The Benefit of Double Majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology

Published: Thursday, August 4, 2016

criminal justice

Thomas students can double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology and still graduate in four years.

Psychology professor Dale Dickson says the two majors complement each other well, and combining the two just makes sense.

“Psychology is all about understanding human behavior, thoughts and emotions while criminal justice is about protecting and serving people. Each field is enhanced by knowledge gained from the other,” says Dickson.

“For instance police officers can use the knowledge base from social psychology to more effectively control crowds,” says Dickson. “On the flip side, a counselor or crisis worker can use the knowledge base in criminal justice to better assist individuals who may be the victim of abuse.”

Dickson says the complementing of the two fields is especially important as those with mental illness seem more likely to be victimized.

“While mass murderers who are thought to be mentally impaired dominate today’s headlines, the truth of the matter is that the mentally ill are far more likely (compared to the mentally sound) to be victims of crime.”

For some students, double-majoring can be difficult because it is a lot more work; however, Thomas administration and faculty have crafted a course template to ensure that students can still graduate in four years.

A student who chooses to double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology will be required to complete 120 credit hours of courses, which allows them to complete their dual degree in four years and for some, three and a half years.

“The double major provides the graduate with a leg up on the competition in the job market and when applying to Grad School or Law School,” said Criminal Justice instructor Steve Dyer. “It is especially important for students seeking positions with federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, CIA, Secret Service, Border Patrol, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service because their recruiting process looks for cross-disciplinary experience.”

Dyer says the double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Thomas College is unique because it provides a student the opportunity to complete two Bachelor’s degree programs in the same amount of time it would take to complete a single degree program.

“This opportunity is unique to Thomas College. Other colleges in the state offer the double major, but the student must be willing to take a fifth year of undergraduate studies to complete the 150-plus credit hours of their double major,” he said.

Dickson said students who major in both are able to bring material from both to classes and make connections.

“I think a student who has completed some criminal justice classes are better able to understand and apply what is being taught in a psychology class. I have also heard similar comments from my criminal justice colleagues. They talk about how my psychology students tend to bring up psychological theories to better understand and explain the behaviors being discussed in criminal justice classes. I don’t think enough can be said for the complementary nature of the two fields for students who are interested in both.”

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