fight: reducing the backlog of DNA tests in rape and murder cases.

I really appreciate the flexibility of online learning. You can still do your career and get your degree.
Read More About Angela King Lines 
Andrew Sciascia participated in a debate held at UMass Lowell
Andrew Sciascia '20
Political Science & Criminal Justice

Andrew Sciascia’s studies in political science and homeland security are combining with his student newspaper experience to prepare him for a career as a political analyst.

We all come to this university with a different story, and we are welcomed with open arms.
Read More About Andrew Sciascia 
Mayara Reis, center, with MVBB Voices cofounders Bria Gadsden and Elizabeth Walther-Grant
Mayara Reis '22
Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice major and community organizer Mayara Reis says the diversity at UMass Lowell let her be who she's supposed to be.

(UML) is so diverse. So many people look like me. It let me start being who I am supposed to me.
Read More About Mayara Reis 
Normand M. Bazin is the current head coach of the University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks men's ice hockey team. In 2013 he led the team to their first Hockey East Championship and their first appearance in the Frozen Four. Contents.
Norm Bazin ’94, ’99
Men's Ice Hockey Coach

As an alum and a coach, Norm Bazin makes the River Hawks proud on and off the ice.

We intend to make the Tsongas a very tough place to get points for opposing teams.
Read More About Norm Bazin 
Yahayra Michel in front of a white board with words on it
Yahayra Michel ’07, ’09
Psychology and Criminal Justice

Asst. Teaching Prof. Yahayra Michel, who was a first-generation college student, found her mentors at UMass Lowell.

UMass Lowell just feels like home.
Read More About Yahayra Michel 
Cameron McKenzie in the Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain through the UMass Lowell Study Abroad program.
Cameron McKenzie '24
Criminal Justice (History minor)

Honors transfer student Cameron McKenzie squeezed four study abroad trips into her short time at UML.

Do the things you want to do when you can, because you don’t know when there will be limitations.
Read More About Cameron McKenzie 
Members of the Korean Student Association
Christina Han '21
Criminal Justice

Christina Han’s work with Multicultural Affairs, her club leadership and her studies in criminal justice converged in her honors capstone: running a “Support Space” for Asian American and Pacific Islander students during a surge in hate crimes.

Just being able to help others and educate others, knowing I was able to make a difference in someone else’s day, that’s a coping mechanism.
Read More About Christina Han 
Veyli Ortiz Solis
Veyli Ortiz Solis ’20, ’21
Criminal Justice

Veyli Ortiz Solis earned a B.S. in criminal justice in just three years – with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

I always love to be challenged. I feel like that’s when I do my best work.
Read More About Veyli Ortiz Solis 
Casey standing infront of the health and sciences building
Casey McCauley '25
Criminal Justice

With family ties to the criminal justice field, Casey McCauley looks to forge her path to law school through the School of Criminology and Justice Studies.

I was able to take what I’ve learned from my legal studies classes and apply it to real-world situations.
Read More About Casey McCauley 
Qurat Ann writes on a whiteboard with a blue marker
Qurat Ann '15, '17, '19
Criminal Justice & Criminology

A chance encounter with a professor led to an amazing research opportunity. Now Qurat Ann is researching the pros and cons of sex offender registration laws as she pursues a Ph.D.

A professor put me on his project and gave me a chance – and I’m eternally grateful because it changed my life.
Read More About Qurat Ann 
Parking & Transportation Manager Karina Cruz talks with a student employee at the Transportation Services Office
Karina Cruz
Public Administration

Karina Cruz appreciates the flexibility, small classes and in-depth administrative skills she’s learning, from how to change public policy to managing a diverse workforce.

It’s as versatile a degree as I need it to be.
Read More About Karina Cruz 
Umass Lowell student Carley Bennet stands between two flags.
Carley Bennet '24
Criminal Justice

Carley Bennet looks to capitalize on her Washington Center internship experience as she pursues a career in homeland security.

As sad as I am to be leaving campus … I'm really excited for the start of my career.
Read More About Carley Bennet 
Matthew Chigas at his internship with the Nashua (N.H.) Office of Emergency Management, training other city offices and community organizations in security and emergency response.
Matthew Chigas '17, '19
Criminal Justice, Security Studies

Internships in the Middle East and in Nashua, N.H., launched Matthew Chigas on an ambitious career path.

