Criminal Justice presentations

Criminal Justice

Learn all aspects of the criminal justice system as you prepare to shape policy and improve lives.

Why Study Criminal Justice?

As a criminal justice major at USD, you will gain the knowledge and experiences you need for a career in the criminal justice system. Criminal justice majors are committed to careers in public service and focused on ensuring their fellow citizens are treated fairly and compassionately by the criminal justice system. Our award-winning faculty bring considerable experience as probation or correction officers, prosecutors, public defenders and police officers at every level of government, so you can have confidence that you are learning from qualified and experienced leaders as you prepare for your career or an advanced degree. 

Whether you see yourself working in law firms, federal agencies, child welfare, private investigation, community programs, national defense, police stations or another area of criminal justice, our program will set you up for success. Position yourself for a successful career in criminal justice and explore all facets of the system as a criminal justice major.

Degrees & Offerings

Criminal Justice (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus, Sioux Falls and Online

A degree in criminal justice prepares you for careers in the criminal justice system, from litigation to national defense and everything in between.

Criminal Justice

  Vermillion Main Campus, Sioux Falls and Online

Expand your understanding of the criminal justice system. This program is a great complement to majors like political science, legal studies and social work.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

The real-world experiences you gain through an internship will equip you with valuable skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

In the USD Department of Political Science, you will benefit from a robust internship program that has placed students with state and federal courts, law firms, law enforcement agencies, social services, nonprofits and many other notable offices. Our Farber Fund can help you with the expenses of these opportunities; each year, we provide eligible students up to $6,000 each to support their professional and personal development outside the classroom. Plus, with our network of alumni around the world, you can access invaluable advice on how to achieve the career of your dreams.

Do you have your sights set on Washington, D.C.? Italy? Turkey? New Zealand? Russia? The USD Department of Political Science can help you get there. Our students have participated in conferences and faculty-led courses around the world, and our Farber Fund helps make those experiences affordable.

Learn More

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Political Science. You may be interested in joining College Democrats, College Republicans, the Political Science League or the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Explore Student Organizations

As a political science student at USD, you can pursue unique research and creative scholarship opportunities that will enrich your college experience.

Undergraduate students who are interested in public service careers should consider working with the Government Research Bureau (GRB). The GRB is an academic research organization that combines intellectual risk-taking with current research methods to analyze issues affecting the the people, communities and government of South Dakota.

Additional opportunities are available through the Chiesman Center for Democracy, which supports research and civic education activities addressing the on-going challenges to American democracy.

Female Student Participating in Mock Trial
Mock Trial is a great way to get real a courtroom experience.

Through Mock Trial at USD, you will 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. You will learn by doing – one of the best ways to learn. Our mock trial teams compete in invitational regional and national tournaments.

Departments & Facilities

Our faculty are experts in their fields, bringing practical experience in government, law and the private sector to the classroom.
Tom Brokaw Robert Legvold Aalfs Auditorium speaking event

Political Science

Whether you are interested in a career in government and politics, law, the criminal justice system, international relations or a related field, the real-world experiences and connections you find in the Department of Political Science will help you get there.


Get to know your professors in the Department of Political Science
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michael Card

Michael Card

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Ilmira Dulyanova

Ilmira Dulyanova

Director of Online Graduate Programs & Coordination
Two female students working moc crime scene dummy victim

Gain Real-World Experience

As a criminal justice major at USD, you'll get hands-on experience as you expand your skillset and explore the criminal justice system. Some examples of the experiences you can have in our program include:

  • processing mock crime scenes
  • competing in Mock Trial
  • interning in law enforcement and corrections agencies around the region and nation
  • presenting your research at criminal justice conferences
  • studying abroad to learn about other countries’ criminal justice systems
Group of Students Sitting in a Criminal Justice Class

Join a Welcoming Community

The criminal justice studies program at USD offers the curriculum and opportunities of a big school with the friendliness and familiarity of a small program. Here you will find a welcoming environment with people who are fully invested in serving their communities.  

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

Alum success story

Success story Andy Fick smiling in a suit.
During my criminal justice classes, I learned how to analyze legal opinions and apply general legal principles to real-life facts. These classes taught me essential legal skills I use every day.

Andy Fick 

B.A. Criminal Justice, Political Science, English '12
Attorney, Fuller, Williamson, Nelsen & Preheim, LLP

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