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Criminal Justice

Grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, the Elmira College Criminal Justice program is an interdisciplinary major incorporating not only Criminal Justice courses, but also a choice of courses in Human Services, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. As part of this well-rounded approach, Criminal Justice courses address both the theoretical and the applied, preparing Elmira College students for a variety of career options, from law school and graduate school, to employment opportunities such as correctional or police work at local, state and federal levels. A number of Criminal Justice students are double majors, studying other social sciences, Chemistry, Biology, or Business Administration, enhancing their career opportunities particularly at the federal level.

Elmira College Criminal Justice students learn to apply the research of social scientists to the study of the criminal justice system, and to theories of crime causation. William I. Thomas said, “If men define situations as real they are real in their consequences.” Realizing, then, that poor research may lead to poor policy, our classes are designed to foster critical thinking skills, and our students are taught to evaluate everything they read critically. Students receive practical experience while participating in various community service and internship opportunities throughout their academic careers. In the past, students have performed internships in such agencies as state and local police departments, the office of the district attorney, and various family and criminal courts.

There is an active Criminal Justice Club that has sponsored tours to the Elmira Correctional Facility, the Criminal Justice Complex in Corning, and even a day-trip to historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Each spring, a Corrections Symposium is held on the Elmira College Campus, with students are encouraged to submit a paper in a writing contest; the winner receives a substantial cash award.