Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science Degree - (Day & DAPS)



Criminal Justice at Fisher College

Program Mission

The Criminal Justice major prepares students for both careers and advanced studies through a combination of courses in criminal justice, psychology and sociology providing an interdisciplinary understanding of the nature of crime as well as the processes that prevent and respond to crime. Additionally, the program considers justice principles and methods of social control and their applications to various areas within the criminal justice system. Through the analysis of crime, justice, and social control, students will develop a personal definition of justice, a fuller understanding of the world in which they live, and the ability to identify careers and strategies for action. The program emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills as students examine crime, criminal behavior, social control and theories of justice.

The Criminal Justice Program will assist students in developing:

  • A foundation for understanding in the crime and justice discipline that prepares them to focus on the moral, philosophical, and political aspects of justice and injustice.
  • An understanding of those human behaviors that society has defined as deviant or criminal as well as societal responses to those behaviors.
  • Curiosity, creativity, and intellectual risk-taking.
  • An improved sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy and an awareness of their responsibilities as professionals in their field.
  • Knowledge, skills, and values that prepare them for future careers in criminal justice or advanced study.

Student Learning Objectives
  • Describe the historical and developmental aspects of crime and justice in the United States.
  • Analyze the operations, policies, and procedures of the criminal justice system
  • Analyze the theories of crime and deviance and critique the effectiveness of their practical application to behavioral changes.
  • Explain the role of the criminal justice system in the administration of justice in the United States and other countries.
  • Discuss the ethical theories and the values that guide criminal justice professions.
  • Apply professional standards of writing and research to criminal justice issues.

Program Requirements

Criminal Justice Program Requirements

First Year Credit hours
CJ101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
EN101 English I 3
EN102 English II 3
MA107/117 College Algebra/ Finite Math
IS105 Common Experience 3
CS101 Computer Applications 3
LA107 Criminal Law 3
CM105 Public Speaking 3
SO105 Introduction to Criminology 3
Free Elective 3

Total Credits 30

Second Year Credit hours
CJ210 Law Enforcement
CJ215 Principles of Investigations
CJ240 Deviance and Social Control
SO101 Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Psychology
CJ201 Corrections in America
Criminal Court Process
Basic Statistics
Humanities Elective 3
Free Elective 3

Total Credits 30
Third Year Credit hours
CJ316 Criminal Justice Research Methods
SO121 Social Justice, Race, and Gender Issues in American Society 3
CJ317 Criminal Justice Statistics 3

Program Electives* 6
Natural Science Elective 3
Global Awareness Elective 3
Free Electives 9

Total Credits 30
Fourth Year Credit hours
CJ410 Ethics and the Criminal Justice System 3
CJ420 Advanced Crime Theory and Policy 3
Professional Development for Internship** 1
Senior Seminar 3
Internship 3
Program Elective 3
Interdisciplinary Program Elective 3
Humanities Elective 3
Free Electives 9

Total Credits 30

**Not required for Division of Accelerated and Professional Studies Students.

***Must choose from a Global Awareness designated course.

Minimum credits required for graduation-120.


Faculty Profiles

Meridith Spencer
Professor Meridith Spencer began her teaching career as an adjunct professor at Fisher College in 2002 teaching Juvenile Justice while working full time with at risk, high risk, and court involved youth in a variety of settings ranging from residential treatment to juvenile diversion.  Professor Spencer eventually began teaching as an adjunct at a variety of Boston area colleges, prior to joining Fisher College as an Assistant Professor and Program Director of Criminal Justice in 2011.  Professor Spencer received her undergraduate degree in political science and public administration from Providence College, her master's degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Colorado, a graduate certificate in Forensic Criminology from the University of Massachusetts and is currently working towards her PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

In addition to teaching, Professor Spencer volunteers with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center as a Medical Advocacy Peer Supervisor supporting survivors in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault.  In 2011, she won the Melissa Gosule Award for outstanding service as a medical advocate. She also works as a researcher with the Center for Leadership in Public Service at Fisher College where is she currently supervising several criminal justice student research assistants on a National Institute of Justice funded research project that aims to determine the impact of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases.

Professor Spencer's research interests focus on sexual offending behavior, as well as criminal justice public policy.  She teaches courses in criminology, deviance and social control, corrections, juvenile justice, criminal law, public policy and investigations.  She is passionate about bringing the real world into the classroom and encourages her students to do the same.

Dr. Peter Cassino
I developed a passion for criminology as an undergrad at Plymouth State University.  I quickly realized that my passion from crime and criminological research meant that graduate school was in my future. About halfway through my Master's program at Umass Lowell I developed an interest in teaching which is what led me to pursue my Ph.D. at Northeastern University.While at Northeastern I began teaching part-time and upon graduation I took my first fulltime teaching position with Hesser College.  After three years at Hesser I came to Fisher College in the fall of 2012.  My teaching interests include Sociology, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Research Methods, and Statistical Analysis.  In addition to teaching at Fisher I am also a researcher at the Center for Leadership in Public Service. At the Center we pursue grants and conduct research in the areas of traffic safety and public safety.

When I am not teaching or working on my research I enjoy time with my family and friends.  I enjoy Cape Cod in the summer, skiing in the winter, and a meal at a nice restaurant any time of year.


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