Criminal Justice Program Major - Defiance College - Defiance, Ohio

Criminal Justice

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Criminal JusticeDefiance College’s criminal justice (CJ) program provides a strong background in all areas of criminal justice (law enforcement, courts, and corrections). It allows concentration in one of several areas and equips problem-solving justice-seekers to change their world. Civic engagement prepares students to understand the value of contributing to the community. Upon graduation, students in this program are ready for positions in a variety of criminal justice agencies.

The major is both theoretical and practical, providing understanding of critical issues in the field. It offers an internship of 150 hours working in a criminal justice agency in probation, corrections, or law enforcement, specifically in law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. In correction agencies, there are internship opportunities in probation and parole offices. Placements are also available in adult prisons, juvenile detention centers, community-based correctional facilities, and at private treatment facilities. Courtroom observations are often part of this experience as well.

Students have the benefit of advice from a well-connected criminal justice advisory board, with representation from local, regional, and national levels, as well as an extensive alumni network in the field.


Capstone Projects
Once a senior, criminal justice students will use knowledge learned in the classroom and in their internships to develop and complete their capstone project. Many agencies have assisted and benefited from the results of these capstone projects, some of which were developed in partnership with area professional agencies.

Examples of these agencies are:

Each year, between three to five seniors present their capstone projects at the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education, which is a state-level conference of criminal justice professionals.


Benefits of the Program

Defiance College offers students hands-on experience through internships along with faculty members who have real-world experience in criminal justice professions. Small classroom sizes allow students to engage actively with faculty and establish strong, positive relationships that support students’ success in their education and career. The program provides other practical experiences such as tours of facilities and agencies, presentations at the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education conference, guest speakers, films, and cooperative education.

Other opportunities found at DC for CJ majors include the Criminal Justice Society, which sponsors annual trips to metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Detroit to visit a variety of criminal justice agencies; courtroom observations, and the annual CJ Night job fair with a statewide-known speaker and networking opportunities.

A particularly exciting aspect of the criminal justice program is an opportunity for students to participate in a mock crime-scene investigation and trial with local law enforcement, fire officials, attorneys, and judges.

Through the McMaster School, students have the opportunity to travel to another part of the world and complete a project of their own design, thereby growing their skills in identifying issues and problem-solving while nurturing a broad perspective. CJ majors have completed projects in Cambodia and Belize on topics such as community development, social deviance and crime, and first aid and water safety.

Related Programs

In addition to the bachelor's degree curriculum, the criminal justice program offers an associate degree in criminal justice as well as a minor. The associate degree prepares students for some entry level positions in the criminal justice field. It also offers five courses in the forensic science program.

Students often combine another major, minor, or concentration with a degree in criminal justice to gain expertise in more areas and broaden their career opportunities. Some of these complementary programs include: pre-law, digital forensic scienceforensic science, forensic accounting, psychology, global studies, and social work.

Criminal Justice

After College — What’s Next?

Defiance College’s criminal justice graduates are very successful. A degree in criminal justice allows a student to work in a variety of different settings such as law enforcement, criminal investigation, corrections, public and private security, forensic science, academia, and legal services.

Some of our recent graduates are working for correctional facilities and many different law enforcement, probation, and parole agencies in the Midwest as well as special agent positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and Treasury. They have also continued to graduate school or law school.

Recent employments include:

Navy JAG, United States Secret Service Uniformed Division, US Capitol Police, United States Marines, Wallen’s Ridge State Prison, Border Patrol, Dallas Police Department, San Diego Police Department, Corrections Center of NW Ohio, and Defiance County Prosecutor’s Office.

Student Quotes

"The CJ program at Defiance has prepared me for my career tremendously. The professors have real life experiences in the criminal justice field and are able to tell students what it is really like to be on the job. This makes classes more interesting and easy to participate in. The mock trial we conduct helps students gain a 'real' feeling for the job, instead of simply reading the text and regurgitating information.
Also, being a student athlete, the professors are very understanding of missed classes. They are willing to help me catch up and make sure that I am still succeeding. They always ask how games and the season is going, letting me know that they care on a personal level and that I am not just a number to them."
--Kayla Clute, Junior


"Studying criminal justice at Defiance College has been a great opportunity for me over the years. The expertise brought to the classrooms by the professors is nothing short of inspirational. Not only are classes interesting and interactive, students are also sent out in the field to gain needed experience for their future careers. Interning at the Defiance Juvenile Probation Department has been a bliss for me. I have also had the privilege of being a prosecutor in the annual mock trial and this has been a real educational and hands-on experience for me as I would like to become an attorney. With great professors, memorable internships, and immense learning opportunities, I am really proud to be a criminal justice major and headed on the road to becoming an astounding attorney as a result."
--Oshin Walker, Senior


Steven Sondergaard, J.D.
Professor of Criminal Justice
Phone: 419-783-2443

Sheldon Goodrum
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Phone: 419-783-2522