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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.


  • Heroic law officer, devoted Cougar receives alumni award

    After a bomb exploded in a WSU dorm in 1979, student resident advisor Deke Gassett (BA ’80, criminal justice and criminology) organized fundraising for the University police to acquire more protective Kevlar vests. While a drug enforcement agent just eight years later, Gassett himself was protected by a Kevlar vest, saved others’ lives, and won awards for his actions.

    For service in his law enforcement career and volunteer community work, and for his unfailing support of all things Cougar, Gregory Michael “Deke” Gassett recently was honored with the WSU Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award.

    While at WSU 1976-80, Gassett volunteered at the WSU/community crisis center, … » More …

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  • Should judges be elected by the public? Let’s break it down

    “The benefit to electing judges is giving the public more buy-in and respect for the justice system,” says David Brody, a criminal justice professor at Washington State University who has studied judicial elections. “If people lose respect for the court, it’s a major blow to the community.”

    Yet, given the issues surrounding judicial elections, Brody and other experts question whether judges should be elected. For example, information about judicial candidates is relatively sparse (compared to, say, a candidate for mayor or city council) and is not as easily obtainable.

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  • Researchers study effect of marijuana on policing

    The long-time controversy over marijuana legalization in Washington finally came to an end in 2012 when the state legislature passed Initiative 502. Four years later, WSU researchers are studying how it affected police operations.

    WSU criminal justice and criminology professor Mary Stohr will lead a $1 million three-year study beginning January 1, 2017, to research the effects that the legalization has had on law enforcement and policing. The grant, from the National Institute of Justice, will look at policing in the state and how the criminal justice organization adjusted to this policy change.

    Stohr said they are curious about how police changed their practices since … » More …

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  • Grad student finds research, speaking success

    With 10 national speaking engagements scheduled between June and February, doctoral student Amber Morczek is earning distinction for discussing difficult topics in an honest and nonthreatening manner.

    Her criminal justice and criminology dissertation at Washington State University examines the elements of rape culture within Internet pornography and its relationship to violence toward women. The connection between pornography and violence toward women is a topic most find thought-provoking, but few know how to approach.

    Morczek wants to help by creating a safe space for dialog to make change. Her engaging and educational presentations are delivered with passion and humor.

    Find out more

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