There are a variety of career opportunities for students who study Criminal Justice. These include, but are not limited to, law enforcement at the local, state or federal level; state or federal probation or parole; corporate security; juvenile justice and services; criminal prosecution or defense; and, institutional corrections. Please note that some of these careers may require advanced degrees (e.g., J.D.) in addition to the A.B.; others may require formal and specialized training outside the scope of an undergraduate academic degree program.
Graduate School and Research Careers
Criminal Justice Studies majors have many options for graduate study in addition to law school.
Criminal Justice and the Pre-law Student
A major in criminal justice studies has many advantages for a UGA pre-law student. First, the student will receive a solid arts and science education which offers one of the best opportunities to develop the analytical and communication skills so essential to law school success and legal practice. Second, the UGA Criminal Justice Studies Program gives undergraduate students an opportunity to start their study of law and legal processes. Although law schools do not require any undergraduate law-related course work, many students find it helpful to have some working knowledge of law and the judicial system, and some exposure to case analysis and briefing. Finally, criminal justice majors are required to intern in a criminal justice agency for a full academic term with twelve credit hour registration requirements. There are a variety of law-related internships for criminal justice students aspiring to law school. These include prosecutorial internships with a district attorney, a criminal defense internship in a public defender's office, work with a private law firm that specializes in criminal law, or other law-related programs (e.g. Administrative Office of the Courts, Dispute Resolution Centers).
Since 1977 over 2000 criminal justice majors have graduated from the University of Georgia . Many of these students have been accepted to and graduated from law school. In fact, many have graduated from law school with distinguished standing and law review achievements. After law school, UGA criminal justice graduates have won clerkships with federal judges and permanent positions in district attorney offices, public defenders offices, law firms, and federal law enforcement agencies.
A criminal justice major at UGA will not guarantee either admission to law school or a good job once you graduate. However, the Criminal Justice Studies Program has much to offer the pre-law student. In addition to the advantages noted earlier, consider the following. Criminal Justice is a small, selective major associated with the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and International Affairs. With approximately one hundred fifty majors, you are assured of individual attention from faculty and staff. Additionally, the program offers a variety of services and programs for undergraduates. Criminal justice majors have the opportunity to tour state agencies and institutions in Criminal Justice Society field trips, meet program alumni who are practicing attorneys during the annual Alumni Panel, and gain considerable first-hand experience in the aforementioned internship program.
If you are interested in criminal justice as your undergraduate major, stop by the program office (221 Baldwin Hall) and pick up program information, admission requirements, and application forms. You may also schedule an appointment with the Academic Advisor if you have specific questions.
A final reminder: majoring in criminal justice or any other academic discipline does not substitute for consultation with the UGA pre-law advisor. Be sure you consult with the pre-law advisor (111 Memorial Hall) for information on the LSAT, law school admissions, and related matters.