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Criminal Justice Studies


The criminal justice studies (CJS) program at Keene State College is one of the fastest growing programs at this institution. Many of our instructors have had distinguished careers in the field – the former police chief of Keene (Art Walker), the former Attorney General of New Hampshire (Peter Heed), and a judge of the NH State Circuit Court (David Forrest) are currently teaching as adjunct professors in the program. 

Criminal justice studies at Keene State is a broad field of study that includes the contributions and approaches of many of the social and behavioral sciences, as well as areas of study such as law and ethics, as they relate to the phenomenon of crime. Criminal justice studies will develop your knowledge of the criminal justice system, theories of criminal behavior, law, administration, and policy. Courses also involve the study of issues and conditions confronting and changing the criminal justice system.

Program Options

Students interested in criminal justice studies at Keene State can choose either a major or a minor in the field.

We offer elective courses in forensics for those who are interested in that career route. Students are encouraged to combine CJS with Biology or Chemistry majors if they would like to be forensic professionals.

Sociology and CJS curricula are closely intertwined. Students pursuing a major in CJS can get a dual major in Sociology by taking a few additional courses. This broadens employment opportunities by opening up a range of social and human services professions in addition to CJS related jobs. Our courses are also tied to the curriculum in other programs in the college. Many of our students combine classes in CJS, addictions (in public health), and psychology if they are interested in counseling or other therapeutic professions.

KSC is unique in the nation in having a program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (HGS). Students can combine courses that will prepare them for careers in governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO) active in the fields of international law, peacekeeping, and justice.

While we offer courses in several topical areas, our core curriculum provides a strong grounding in learning criminological and legal theories, along with research methods in the social sciences.

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Career and Other Opportunities

Our students are prepared for careers in:

  • law enforcement (at the local, state, or federal level)
  • social work
  • human services
  • Peace Corps and other international non-governmental organizations

Students also go on to advanced study in areas including:

  • law
  • social work
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • government (including public administration)
  • criminology


Graduates from Keene State who major in criminal justice studies are able to define, explain, and critically assess the criminal justice and legal systems in the U.S. and to understand criminality from psychological, sociological, philosophical, and political perspectives. They are prepared to analyze the law, law enforcement, and punishment within a changing political, historical, economic, moral and cultural context.

Throughout my tenure at Keene State College I was exposed to a comprehensive presentation of law enforcement, which included everything from basic criminal justice knowledge to forensic studies, criminology, social and psychological behavior, corrections and ethical practice. ... The course work at Keene State translates effectively into real life practice and I have been able to capitalize on my coursework and experience in the field. I use this knowledge daily.
Edgar Hartford ‘04

Contact Admissions

Admissions Office
☎ 603-358-2276
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435