Criminal Justice Degree

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Impact society as a criminal justice professional.

Criminal justice is the foundation for understanding the judicial system and how laws impact society. Explore a variety of branches with opportunities to positively affect change and improve communities.

The integrity of our criminal justice system relies on the character of the people serving within it. Gain the skills to help others and make a positive impact with a criminal justice major at HSU.

Our program emphasizes the most critical and emerging needs in criminal justice: forensic science, behavioral analysis (including psychopathology and victimology), homeland security, and criminal justice administration. Faculty bring specialized experience to the classroom, along with strong connections to criminal justice professionals and alumni.

We partner with local justice professionals to offer field placements, internship opportunities, and more. We also offer a unique scholarship opportunity for criminal justice majors through the Carl Wesley Owen Trust.

The Criminal Justice Experience at HSU

What is a Criminal Justice degree? We believe it’s about preparing engaged, resourceful, and confident servant leaders who are passionate about public service.

Hands-on learning is key. The Criminal Justice suite is located in the Skiles Building, which also houses a courtroom and legislative hearing room used for classes, mock trials, hearings, and committee meetings. Internships and field placements offer more opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. When you have a question, our faculty are here to help. One-on-one career and academic advising is another hallmark of our program.

Interested in pairing law and justice studies with another major? Check out our Criminal Justice minor.

Jobs For Criminal Justice Majors

  • Law enforcement officer
  • District parole officer
  • Forensics technician
  • Immigration and customs enforcement agent
  • Juvenile probation officer
  • Juvenile program case manager
  • Prison warden
  • Correctional officer
  • Drug enforcement agent
  • Victims assistance coordinator
  • Border patrol agent
  • Private security

Criminal Justice Degree Requirements

All HSU students are eligible for the criminal justice bachelor’s degree program.

All prospective students should research requirements and conditions of employment with the agencies that interest them. Policies vary and can have physical, age, and other personal and health restrictions. Even with a college degree, candidates may not qualify for those positions if they do not meet the agency requirements.

Additionally, criminal justice agencies conduct thorough background checks of applicants, and prior criminal records or poor driving record may disqualify candidates.

Why Earn Your Criminal Justice Degree at Hardin-Simmons?

Why Earn Your Criminal Justice Degree at Hardin-Simmons?

Real-World Experience

As a criminal justice major at HSU, you will have the opportunity to complete a 100-hour internship with a criminal justice agency to gain practical experience and supervised field training. Choose from multiple internship sites and gain experience at more than one agency.

Local and Abroad Connection

Criminal Justice majors have the opportunity to build their network and receive hands-on experience in the Abilene community. This year, students ran the course at the Abilene Police Department Training Academy. In 2018, the HSU Criminal Justice Program was the first university from the United States to travel to Bergen, Norway, to study the justice system. In May 2025, they are set to travel to Costa Rica to study the justice system.

HSU Criminal Justice Association

Become involved with the many aspects of the law enforcement and corrections systems. HSU’s Criminal Justice Association features guest speakers, field trips, and demonstrations. You can also participate in a variety of activities designed to enhance your knowledge of the field while networking with criminal justice professionals in the community.


If your goal is to make a difference and serve others, the field of criminal justice offers many different opportunities. Whether you want to work in a crime lab, help victims of crime, serve youth and families in the juvenile justice system, or work with adults on probation or parole, a bachelor’s in criminal justice will prepare you for your calling.

Our criminal justice degree program has a long track record of success. Recent HSU graduates include the Chief of the Taylor County Juvenile Probation Department, a Texas Game Warden of the Year, and an FBI agent. Others have gone on to successful careers in law. Our graduates are highly sought after by justice agency chiefs, directors, and other practitioners.

Salary for Criminal Justice Graduates

The estimated annual salary of alumni from our Criminal Justice program is $57,321.

“The criminal justice program is phenomenal – the teachers, Dr. Karin Brown and Mr. Ryan Hunter, care about you. What you get here as an undergraduate is very extensive. You’re learning across the spectrum of criminal justice – juvenile justice, forensic interviewing – it’s a special experience here.”

Kennedy Connor

Kennedy Connor Criminal Justice and Psychology Program Student

Scholarships for Criminal Justice Majors

Get the financial support to make your dreams a reality at HSU. The Carl Wesley Owen Fund offers scholarships specifically for majors in criminal justice, as well supporting the program through funding for study abroad and other opportunities.

Internship Opportunity

As a criminal justice major at HSU, you will have the opportunity to complete a 100-hour internship with a criminal justice agency to gain practical experience and supervised field training. Choose from multiple internship sites and gain experience at more than one agency.

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