The Criminal Justice Certificate Program (CJCP) includes an interdisciplinary sequence of classes and an internship, for students interested in the American criminal and juvenile justice systems. Certificate students select courses in legal studies and from the departments of Sociology, Political Science, Social Work, Psychology, Gender and Women's Studies, Anthropology, History, Human Development and Family Studies, Rehabilitation Psychology, Integrated Liberal Studies, and Counseling Psychology. Students gain a broad understanding of the philosophy, theories, and operation of the adult and juvenile justice systems.

How to Get in

Any undergraduate regardless of major or college affiliation may earn this certificate. Students interested in earning a certificate in criminal justice must declare the certificate with the Criminal Justice advisor. Students are encouraged to declare the certificate as early as possible within their college careers. Field work/internship/research seminar courses require advanced planning and  authorization by the administering program.


To earn a criminal justice certificate, a student must complete all requirements for a bachelor's degree, requirements of the declared major(s), and graduate from UW–Madison. In addition, students must take all required certificate courses for a letter grade versus pass/fail. It is not necessary to take classes in any particular sequence; however, individual courses may have prerequisites.

Requirements for the Certificate

The certificate requires a minimum of six courses and a minimum of 14 credits. The courses must be distributed as follows:

Complete one course from each of the six defined Groups
Of the six courses, one course should be related to race and justice studies.

Group 1—Criminal Justice System

LEGAL ST/​SOC  131 Criminal Justice in America3-4

Group 2—Theories of Crime and Deviant Behavior

SOC 421 Processes of Deviant Behavior3-4
SOC 441 Criminology3-4
SOC 446 Juvenile Delinquency3-4
PSYCH 510 Critical Issues in Child Psychopathology4
PSYCH 526 The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives4
SOC WORK 612 Psychopathology in Generalist Social Work Practice2
SOC WORK 643 Social Work and Delinquency2-3

Group 3—Crime and Justice/Operations of the Justice System

HISTORY/LEGAL ST 426 The History of Punishment3-4
LEGAL ST/​GEN&WS/​SOC  425 Crime, Gender and Justice3
LEGAL ST 435 Civil Rights: Policing, Prisons, Voting, Housing, Employment3
LEGAL ST/​CHICLA/​SOC  440 Ethnicity, Race, and Justice3-4
LEGAL ST/​L I S  460 Surveillance, Privacy, and Police Powers3
POLI SCI 314 Criminal Law and Justice3-4
PSYCH 401 Psychology, Law, and Social Policy3

Group 4—Broader Psycho/Socio/Economic Processes Related to Criminal Justice

AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  625 Gender, Race and the Civil Rights Movement3
ANTHRO 448 Anthropology of Law3
HISTORY/​ED POL  143 History of Race and Inequality in Urban America3
HISTORY/LEGAL ST 459 Rule of Law: Philosophical and Historical Models3-4
HDFS 474 Racial Ethnic Families in the U.S.3
LEGAL ST/​RP & SE  135 Disability and the Criminal Justice System3
LEGAL ST 400 Topics in Legal Studies and the Social Sciences3-4
LEGAL ST 409 Human Rights in Law and Society3
LEGAL ST/GEN&WS 422 Women and the Law3
LEGAL ST/​CHICLA/​SOC  443 Immigration, Crime, and Enforcement3-4
LEGAL ST 444 Law in Action3
LEGAL ST 450 Topics in Legal Studies and the Humanities3
LEGAL ST/​HISTORY  477 History of Forensic Science3
LEGAL ST/SOC 641 Sociology of Law3-4
POLI SCI 412 The American Constitution: Rights and Civil Liberties4
PSYCH 405 Adult Psychopathology3-4
SOC/​AMER IND/​C&E SOC  578 Poverty and Place3
SOC 633 Social Stratification3
SOC WORK 420 Poverty and Social Welfare3
SOC WORK 453 Substance Use Disorders3
SOC WORK 462 Child Welfare3
SOC WORK 523 Family Violence3
SOC WORK 627 Sex Trafficking and Sex Trading2
SOC WORK 640 Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice in Social Work3
SOC WORK 646 Child Abuse and Neglect2

