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Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology


Combining a passion for scholarship with a keen understanding of practical applications, the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers students the opportunity to learn, explore and develop in a substantive and expanding field. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology is located on three campuses of Washington State University, at Pullman, Spokane and Vancouver.

The department offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees; students may earn a minor, a bachelor of arts, a master’s degree, or a Ph.D. in criminal justice and criminology. We have degree options to suit today’s students, with our B.A. offered both on campus and online. With groundbreaking research, renowned professors, and students who are making a difference, WSU is an exciting place to pursue your education.

criminal justice undergrad studentsUndergraduate

Undergraduates benefit from a policy-focused curriculum that prepares them both for careers and future study, learning from leaders in the field.

criminal justice faculty and grad studentGraduate

Graduate students work closely with faculty, pursuing a more comprehensive understanding of the field of criminal justice and developing as scholars and researchers.

Meet our faculty

criminal justice faculty

Department faculty have a wide range of research and teaching interests, and the department is nationally and internationally recognized for its scholarship.


  • Spokane judges have a new tool to decide whether the right people are in jail

    Judges in Spokane County will soon have an easier time deciding whether to send people to jail before trial. The city and county court systems are rolling out a new risk assessment tool designed to free up space in the aging jail by making sure people aren’t held there simply because they’re too poor to pay a low-cost bond.

    The tool called Spokane Assessment for Evaluation of Risk, or SAFER, was developed by Washington State University criminal justice professor Zach Hamilton, who looked at 13,000 Spokane County cases to determine which factors were correlated with greater risk.

    “One of the hardest jobs we do as … » More …

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  • WSU’s online bachelor’s degree program earns high ranking

    Washington State University has again ranked highly in a list of the best online bachelor’s degree programs in the country. In U.S. News & World Report’s ranking, WSU came in 15th among all bachelor’s programs in the U.S. Last year, it ranked 34th.

    Four of the six most popular majors for WSU online students are in the College of Arts and Sciences: social sciences, psychology, criminal justice, and political science. Last fall, more than 2,000 undergraduate students, and nearly 1,000 graduate students, were enrolled.

    The university plans to add three online degrees this summer, including a bachelor of science … » More …

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  • New sheriff’s office training course is first of its kind nationally

    The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has achieved the National Certification Program Seal of Excellence from the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement for a new training course, Interaction and Perception.

    The first course of its kind nationally, Interaction and Perception was developed by Bryan Vila, professor of criminology and criminal, and his team at Washington State University with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. The goal was to make personnel into “good strangers” who can appropriately assess a situation and adapt in order to socially engage in any given circumstance.

    Spokane Sherriff’s training will combine two programs into one: Strategic Interaction and Implicit … » More …

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  • Battling The Bias: WSU Researchers Develop New Police Simulator Training

    Researchers at WSU Spokane have analyzed well over 100 police deadly force encounters captured on dash cam video or observed in a simulator. That academic research has now turned in a “counter bias” training program.

    The course grew out of a series of attention-getting papers on the dynamics of deadly police encounters including racial factors published by Professor Lois James and colleagues, including Bryan Vila, recently retired professor of criminal justice and criminology.

    “We have two kinds of major findings from our research in the lab,” James said. “One is that officers when you hook them up neurophysiologically — and also when you test them … » More …

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