College of Arts & Sciences Criminal Justice


Why Study Criminal Justice?

Criminal Justice grads are shaping policy and improving lives, from the city street to the park patrol, from immigration to litigation. Their understanding of justice issues helps us define and manage the relationships of the individual to the state and to the criminal justice system. Career opportunities are plentiful with a degree in criminal justice.

Beyond the Classroom

You'll have opportunities to participate in:

  • Travel to national criminal justice conferences:
    Each year, 10-15 students in criminal justice may travel with a professor to the largest criminal justice conference in the U.S. The Farber Fund has contributed to the expenses for students to travel to San Francisco, Orlando, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver, and numerous other cities where the conference has been held. Many USD students have presented their research papers at the national conferences with the help of USD professors.
  • Travel to Washington, D.C.:
    Students frequently travel to Washington, D.C. to tour major criminal justice agencies (FBI, U.S. Supreme Court, DEA, U.S. Marshalls, and ATF). One year, students spent three weeks in daily briefings on the CIA by CIA agents.
  • Internships:
    Our active internship program lets students work up to 320 hours in a criminal justice agency and earn college credit. Each summer, we place around 20 students in internships in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. Internships are also available in State and Federal government. Over 100 criminal justice agencies seek our interns for placement. Students receive on-the-job experience in all the major criminal justice areas – police, prosecution, courts, and corrections. Placements include state and federal law enforcement, law offices (including criminal investigation and paralegal work), probation and parole (state and federal), youth corrections, adult corrections (state and federal), rehabilitation (state and federal), and shelter/advocacy programs.   
  • Foreign travel:
    Each year criminal justice students travel to other countries, such as England, China, France, India, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Russia, Costa Rica, and South America. Students study criminal justice in these countries and at the same time develop skills in a foreign language.
  • Model United Nations:
    Each year, 10-15 students travel to Toronto and New York to participate in an excellent educational experience, Model United Nations. With 2,000 other students from all over the U.S., the students simulate the United Nations and represent numerous other countries.
  • Research:
    Students are encouraged to work with professors and conduct research. Awards are given to students with the best research papers.
  • Criminal Justice Club:
    USD has an active Criminal Justice Club. With financial help from the Farber Fund, this active club organizes trips, brings speakers to campus, and sponsors other social and academic activities throughout the year. Although the Criminal Justice Club is comprised mainly of Criminal Justice and Political Science majors, it is open to anyone who is interested in the Criminal Justice system and wants to get involved. 
  • Mock Trials:
    In Mock Trial, students learn to play the roles of attorneys, witnesses, police officers, forensic investigators, probation officers, and all other criminal justice officials who testify in our courts. Students learn by doing; this is one of the best ways to learn. USD Mock Trial teams compete in invitational regional and national tournaments.

Scholarships and Awards

Criminal Justice students benefit from a number of awards, Scholarships and opportunities for study, research and field experience. Opportunities include:

  • SD Sheriff's Association Scholarships
  • The Dillon Scholarship
  • Frank L. "Jeff" Scott Memorial Scholarship
  • SD Fraternal Order of Police Awards
  • Philip Roche "Service to Others" Award

The SD Municipal League and numerous other awards are available to both Criminal Justice and Political Science students.

Farber Fund

The Farber Fund provides funds each year for Criminal Justice and Political Science majors to attend conferences, participate in study tours, complete internships, travel abroad and conduct research. The Farber Fund is possible through the generous support of alumni.