I try to get my hands in everything.
Read More About Matthew Chigas 
Steven DiNoto UMass Lowell Criminal Justice Alumnus
Steven DiNoto '94, '97
Criminal Justice

Steven DiNoto's career is a mix of “CSI” and “Criminal Minds” high-tech rip-offs, forensics and criminal psychology. He's held top-level posts through his career and credits his UMass Lowell education for his success.

UMass Lowell was an amazing experience for me. The professors were great ... the best CJ professors in the nation, they were also very accessible to students.
Read More About Steven DiNoto 
Daniela Pena poses for photo with Professor April F. Pattavina.
Daniela Peña '25
Criminal Justice

Daniela Peña fell in love with research after a faculty member offered her a paid research assistantship.

The things I learn in class I apply to the research I’m doing.
Read More About Daniela Peña 
Lisa Thompson presents her criminology research to two men at a research symposium at UMass Lowell.
Lisa Thompson '21

Her Ph.D. research at UMass Lowell won Lisa Thompson a rare research assistantship at the National Institute of Justice.

Prof. Harris is so awesome; he literally changed my life.
Read More About Lisa Thompson 
Shaila Bornstein on stage at Durgin Hall as one of the two student panelists for debates among the Democratic primary candidates for Niki Tsongas’ seat in Congress
Shaila Bornstein '19
Criminal Justice, Political Science

A semester in Washington, D.C., interning with a nonprofit that trains women to run for political office galvanized Shaila Bornstein. As soon as she finishes at UML, she plans to return to Washington to gain political experience so she can run for president.

The opportunities I’ve already gotten here are above and beyond what I could have gotten anywhere else.
Read More About Shaila Bornstein 
Matthew Levenson in London
Matthew Levenson '19
Criminal Justice

Criminal justice major Matt Levenson loves an adventure and a challenge—and he’s bent on seizing every opportunity he can while at UMass Lowell.

Whenever you’ve got an opportunity, you’ve got to take advantage of it.
Read More About Matthew Levenson 
Matt Cherkerzian looks over the Merrimack River on UMass Lowell's South Campus
Matt Cherkerzian '18
Criminal Justice

Matt Cherkerzian is an EMT majoring in criminal justice who helps with research into decision-making by first responders.

Doug in the Centers for Learning was a mentor in how to get through college.
Read More About Matt Cherkerzian 
Kyleigh Clark-Moorman presents her research
Kyleigh Clark-Moorman '19

Kyleigh Clark-Moorman is interested in how best to prepare inmates to rejoin their communities. She’s gotten a broad range of research and teaching experiences in the doctoral program in criminology.

Everyone is so welcoming, and the professors are so invested in student success. They want you to flourish and build your skills.
Read More About Kyleigh Clark-Moorman 
Rachel Record sitting at a table with Asst. Prof. Jill Portnoy and another person at UMass Lowell
Rachel Record '20
Criminal Justice

Honors student Rachel Record won a full scholarship to law school, thanks to the Legal Studies Program and research and practical experiences.

I grew up on this campus. I love it here.
Read More About Rachel Record 
Sara Khun-Leng, seated in her office, speaking with staff members
Sara Khun-Leng '99
Criminal Justice

Sara Khun-Leng ’99 helps immigrants and refugees, veterans and others needing assistance as director of constituent services in the district office of U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan.

I felt like I had to do this, to speak for people who are not always able to help themselves.
Read More About Sara Khun-Leng 
Ph.D. student Dic Donohue meets with another female Ph.D. student with her laptop to discuss a project at a table in front of a floor-to-ceiling glass window
Dic Donohue '12, '19
Criminal Justice & Criminology

Retired MBTA Transit Police Sgt. Dic Donohue finished his master’s degree in 2012. Less than a year later, he was shot during a police firefight with the Boston Marathon bombers. After earning his Ph.D. in criminology, he’s taking a job with the RAND Corp.

There are a lot of people who will help you, not just police, but community-wide. You’ve just got to open your eyes, realize they’re out there and ask them for help.
Read More About Dic Donohue 

Contact Us

For program-specific questions, contact:

Ryan T. Shields, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Phone: 978-934-4335