The Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCJS) Honors Program is a unique opportunity for undergraduate CCJS majors to challenge themselves academically.  The Honors program involves small, interactive and rigorous courses taught by a tenured/tenure-track faculty member.  CCJS Departmental Honors courses are structured to enhance a student’s analytical skills, research capability, critical thinking, and writing ability.

Students who participate in our Honors Program have the opportunity to experience smaller, more challenging classes and interact with departmental faculty in a one-on-one environment. Additionally, CCJS Honors students graduate with departmental honors and stand out among applicants when applying to graduate school, law school, internships and/or full-time employment.

The Director of the CCJS Honors Program is Dr. Bianca Bersani


Honors Program Structure:

The Honors Program is a four-semester (12 required credit hours) sequence, which a student begins in the fall semester of the junior year.  CCJS388H, the first course in the sequence, will provide an in-depth understanding of various contemporary criminological issues and the production of criminological research. CCJS388H is offered only in the fall semester.  CCJS389H Independent Research is an experiential learning component, where students can complete either an independent study, research assistantship, or research-based internship of their choosing. CCJS389H can be completed during the spring semester of the junior year or anytime in the senior year.  In the fall semester of the senior year, students will enroll in CCJS489H, where students start the writing process for their honors thesis, solidifying their honors thesis topic, and beginning preliminary research.  In the spring semester of the senior year, students will continue CCJS489H, during which the student will complete and orally defend their honors thesis. The honors student with the best overall thesis will be awarded the Dr. Laure Brooks Honors Thesis Award.  The recipient of this award gives the student address at the departments spring commencement ceremony. Honors students may count their honors courses toward completion of the CCJS Course of Choice major curriculum requirement. Note: Only three credits of CCJS489H will fulfill the 400-level CCJS Course of Choice requirement.


Admissions Requirements:

Only declared CCJS majors will be admitted to the CCJS Honors Program.  Additional admissions requirements for the CCJS Honors Program include:

  • A cumulative GPA of at least a 3.25
  • A minimum 3.40 GPA in all CCJS major coursework
  • Satisfactory completion of CCJS 100, CCJS 105, and CCJS 200 (or approved advanced statistics course)
  • Completion of CCJS300 is suggested, but not required
  • Evidence of satisfactory writing
  • A minimum of 4 semesters remaining as of Fall 2022
  • Students should be rising Juniors

Meeting all requirements does not guarantee admission.  Only the top applicants, as determined by the Honors Director, will be admitted into the CCJS Honors Program.


How to Apply:

The application deadline for the Fall 2022 cohort is 4:00 PM on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Applicants must complete and submit the following materials:

  • The Honors Program Application
  • An unofficial transcript
  • A one page statement explaining each of the following:
    1. Why you are a suitable candidate for the CCJS Honors Program (e.g. prior research experience, ability to conduct research, participation in learning communities, internships).
    2. Why you would like to participate in the CCJS Honors Program and how participation will help you reach your career goals.
    3. Describe your research interest.  What area of criminology and criminal justice are you most interested in and why?
  • A writing sample that is approximately 3-5 pages in length related to criminology, criminal justice, or adjacent substantive topic.  The writing sample can be a portion of a larger paper or a paper on its own.
  • If a student completed either CCJS 200 or CCJS 300 pass/fail Spring 2020 - Spring 2021, they must have their instructor complete the Statement of Proficiency

All application materials should be submitted to the CCJS Undergraduate Advising Office. Applications must be submitted via email to ccjsadvising [at]