Career Guide to JMU Majors: Justice Studies

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds



Get the Facts

The Major

The Justice Studies major is a department within the College of Arts & Letters.

Track A Crime & Criminology
Track B Global Justice & Policy
Track C Social Justice

Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

In their first semester of Justice Studies course work students are only permitted to take JUST 200. In their second semester of course work in the major students are only eligible to take the 200 level foundation courses in the three tracks. In their third semester in taking courses in the major students are permitted to begin taking justice studies courses at the 300 level. Justice Studies is a 41 credit major.

Description of Major

Justice Studies is offered as a major through the Department of Justice Studies. Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary area of inquiry that brings together insights from social sciences and humanities. Through rigorous empirical and normative analysis of justice and injustice it seeks to help students develop a personal definition of justice, a fuller understanding of the nature of the world in which they live, and identify careers and strategies for action. Students interested in careers in law enforcement, courts and corrections should consider the Crime and Criminology, Track A. Students interested in careers in public policy, law, and international organizations where there is a focus on issues of justice in a global context, such as, international crime and law, human rights and international/intercultural conflict should consider pursuing Global Policy and Justice, Track B. Social Justice, Track C, is for students interested in careers in government service, community organizing, human services, nonprofit, charitable organizations and related "helping" careers devoted to aiding individuals and groups overcome social, political and economic inequalities. The Justice Studies Department also offers a minor in Criminal Justice.

Tell me more about this field of study

The social sciences, which include justice studies, are focused on understanding people and their behaviors. Justice Studies seeks to provide an understanding of those human behaviors that society has defined at defiant, or criminal, and how we respond to those behaviors. This would include the exploration of those institutions that society has created to prevent, control and punish behaviors. Justice Studies also examines moral, philosophical, and political definitions of justice and injustice and a history of their development. Study of distinctions and commonalities between various kinds of justice, e.g., criminal, social, global and environmental is also essential to understanding justice studies.

Tell me more about specialization

In the Crime & Criminology Track, students focus attention on the nature, causes and solutions for the crime problem at the national level. While the primary focus is on the United States, comparisons are also made to other countries. It would be appropriate to choose this track for those interested in careers in criminal justice policy making and research, graduate study in the justice field, law enforcement, the courts (including the practice of criminal law), or corrections. The Global Justice & Policy Track brings normative concerns to bear in its examination of a variety of global issues, including international political and economic relations, international law, the global environment, human rights, war and peace, and the encounter between cultures. Across the many disciplines embraced by this track, the theme of achieving justice - in its plurality of manifestations - serves as a unifying element. Students enrolled in this track will find careers in government service, law, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations. The Social Justice Track focuses on the broader dimensions of societal-level change, emphasizing the role of organizations, communities, social justice movements, government entities and other forms of collective responses to social injustices.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

Possible combinations could include Asian Studies, Cultural Communication, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Conflict Analysis and Intervention, Criminal Justice, Economics, Environmental Management, Environmental Studies, Family Studies, Gerontology, Health Communication, Human Science, Humanitarian Affairs, Modern Foreign Language, Law Enforcement Spanish, Nonprofit Studies, Political Communication, Political Science, Philosophy, Religion, Public Policy & Administration, Russian Studies, Statistics, Substance Abuse Intervention, Sociology, Women's Studies, or Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication.

Characteristics of Successful Students

Students who are invested in helping others, possess good analytical and communication skills and interested in both local and global issues are most attracted to this major.


Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

Correctional Caseworker, Juvenile Probation Officer; Probation/Parole Officer

Diplomatic Corps: 
Cultural Affairs Associate, Diplomatic Analyst, Foreign Service Officer, Public Diplomacy Officer

Human Services, Government, Service Corps:
ADR Case Specialist, AmeriCorp Officer, Community Affairs Manager, Community Services Worker, EEO Specialist, Family Services Case Manager, Group Home Director, Juvenile Counselor, Peace Corp Officer, Rehabilitation Specialist, Victim/Witness Coordinator, Youth Service Coordinator

Intelligence and Security:
Homeland Security Agent. Intelligence Analyst, Intelligence Specialist, Public Safety Coordinator, Secret Service Agent, Security Analyst

Law and Law Enforcement:
Criminal Defense Attorney, Criminal Investigator, Criminal Prosecution Attorney, Criminologist, Court Administrator, FBI Agent, Judge/Magistrate, Law Enforcement Officer, Law Librarian, Legal Assistant, Litigation Paralegal, Public Defense Attorney

Non-Governmental/Non-Profit Organizations: 
Arbitrator, Child Welfare Administrator, Civil Rights Activist, Conflict Resolution Specialist, Consumer Advocate, Human Rights Advocate, Mediator, Negotiator, Public Interest Group Associate, Social Welfare Administrator, Victim Advocate

Public Policy and Politics: 
Campaign Manager, Legislative Correspondent, Legislator, Lobbyist, Political Aid, Political Consultant, Public Administrator, Public Affairs Aid, Public Policy Analyst, Speech Writer

Professor, Researcher, Teacher

Who employs graduates?

Advocacy Groups, Banks, CIA, Colleges/Universities, Community Service Agencies, Consulting Firms, Correctional Facilities, Criminal Courts, Diplomatic Corps, Family Courts, FBI, Federal/State/Local Government Agencies, International Human Rights Agencies, Intelligence and Security Agencies, Juvenile Courts, Juvenile Justice Programs, Law Enforcement Agencies, Law Firms, Lobbying Organizations, Nonprofit Agencies, Nursing Homes, Political Parties, Probation and Parole Departments, Professional Associations, Public Action Committees, Public Interest Groups, Public/Private Schools, Social Service Agencies or Think Tanks.

Internships and Practicum Experiences

Students are encouraged to gain hands on experience in their area of interest. Students can consult with faculty in the Justice Studies program to identify possible opportunities.

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Get the Facts

What are JMU graduates doing with this major?
Judges, Magistrates, and Hearing Officers
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Workers
Arbitrators, Mediators, Conciliators
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Our Resource Center

A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in our Resource Center. Come to the 3rd floor of the Student Success Center to explore our Resource Center in person, or search for titles from our collection online. Just enter keywords into the search bar under "Search JMUCAP's books" in the upper right to find titles that interest you.

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