Apr 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Rivier University Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Rivier University Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Criminal Justice

Rivier’s Criminal Justice (CJ) Program prepares students for challenging and rewarding careers in one of the many professions associated with the criminal justice system. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes courses in CJ, Political Science, History and other academic programs, students gain a strong theoretical understanding of the law, crime, and society’s response to crime. Students become familiar with the roles played by the three branches of government and the various components of the criminal justice system, such as law enforcement, corrections, alternative sentencing programs, the courts and victim services.

Students apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life situations, both in and out of the classroom. The program gives students numerous opportunities to intern with a police department, federal law enforcement agency, correctional facility, probation/parole office, medical examiner’s office, victim services office or other agency involved in the criminal justice system. At the same time, students learn to sharpen their job-searching skills and prepare themselves to enter the employment marketplace.

Careers available to criminal justice graduates include law enforcement, adult and juvenile corrections, working within the court system, alternative sentencing programs such as drugs courts, victim services, and asset protection and private security. Job opportunities exist at the local, state and federal government level, and with private nonprofit and for profit entities. 

Finally, it may not be possible for students to know for certain what paths their professional careers will take them and their interests could change. Therefore, the CJ program and Rivier’s strong core curriculum help students develop skills that are necessary to succeed in a wide variety of professions beyond the criminal justice field, and in law school and other graduate programs.  These skills include analytical and critical thinking, effective written and oral communication, and the careful and reasoned consumption of information.

Student Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students who complete their degree in Criminal Justice should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a practical and theoretical understanding of the causes of crime, the criminal law and the U.S. criminal justice system (including its historical development) through effective oral and written communication that makes use of correct professional terminology;
  • Apply said knowledge to identify relevant facts and legal issues to effectively resolve criminal justice issues in a manner that is consistent with the law and ethical considerations;
  • Conduct legal research utilizing statutory and case law, and secondary sources to make informed policy recommendations regarding the prevention of, and response to, criminal activity, and to solve problems of social and economic injustice in a manner consistent with Rivier’s dedication to social justice and Mission to “transform hearts and minds to serve the world.”;
  • Explain how ethics and a special consideration for the harm suffered by victims of crime must guide criminal justice professionals as public servants who are held to the highest level of accountability for their actions, and are expected to make ethically sound decisions based on one’s governing code of professional ethics;
  • Describe the career opportunities for graduates of a criminal justice program, create a career development action plan, carry-out a job search and present oneself to potential employers in a professional manner that reflects positively on oneself, and one’s academic community; 
  • Regardless of one’s personal religious beliefs and affiliations, live in a manner that is consistent with the Catholic tenants of: a sense of the sacred, value of education, and respect for all of creation, especially with regard to the dignity of the human person.


  • Proficiency in subject knowledge and skills is assessed through:
  • Quizzes and exams;
  • A variety of written assignments, including mock reports, research papers, advocacy papers, case briefs, and reflection papers;
  • Class discussions and activities;
  • Individual and team presentations;
  • Role playing;
  • Internship and assessment and site visits.