Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Contributing to more just, equitable, and safer communities. Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

A statement in condemnation of police violence, from the faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University

June 1, 2020

 

In light of the most recent in a heartbreakingly long series of events involving police violence on communities of color, especially black women and men, the Washington State University Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology reaffirms our faculty’s commitment to principles of social justice, including that of anti-racism. As we train the next generations of criminal justice professionals, we are keenly aware of the importance of helping them develop the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be the agents of positive change the field so desperately needs. We dedicate ourselves to addressing issues of systemic racial bias through not only our teaching but also our research, with which we aim to guide reform. We, as a faculty, vow to continue the pursuit and promotion of a more just society through education, research, service.

Welcome

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology has a long rich history. In 1935, the President of then, Washington State College, Dr. Ernest O. Holland, contacted the nation’s first ever FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, for guidance in creating a program for the sole purpose of training law enforcement officers (September 18, 1935 Letter, October 3, 1935 Letter- Part 1, and October 3, 1935 Letter- Part 2). In 1943, under Dr. V.A. Leonard, the Department of Police Science was formed. Since then it has expanded beyond training police officers to touch on every aspect of the criminal justice system.

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 doctoral degree 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.

 

Undergraduate

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


Graduate

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

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

News

  • Small towns have highest risk of intimate partner violence

    Despite common perceptions that big cities have more violence, women living in small towns are most at risk of violence from current or former spouses and partners, according to a recent study by Washington State University criminologist Kathryn DuBois.

    “In criminology, we often have this urban bias. We assume big cities are the worst and paint other places as idyllic,” said DuBois, associate professor at WSU Vancouver. “We tend to think in a continuum from urban to suburban to rural, but for intimate partner violence, it’s actually the suburban areas that are the safest, and small towns that have the highest risk.”

    The National Crime … » More …

    Read Story
  • Juvenile justice system can better serve children with autism

    Amid ongoing discussions of criminal justice reform, a Washington State University professor argues in a new book that now is the time to focus on better serving children and teens on the autism spectrum who become entwined in the juvenile justice system.

    Laurie Drapela.Youth on the spectrum need greater access to mental health support staff who can provide counseling and act as advocates, writes Laurie Drapela, an associate professor of criminal justice at WSU Vancouver, and author of “Law and Neurodiversity – Youth with autism and the juvenile justice systems in Canada and the United States.”

    “There … » More …

    Read Story
  • Reform, don’t defund, Bellingham police say

    Bellingham residents spoke out Sunday, June 28, at the “Stonewall was a Riot: March to Defund the Police” event, calling for partial defunding of police departments in order to pay for other community resources in the wake of police violence against Black and Indigenous people and people of color.

    David Makin, research professor and associate professor of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University, said improving law enforcement is about starting conversations.

    “[I’m seeing this in] areas that are having honest conversations with their community,” Makin said. “Notice the emphasis. Their community. They’re having those conversations around, ‘What should police be tasked with in our … » More …

    Read Story
  • New criminal justice chair brings experience and energy to role

    An expert in comparative criminal justice and criminological theory, Melanie-Angela Neuilly began on Aug. 1 a three-year term as chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University.

    “My goal as chair is to coordinate, facilitate and catalyze faculty’s work and to build bridges between our unit and others for furthering the department and university’s land-grant mission,” Neuilly said. “Meeting the needs of our students and our communities through our research, teaching and service is all the more pressing in the midst of a pandemic and demands for social justice.”.

    Neuilly brings a broad range of strengths, experience and energy to … » More …

    Read Story