Graduates' Perceptions of the Criminal Justice Degree as Preparation for a Career in Law Enforcement
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There continues to be much debate in the criminal justice academic community about the value of the degree in the practice of law enforcement. Most of the debate centers on earlier research that was both non-discipline specific and did not include direct data collected from persons holding the degree and serving as police officers. Unfortunately, there is little identifiable research into whether criminal justice graduates perceive their degree as having a positive impact on their career in law enforcement. This research is an exploration of the relationship between criminal justice higher education and the majoring graduate?s success in a law enforcement career. The research is vital in understanding the perceived relationship between the criminal justice degree and the law enforcement career from a program graduate/law enforcement practitioner perspective. The study utilized qualitative inquiry and interpretive phenomenological analysis to develop major themes of the graduates' perceptions of how their criminal justice degree has contributed to their success in a law enforcement career. The findings of the study indicate that most graduates perceive the degree as having direct links between college course curriculum and the academy training programs for law enforcement officers. There is also an indication that strong criminal justice related writing requirements improve career opportunities. In addition, the study supports the inclusion of required internship programs in the criminal justice curriculum, and the use of regular and adjunct faculty with career experience in law enforcement.
Franks, George Robert (2009). Graduates' Perceptions of the Criminal Justice Degree as Preparation for a Career in Law Enforcement. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from