Apply Online  |  Request More Information

Defiance College’s criminal justice (CJ) program provides a strong background in all areas of criminal justice (law enforcement, courts, and corrections). It allows concentration in one of several areas and equips problem-solving justice-seekers to change their world. Civic engagement prepares students to understand the value of contributing to the community. Upon graduation, students in this program are ready for positions in a variety of criminal justice agencies.

The major is both theoretical and practical, providing understanding of critical issues in the field. It offers an internship of 150 hours working in a criminal justice agency in probation, corrections, or law enforcement, specifically in law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. In correction agencies, there are internship opportunities in probation and parole offices. Placements are also available in adult prisons, juvenile detention centers, community-based correctional facilities, and at private treatment facilities. Courtroom observations are often part of this experience as well.

Students have the benefit of advice from a well-connected criminal justice advisory board, with representation from local, regional, and national levels, as well as an extensive alumni network in the field.

Capstone Projects
Once a senior, criminal justice students will use knowledge learned in the classroom and in their internships to develop and complete their capstone project. Many agencies have assisted and benefited from the results of these capstone projects, some of which were developed in partnership with area professional agencies.

Criminal Justice

Examples of these agencies are:
Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio
Defiance Police Department
Napoleon Police Department
Columbus Police Department
Toledo Police Department
Defiance County Sheriff’s Office
Ohio State Highway Patrol
Defiance College

Each year, between three to five seniors present their capstone projects at the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education, which is a state-level conference of criminal justice professionals.

Benefits of the Program
Defiance College offers students hands-on experience through internships along with faculty members who have real-world experience in criminal justice professions. Small classroom sizes allow students to engage actively with faculty and establish strong, positive relationships that support students’ success in their education and career. The program provides other practical experiences such as tours of facilities and agencies, presentations at the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education conference, guest speakers, films, and cooperative education.

Other opportunities found at DC for CJ majors include the Criminal Justice Society, which sponsors annual trips to metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Detroit to visit a variety of criminal justice agencies; courtroom observations, and the annual CJ Night job fair with a statewide-known speaker and networking opportunities.

A particularly exciting aspect of the criminal justice program is an opportunity for students to participate in a mock crime-scene investigation and trial with local law enforcement, fire officials, attorneys, and judges.

Through the McMaster School, students have the opportunity to travel to another part of the world and complete a project of their own design, thereby growing their skills in identifying issues and problem-solving while nurturing a broad perspective. CJ majors have completed projects in Cambodia and Belize on topics such as community development, social deviance and crime, and first aid and water safety.

Related Programs
In addition to the bachelor's degree curriculum, the criminal justice program offers an associate degree in criminal justice as well as a minor. The associate degree prepares students for some entry level positions in the criminal justice field. It also offers five courses in the forensic science program.

Students often combine another major, minor, or concentration with a degree in criminal justice to gain expertise in more areas and broaden their career opportunities. Some of these complementary programs include: pre-law, digital forensic scienceforensic science, forensic accounting, psychology, and social work.

After College — What’s Next?
Defiance College’s criminal justice graduates are very successful. A degree in criminal justice allows a student to work in a variety of different settings such as law enforcement, criminal investigation, corrections, public and private security, forensic science, academia, and legal services.

Criminal Justice

Some of our recent graduates are working for correctional facilities and many different law enforcement, probation, and parole agencies in the Midwest as well as special agent positions in the U.S. Department of Justice and Treasury. They have also continued to graduate school or law school.

Recent employments include:
Navy JAG, United States Secret Service Uniformed Division, US Capitol Police, United States Marines, Wallen’s Ridge State Prison, Border Patrol, Dallas Police Department, San Diego Police Department, Corrections Center of NW Ohio, and Defiance County Prosecutor’s Office.

In Their Own Words
"The CJ program at Defiance has prepared me for my career tremendously. The professors have real-life experiences in the criminal justice field and are able to tell students what it is really like to be on the job. This made classes more interesting and easy to participate in. The mock trial we conducted helps students gain a 'real' feeling for the job, instead of simply reading the text and regurgitating information.
Also, being a student athlete, the professors were very understanding of missed classes. They were willing to help me catch up and make sure that I was still succeeding. They always asked how games and the season were going, letting me know that they cared on a personal level and that I was not just a number to them."
--Kayla Clute, 2017 Graduate

"Studying criminal justice at Defiance College was a great opportunity for me over the years. The expertise brought to the classrooms by the professors is nothing short of inspirational. Not only were classes interesting and interactive, students were also sent out in the field to gain needed experience for their future careers. Interning at the Defiance Juvenile Probation Department was a bliss for me. I also had the privilege of being a prosecutor in the annual mock trial which was a real educational and hands-on experience for me as I would like to become an attorney. With great professors, memorable internships, and immense learning opportunities, I am really proud to be a criminal justice graduate and headed on the road to becoming an astounding attorney as a result."
--Oshin Walker, 2016 Graduate

Jake Mulinix"I believe every course I took at DC had some sort of value in building who I am and what I do today. Of course, every class pertaining to criminal justice has been applicable and valuable to my current career path, but other courses I took during my time at DC had value as well, including computer and digital forensics courses, psychology courses, business courses, statistics, research methods, Disability Matters, Spanish and Arabic. Overall, the most important courses I took at DC were the field experience opportunities. There is nothing more beneficial to a student than having hands-on, real world experience in the field with current professionals. If the Cold Case Review (CJ395) course is still available, I highly recommend taking advantage of that opportunity. I am currently employed as a Special Agent in the Healthcare Fraud Section of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, where I also serve as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Recruitment Sub-Committee."
--Jake Mulinix, 2010 Graduate 


Steven Sondergaard, J.D.
Professor of Criminal Justice
Phone: 419-783-2443

Sheldon Goodrum, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Phone: 419-783-2522