Criminology and Criminal Justice

The study of crime prepares students for any field within the criminal justice system. Studying criminal events, the correctional system, and those involved with criminal offenses including victims, perpetrators, and law enforcement officials, helps students make the world a better place after graduation.

A crime scene with police tape

Taking a Deeper Look

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers in:

  • Policing/Law Enforcement
  • Probation & Parole
  • Correctional Officers
  • Social Services
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Pursue Graduate School or Law School

Students often enter this major with the sense that they’d like to help others, whether juveniles or adults, and begin working in three stages:

  • They begin by asking questions such as, “Why do we have crime? What are some societal issues?” BVU students seek to understand the why’s of crime. 
  • For a more practical approach, students take the next step by looking deeper into law enforcement and theories such as victimology, coping mechanisms, what victims have access to in moving forward.
  • Finally, students look toward the future for offenders and ask questions such as, “How do we keep a juvenile from going back to crime?  It’s all a part of preparing people to become productive members of society.


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Double Major

Many students find that adding psychology or social work helps them take a closer look at the brain, behavior, and what society is doing in terms of caretaking and prevention. These students are taking a cross-disciplinary approach and may even consider attending graduate school after BVU.

Summer School In Prauge

More than half a dozen BVU students have attended Prague Summer School on Crime, Law, and Psychology, an international conference bringing students together from across the globe. This opportunity allows students to discuss issues such as prevention and education around the world.


Students present research findings on topics such as methods of crime and punishment, cognitive issues, and group dynamics related to crime at BVU's annual Scholars Day. And, through the BVU organization "SAVE," students engage in group discussions, preparing them for related issues in the workplace.

In Demand

BVU grads are in demand. A survey found that 100 percent of Criminology and Criminal Justice majors from the Class of 2018 were either employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.

Crime scene evidence

Center for Criminal Justice Studies

An innovative approach to criminal investigation

The new Center for Criminal Justice Studies immerses students with more than 800 pre-programmed computer generated scenarios, allowing you to integrate real-world situations into the classroom. In the center, you will evaluate a crime scene and to think critically in difficult, high-stress situations.

About the Center

Beyond the Academy

An educational background to succeed

Considering becoming a police officer, but want to have a deeper understanding of crime with a bachelor’s degree? BVU students learn how officers make good decisions, and how society prepares officers for the important job. For students looking to excel in a police force to a management position, or simply be the most effective police officer possible, they seek a greater understanding of society and are able to answer questions on the why’s of crime taught by BVU, providing the proper skills to lead others.


  • Buena Vista County Juvenile Court Services
  • Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault
  • Fifth Judicial District of Iowa
  • Storm Lake Police Department


  • South Dakota State Penitentiary & Jameson Annex, Correctional Officer
  • Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders, Psychiatric Security Specialist
  • Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy 
  • Community-Based Services Specialist, Seasons Center Behavioral Health

Graduate School

  • Drake University Law School
  • University of Central Florida
  • Iowa State University
  • Arizona State University
Major in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Criminology Track (46 Credit Hours)
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Major in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice Track (45 Credit Hours)
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Minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice (21 Credit Hours)
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Dr. Stephanie Hays-Angstrom
Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Meet the Professor
Dr. Richard Riner
Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Meet the Professor