Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 21, 2024
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Law, Criminal Justice, and Society, BA

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Law, Criminal Justice, and Society

Are you considering law school or graduate study in the social sciences after Pitt? Are you interested in pursuing a career in one of the many criminal justice professions or advocacy organizations? The Law, Criminal Justice, and Society (LCJS) major examines the workings of the criminal justice system in the broader context of society and the legal system. A core curriculum fosters comprehension and critical analysis of the legal system, criminological theory, criminal justice institutions, criminal law, and social inequality. Students also will complete six credits of professional skills and a capstone course on ethics in criminal justice. The LCJS major equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue advanced degrees in law and social science, and to succeed as professionals and advocates in the justice-oriented professions and organizations that serve American society’s diverse and dynamic communities. This major is offered jointly between the Dietrich School and the College of General Studies.

Students completing this major will:

  • examine the major institutions of the criminal justice system, and situate the workings of these institutions in a broader legal, social, and historical context;
  • develop knowledge and legal reasoning skills in criminal law;
  • examine the law’s conflicting role in securing social order and security, on the one hand, and in creating and reinforcing social inequality on the other; and,
  • develop basic professional knowledge and demonstrate ethical reasoning in preparation for being positive and successful contributors to law and justice-oriented career fields as professionals and/or public policy advocates.

This major requires 36 credits for completion, which are distributed as follows.

  • Foundations - 6credits
  • Core areas - 15 credits
  • Electives - 6credits
  • Professional skills - 6credits
  • Capstone - 3credits

Except as noted, all courses are 3-credit courses.


Both of the following courses are required.


Select courses according to the guidelines stated. Course selections must comprise a total of at least 15 credits.

Theories of Crime

Choose one of the following courses.

Criminal Law

Select one of the following courses.

Criminal Justice Institutions

Select one of the following courses.

Elective courses

Select two courses from list A or one course from each list A and list B. Please keep in mind that course selections must comprise a total of at least 6 credits.

List A

Professional Skills

Select at least one course from each category. Course selections must comprise a total of at least 6 credits.

Writing course

Students must complete at least one W-course in the major. LCJS 1700 - ETHICS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE (CAPSTONE)  will fulfill this requirement.

Additional information

Grade Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 in courses for the LCJS major is required for graduation.

Satisfactory/No Credit option

Students may apply up to six credits of coursework taken on an S/NC basis to the LCJS major. Student may apply up to nine credits if three of those credits are earned as part of a Study Abroad course that applies toward the major.

Transfer credits for Police Academy Certification

Students may receive up to 15 transfer credits for completion of Pennsylvania Municipal Police Academy Act 120 or state police cadet training. Certification course work is equivalent to the Core Area requirements for Criminal Law (3 credits) and Criminal Justice Institutions (3 credits); two major electives (6 credits); and LCJS 1600 Pre-Service internship, which fulfills the Research/Practical Skills Course (3 credits) requirement in the Professional Skills area.


Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation