Criminal Justice

Networking opportunities and hands-on internships prepare our Criminal Justice students to get hired in private industries or public service careers at the state or federal level. Our program is ranked in the top 10% of criminal justice programs in New England by College Factual for 2022!

A photo of Kevin Lynch

Alumnus Named President of RI Police Chiefs' Association

On Jan. 13, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association inducted its 2023 executive board and installed Roger Williams University alumnus Kevin M. Lynch, Chief of the Bristol Police Department, as president at the annual officers ceremony held at the university. Lynch earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from RWU’s Criminal Justice program. Read more about Lynch

A headshot of Hugh ClementsAlumnus Will Lead U.S. DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office

Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr., who graduated from RWU with a Bachelor of Science in the Administration of Justice, will serve as the new Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). Read more about Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr.

Explore Criminal Justice at RWU

Success By The Numbers
Customize Your Studies
Cutting-Edge Technology
Professional Networking
Prestigious Internships
Faculty Experts
Successful Alumni
Get Involved


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.

Placement of 2022 Grads

Our 2022 SJS graduates found success in employment or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.

Average Starting Salary

of our 2022 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


Customize Your Studies 

A Social Justice Approach 

In a Social Justice seminar taught by Professor of Criminal Justice Robert Engvall, students examine types of social injustices: racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and ableism. They critically explore such social issues as immigration, family and reproductive issues, work and welfare issues (including income inequality), affirmative action, and housing and homelessness. Students lead the discussions themselves as they explore their own perceptions and compare those perceptions with how our society addresses real and perceived social justice issues.

Two criminal justice students working on a project 4+1 in Criminal Justice (M.S.) 

This program allows 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. 

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


Cutting-Edge Technology 

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. 


Professional Networking and Resources

A Criminal Justice networking event RWU is home to the Justice System Training & Research Institute (JSTRI), which provides professional development training to justice system practitioners across the country and fosters government and community partnerships. RWU students network with professionals in the field, learning best practices from all justice disciplines.


Intern With a Prestigious Organization   

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


Learn from Faculty Experts

A headshot of Beck StrahBeck Strah, Ph.D.  
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Beck Strah’s interests include correctional subcultures, punishment, and program evaluations. He brings his expertise in corrections to RWU, drawn from over a decade of experiences working as a corrections deputy, programs instructor, and researcher in prison and jail environments. He regularly collaborates with students on research projects examining subjects such as police training, reentry, and criminal justice policy.

"The School of Justice Studies offers a strong diversity of course options, tailored to the expertise of faculty who have a range of experiences working in the field. Our small class sizes facilitate the ability to work more closely with students and prioritize their learning needs," he said. "I love to see students engage with the materials and often try to connect them with others in the community to further their research and career interests." 


Alumni 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
More: 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
More: 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



Ways to Get Involved 

John Jay Society logo John Jay Society 

The John Jay Society is a student-run club open to all School of Justice Studies majors with the goal of furthering students' understanding and appreciation of the criminal justice system. The club helps members prepare for future careers in the criminal justice field, promotes opportunities for students to interact with professionals in the criminal justice field, sponsors events and demonstrations that inform the campus community about local crime issues, and more. 

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