Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies

371 Varner Hall
Varner Hall Room 217
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2154

Dr. Joe Shively
Interim Director, BALS Program
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Criminal Justice and Information Technology

Criminal justice majors study the systems that governments put into place to apprehend, arrest, prosecute and punish those who commit crimes in order to maintain social order. Courses shape a student's understanding of both crime and justice and emphasize the role of law enforcement and courtrooms in the criminal justice system here and abroad. The major is intended to equip students with a thorough knowledge of the origins of criminal behavior, police unit administration, crime lab technology, probation and parole, corrections, and criminal justice theory. Another goal of the criminal justice major is to get students to think critically about the balance between individual rights and public order.

Students can choose to concentrate their studies in different areas of criminal justice, such as law enforcement, forensic science, or homeland security. Criminal justice is highly interdisciplinary, intersecting with subjects such as sociology, psychology, science and communication. Courses in a criminal justice major might include: Police & Society, Survey of Criminal Courts, Criminology, Criminal Procedure and Juvenile Justice.

Information Technology provide a crucial link between technology and criminal justice. Students of IT learn how to design computing systems based on an agency’s research, data, and communication needs. In Information Technology courses, one learns all the basics of computer science, including hardware and software components, programming, algorithms, databases, operating systems and network administration. Computer design and editing existing systems and software may also be included in an IT curriculum.


A wide array of careers are available to criminal justice graduates, including police officers (particularly the higher ranks); crime analysts; crime prevention specialists; court coordinators; juvenile and adult probation officers; legal research assistants; and border patrol agents. The job outlook for criminal justice majors is excellent, as crime reduction has long been a major domestic policy concern, according to a major description provided by Indiana University—Bloomington.

Job opportunities in policing, probation and parole, and private security are increasing as well. A top employer of students who have studied Criminal Justice and Information Technology is the Federal Government, in particular, the  FBI. The FBI operates a Criminal Justice Information Service Division that specifically calls upon the skill sets and training from an interdisciplinary education.

The Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) serves as the focal point and central repository for criminal justice information services in the FBI. CJIS is a customer-driven organization that provides state-of-the-art identification and information services to the local, state, federal, and international criminal justice communities. The CJIS Division includes the Fingerprint Identification Program, National Crime Information Center Program, Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) -- a computer-based system that can store, process, analyze, and retrieve millions of fingerprints in a short period of time. The mission of CJIS is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities. We do this by maximizing the ability to provide timely and relevant criminal justice information to the FBI and to qualified law enforcement, criminal justice, civilian, academic, employment, and licensing agencies concerning individuals, stolen property, criminal organizations and activities and other law enforcement related data. In support of these efforts, CJIS administers an advisory process which shares management and policy making decisions with local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies.

Information Technology Specialist – Requires individuals with extensive computer technology backgrounds in programming, maintenance, and system development. CJIS manages and operates large information systems that serve as a mechanism to share criminal justice information with the FBI’s partners in the local, state, federal and international criminal justice communities. Information Technology Specialists research, develop and evaluate new and emerging technologies and develop enhancements to existing CJIS programs of importance to the law enforcement/criminal justice community.