About the Department of Criminal Justice

Temple University offers a bachelors, masters, and doctorate in criminal justice and is nationally regarded for criminal justice research. Aside from its mission to provide academic instruction and conduct scholarly research, the University has been involved in the training of criminal justice professionals for the last forty years.


Temple first offered a certificate program in police science as early as 1960 and later an associate degree in police science through the Temple University Community College. The certificate program was comprised of sixteen credits of academic courses which could be taken as a non-matriculated, part-time evening student, while the associate degree required matriculation. When the community college closed in 1968, funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) enabled the police science program to move to Temple University's Main campus where the program began to focus more on the criminal justice system - a relatively new concept for the time.


In 1978 the University closed both the certificate and associate degree programs and founded the Department of Criminal Justice, as it is known today. The first chair of the new department was Professor John Goldkamp, who currently serves as department chair. The University approved the granting of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and began the process of locating this department within a regular college. The LEAA funding had proved immensely successful, and the original associate degree program had grown to over 700 majors. The need for a four year degree was evident. In 1984, after many years of discussions and negotiations, the Department of Criminal Justice became a part of the College of Liberal Arts and Temple University authorized the initiation of a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. The next decade would see the approval of a doctoral degree program in criminal justice as well.


The law enforcement training function of the department has developed as an independent yet integrated strand of the department, as has become known as the Criminal Justice Training Programs (CJTP) of the Department of Criminal Justice. Since the mid-1980s Temple University has been the sole provider of all state curricula developed for the continuing education of deputy sheriffs in Pennsylvania, and the Temple University Police Academy was not only one of the original police academies in the state, but also predated the Commonwealth's initiation of statewide academy certification by a number of years.


The department had continued a tradition of quality teaching that has been in existence for over 25 years. Over the years, instructors in the Criminal Justice program have mainly come from our respected faculty, but the department has also sought to introduce students to leading practitioner in the field. Past and current instructors in the program have included Associate Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Robert N.C. Nix, Jr. and a number of senior police officers from the Philadelphia region.


Criminal Justice education for students at both the Main and Ambler campus continues to grow in popularity. While always a popular program, the department now attracts in excess of 700 majors, and this number does not include double majors whose first major is not criminal justice.


The department continues to innovate in the area of teaching. For example, the department is the original home of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, a semester-long course conducted inside Pennsylvania's prisons and jails that aims to foster dialogue between college students and incarcerated individuals. This program has achieve local and national recognition as a teaching innovation. In addition, the graduate program is well-known in the US and has over 40 students across the Masters and PhD programs, with recent average GRE scores of 1230.


A list of publications from our prolific faculty can be found here.


Our thanks to Jon Clark for his assistance with these details.