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History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences Contact

Department Chair:

Barbara Bonnekessen

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Contact Person:
Nancy Grantham

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Phone: 620-235-4325
Fax: 620-235-4338

Department of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences
412 Russ Hall
Pittsburg State University
1701 South Broadway
Pittsburg KS 66762

Justice Studies Program

Photo: Supreme Court

What is Justice Studies?

The major in Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree with a foundation in social science inquiry.  With a focus on law and social sciences, this contemporary degree represents a state-of-the-art setting for studying justice issues.  Students develop an understanding of the nature of justice and analyze controversial justice issues through critical inquiry and social science based investigation.

Criminal Justice emphasis for students interested in law enforcement and other criminal justice occupations; it does not include technical courses dealing with police procedures or other occupational training.

Criminal Justice Careers

Why should I major in Justice Studies?

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum, the Justice Studies degree provides students with a broader intellectual capital than more traditional criminal justice programs. Many law enforcement agencies are now requiring a college degree, and employers in criminal justice agencies and social service professions are looking for graduates with a broad-based degree that includes more than one emphasis. The Justice Studies degree, combined with a minor field of study, gives students the opportunity to design an emphasis that suits their own career goals. The Justice Studies curriculum enables students to choose electives that form a secondary area of emphasis that complements their core Justice Studies courses.

Justice Studies majors choose a variety of career goals, including law school, law enforcement, probation and parole, social service agencies. Justice Studies majors choose from a host of innovative minor areas, including Political Science, Psychology and the Law, Sociology, Business and others.

Pittsburg State University's Gamma Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, recognizes academic excellence of Undergraduate and Graduate students of Criminal Justice, as well as Juris Doctorate students. Its goals are to honor and promote academic excellence; community service; educational leadership and unity. Alpha Phi Sigma is the only Criminal Justice Honor Society which is a certified member of The Association of College Honor Societies and affiliated with The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (APS, 2011 web-site).

Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies - Program Objectives

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies, students should

  • Be familiar with major theories and analytical approaches to justice studies
  • Develop skills in making public presentations
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Design and conduct research projects
  • Read and understand justice research
  • Acquire practical experience in areas of justice studies (internship now optional)
  • Be familiar with the major sub-fields of justice studies
  • Develop writing skills
  • Develop a fundamental understanding of cognate disciplines like political science, sociology, psychology (minor field)
  • Use quantitative and statistical approaches to justice studies
  • Develop reading skills
  • Understand ethnic, gender, or cultural dimensions of problems and policies related to justice studies
  • Understand ethical theories and their relevance for justice professions and policies.

View the Justice Studies major Program Requirements, Program Guide, and Program Checksheet.

View the Criminal Studies emphasis Program Requirements and Program Guide.

View the Justice Studies minor Program Requirements and Program Guide.

Follow the menu items on the left for information about Justice Studies courses, faculty, students, and careers.

Justice Studies Student Testimonials

Megan Norris; Correctional Case Manager
Justice Studies graduate

"As a correctional case manager and Teen Court program coordinator for the county, the research skills, writing skills, and knowledge of the law acquired through the Justice Studies program were tremendously helpful not only in my job, but getting the job as well. Gathering and writing the information required by the professors and instructors led me to maintaining this information which has been so valuable. With this education, paired with the love for what I do, I couldn't be better prepared for a long career in correction and prevention programs."

Nick Booe; Police Officer, Investigator
Current Justice Studies student

"The Justice Studies program for me has established more of an educational atmosphere in regards to how I conduct my job as a police officer and investigator. Just in the last couple of years, my supervisors have noticed an increase in my attention to detail and my professionalism. I have always been professional, but when someone is attending an institution of higher learning, their professionalism increases.

I have noticed I am more analytical when it comes to doing my job. The Justice Studies program at Pittsburg State, compared to other universities, exposes students to social justice questions and research. It establishes a more detailed thought process within an investigator's mind. The social justice aspects of law are combined with the criminal justice aspects of law; this is the best way to prepare someone for law enforcement.

I highly recommend that students who want to go into law enforcement study in this program, as it will prepare you for the attention to detail and research development abilities. Other justice programs try to approach students with a "hands on" curriculum; in police work, this is not enough. With PSU's Justice Studies program, you are prepared to think methodically and intelligently. This is what agencies are looking for in officers."