Crime and Justice

Our minor in Crime and Justice is designed to help students interested in law enforcement, legal careers, or restorative justice prepare themselves to be successful professionally while contributing to thoughtful, progressive justice reform in their communities.  The minor provides a grounding in the theoretical and legal aspects of justice as well as innovative opportunities for gaining hands on experience.  Students who pair a minor in Crime and Justice with a major in the social sciences (such as Psychology, Political Science, or Sociology & Anthropology) or any of our other strong degree programs will find themselves well-prepared for a meaningful, challenging career in one of the many diverse fields related to justice.
The field of criminal justice has perhaps never been more in need of thoughtful, self-critical college graduates with an ability to think structurally, analyze and evaluate data in all forms, and make informed and ethical judgments about basic fairness and human rights.  Whether you are planning to enter the field of law enforcement or simply interested in adding a minor that provides a critical look at the justice system, courses in our Crime and Justice minor will expose you to the larger legal, social, and ethical issues at play in providing justice.

Our faculty’s commitment to inviting students to engage in critical thinking and deep learning, as well as the vast array of experience and opportunities afforded by our location, help us encourage students to consider the human impact of law enforcement, the justice system, and the relationship of both to social justice.  

Core Requirements: Take at least two of these three courses

  • PO 338 - Criminal Justice
  • PS 320 - Psychology and Law
  • SO 218 - Deviance, Norms, and Social Control

Electives: Take courses totaling 12 credits from the following list (or a third “Core” course + 8 credits) 

  • EM 101 - Fundamentals of Emergency Management (Half Course)
  • EM 102 - Emergency Management and Government (Half Course)
  • EM 201 - Emergency Management Independent Study (Half Course)
  • EM 210 - Emergency Management Exercise Capstone (Half Course)
  • MJD 213 - Media Law & Ethics
  • PJ 205 - Theories of Conflict Resolution
  • PO 330 - Capital Punishment in America
  • PO 338 - Criminal Justice (if not already taken)
  • PO 350 - State Violence and Justice
  • PS 256 - Abnormal Psychology
  • PS 310 - Drugs and Behavior
  • PS 320 - Psychology and Law (if not already taken)
  • SO 106 - Social Problems
  • SO 218 - Deviance, Norms, and Social Control (if not already taken)
  • SO 221 - Race and Ethnic Relations 
  • SO 318 - Restorative Justice
  • SO/PO/PS 499 - Internship

David Boynton, PhD

Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology
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B.A., Ph.D. in Psychology, University of Maine
Postdoctoral Training in Quantitative Methods, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Areas of Expertise:

Cognitive psychology, with a specialization in judgment and decision making

Courses I Teach:

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology and Law
  • History and Issues
  • Research Methods
  • Positive Psychology

My Saint Michael's:

It was evident from the day I stepped on campus for the first time that Saint Michael’s College students, faculty, and staff are deeply committed to the values of respect for others, care, and excellence. Our students are smart, engaging, and thoughtful, and our instructors are truly top-notch – devoted to providing quality education and, most important, to getting to know and understand their students. Such reciprocity produces a unique and transformational learning environment for students and faculty alike. It's a great place to be.

Robert Brenneman, PhD

Associate Professor of Sociology, Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair

Contact Professor Brenneman

Saint Edmund's Hall 241
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Notre Dame
B.A. Eastern Mennonite University 

Courses I Teach:

  • A special topics course titled "God, Gangs, and Globalization"
  • Deviance, Norms, and Social Control
  • Introductory Sociology
  • Social Problems
  • Social Theory


John Hughes, PhD

Professor of Political Science

Contact Professor Hughes

Saint Edmund's Hall 346
Box 164
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M.A., Ph.D. New School for Social Research
B.A. William Paterson College of New Jersey

Areas of Expertise:

American Constitutionalism, criminal justice, international terrorism

Courses I Teach:

  • American Constitutional Law
  • American National Politics
  • Civil Liberties
  • Criminal Justice
  • Senior Seminar: War on Terrorism, Capital Punishment


We strongly recommend completion of an internship for all minors, but especially for those interested in a career in law enforcement or restorative justice.  In the past, students have completed internships at regional organizations including the Winooski Community Justice Center, Vermonters for Justice Reform, Burlington Police Department, Vermont State Police, and the Chittenden County Prosecutor’s Office.  Students can also learn about Vermont’s pioneering restorative justice system by way of our links to the Vermont Department of Corrections Restorative Justice programs and our many contacts with the Community Justice Centers.

Emergency Management

Students interested in law enforcement careers can supplement the Crime and Justice minor with a certification in Emergency Management.  The college offers a four course sequence in Emergency Management that allows students to earn a FEMA Professional Development Series certification.  Two of these courses can also count as Crime and Justice electives.

Fire and Rescue

Students can get hands-on experience dealing with emergency situations through the college’s student-run Fire and Rescue squad, which responds to medical emergencies and fires in nearby towns.

Growth in the field of law enforcement has been strong in recent years and is projected to grow 7% annually for the foreseeable future.  Meanwhile, growth in fields related to restorative justice are likely to grow at an even quicker pace. While Vermont has been practicing restorative justice for almost two decades, the field is still relatively new in much of the U.S. and many states and non-profit organizations are eager to expand their capacity to provide restorative-focused approaches to justice and mediation.

This minor also serves the needs of students interested in legal careers such as lawyer, prosecutor, defense attorney, legal investigator, and paralegal.

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