Criminal Justice

 

The criminal justice (CJ) major is already one of the largest and fastest growing majors at USM.  Job security and employment opportunities, within the criminal justice system, are almost unmatched when compared to other markets.  Our criminal justice majors obtain careers in law enforcement, corrections, the court system, and the private sector.  CJ majors can be hired as civilians who do analytical, laboratory, or administrative work.  Additionally, CJ majors can be sworn officers of the government, who are carry a badge and have arrest powers.

For more information regarding the criminal justice degree offered at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, please contact William Holt (william.holt@usm.edu).

To look further into the bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice, click here for the current degree plan and click here for the current semester guide.

The types of jobs students majoring in CJ can expect to work towards are as follows:

Law Enforcement: USM has graduated CJ majors who have gone on to work in the FBI, DEA, CIA, U.S. Marshals, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, any many other state and federal agencies.  Local policing is the most common law enforcement career across the country.  Working on the local level allows you to live in a town or state of your choosing, and perhaps give back to the community that helped raise you.  A degree from USM usually means higher pay and promotions.  Governor Phil Bryant is a CJ graduate from USM, and a former sheriff’s deputy!  

Corrections: Probation officers, parole officers, county jails, state prisons, federal prisons, and offender and substance abuse treatment centers make up several aspects of corrections.  If you are interested in working with offenders, victims, juveniles, or those with a substance abuse problem then corrections might be for you!  We have CJ graduates working in all of these roles, all across the nation.   

Courts: Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, bailiffs, court reporters, and administrative staff make up some of the most popular careers in the state and federal court systems.  If you want to go on to law school so that you can be an attorney within the criminal justice system, then the CJ major or minor should be your first step!  Classes at USM help prepare you to understand the court system, as well as ways to improve it.

Graduate School: Do you like to read about controversial issues surrounding crime, police officers, trials, punishment, and more?  If so, USM offers a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. Graduate school is where you go to research and study why certain people and groups commit crime, as well as how and why the criminal justice system operates as it does.  Our best and brightest undergraduates often go on to earn a graduate degree, either here at USM or elsewhere across the United States!