Students and faculty discuss Social Impact Scholar Program

 Criminal Justice Major

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With a focus on social justice and the flexibility to follow your passions, Champlain's Criminal Justice program will immerse you in the field's full range of possibilities—from policy reform to local law enforcement operations.


You won't find a better qualified faculty to guide the criminal justice professionals of tomorrow. We have instructors who have been elected and appointed to important Vermont state positions, have practiced law as prosecutors, and even served on an international war crimes tribunal. They teach you what they've learned on the job, giving you valuable insight.

You'll learn by doing, starting in your first semester. Thanks to our Upside-Down Curriculum, you'll take a variety of criminal justice courses in your first year. This early learning allows you to accomplish more in the field during your internships, giving you greater depth and breadth of experience.

  • Learn the fundamental principles needed in criminal justice professions, from the criminal process to the essential elements of substantive criminal law. 
  • Study complex topics such as the global reach and impact of the drug trafficking trade on crime, terrorism, economics, and politics.
  • Through our Prison Law Initiative, you can even teach current prison inmates how to do legal research and writing. Your courses will give you direct experience that will serve you well in your career.
  • Explore challenging issues around social injustice, particularly discrimination and prejudice in the American criminal justice system.
  • Explore related disciplines through a minor. Popular minors with CJ majors include Social Justice, Law, Psychology, Conflict Management, Global Studies, Cybersecurity, and Computers & Digital Forensics, but you can choose from a total of 36!

Enter your field with confidence that's backed by experience and expertise.




The 2021 Fiske Guide to Colleges selected Champlain as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.


Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" by U.S. News & World Report (for the seventh consecutive year!) in its "America's Best Colleges" 2022 rankings.


Burlington, Vermont, our hometown, is ranked the #1 Best College Town by Travel + Leisure magazine.


Pictured above from left to right: Liza Ryan '20 // Criminal Justice and Social Work, with Scott Pavek, an opioid harm reduction advocate and person in recovery, and Sarah George, Chittenden County States Attorney, at a panel discussion on opioid harm reduction measures that was organized by Ryan.

An Innovative Approach to Criminal Justice Education

Our unique program gives students of criminal justice an education that prepares them for 21st-century policing and criminal justice careers. At Champlain College, we offer courses in social justice and restorative justice, as well as an internship in which students work with criminal justice faculty to teach legal research skills to inmates in Vermont prisons. Today's criminal justice students can choose from a wide range of careers in the field, including law enforcement, cybercrime, court work, corrections, and restorative justice. 

Pictured above from left to right: Liza Ryan '20 // Criminal Justice and Social Work; with Scott Pavek, an opioid harm reduction advocate and person in recovery; and Sarah George, Chittenden County State's Attorney; at a panel discussion on opioid harm reduction measures that was organized by Ryan.


Because you'll follow an in-depth curriculum in the Criminal Justice major starting in your first semester, you'll soon be qualified for the kinds of law enforcement, cybercrime, criminal and social justice internships that many students take on in their final years of college. Students often come away from internships with a new career plan (and sometimes even full-time job offers).

Champlain students cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland

Study Abroad

As a Criminal Justice major, your cultural understanding, flexibility, and adaptability are absolutely essential skills—and each will be significantly enhanced by a semester abroad. Whether through a third-party program (go almost anywhere in the world!) or a Champlain Abroad campus in Dublin or Montreal (your financial aid comes with you!) we encourage students to embark on a semester of global exploration

The best aim of the criminal justice system is to provide protection and justice for those most vulnerable and least able to pay for it. It is time to accept the challenge of creating a relevant, beneficial, anti-racist criminal justice program, and criminal justice system.

Read more in Bloomberg News
Tony Perriello, Assistant Dean and Criminal Justice Program Director

Let us know you’re interested so we can keep in touch!

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