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2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Criminal Justice - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities, please refer to the College of Community and Public Service section in this catalog.


The School of Criminal Justice offers a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts and a master's degree in criminal justice. Students take a variety of required and elective courses to educate them as critical thinkers and to provide them with a comprehensive knowledge of the field. The school also offers an undergraduate major in legal studies for students seeking to become paralegals. For information about the paralegal program, consult the legal studies section in the Grand Valley State University Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog. Summer course offerings will be determined on an annual basis. Please check the schedule of courses.

School of Criminal Justice Mission Statement

The mission of Grand Valley's School of Criminal Justice is to teach, prepare, advise, and assist students to make positive contributions in their chosen vocations within the criminal justice or legal system at the local, regional, national, and international level.

Graduates will possess a solid foundation of knowledge and performance skills in the criminal justice field and legal system and will also have the ability to make ethically sound and appropriate decisions in response to the challenges presented to them in their professional and personal lives.

Faculty and staff of the School of Criminal Justice will demonstrate, model, and promote a respect for diversity and commitments to integrity, intellectual and moral virtues, and lifelong learning through effective teaching, active scholarship, and service.

The Michigan State Requirements for Certification in Law Enforcement

The School of Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University operates a Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) approved Police Academy during the summer months. The program leads to eligibility for law enforcement licensing in Michigan. The courses taken in this program can also be used for graduation. Non-Grand Valley students who meet the MCOLES minimum eligibility requirements may apply. The Grand Valley Police Academy has achieved a reputation for excellence. Entry is extremely competitive and is not guaranteed. Those wishing to apply will be required to pass the MCOLES Reading and Writing and Physical Agility tests and meet the minimum state standards as part of the application process. Grand Valley State University students may apply for the academy during their senior year. Non-Grand Valley students must possess at least an Associates degree prior to the start date of the academy. Application packets are available on our website between October 15 and December 15. Applications should be obtained as soon as possible due to the complexity of the application process. MCOLES requirements can be found at under the Licensure and Professional Development section.

Grand Valley State University offers an abbreviated six-week MCOLES approved Military Police Basic Training Program (MPBTP) in the summer semester. The MPBTP is an abbreviated program that meets the same final requirements and provides for the same opportunity for law enforcement certification as the traditional 16-week MCOLES approved police academy program that is held annually at Grand Valley State University. This program acknowledges the experience of those who have performed as law enforcement officers in the military. Successful completion of this program leads to eligibility for law enforcement licensing in Michigan. Those wishing to apply must have performed as a law enforcement officer in the military for a minimum of 2080 hours, must have received an honorable discharge or still be currently serving, and must have graduated from a federal service school. Applicants must have discontinued employment in the specified military law enforcement job specialty for no more than five years before the start of the program. Additional requirements for application include passing the MCOLES Reading and Writing and Physical Agility tests and having certification in First Aid / CPR as a Professional Rescuer. Applications are available on the Police Academy website and must be submitted by May 1. Those selected to attend the MPBTP will be enrolled in two three-credit classes (CJ 415 and CJ 416). By virtue of their military experience, recruits attending the MPBTP meet the criteria of the additional three courses (CJ 417, CJ 418, CJ 419) that are required of recruits who attend the traditional 16-week academy program.


The School of Criminal Justice allows selected students to complete internships at specified job sites. Upper-division undergraduate students may elect from one to six hours of CJ 490 if they are approved by the internship coordinator and a job site supervisor unless otherwise specified by a particular organization. Students taking three credits of CJ 490, are normally expected to put in 15 hours at the internship site per week. One to two credits require 150 hours, three credits 200 hours, four credits 266 hours, five credits 332 hours, and six credits require 400 hours. Graduate students without prior criminal justice or private security work experience are highly encouraged to complete a CJ 640 internship (see Criminal Justice Master Degree Requirements). No more than six credit hours may be applied to the undergraduate major; no more than three credit hours may be applied to the graduate internship. To apply for an internship, contact the internship coordinator.

Honors Organizations

Alpha Phi Sigma is the nationally recognized honor society for students in the criminal justice sciences. The society recognizes academic excellence by undergraduates and graduate students of criminal justice. Members participate in many activities, including community service, career workshops, and fundraisers.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Minor

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Juvenile Justice Minor

Information Security Systems Minor

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