University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Sociology



Criminal Justice Certificate

For more than three decades, the nationally-ranked Sociology Department at UMass Amherst, through its Criminal Justice (CJ) Certificate, has taken pride in providing the best and broadest traditional liberal arts education to students. The demand for public safety and security professionals with superior education and training has never been greater.

Additionally, in partnership with Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), the certificate offers distance learning courses that can be taken online anywhere in the world and all year round. Our students therefore have a wider choice of courses than ever before. Our innovative online certificate lets you keep working while you build cutting-edge skills in domestic violence, cyber crime, criminal forensics, international organized crime and other specialties tailored to your career objectives.

Our courses are taught by experienced UMass and adjunct faculty—many of whom are nationally and internationally recognized experts engaged in cutting-edge research and professional experience.

Gain a solid foundation in criminal justice—and/or valuable credit toward your Bachelor's degree—as you prepare for positions in the judiciary, corrections, policing, homeland security, victim services, and social services fields through this flexible program that draws upon the resources of UMass Amherst's nationally ranked Department of Sociology.

Who the certificate is for:

The CJ Certificate attracts students planning or continuing careers in the criminal justice system—from law enforcement to probation, courts, or corrections. Our graduates and certificate holders have served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Federal government, and other agencies as police officers, probation or parole officers, special agents, paralegals, criminal defense lawyers, and district attorneys.


Applications are available online, via email (, calling (413) 545-4059, or by stopping by Thompson 712. Please note for University of Massachusetts matriculated, degree-seeking students, applications are only accepted beginning the day after the end of the current semester's add/drop deadline through the 6th Friday after the add/drop deadline. Degree-seeking UMass students admitted into the program should expect to take 3 or more of the required courses online through Continuing and Professional Education.

Certificate students not matriculated at the University of Massachusetts normally take all of their courses online through CPE. Upon completion students must fill out a Completion Form and submit an unofficial transcription.

Criminal Justice certificate course:


_____ Sociol 103, Sociol Problems


_____ Sociol 241, Criminology
_____ Sociol 342, Deviance and Social Order
Sociol 323, Sociology of Law
Sociol 391D, Conformity and Deviance
_____ Three upper-level (200+) Sociology / CJ courses, one of which may be taken in a department other than Sociology and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Chief Undergraduate Advisor. Courses offered vary by semester; most are offered only online.

Examples include:
Sociol 242, Drugs and Society
Sociol 343, Hate Crime
Sociol 344, Gender Crime
Sociol 345, Juvenile Delinquency
Sociol 346, Communities Crime
Sociol 347, Corporate Crime
Sociol 391M, Serial Mass Murder
Sociol 392J, Race and Policing
Sociol 394F, Crime and Forensics
Sociol 394S, White Collar Crime
Sociol 395A, Probation and Parole
Sociol 397D, Delinquency and Juvenile Justice
Sociol 497C, Survey of Criminal Justice Fields
One of the courses below can be substituted for a Sociology / CJ course:
Legal 250, Introduction to Legal Studies
Legal 333, Law and Culture in America
Polsci 163, Introduction to Civil Liberties
Polsci 360, Constitutional Law
Psych 355, Adolescent Psychology
Psych 380, Abnormal Psychology


Department of Sociology • Thompson Hall • University of Massachusetts–Amherst, MA 01003