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    Hamline University
    May 20, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Department

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The Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science offers a major and minor in criminology and criminal justice (CCJ), a certificate and minor in forensic science, a concentration in forensic psychology for students majoring in CCJ, legal studies, or psychology, and a POST concentration for students interested in law enforcement. Students pursuing a CCJ major and/or a certificate in forensic science complete an internship that enables them to connect theory to practice and gain valuable professional work experience. The location of Hamline in the Twin Cities offers students diverse opportunities for exceptional internships in crime labs and medical examiner offices, and local, state and federal criminal justice, law enforcement, legal, and social service agencies.

The CCJ major  provides a student with a social science approach to the study of crime. The required courses create the foundation for an understanding about crime and justice, including research methods, analysis of systemic injustices, and specialized courses in criminology and criminal justice. Graduates pursue careers related to public safety, social services, local, state, or federal law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, and criminal justice research and policy. 

The CCJ minor provides an overview of the criminal justice system for students pursuing other academic majors. Courses are taught by professors with experience and expertise in juvenile corrections and juvenile justice policy, forensic psychology, privacy and data security, victimology, criminal law and procedure, and police practices.

The forensic science certificate is paired with a natural science major to prepare students interested in working in a crime lab as forensic scientists. The certificate is interdisciplinary and exposes students to the application of scientific principles and analytical methods forensic evidence. Students intending to pursue a career in crime labs or medical examiner offices should complete the certificate.  The certificate may be paired with an anthropology major to prepare students for graduate study leading to a career in forensic anthropology. Nationally recognized faculty and practitioners teach a variety of courses including crime scene investigation, DNA analysis, bloodstain pattern, firearms and toolmarks, fingerprints, crime scene investigation, and trace evidence. Students may also pair the certificate with an anthropology major to prepare students for graduate study leading to a career in forensic anthropology.

The forensic science minor complements majors in CCJ, legal studies, psychology, and other related disciplines by providing students with an introduction to forensic science concepts.  

The forensic psychology concentration provides a multidisciplinary approach to the study of crime, motivations for criminal behavior, and the response and use of psychology in the American legal system. A concentration in forensic psychology is open to students majoring in criminology and criminal justice, legal studies, or psychology. In addition to their major, students complete coursework that provides students with the foundational knowledge of our legal system, criminology, and psychology that culminates in a senior seminar, CJFS 5670 Forensic Psychology and the Law.

Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Concentration. Hamline University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science is certified by the Minnesota POST Board as a provider of pre-service academic training for students seeking licensure as a Minnesota peace officer. The POST concentration requires students to complete nine courses along with a criminology and criminal justice major. Students interested in a career in law enforcement are encouraged to declare the POST Concentration as soon as possible after enrollment at the university.


All students pursuing a major in criminology and criminal justice or a forensic science certificate are required to complete an internship in their chosen field concurrently with the required capstone course . The internship provides a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in their individual field(s) of interest. Past internship sites have included (but are not limited to): Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Crime Lab, United States Office of the Postal Inspector (USPIS), The Link, Tubman Center, Safe Communities of United Tribes, Catholic Charities, Minnesota Coalition of Battered Women, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Hennepin County Community Corrections, Ramsey County Community Corrections, Minnetonka Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department Crime Lab, Saint Paul Police Department Crime Lab,,, U.S. Marshals, United States Department of Agriculture (investigations unit), Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, and non-profit agencies.

Postgraduate Opportunities

In addition to the various professional opportunities described above, students may also continue their education in graduate programs in criminology, criminal justice, social work, sociology, psychology, public administration, or law. Forensic science certificate students may pursue additional training in chemistry, biology, anthropology, or forensic science graduate programs.

Honors and Student Activities 

Students wishing to be considered for honors should request detailed information from department faculty no later than the beginning of spring of their junior year. Honors students must have a GPA of 3.5 or better in the criminology and criminal justice major, and honors projects must be approved by department faculty. Honors projects should exhibit distinctive scholarship, originality of thought, and a high degree of relevance to a major issue in the discipline. In addition, summer collaborative research projects with faculty are possible. Criminology and criminal justice majors and forensic science certificate students may apply for summer collaborative research funds with a department faculty member.

Hamline’s Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Science has an active and award winning forensic sciences society. Students pursuing a forensic science certificate or a minor in forensic science can become an active member in this student organization to explore educational and career opportunities in the field of forensic science.

Forensic Science Certificate for Post-baccalaureate Students

The Forensic Science Certificate prepares students to work in crime labs and related offices. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a natural science from a regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Petitions to earn the certificate through other majors will be evaluated by the chair of the department.


Gina A. Erickson, associate professor, criminology and criminal justice. BA, Luther College; MA 2004, University of Iowa; PhD 2012, University of Minnesota. Professor Erickson’s areas of expertise include: criminology, statistics, specialty courts, and demography.

Sarah J. Greenman, associate professor, criminology and criminal justice. BA, Carleton College; MA 2010, University of Maryland; PhD 2014, University of Maryland. Professor Greenman’s areas of expertise include: victimology, sanctioning, and deterrence.

Jillian K. Peterson, associate professor, criminology and criminal justice. BA, Grinnell College; MA 2009, PhD 2012, University of California, Irvine. Professor Peterson’s areas of expertise include: mental illness, forensic psychology, violent crime, program and policy evaluation.

Shelly S. Schaefer, chair, associate professor, criminology and criminal justice. BA, University of Minnesota; MA 2007, University of Minnesota; PhD 2011, University of Minnesota. Professor Schaefer’s areas of expertise include: community crime prevention, sociology of punishment, juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice policy, and crime policy evaluation.


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