Criminal Justice

In addition to learning foundational theories and analyzing data in the School of Justice Studies (SJS), students develop close relationships with our faculty experts and put their learning into practice. As an SJS student, you’ll be exposed to a variety of networking opportunities and hands-on internships getting you out into the field.

Careers in the justice field are highly sought-after and and in-demand with remarkable growth in several areas including social justice work, forensics, and cybersecurity. Your RWU experiences will prepare you to get hired in private industries or public service careers at the state or federal level.

RWU’s program is ranked in the top 10% of CJ programs in New England by College Factual for 2022.

Success By The Numbers

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Real-World Experience

SJS students have guaranteed opportunities for internships or co-op experiences at various agencies.

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Placement of 2021 Grads

Even with the challenges of the pandemic, our 2021 SJS graduates found success in employment or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.

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Average Starting Salary

of our 2021 graduates.

Degree Requirements 


This program allows exceptional undergraduate, criminal justice majors the opportunity to earn six graduate credits during their senior year and the remainder of the course requirements for the Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice in a single, post-graduate year. This is an accelerated program for students who intend to study criminal justice full-time at the graduate level.

See Course Requirements  View the M.S. program site

Download Fact Sheet

Cutting-Edge Technology 

Two students working on a forensics project In the Forensics and Networking Security (FANS) lab, students work with cutting-edge technology to learn how to solve issues around hacking and cyberattacks and discover how to acquire, analyze and manage evidence collected from computers or mobile devices. 

Get a Great Internship  

Our strong industry connections guarantee opportunities for internships or co-op experiences at a variety of agencies and companies including:

  • U.S. Marshals Service
  • R.I. Office of the Attorney General
  • R.I. State Police
  • Naval Investigative Service
  • M.A. State Crime Lab
Interdisciplinary Opportunities

The interdisciplinary Forensic Science program works closely with RWU’s School of Social and Natural Sciences, including utilizing high- tech lab facilities. Many students choose to pursue certification in biotechnology, developing mastery of technical skills and boosting their resumes.  

A headshot of Jospeh Mckenna

The Foundation for a Successful Career in Criminal Justice

Joseph Mckenna, RWU Class of 2011
Criminal Justice

Joseph McKenna says it was his hand-on, personalized experience in the Roger Williams' Criminal Justice program that laid the foundation for his success as an associate director of research and evaluation for the Texas School Safety Center.

Read full story

Graduates Share Their Experiences 

Christian Thomas"The Criminal Justice program has taught me a lot about the process of how the Criminal Justice system works. I’ve learned, for example, how police systems operate and the process of how an arrest can lead to a sentencing. The program also showed me potential (career) options and helped me see what qualities I want to look for in a position."

Christian Thomas
Criminal Justice 4+1 Master’s Program, Bristol, R.I. 
Major: Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice Program Helped Clarify Student Leader’s Career Direction

Headshot of Kayla Natalo"I love the professors. They’ve always been very caring, and it’s easy to build relationships with them. A lot of the professors have experience in the field prior to teaching, so they really teach that hands-on experience. It’s not just reading from a book. My education has flourished because of it."

Kayla Natalo ’22
Criminal Justice 4+1 Master's Program, Bristol, R.I.
Major: Criminal Justice
Travel, Internship Propel Criminal Justice Major’s Career Path

A headshot of Kelsey Harrington“The Criminal Justice Department itself is so accepting and just really want their students to succeed and that’s definitely one of the reasons I stuck around. It helped me realize the population I like to specialize in is victims, which I think is a field you don’t typically get to study in criminal justice programs.”

Kelsey Harrington '16 '18M 
Victim Compensation Manager at Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Boston, Mass.
Majors: Criminal Jusice & Psychology
M.S. in Criminal Justice
More: Supportive Faculty in Criminal Justice Program

A headshot of Kristina Rauccio “I learned how interesting it can be not to just look at the law and how people break it, but to understand why. I had a great four years. It was really motivating, and I love my job now.”


Kristina Rauccio '17 
Anti-Money Laundering Investigator at Santander Bank, South Boston, Mass.
Majors: Criminal Justice & Psychology
More: Fighting Crime from Behind the Scenes at Santander Bank 

A headshot of Tonya Harris“Knowing the university was able to accommodate a flexible path beyond the typical four years was very helpful for me and my lifestyle. It helped me tremendously in achieving what I knew I wanted: a degree. I was the first in my family to receive a college degree, so it meant a lot to my parents and family.”

Tonya Harris '02 
Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Providence R.I.
Major: Criminal Justice
More: Trailblazing a Path from Police Officer to Executive Director


Juris Doctor/Bachelor's 3+3 Accelerated Program (J.D.)

Earn your bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees in six years through RWU’s Three-Plus-Three Law program. You’ll get a jump-start on your J.D. by integrating law courses into your undergraduate studies and completing undergraduate requirements in your first year of law school. Accepted students will take first-year courses in the School of Law along with legal electives to fulfill undergraduate fourth-year requirements. Interested students must indicate their intent to pursue a 3+3 pathway early in their undergraduate studies for curriculum planning and advising.

Learn More About the 3+3 Program