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 allows you to keep working while you build cutting-edge skills in domestic violence, criminal forensics, white-collar 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.

Course Expectations and Certificate Completion:

Degree-seeking UMass students pursuing the certificate should expect to take three 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 of the certificate, students must fill out a Certificate Eligibility Form. Questions about the certificate should call 413‑545‑4059 or send an e-mail to

Criminal Justice Certificate Requirements:


_____ Sociol 103, Sociol Problems


_____ Sociol 241, Criminology
_____ Sociol 248, Conformity and Deviance
Sociol 323, Sociology of Law
_____ 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; relevant courses not listed here can be petitioned for approval by the Sociology Chief Undergraduate Advisor. Many courses for the certificate are offered only online.

Examples include:

Sociol 242, Drugs and Society
Sociol 248, Conformity and Deviance
Sociol 293M, Intro to Human Rights
Sociol 328, Intro to Social Work
Sociol 342, Deviance and Social Order
Sociol 343, Hate Crime in America
Sociol 344, Gender Crime
Sociol 345, Juvenile Delinquency
Sociol 346, Communities and Crime
Sociol 347, Corporate Crime
Sociol 391M, Serial and Mass Murder
Sociol 392A, Race, Class, and Crime
Sociol 392J, Race and Policing
Sociol 394F, Crime and Forensics
Sociol 394S, White Collar Crime
Sociol 395A, Probation and Parole
Sociol 395K, Domestic Violence
Sociol 397D, Delinquency and Juvenile Justice
Sociol 397S, Crime and Inequality
Sociol 481, Sociology of Mental Health
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