PNW announces the launch of a new Criminal Justice major

PNW will get into the law and order business when the university launches a criminal justice major in the fall of 2021.

“The whole purpose of establishing this major was based on students’ requests,” said Nicky Jackson, the new program’s coordinator. “They have wanted [this field of study] for decades and it finally happened.”

Criminal justice students will be able to achieve a BA if they take foreign language classes. The BS degree will require more science courses. The curriculum will prepare students for a variety of areas in the field. The university recently also added a criminal justice minor. Previously, students could only study a concentration.

The new major has been in the works a long time.

 “Until last year, I was the only criminal justice professor,” said Jackson. “I was hired in 1990 to build a criminal justice concentration in political science and in sociology. Our program has grown leaps and bounds. As a concentration it’s had more students than most majors in the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.”   

Courses are offered on theory, victimology, law enforcement, corrections, courts, as well as a course which has only been offered at some universities: wrongful convictions. Jackson said it’s uncommon for undergraduate students to be able to examine this often-ignored issue in a course.

Jackson is a strong advocate for Indiana exonerees, and will host a Q & A presentation about race and vulnerability for wrongful convictions with Roosevelt Glen, an exoneree and author of “Innocent Nightmare,” on Oct. 6 at 12:30 p.m.

“PNW is a leader in researching and working with exonerations in the state of Indiana,” said Jackson. “We are the only university to have an Exoneration Advisory Coalition. We are partnering with Notre Dame’s Exoneration Project. This means that PNW criminal justice students will have the opportunity to do internships with the Notre Dame Exoneration Project.”

Students interested in the coalition, can find more information at

“It is a big deal and is putting Purdue University on the map,” said Jackson.