Criminal Justice

What kind of digital fingerprints do cyber criminals leave behind? What motivates white-collar criminals? Champlain's Criminal Justice program will immerse you in the field's full range of possibilities, from high-profile tasks like following the trail of crime scene evidence and conducting interviews to day-to-day police work and court and corrections procedures.

Upside-Down Curriculum

Thanks to our Upside-Down Curriculum, you'll take Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Investigation and other courses from the Criminal Justice curriculum in your first year. The Criminal Justice program will teach you the fundamental principles needed in criminal justice professions, from the criminal process to the essential elements of substantive criminal law. The proficiencies you will gain in multiple areas will develop your competency and marketability in one of society's most important fields. You will acquire critical communication skills by writing weekly memos proposing solutions to modern investigative, legal and ethical dilemmas; delivering videotaped oral presentations; and participating in mock trials and suppression motions under the guidance of real trial judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys.


The Criminal Justice faculty at Champlain will offer you everything you need to be career-ready. Your instructors will be working professionals with insider perspectives-including veteran state and local police officers, criminal trial judges, lawyers, and current and former Vermont assistant attorneys general. Thanks to our small class sizes, our professors are able to focus on you and your goals, and will help you meet them. Meet our faculty. 


Specializations are an optional part of your Criminal Justice major and may be taken in tandem with other elective Criminal Justice courses and/or a minor. Learn more about our Cyber Investigation or Spanish Language Specializations. 

Study Abroad

With every country having its own laws and justice systems, you can explore the similarity and differences in criminal justice practices, people and communities all over the world, and integrate that knowledge into your solutions, which is an important part of your Criminal Justice education. We designed the curriculum of our majors to support a semester of optional international study, which means you can study in another country, even complete an internship abroad, and still graduate on time. You can choose to take your international study at our campus in Montreal, Canada, or in Dublin, Ireland, or through one of our Global Partner or third-party programs. Explore our study abroad options. 


Through our Upside-Down Curriculum, Criminal Justice students are equipped to take on meaningful internships earlier in their college career than is typical. Our students have interned at the U.S. Department of State, the Vermont Medical Examiner's Office, the Vermont Attorney General's Office and the Chittenden County State's Attorney's office, and landed jobs in U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as several local police departments. As a senior, you can complete fieldwork with a local, state or federal criminal justice agency to gain crucial hands-on experience and confidence dealing with real-life situations. You also can engage in invaluable networking at our on-campus recruiting events, which include a wide range of employers. See where our students have interned. 

Attend the Vermont Police Academy

If you choose to do this and are accepted into and successfully complete the program, you'll not only earn a Criminal Justice degree but also graduate certified as a full-time police officer in Vermont. Many Champlain Criminal Justice students are hired by police departments before they attend their first academy class and get paid by those departments while they learn. Once you are a certified police officer in Vermont, if you want to move to another state, depending on that state's requirements, you may be eligible for reciprocity and have parts of the other state's certification examination waived. Learn more about the Vermont Police Academy.