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Criminal Justice

  • Associate of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts Major
  • Minor
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

The 4+1 program allows students to obtain their B.A. in criminal justice and M.S. in criminalistics in just five years. Gannon University’s Forensic Investigation Center provides students with practical, hands-on experience, giving them an advantage in the competitive job market and leading to 95% of our graduates entering the workforce or graduate school within a year of graduation.

  • Learn from lead FBI and ATF special agents on the infamous Pizza Bomber Heist, featured throughout the four-part docuseries, Evil Genius.  

  • GU Possibilities
    • The 4+1 program allows students to obtain their B.A. in criminal justice and M.S. in criminalistics in just five years.
    • Within a year of graduating, 95% of Gannon’s criminal justice students entered the workforce or graduate school.
    • The Forensic Investigation Center and required internships provide students with practical, hands-on experience, which gives them an advantage in the competitive job market.
    • Students learn forensic principles, such as evidence entry procedures, evidence documentation and collection, photography, crime analysis, reporting and testimony, latent fingerprint techniques, bloodstain pattern analysis, trace evidence and many other aspects of forensic investigation.
    • Partnerships with the local municipal police academy (Act 120), Advanced Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) and Homeland Security provide students with various training opportunities, allowing them to gain practical experience and the skill sets needed to succeed in the criminal justice profession.

    You Will Learn

    The criminal justice program is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major taught primarily by professionals with extensive field experience. It is dedicated to education, research and service in the fields of criminal investigation, public service and law enforcement. Building on this foundation, the program offers a diverse curriculum that balances the arts, sciences and humanities with professional training, and challenges students to make a difference in the lives of others. The curriculum emphasizes courses that stress critical thinking, theoretical concepts and practical applications to the investigative process.

    Faculty include nationally recognized ATF, DEA, FBI and NCIS experts, in addition to local judges, attorneys and criminal justice professionals. The Forensic Investigation Center (FIC) offers students a unique immersive learning environment, which takes students from crime-scene to courtroom.  The FIC includes crime-scene simulation rooms, an interview and control monitor room, a firearms training simulator, forensic laboratory, mock courtroom and a classroom.


    You Will Experience

    As a complement to classroom experiences, the criminal justice program requires students to engage in experiential learning through service-learning projects and internship placements. These opportunities allow students to observe and participate in the day-to-day operation of criminal justice agencies. Internship options include, but are not limited to:

    • county, state and federal probation and parole offices
    • county, state and federal correctional institutions
    • Court of Common Pleas
    • Public Defender’s and District Attorney’s offices
    • Honors Internship Program for FBI, ATF and DEA
    • juvenile probation and correctional programs
    • criminal law firms
    • local police and sheriff’s departments
    • U.S. Congressional Internship Program


    You Will Achieve

    Students graduating with a criminal justice degree have a variety of career opportunities available, including, but not limited to, the following:

    • computer forensic specialist  
    • corrections officer  
    • county/state parole officer  
    • county/state/federal probation officer  
    • crime scene investigator  
    • FBI, DEA, ATF or Secret Service  
    • fraud investigator  
    • information security analyst  
    • juvenile/adult probation officer  
    • local/state/federal police officer  
    • substance abuse specialist  

    You Will Earn

    Projected demand for well-trained professionals in the criminal justice field will continue to grow for the next 25 years. Median salaries for various career opportunities vary depending on the location and type of organization. 

    • corrections officer: $42,820
    • forensic science technician: $56,750
    • police officer/detective: $61,600
    • private investigator: $45,740
    • probation officer: $50,160
    • substance abuse counselor: $42,150
    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale ( 

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    In addition to the criminal justice major, students are highly encouraged to declare double majors or minors that best suit their career goals.

    CRJS 210: Criminalistics: Introduction to Investigative Forensics

    Taught by a nationally recognized forensic scientist, this course is designed to help students collect and process physical evidence, analyze it thoroughly and understand its relevance in a criminal case. This is an essential, hands-on course for everyone involved with physical evidence, from the first responding officers to crime scene processors, laboratory technicians, investigators and attorneys trying a criminal case. 

    CRJS 242: Careers in Criminal Justice

    Each week, guest speakers provide students with an overview of a segment of the Criminal Justice system as a way to orient students to the field and tailor it to meet their interests and professional goals. Potential careers discussed include those in law enforcement, corrections, forensics and the court system. 

    CRJS 310: Investigative Concepts

    This course teaches students how to gather and analyze data in the processes of criminal and civil investigation. Topics include investigative techniques; identifying, collecting, examining, and processing physical evidence; and obtaining information about suspects as well as identifying and locating suspects.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.