Skip to content
Search Icon
Earn A Degree In Justice Administration - Discover. Engage. Lead.

Justice Administration

About the Program

Why should you consider joining the Justice Administration program at SMSU? Because it is a broad based criminal justice program based in the liberal arts which is designed to educate students about the structure and operation of the criminal justice system. We are looking for students who are interested in making a career out of helping people so that we can prepare them to become effective change agents in their communities and in the world. We prepare students to understand how criminal justice relates to other social structures and institutions as they prepare for careers in police, courts, corrections and prevention. Students gain the tools and understanding necessary to work effectively within the current system as well as to transform it to create better justice, less crime and fewer social problems. The Justice Administration major has been certified by the Police Officer Standards and Training Board of Minnesota to be a Professional Police Officer Education Program.

Majors & Minors

For Potential Peace Officers

Are you thinking about a career as a peace officer?  You should know in Minnesota we have stopped using the title law enforcement officer. This revision was made to reflect the significant changes in peace officer education designed to lead to officers being more effective community protectors and guardians.  You also need to know that our program at SMSU has been certified by the Police Officer Standards and Training Board of Minnesota as a Professional Police Officer Education (PPOE) Program so you can go straight to a skills course when you finish your degree. Once your education and skills are complete, you will be eligible to take the law enforcement exam in Minnesota.  If you come from a different state or don’t intend to live in Minnesota, that’s ok!  Minnesota has higher standards of education for peace officers than most states so you should have no problem getting into another state after completing our requirements.  

For Current Students

Students who are interested in becoming peace officers must complete the attached document and schedule a review time with BC Franson, the PPOE Coordinator.  Please do this as soon as possible! 

Download Application Here

Criminal Justice Minor

This minor is designed as a narrow focus of the Justice Administration course work and is a great addition to a major in any of the Social Science Programs.


Scales of Justice

Career Opportunities

Are you someone who wants to help people and make a difference in the world?  If so, a major in Justice Administration is right for you!   

Here at SMSU, if you are interested in studying criminal justice, you will major in Justice Administration and take justice courses as well as courses in other disciplines. Our education encourages you to become a learner for life.  Since our faculty spent time in the field, we know you will do better if you have studied issues from multiple perspectives. That is why we believe that a liberal arts degree is the best preparation you can get for your future success in the criminal justice field. Therefore, you will be directed to take courses in other fields of study, such as psychology, sociology, political science and history to better prepare you for the field. 

As a justice major at SMSU, you will receive a broad education in the justice system, which prepares you to work in any part of the system – police, courts, corrections, prevention, re-entry and rehabilitation.
Graduates find jobs as:

  • Attorney*
  • Peace officer 
    • City Police Departments
    • County Sheriff’s Offices
    • State Agencies such as the BCA or DNR
    • Federal Agencies such as the FBI or ATF
  • Corrections or Probation Officer
  • Court Administration
  • Restorative Justice 
  • Victim Advocacy
  • Social Services
  • Residential and detention facilities – both juvenile and adult
  • Substance Use Treatment Facilities
  • Parks and Recreation Offices
  • And More!

*A degree in Justice Administration is excellent preparation for law school or for success in graduate school. 

Our Justice Administration faculty have real life experience and bring that into the classroom as real-life scenarios that help prepare you to work in the field.  You learn how to communicate with others and how to gather the details necessary to fully understand an event (mock crime scenes).  We use community members for real-life interview situations and engage in hard conversations about the injustices in the system.  You will practice engaging with people who have mental health challenges and you will learn to research and write high-quality papers.  As a Justice Administration student as SMSU, you will have opportunities for internships across the country.  You will graduate from SMSU prepared for your next step as we also spend time helping you prepare your resume and practice your interview skills.  

Your First Choice

The Justice Administration program at SMSU is student-centered. According to recent survey results, 96% of majors say, “the instructors care about students.” 100% of majors think they are getting a good education and the same percentage say they enjoy their classes

The Justice Administration program

  • takes a critical look at the criminal justice system including evidence-based assessments of what works and what doesn’t work
  • enables you to understand and appreciate different situations and problems, and to communicate across different backgrounds, circumstances and predicaments
  • improves written and oral communication skills
  • teaches you how to manage, motivate and work effectively with people from all different backgrounds and how to be effective in an organization
  • introduces cutting edge solutions and innovative programs from around the country
  • provides opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real life situations through service learning, class projects, community outreach and internships

We encourage students to double major or obtain at least one minor. Particularly marketable combinations with Justice Administration include sociology, business management,psychology, Spanish, and social work.

Clubs & Organizations

B.A.S. Administration and Management for Peace Officers

If you have an associate’s degree in policing studies and want to get a four-year degree, you can do it with this major. We will apply up to 64 previously received credits toward the completion of the 120 credits needed for your four-year degree.  As an Administration and Management major, you will take the 42 semester credit hours required for the major and select from a variety of general education offerings to round out your education.  Most of these classes are available on-line or through a synchronous Zoom option. The courses in this major have been chosen to enhance your ability to advance within the criminal justice profession of your choosing. Courses from a variety of disciplines are required, including but not limited to: Justice Administration, Management, Political Science, and Psychology.


As a Justice Administration major (or a Criminal Justice minor), one way to earn credit and valuable work experience is through an internship.  Our students have interned with the FBI, the Minnesota BCA, Highway Patrol, Department of Corrections, various city police departments, various county sheriff’s offices, victim advocacy programs, restorative justice departments, prisons, juvenile correctional facilities as well as various attorneys and court systems.

Students who are interested in getting an internship should talk to Amanda and BC at least one semester before they want to do the internship.

Contact Information

Justice Administration & Criminal Justice Program

CH 129, Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State Street
Marshall, MN 56258

GraduatesThe Justice Administration program strives to connect students with professionals from the criminal justice system. Here is Michael Quinn, author of Walking With The Devil, speaking to students about his book.

"I have been an invited speaker at some of the finest colleges in the Midwest, including Northwestern, St. Thomas, Loras, and others. The college where students presented me with the most insightful and penetrating questions...Southwest Minnesota State University. The University should be extremely proud of its staff and students. I am honored to be invited again this year!"
- Michael W Quinn, CEO,
International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau, LLP
Minneapolis, MN


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

Schedule Your Visit Today!


  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

Last Modified: 2/5/24 11:12 AM | Website Feedback