Department of Criminal Justice

Explore the many career paths in criminal justice from law enforcement to correctional agencies and examine how the administration of justice operates in society.


In light of the recent events taking place in the long-standing history of tragic issues and problems present within the criminal justice system, the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Criminal Justice faculty and staff are committed, more than ever, to the principles of racial and social justice. We are unequivocal in our obligation to engage in teaching, research and service that guides reform throughout the criminal justice system. We recognize that change starts with each of us. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is ever-present as we work to educate the next generation of criminal justice practitioners, research systemic bias and racism and guide criminal justice reform.

We stand with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology in condemning the deplorable and unjust death of George Floyd and call for action that facilitates criminal justice reform. The Department strives for equity and works to end the disparate treatment of people of color in society and in the criminal justice system. Further, the Department goals align with those of the University and College: to create more diverse, equitable and inclusive systems and practices.

The Department recently created a diversity, equity and inclusion committee and it has recently hired two faculty who are specialists in diversity and equity in the criminal justice system. We offer classes that focus on criminal justice reform, diversity, equity and inclusion, such as Diversity and Multiculturalism in Criminal Justice, Diversity and Multiculturalism in Community Policing and Struggle for Justice. Moreover, important topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion are embedded throughout our curriculum, including community policing, base decisions and interventions on evidenced-based practices and research, ending racial profiling, greater community input, diverting individuals to other more appropriate social services to better serve them and reducing incarceration and recidivism rates. The Department continuously examines its curriculum in order to ensure we are providing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to assist in reforming the criminal justice system.

University of Nevada, Reno logo in black

Criminal justice examines the actions of policing and law enforcement agencies, the judicial system and correctional agencies. The Department of Criminal Justice welcomes a diverse student body and encourages its students to explore the full range of opportunities in criminal justice and justice-related professions and graduate programs. Our students perform critical evaluation of how the administration of justice actually operates in American society.

The department is part of the School of Social Research and Justice Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. The classroom content of criminal justice is interdisciplinary, drawing on theories developed in a variety of fields. Theories are derived from sociology and psychology regarding the causes of crime and delinquency. Law, political science and history provide information about the development of law and the applications of sanctions within the legal process. Also, there is a rapidly growing body of knowledge derived from research efforts of practitioners in policing, the courts and corrections. Through our three-fold mission of education, research and service, we train model citizens and build a knowledgeable community on the field of criminal justice.

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