School of Criminal Justice


 William Alex Pridemore, Ph.D.
  University at Albany

Distinguished Professor
 Colin Lofton, Ph.D.
  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Distinguished Teaching Professors
 James R. Acker, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
  University at Albany
 David McDowall, Ph.D.
  Northwestern University
 Graeme R. Newman, Ph.D.
  University of Pennsylvania

Professors Emeriti
 David H. Bayley, Ph.D.
  Princeton University
 Fred Cohen, LL.M.
  Yale University
 David E. Duffee, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Robert H. Hardt, Ph.D.
  Syracuse University
 Hans H. Toch, Ph.D.
  Princeton University

Frankie Bailey, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Alan Lizotte, Ph.D.
  University of Illinois
 Greg Pogarsky, Ph.D.
  Carnegie Mellon University
Associate Professors
 Megan Kurlychek, Ph.D.
  Pennsylvania State University 
 Dana Peterson, Ph.D.
  University of Nebraska at Omaha
 Alissa Pollitz Worden, Ph.D.
  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
 Robert E. Worden, Ph.D.
  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Assistant Professors
Giza Lopes, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Cynthia Najdowski, Ph.D.
  University of Illinois at Chicago
 Justin Pickett, Ph.D.
  Florida State University
 Heather Washington, Ph.D.
  The Ohio State University

Adjuncts (estimated): 7
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 10

Even as crime declines from the high levels of the 1970s and 1980s, it remains an urgent social problem and policy issue. As welcome as the decrease in crime has been, it has prompted debate about the forces that produced it—such as demographic and economic changes, or more effective policing and tougher sentencing—and it has raised corollary questions about whether and how the trend can be sustained. Well-founded judgments and prudent policy choices about crime and justice require an understanding of crime, criminal behavior, criminal justice processes, and the law. The study of criminal justice at the University at Albany is concerned with these phenomena. The faculty are drawn from several academic disciplines, including criminal justice, public policy, sociology, psychology, political science, and law, and its members are nationally and internationally recognized for their research on delinquency, violence, sentencing, policing, capital punishment, and other topics. The School of Criminal Justice offers graduate programs that lead to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, and which are widely regarded as among the best in the nation.

The baccalaureate program is a multidisciplinary, liberal arts curriculum intended to develop students’ capacities to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage in reasoned problem-solving. Majors are urged to take additional courses in history, English, and mathematics. Criminal justice majors acquire knowledge of: the nature, incidence, explanations, and individual and social consequences of crime and criminal behavior; the criminal justice process, including the social, psychological, organizational, and political influences on the discretionary decisions of criminal justice actors, and the effectiveness, equity, and responsiveness of criminal justice policy; the law and its application to criminal justice; and social science methodology. The School’s graduates go on to graduate or professional education, or directly into positions with criminal justice or related agencies.

Admission to the Criminal Justice Major

Students who meet the following qualifications are guaranteed admission into the criminal justice major.

  • Achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher following completion of at least 56 credits (of which 30 credit hours must be taken at the University at Albany).
  • Earned a grade of B or better in two of the following courses: R CRJ 201, 202, or 203 or equivalents.
  • Completed the statistics and research methods classes required of majors (R CRJ 281 and 282, or equivalents) with a grade of B or better.

Even those students who qualify for guaranteed admission must complete an application.

Application into the Criminal Justice Major

Students who do not meet the conditions for guaranteed admission into the major can still apply for admission. However, it is important to note that criminal justice is a restricted major with limited enrollment. Applications for admission to the criminal justice major are reviewed by the School's Undergraduate Admissions Committee.

Applicants must have completed at least 42 graduation credits prior to application and 56 credits at the time of admission, and they must have earned a B or higher in R CRJ 201, 202, or 203 (or A SOC 203).

Some of the factors considered during application review include:  

  • Overall grade point average.
  • Breadth and quality of liberal arts background. The committee will view favorably students who have strong records in history, mathematics, English, languages, and/or natural sciences.
  • Student's Written Statement of reason for seeking to undertake a criminal justice major.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Criminal Justice

General Program B.A.: The major in criminal justice requires a minimum of 36 credits distributed as follows:

  • R CRJ 201: Introduction to Criminal Justice;
  • R CRJ 202: Introduction to Law and Criminal Justice;  
  • R CRJ 203 (or A SOC 203): Criminology;
  • 3 credits of statistics, either R CRJ 281, A SOC 221, A PSY 210, or A MAT 108;
  • 3 credits in research methods, either R CRJ 282, A SOC 220, or A PSY 211;
  • One 400 level, writing intensive senior Capstone Seminar (R CRJ 4**Z);
  • 16 – 18 additional credits from any 300 or 400 level criminal justice courses and/or A SOC 283

Students are also advised that only one of R CRJ 203 and A SOC 203 may be taken for credit.

Combined B.A./M.A. Program

The combined B.A./M.A. program in criminal justice provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master’s degree programs from the beginning of the junior year.

The combined program requires a minimum of 141 credits, of which at least 30 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all university and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90 credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, the general education requirements and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.A., students must meet all university and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience and residency requirements. Up to 9 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.

Students may be admitted to the combined degree program at the beginning of the junior year, or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration (but do not guarantee admission). Students will be admitted upon the recommendation of the Graduate Admissions Committee of the School.

Honors Program in Criminal Justice

The honors program in criminal justice is designed to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity for more complete training in research and writing than is normally available in the general undergraduate program.

Honors Program Curriculum: The major of Criminal Justice with Honors is a 36 credit program.

Junior Year – Fall Semester:
Students who have been admitted to the program may elect to begin taking courses that will be applied to the required 12 honors credits of coursework that will count in the electives requirement of the major.

During this semester students may elect to take:
a. A writing intensive course with a special honors section — OR
b. One of the two honors theory courses (R CRJ 470 or 471) — OR
c. Other courses proposed and approved by the faculty
These classes can be taken at any time subsequent to the honors admission.

Junior Year - Spring Semester:
All students in the cohort will take a 3 credit “Great Ideas in Criminal Justice” course (R CRJ 490). This course will include a series of lectures by faculty members in the School of Criminal Justice. The course will provide the incoming honors students with the opportunity to meet faculty and to learn about the research being conducted in the School.

Senior Year:
Students will select either the Independent Senior Thesis (R CRJ 482/492) or the Topical Senior Research (R CRJ 481/491) track of the Honors Program. Each track will be 6 credits over two semesters.

Students in both tracks will complete a thesis by April 15 of the senior year. This thesis will be reviewed by the committee created for this purpose. In order to graduate with honors in the major, the student’s thesis project must be approved.

Admission to the Criminal Justice Honors Program
Students can apply to the honors program in the second semester of the sophomore year or the first semester of the junior year. Minimum requirements for admission include Criminal Justice as a declared first major, an overall GPA not lower than 3.25 and a Criminal Justice GPA not lower than 3.50. Additionally, to remain in the honors program, all honors students must maintain a 3.50 GPA in the major.