College of Criminal Justice

This is an archived copy of the 2023-2024 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Administrative Officers

Title/Department Officer
Dean and Director Phillip Lyons, J.D., Ph.D.; (936) 294-1700
Senior Associate Dean Danielle Boisvert, Ph.D.; (936) 294-1644
Associate Dean for Faculty Development Randy Garner, Ph.D.; (936) 294-4646
Associate Dean for Program Development Janet Mullings, Ph.D.; (936) 294-3965
Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Erin Orrick, Ph.D., Chair; (936) 294-3643
Department of Forensic Science Sheree Hughes, Ph.D., Chair; (936)-294-2608
Department of Security Studies Nadav Morag, Ph.D., Chair; (936) 294-4128
Department of Victim Studies Shelly Clevenger, Ph.D., Chair; (936) 294-3871
Criminal Justice Graduate Programs Ling Ren, Ph.D., Director; (936) 294-4793
Criminal Justice Undergraduate Programs Jason Ingram, Ph.D., Director; (936) 294-1698


The College of Criminal Justice is committed to providing students with a quality liberal arts education that develops critical thinking with a particular emphasis on the scientific method. Furthermore, students will gain an appreciation of their role as criminal justice professionals and as contributing members of society. As a part of a public university, the College also is committed to producing high quality research and public service.

The University baccalaureate core curriculum will provide the foundation for talents necessary to succeed in the criminal justice profession and in society. These talents include:

  • an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • an ability to use numbers and symbols in the representation of reality and to engage in logical thinking.
  • an appreciation of the scientific method and the contribution of the sciences.
  • an appreciation of culture through the visual and performing arts.
  • an appreciation of human diversity and the imperative of human values in the preservation of a free society.
  • an understanding of the political nature of society and its role in the Union of the United States.
  • an understanding of the role of the individual as part of the family, groups, organization, and society.
  • an appreciation of moral and ethical judgment.
  • an appreciation of self through physical, social, and psychological development.

Criminal Justice: Criminal justice is a discipline that encompasses the preservation and protection of social order in a free society. It includes such principles as democracy, rule of law, constitutionalism, civil liberties, and safeguarding people against intimidation and oppression. The Criminal Justice curriculum, which is based on the University’s liberal arts core, is designed to prepare students for higher education or entering careers in criminal justice. Graduates are expected to continue their personal and professional development in a variety of practical settings. To achieve this mission, four dimensions of development serve as a basis for the curriculum.

Knowledge, Reasoning, Judgment: The Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with the opportunity and assistance to acquire knowledge of the roles of policing, courts, laws, victim studies, and corrections as they contribute to social order. Students will gain knowledge of the history, concepts, and critical issues in these areas through criminal justice required courses. The curriculum further provides a theoretical foundation of the discipline, combined with a thorough understanding of the scientific method as it applies to criminal justice. This combination is expected to sharpen the students’ talents of reasoning and judgment — qualities imperative to rational functioning in the discipline.

Ability, Skills, Integration: The Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with the ability to achieve the professional goals of criminal justice. Students will learn how to integrate knowledge and practice in criminal justice. Furthermore, the curriculum provides students with an opportunity to develop the individual and group skills necessary to meet various role expectations.

Conduct, Professionalism, Ethics: The Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with an appreciation for the complexity and dilemmas associated with the criminal justice profession. Criminal Justice students will be exposed to the moral and ethical dimensions of the various careers within the discipline and will be charged with the essential aptitudes necessary for their professional conduct.

Vision, Change, Adaptation: The Criminal Justice curriculum provides students with an understanding of the discipline as it currently exists and as it is envisioned to be in the future. The Criminal Justice student will be able to apply vision in the face of change and to respond to the evolving nature of criminal justice and society. Furthermore, students will be equipped with the tools of adaptation for making these changes.

The Criminal Justice program at Sam Houston State University was established by the Texas Legislature in 1965 under House Resolution 469, which directed the University to establish a program of excellence in criminal justice with four objectives:

  • Provide training for undergraduate and graduate students preparing for careers in criminal justice;
  • Provide a program of continuing education for professionals already employed in the field;
  • Provide technical assistance and consultation services to criminal justice agencies; and
  • Promote research on problems in crime and the administration of criminal justice.

The College of Criminal Justice has developed a regional and national reputation for excellence. The academic programs include a major in criminal justice at the bachelor’s level and graduate degrees at the masters and doctoral levels. The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice is available only to students already holding an advanced degree.


