Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Criminal Justice in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) at the University of the Incarnate Word develops ethical, responsible, well-informed and deeply conscientious criminal justice professionals and justice-minded individuals for a wide variety of professions or for law school.


Why Criminal Justice?

Law enforcement, social work, corrections, security, intelligence, government, education and the legal profession – there are many fields that a graduate of a criminal justice program can pursue. The study of criminal justice gives students insight into the many facets of the justice system and proficiency in critical data, research and analytical skills. UIW’s Criminal Justice program also emphasizes a deep understanding of issues related to social justice through innovative courses that are not available at many other universities, on topics such as restorative justice, and issues that impact specific or vulnerable groups.

Criminal Justice Curriculum

The B.A. in Criminal Justice is a 120-hour degree program that emphasizes the history and current operations of the criminal courts, law enforcement and corrections services, and fosters a critical analysis of criminal justice as a social institution. Students explore the U.S. Legal System, Criminology, Law Enforcement in America, Corrections, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Research Methods in Criminal Justice and more. Students are also required to earn a minor in any other discipline.

UIW’s Criminal Justice classes, which tend to be smaller and allow for more discussion and individualized attention, will develop informed and conscientious students who understand the responsibilities of working in the criminal justice field. Shaped by the values of a UIW education, the criminal justice program will advance the search for truth, social justice and the common good. UIW students also have the option to complete their B.A. in Criminal Justice in three years through an accelerated three-year degree plan.

The courses are taught by faculty with a broad range of specialties and experiences, including on gender and delinquency (specifically gender and violence, and theoretical applications of gendered violence), criminology, deviant behavior, penology, ethics and more. Faculty also accompany students on field trips and off-campus experiences that shed light on the different facets of the justice systems. Students have visited correctional facilities, the state capitol, and taken part in the National Criminal Justice Association competition.

President Evans speaking at a criminal justice event presentation

Criminal Justice Internship

Students have the opportunity to take part in an internship over a single semester in a local criminal justice agency, directly supervised by a professional at the agency. Over the required 120 hours of work, the internships provide valuable professional experience for students seeking to enter the workforce upon graduation. Students have served as interns for the San Antonio Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies, probation offices, Bexar County Court, Texas Parks and Wildlife and more.

UIW students are encouraged to study Criminal Justice abroad for a semester or a summer term. Students have traveled to Europe to learn more about the French criminal justice system, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The UIW Study Abroad program is the perfect opportunity for students to travel internationally and gain an in-depth understanding of policing, correctional histories and other crime-related issues in another country. UIW students are also able to explore various countries in their free time. All courses are taught in English, and they begin and end on UIW’s main campus. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtual Study Abroad (VSA) programs are now available.

Careers in Criminal Justice 

A B.A. in Criminal Justice at UIW opens the door to a wide range of career opportunities. The options, and the opportunities, are many. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 3.5 million workers were employed in the criminal justice or protective services fields in 2019. UIW graduates can pursue careers as police officers, private security officers, park rangers, U.S. Customs agents, U.S. Postal Service investigators or pre-trial services officers, among others. Through the Criminal Justice program at UIW, students are also prepared for postsecondary school, which opens up additional career opportunities. Through postsecondary education, UIW students can seek a career as an attorney, an FBI agent, a forensic scientist, a police detective, a criminal investigator or a social worker.