Law, Criminal Justice, and Society (BA)

Are you considering law school or graduate study in the social sciences after Pitt? Are you interested in pursuing a career in one of the many criminal justice professions or advocacy organizations? The Law, Criminal Justice, and Society (LCJS) major examines the workings of the criminal justice system in the broader context of society and the legal system. A core curriculum fosters comprehension and critical analysis of the legal system, criminological theory, criminal justice institutions, criminal law, and social inequality. Students also will complete six credits of professional skills and a capstone course on ethics in criminal justice. The LCJS major equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue advanced degrees in law and social science, and to succeed as professionals and advocates in the justice-oriented professions and organizations that serve American society’s diverse and dynamic communities. This major is offered jointly between the Dietrich School and the College of General Studies.

Students completing this major will:

  • examine the major institutions of the criminal justice system, and situate the workings of these institutions in a broader legal, social, and historical context;
  • develop knowledge and legal reasoning skills in criminal law;
  • examine the law’s conflicting role in securing social order and security, on the one hand, and in creating and reinforcing social inequality on the other; and,
  • develop basic professional knowledge and demonstrate ethical reasoning in preparation for being positive and successful contributors to law and justice-oriented career fields as professionals and/or public policy advocates.

Flexible Format

Many CGS programs offer a blend of face-to-face and flexible online class formats, all designed to meet our students' needs and schedule constraints. CGS online offerings are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid) on program website.

Major Requirements

A minimum total of 120 credits is required for the Bachelor of Arts degree. Of this total, the LCJS major consists of 36 credits of core and specialization courses. See our General Education program page for the remaining degree requirements. The 36 LCJS major credits are distributed as follows.

  • Foundations (6 credits)
  • Core Areas (15 credits)
  • Electives (6 credits)
  • Professional Skills (6 credits)
  • Capstone (3 credits)

Foundations (6 credits)

Both of the following courses are required.

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 0100 / ADMJ 0100 Introduction to Law, Criminal Justice, and Society 3
LCJS 0200 / LEGLST 0200 Race, Class, Gender, and the Law 3

Core (15 credits)

Select courses according to the guidelines stated. Course selections must comprise a total of at least 15 credits.

Theories of Crime

Choose one of the following courses.

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1100 / ADMJ 0600 Criminology 3
LCJS 1110 / ADMJ 1265 Criminological Theory (Web) 3

Criminal Law

Choose one of the following courses.

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1200 / ADMJ 1400 / LEGLST 1140 Criminal Law (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1210 / ADMJ 1410 / LEGLST 1141 Criminal Procedure (F2F and Web) 3

Power, Inequality, and Social Change

Choose two of the following courses.

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1300 / LEGLST 1210 / PS 1213 Law and Politics (Hybrid) 3
LCJS 1310 / ADMJ 1220 or SOC 0471 Law and Deviance (F2F and Web) or Deviance and Social Control 3
LCJS 1320 / LEGLST 1340 or PS 1201 Civil Rights Law or Constitution and Civil Liberties 3
LCJS 1330 / LEGLST 1355 Emerging Issues in Legal and Social Policy 3
LCJS 1340 / LEGLST 1155 Law and Social Change 3
AFRCNA 1522 Sex and Racism 3
AFRCNA 1535 Dimensions of Racism 3
HIST 0671 African American History since 1865 3
HIST 1632 The Civil Rights Movement 3
SOC 0432 Wealth and Power 3
SOC 0434 Political Sociology 3
URBNST 1612 Social Justice and the City 3

Criminal Justice Institutions

Choose one of the following courses.

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1400 / ADMJ 0500 The System of Criminal Justice (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1410 / ADMJ 1200 Law Enforcement and Policing (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1420 / ADMJ 1300 Corrections (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1430 / ADMJ 1225 The Juvenile Justice Process (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1440 / ADMJ 1100 Criminal Investigations (F2F and Web) 3
URBNST 0400 Crime, Punishment, Justice, Reintegration 3

Electives (6 credits)

Choose two courses from list A or one course from each list A and B. Please keep in mind that course selections must comprise a total of at least six credits.

