Department of Criminal Justice
Department of Criminal Justice
Department of Criminal Justice
Department of Criminal Justice

An employer discusses the value of a degree from Mars Hill in the field of Criminal Justice and the success of Mars Hill graduates in the workplace.

Criminal Justice

The major in criminal justice prepares students for a career in criminal justice or related occupations. The degree exposes students not only to the plethora of issues associated with the modern-day criminal justice system in the United States, it also is designed to prepare students for the world of work through deliberate attention to the many ethical dilemmas with which criminal justice professionals are often faced; understanding the role that gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic status play in the production of crime and the social control of same; and understanding the importance of the scientific inquiry for criminal justice policy making. Because of its emphasis on oral and written communication and higher order thinking, it also equips students with the skills needed to be successful in the pursuit of graduate education.

Criminal Justice Research Lab

The Criminal Justice Department offers opportunities for students to work on independent research projects covering a variety of issues and topics. Currently, the research lab is focusing on various aspects of human trafficking and the effects of that crime at the local, state, and federal levels.

Students across all disciplines have an opportunity to work on independent research projects focusing on different aspects within the criminal justice field. Projects are created through a detailed process in which the Research Lab Manager works with the student to clearly define objectives and outcomes. This is completed through Directed Reading Credits in which the student can select 1-3 credits. The number of credits determine the number of hours per week the student is expected to work in the lab.

1 Credit = 5 hours/week
2 Credits = 10 hours/week
3 Credits = 15 hours/week

For more information on this opportunity and to learn how to become involved, contact the Research Lab Manager, Heather Zurburg King (

Students who have worked in the lab and their research areas:

Brett A. Smythe (Fall 2019)
Examined labor trafficking throughout the State of Florida and the effects of organizations such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers on improving working conditions. Looked at corporations such as Publix and what they are doing to support anti-trafficking efforts.

Tyler Sims (Fall 2019)
Research explored the nexus between street gangs and sex trafficking across the metro-Atlanta area. Reviewed the history of the most prevalent gangs trafficking women and the evolution of their recruitment techniques.

Michael Baker (Spring 2019/Fall 2019)
Research focused on human trafficking legislation across states and their comparison to federal statutes regarding sex trafficking and forced labor.

Mars Hill Magazine: Criminal Justice Steps Out on the Cutting Edge


Internships allow students opportunities to work in advanced, supervised off-campus settings within an agency or the local community. This type of experiential learning helps students gain valuable knowledge and skills that supplement their classroom education while they network with professionals in their chosen line of work.

Students who are interested in the internship option are invited to review the Criminal Justice Internship Manual and the accompanying syllabus for CJ 461: Criminal Justice Internship.

Please direct all questions about internships to Dr. Craig Goforth (