The criminal justice major prepares students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, the legal system, juvenile justice, private security or for continuing to graduate or law school. Graduates from our criminal justice program have worked for organizations like the Cedar Rapids Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Linn County Sheriff, Anamosa State Penitentiary, Sixth Judicial District Department of Corrections, and many more, forging ahead in careers built on the foundation of a Mount Mercy education.
Students are engaged by expert faculty with a variety of hands-on learning experiences that challenge them to apply classroom techniques to real-world scenarios. Some students visit the Child Protection Center where forensic interviews are taken, others tour the Anamosa State Penitentiary, and some view real autopsy photos and analyze a mock crime scene.
Our criminal justice majors gain real world experience through internship opportunities in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area. Past internship opportunities have included local police and sheriff’s offices, U.S. Marshal Office, Anamosa Men’s State Prison, Linn County Juvenile Detention Center, among many others.
Students are challenged to conduct research in a variety of classes including senior thesis, and some present their work at Mount Mercy’s annual Scholarship Festival. Over the past few years, students have presented research on topics such as gun control, length of court proceedings, and white-collar crime.
A broader perspective can be achieved through a unique partnership between Mount Mercy University and Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, England which offers students an opportunity to study criminal justice for a semester in England.
Not only does volunteer work and community service benefit the community and enrich students' lives, but it often provides an opportunity for criminal justice students to explore internship and career opportunities. The Cedar Rapids area offers many opportunities for volunteering, especially related to corrections and work with youth.
The student-led Criminal Justice Club is open to all majors, and gives criminal justice students an opportunity to share their love of the field with peers and friends. In the past, the club has sponsored a blood drive, brought guest speakers to campus, and toured criminal justice-related facilities in the community.
Alpha Phi Sigma (National Criminal Justice Honor Society)
Alpha Phi Sigma is the nationally recognized honor society for students in the field of criminal justice science. Students must have a declared major or minor in criminal justice; have completed three full time semesters or equivalent; must maintain at least a 3.0 overall GPA on a scale of 4.0 and a 3.2 GPA in their criminal justice courses. The student must also have completed a minimum of 4 courses within the criminal justice field. A letter of good character from the criminal justice department faculty is also required. Contact Chad Loes for more details.
Criminal Justice Awards
Each year the faculty in the criminal justice program select a student(s) to receive the Outstanding Criminal Justice Student Award at the May Honors Convocation. This award is presented to a graduating student who has excelled academically and contributed overall to the criminal justice program at Mount Mercy. In addition to recognition at this ceremony, the student's name is engraved and placed on the permanent plaque located between 223 and 224 Donnelly.