  • The Criminal Justice Center is a 130,000 square foot facility which houses a courtroom, auditorium, conference facilities, hotel and café.
  • The Criminal Justice Center encompasses the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Institute of Texas, the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, and the Crime Victims’ Institute.
  • The Criminal Justice program boasts one of the largest and most productive faculties in the United States with experts in the field of law, law enforcement, police administration, criminology, corrections, history, psychology, security studies, terrorism, victim studies, forensic anthropology, and forensic science.
  • Recruiters from various agencies around the world visit the center on a regular basis and the College offers its own Career Fairs each semester.
  • Students receive real world experience by participating in agency tours, internships, and regional/national conferences.

Academic Programs

Major Degree(s)
Criminal Justice B.A., B.S.
Homeland Security Studies B.A., B.S.
Victim Studies B.A., B.S.

Undergraduate Certificate

  • Biosecurity and Pandemics 
  • Crime Analysis and Mapping
  • Criminal Justice Equity and Inclusion
  • Security and Resilience in the Chemical Energy Sectors
  • Security and Resilience in the Healthcare Sector
  • Security and Resilience in the Transportation Sectors
  • Victim Studies

Suggested Minors

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Equity and Inclusion
  • Forensic Science
  • Foreign Language
  • General Business
  • Homeland Security Studies
  • Information Assurance
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Career Opportunities

  • Police Agencies - Federal, State, County, Municipal
  • Security Management
  • Immigration/Customs Enforcement
  • Border Patrol
  • Drug Enforcement
  • Private Investigation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Family/Child Services
  • Correctional Advisor/Counselor
  • Game Warden
  • Military Police
  • Military Intelligence
  • Victim Services Specialist
  • Criminal Justice Professor

Student Organizations and Activities

  • Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society
  • Crime Victims Service Alliance
  • Lambda Alpha Epsilon Criminal Justice Association
  • National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
  • National Associate of Hispanics in Criminal Justice
  • Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Society
  • Society of Forensic Science

The College of Criminal Justice hosts a variety of events for students including special guest lecturers at Real Talk with CJ, College of Criminal Justice Career Fair, College of Criminal Justice Undergraduate Conference, victimology fairs, and mock courtroom trials.

Internships/Study Abroad

The College of Criminal Justice has the largest internship program in the country. Through the Internship Program, many criminal justice agencies in the United States have had an opportunity to recruit dedicated and well-educated men and women for careers in law enforcement, corrections, victim services, law, forensic science and a variety of social service agencies that work with the offender. Students interested in serving as interns must have maintained a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.50 in all coursework and be classified as seniors. Field placements range from local to international agencies with emphases on law enforcement, corrections, courts/legal services, victim services and support/social services. The following is a list of some of the agencies used as field placements:

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • Pinkerton Investigative Services
  • Texas Attorney General
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • United Nations
  • United States Custom Service
  • United States Department of State
  • United States Marshal Service
  • United States Secret Service
  • White House Security, Washington D.C.

The College of Criminal Justice offers a variety of study abroad opportunities to contrasting locales, including Turkey, Poland, Italy, Korea, Spain, and China. Traveling with SHSU turns an ordinary trip into an unforgettable experience. Students may receive 3 hours of academic credit for study abroad. Classes include study of justice administration in the study country, including: victimology, human rights issues, police training, crime patterns and trends, correctional systems and criminal and procedural law. For more information, visiCriminal Justice Study Abroad


Scholarships are available to criminal justice majors and awarded in the spring of each year at the College of Criminal Justice Honors Convocation for the following academic year. With the exception of incoming freshmen scholarships, a student must have completed at least one long semester at Sam Houston State University. For more information, visit CJ scholarship.

Sam Houston State University is authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Criminal Justice or Victim Studies. Coursework for these degrees is offered by the College of Criminal Justice. The prefix designation for registration purposes is "CRIJ"

Information on Programs and Grants

For additional information regarding admission requirements, degree programs, description of courses, and scholarships available to students, please refer to appropriate sections of the Undergraduate Catalog or the Graduate Catalog of Sam Houston State University. Brochures and information regarding the College of Criminal Justice baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs may be obtained by visiting the Criminal Justice website or by writing:

Dean and Director
College of Criminal Justice
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2296

Requests for information concerning loans, grants, and other financial aid to undergraduate students should be addressed to the:

Student Financial Aid Office
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2328.