List A

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1500 / ADMJ 1115 Criminalistics (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1501 / ADMJ 1118 Criminalistics Lab 1
LCJS 1510 / LEGLST 1230 Psychology and the Law (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1520 / ADMJ 1234 Cybercrime (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1521 / ADMJ 1238 Cybersecurity, the Law, and Money Laundering (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1530 / ADMJ 1235 Organized Crime 3
LCJS 1531 / ADMJ 1236 International Organized Crime (Web) 3
LCJS 1540 / ADMJ 1230 White Collar Crime 3
LCJS 1550 / ADMJ 1242 Gender, Race, Class, and Criminal Justice (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1560 / ADMJ 1350 Probation and Parole 3
LCJS 1561 / ADMJ 1210 Juvenile Delinquency 3
LCJS 1570 / ADMJ 1425 / PUBSRV 1425 Principles of Homeland Security 3
LCJS 1571 / ADMJ 1245 Terrorism 3
LCJS 1572 / ADMJ 1205 Introduction to Police Management 3
LCJS 1580 / LEGLST 0080 The Legal System (F2F and Web) 3
LCJS 1581 / LEGLST 1327 International Law 3
LCJS 1582 / LEGLST 0020 Public Law and Moral Reasoning 3
LCJS 1583 / LEGLST 1315 Sex, Law, and Marriage 3
LCJS 1584 / LEGLST 1152 / PUBSRV 1300 Legal Issues in Public Service 3
LCJS 1586 / LEGLST 1325 Consumer Law 3
LCJS 1590 / ADMJ 1450 Special Topics in Law and Criminal Justice 3
LCJS 1599 / ADMJ 1901 / LEGLST 1901 Independent Study 3
ADMJ 1495 Comparative Justice in Ireland (Summer Study Abroad, UP Bradford) 3
PPEP course Any Pitt Prison Education Project (PPEP) course; codes and topics vary 3 to 6
LCJS Any LCJS course included in this major and not used to fulfill any other major requirement . 3 to 6

List B

Catalog Number Title Credits
HIST 0600 United States History to 1877 3
HIST 0601 United States 1865-Present 3
HIST 0633 20th Century African American Women’s History 3
HIST 0670 African-American History to 1877 3
HIST 1062 Human Rights in World History 3
HIST 1640 American Childhoods: Race, Gender and Citizenship 3
HIST 1699 History of Black Pittsburgh 3
PS 1261 American Public Policy 3
PS 1675 Politics of Human Rights 3
PSY 0205 Psychopathology (F2F and Web) 3
PUBSRV 1305 Health, Law, and Ethics (Web) 3
PUBSRV 1455 Law, Ethics, and Public Policy in Mass Media (Hybrid, available as of Fall 2021) 3
ENGLIT 0365 Imagining Social Justice 3
URBNST 0080 Introduction to Urban Studies 3
Non-LCJS Any course with a non-LCJS subject code that is included in this major and not used to fulfill any other major requirement. 3

Professional Skills (6 credits)

Choose at least one course from each category. Course selections must comprise a total of at least six credits.

Research/Practical Skills Course

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1600 / ADMJ 1900
Pre-Service Internship* (Hybrid) 
Note: Can be taken for up to six credits, and credits four through six can be applied to the Elective - List A requirement.
LCJS 1610 Data Analysis in Criminal Justice 3
LCJS 1620 / LEGLST 1410 Introduction to Legal Research (Web) 3
ENGCMP 0450 Research Writing 3
SOC 0230 Social Research Methods 3
PS 0700 Research Methods in Political Science 3
PSY 0036
Research Methods Lecture
Note: May be restricted to Psychology majors.
URBNST 1102 Introduction to GIS 3
URBNST 1104 Applied GIS 3


Professional or Public-Oriented Writing Course

Catalog Number Title Credits
ENGCMP 0401 Written Professional Communication: Topics in Diversity 3
ENGCMP 0410 Writing in the Legal Professions  3
ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public  3
ENGCMP 0521 Writing with Data  3
ENGCMP 0560 Writing Arguments  3
ENGCMP 0641 Writing for Change  3
ENGCMP 1099 Language of Policy and Power: Topics in Diversity  3
ENGCMP 1400 Grant Writing for Nonprofits (F2F and Web)  3

Capstone (3 credits)

Catalog Number Title Credits
LCJS 1700 Ethics in Criminal Justice (Hybrid) 3

Grade Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 in courses for the LCJS major is required for graduation.

Satisfactory/No Credit Option

Students may apply up to six credits of coursework taken on an S/NC basis to the LCJS major; however, the two foundations courses and the capstone must be taken for a letter grade. Student may apply up to nine credits if at least three of those credits are earned as part of a Study Abroad course that applies toward the major.