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.


  • New WSU study: Even tired cops are more hesitant to shoot black suspects

    The most explosive crisis law enforcement faces today is the allegation that rampant racial bias drives officers’ shooting decisions.

    Yet a new study by Bryan Vila, professor of criminal justice and criminology, and two of his associates in the WSU Sleep and Performance research Center concludes that officers tend not to be biased against black suspects in resorting to deadly force, even when fatigued and thus potentially more vulnerable to making angry, irrational, and impulsive decisions. 

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  • Collaborative criminology

    While Sociology 336, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, might sound like a normal college course, the class actually brings together students from the University of Idaho and Washington State University for an educational experience abroad.

    Melanie Neuilly, a professor of comparative criminal justice at WSU, thought the course was a great opportunity to take students to study criminal justice in another country. This year’s program traveled to the Netherlands for its third year at WSU and second at UI. She said in previous years the program has also traveled to London.

    “The purpose of the program is to expose students to a variety of dimensions of … » More …

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  • It’s Time To Recognize What Many Mass Murderers Share In Common

    Among researchers who work on predicting violence, domestic abuse is recognized as an important clue that a person may be a future risk to society.

    “When you are trying to predict violent recidivism, you tend to find that domestic violence is one of the strongest predictors,” said Zachary Hamilton, a WSU assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology who studies risk assessment as director of the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice.

    He cited an analysis of criminal offenders in Washington state, which found that a felony domestic violence conviction was the single greatest predictor of future violent crime.

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  • Officers’ outside work linked to fatigue

    Asking police officers if they’ve had enough sleep to safely perform their jobs is akin to asking drunks if they are capable of driving.

    “People are lousy at self-assessing themselves,” said Bryan Vila, a professor with the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and the Sleep Performance Research Center at WSU Spokane. “It turns out that the part of the brain affected by fatigue is also the self-assessment part.”

    Vila tells officers who are chronically sleep-deprived and don’t get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, “you may be driving your patrol car while just as impaired as the last person you arrested for … » More …

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