Criminal Justice

    • Within a year of graduating, 97 percent of Gannon's criminal justice students entered the workforce or graduate school.
    • The Forensic Investigation Center (FIC) provides students with practical, hands-on experience which gives students an advantage in the competitive job market.
    • The FIC is designed to look like an actual family dwelling, but it is a working laboratory where students practice the skills they've learned in the classroom through the use of simulated crime scenes.
    • Students learn forensic principles such as entry procedures, evidence documentation and collection, photography, latent fingerprint development techniques, bloodstain pattern analysis, trace evidence and many other aspects of forensic investigation.
    • Other skill sets addressed at the FIC include: behavioral assessment; interviewing techniques; evidence collection and preservation; crime analysis, reporting and testimony; deception detection; risk mitigation; cultural diversity training; emergency evacuation; firearms simulation; and surveillance and counter-surveillance procedures. 

    You Will Learn

    The criminal justice program is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major taught by professionals with extensive field experience. It is dedicated to education, research and service in the fields of criminal justice, public safety and social justice. Building on this foundation, the program offers its students a diverse curriculum that balances the arts, sciences and humanities with professional training, and challenges them to make a difference in the lives of others. Consistent with contemporary standards of education in criminal justice, the curriculum emphasizes the need for students to be exposed to courses that stress both theoretical concepts and practical applications. The Forensic Investigation Center offers criminal justice students a uniquely immersive learning environment including an interview and control monitor room, a firearms training simulation room, three crime-scene simulation rooms and a classroom. A functioning laboratory for the examination of evidence including firearms/ballistics, toxicology/chemistry/drug analysis, fingerprints, biology and cybersecurity, among others, is a major part of the center.

    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:

    • county, state and federal correctional institutions  
    • Erie county adult and juvenile probation  
    • Erie county District Attorney's office  
    • Erie county Public Defender's office  
    • juvenile facilities  
    • police departments  
    • state and federal parole offices  
    • U.S. Attorney's office        

    You Will Achieve

     Students graduating with a criminal justice bachelor's degree have a variety of career opportunities upon graduation. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • crime scene investigator  
    • computer forensic specialist • corrections officer  
    • FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF or secret  
    • service agent  
    • forensic scientist  
    • fraud investigator  
    • information security analyst  
    • juvenile/adult probation officer • local/state/federal police officer • state/federal parole officer  
    • substance abuse specialist     

    You will Study

    In addition to a general criminal justice track, the program offers five tracks, or specializations, including corrections, cyber security, forensic investigation, juvenile justice and law enforcement. Criminal justice majors take various core and elective courses including:

    CRJS 105: Basic Firearms and Law Enforcement Application 

    This course trains students in basic firearms techniques, proper shooting principles and proficiency in handling various types of handguns, shotguns and rifles. To learn these techniques, students travel to various indoor and outdoor firearms ranges. As part of the course, students are also exposed to training in law enforcement decision-making with regard to the use of deadly force by participation in practical drills and training videos using the Firearms Training System (FATS).  

    CRJS 210: Crime Scene Forensic Techniques

    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 336: Introduction to Terrorism

    Taught by a former CIA agent, this course covers terrorist activities aimed at achieving radical change around the world through violence. In light of domestic terrorist incidents on September 11, 2001, the Fort Hood incident, the Oklahoma City and Boston bombings, as well as domestic hate crimes; the course weaves a thread of extremist literature and perspectives throughout the semester. Emphasis is placed on extremism as a foundation for terrorist behavior, types of terrorism, and the action by governments to counter terrorism.  

    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.

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the industry vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • Starting salary: $35,300  
    • Mid-career salary: $58,400   
    For a current curriculum listing, visit
    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale ( 

  • Believe It: Criminal Justice majors have a 90% retention rate.