Group 5—Ethnography–Internship Prep

COM ARTS 371 Communication and Conflict Resolution3
COM ARTS 373 Intercultural Communication & Rhetoric3
COM ARTS 565 Communication and Interethnic Behavior3
COUN PSY 225 Intersectionalities, Self ­Awareness, and Social Actions for Social Change3
COUN PSY 237 Mental Health, Self-Awareness, and Social Justice: Working in Diverse Communities3
COUN PSY 325 Seminar: Students Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED)3-4
COUN PSY 650 Theory and Practice in Interviewing3
COUN PSY 655 Clinical Communication Skills3
HISTORY 300 History at Work: Professional Skills of the Major1-2
INTER-HE 202 SoHE Career & Leadership Development1
INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative1
INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers3
POLI SCI 316 Careers in Political Science1
SOC 205 Intercultural Dialogues3
SOC WORK 441 Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups3

Group 6—Fieldwork/Internship/Research Seminar

The primary internship course administered by our program is LEGAL ST/​SOC  694 The course requires a concurrent internship. To be eligible for the course, students complete a pre-internship placement process the semester prior to the internship. The pre-internship process begins with a required orientation.

The other listed internship and research opportunities are administered by other programs. Some may be limited to students who are declared in those specific programs. All require advance lead time and authorization for enrollment by the specific program.

CSCS 601 Internship1-6
GEN&WS 660 Internship in Gender and Women's Studies3
LEGAL ST 473 Health Impacts of Unmet Social Needs3
LEGAL ST/​SOC  694 Criminal Justice Field Observation3
HDFS 592 Research Experience in Human Development and Family Studies1-3
HDFS 601 Internship1-8
POLI SCI 315 Legislative Internship3
POLI SCI 402 Wisconsin in Washington Internship Course4
PUB AFFR 327 Administrative Internship3
RP & SE 630 Internship in Rehabilitation or Special Education2-6
SOC 320 Research Practicum in Sociology1-3
SOC WORK 400 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar I2-6

 Race and Justice Studies

At least one course in the certificate must have substantial content dealing with race and justice studies. For this requirement, a course can count both for purposes of meeting a Group requirement and the Race and Justice Studies requirement. The following courses fulfill the Race and Justice Studies requirement.

AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  625 Gender, Race and the Civil Rights Movement3
HDFS 474 Racial Ethnic Families in the U.S.3
LEGAL ST 435 Civil Rights: Policing, Prisons, Voting, Housing, Employment3
LEGAL ST/​CHICLA/​SOC  440 Ethnicity, Race, and Justice3-4
LEGAL ST/​CHICLA/​SOC  443 Immigration, Crime, and Enforcement3-4
SOC WORK 420 Poverty and Social Welfare3
SOC WORK 640 Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice in Social Work3
SOC/​AMER IND/​C&E SOC  578 Poverty and Place3
SOC 633 Social Stratification3


Students can take additional courses from any category as needed to meet the 14 credit minimum.

Residence and Quality of Work

  • At least ​7 certificate credits must be completed in residence
  • ​Minimum 2.000 GPA on all certificate courses.

Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  1. To develop an appreciation for how the criminal justice system works and how it affects American society as a whole.
  2. To develop and improve critical thinking and analytics in written and oral communication skills.
  3. To develop an appreciation of mental health and substance abuse as they intersect with the criminal justice system.
  4. To develop skills transferable to future professional, community and educational pursuits.

Advising and Careers

Advising Appointments: Please Schedule via Starfish

  1. Log in to your MyUW.
  2. Open the Starfish app (if you do not see it, you can begin by searching for it in MyUW and adding it to your dashboard).
  3. Within the Starfish app, select Martine Delannay or Micha Schwab and find an available date and time.

More help on using Starfish can be found here: https://advising.wisc.edu/facstaff/starfish/starfish-student-resources/

If you are not a UW student, please email us at cjcp@ssc.wisc.edu to schedule a meeting.


CJCP graduates have secured jobs in police departments, district attorneys' offices, public defenders' offices, juvenile group homes, adult halfway houses, public schools, and prisons. They have been involved in restitution programs, deferred prosecution alternatives, victim–witness projects, and home detention/electronic monitoring experiments. The options are numerous and interesting. Many CJCP students pursue a degree in law or attend graduate school in a related field.

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science provides students with a wide range of career-related services.

L&S Career Resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

Wisconsin Experience

All students complete an intensive internship with an agency or organization related to the criminal and juvenile justice fields. Involvement in the CJCP provides a solid educational foundation in criminal justice. It introduces students to basic concepts about our justice system and the individuals it serves. It encourages exploration of critical issues facing the system today and fosters investigation into realistic solutions.