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Department of Criminal Justice and Security Studies

Experiential Learning in Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice and Security Studies (CJSS) Department at the University of Dayton gives students a link between academics and a real-world working environment. Through experiential learning, CJSS students develop knowledge, values and skills in experiences outside the traditional academic classroom. Internships and service-learning activities provide students a learning environment that connects traditional academics to meaningful experiences with criminal justice agencies or criminal justice related organizations. The experiential learning curriculum in the Criminal Justice and Security Studies Department gives students:

  • Experience in a professional criminal justice related environment.
  • An opportunity to reflect and analyze the experience.
  • Credit toward their degree while gaining valuable experience.
  • An opportunity to make professional contacts while networking with those working in the field.

CJSS students have a personalized experiential learning experience. Advised and guided by the coordinator of experiential learning, each student will search for and identify opportunities to combine academic study with real world experiences to build an individualized CJS experiential learning plan that fits the student’s individual career aspirations and academic goals.

Practical Experience

In addition to challenging courses and a variety of research opportunities, the Criminal Justice and Security Studies Department offers numerous internship and experiential learning opportunities. Many of those opportunities are taken for academic credit, but the biggest benefit comes from the wealth of practical knowledge and experience gained by the student. The department maintains a very large network of internships throughout the Greater Dayton area, as well as nationally, covering all aspects of the criminal justice field.

Student Testimonials: Internships and Service Learning




What is an Internship?

The Criminal Justice and Security Studies Department partners with criminal justice agencies and criminal justice-related organizations to offer students an experience that combines academics with a working environment. Through firsthand experiences, students learn about a career field. These experiences can help guide students in their career choices.

Students are eligible to earn credit for internship after meeting the following:

  • Registered as a Criminal Justice and Security Studies major or minor.
  • Completed at least 60 semester hours of study. A minimum of 30 hours completed at the University of Dayton.
  • At least 12 semester hours of upper-divisional hours in the Criminal Justice and Security Studies Department or approval from CJSS director.
  • At least a 2.5 total cumulative average while attending the University Dayton.
  • An updated resume.
  • Have met with the CJSS experiential learning coordinator to discuss internship goals.
  • An approved internship placement
  • Have not had previous full-time employment in criminal Justice.
  • Not presently employed in law enforcement, courts, or corrections.
  • United States Secret Service
  • United States Marshal Service (Dayton Office)
  • United States Marshal Service 
  • United States Federal Pretrial Service
  • Ohio Innocence Project
  • Montgomery County Pretrial Service
  • Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dayton Fire Department (Dayton MMRS)
  • Dayton Police Department
  • Moraine Police Department

Students will enroll in CJS 495 for internship credit. Students will work with their academic advisor and the experiential learning coordinator on how best to incorporate internship into their academic plan.

CJS 495 Internship in Criminal Justice I (1-3 hours)

Supervised experience solely in a civilian capacity in a criminal justice or law-enforcement agency. Open to pre-service criminal justice studies majors only; in-service students do not qualify. Students who enroll for internship credit are not given a stipend. Credit granted only under Grading Option Two. Prerequisite(s): 2.5 cumulative grade-point average; sophomore status; permission of program director.

CJS 496 Internship in Criminal Justice II (1-3 hours)

Continuation of CJS 495.

CJSS Academic Catalog >


Course credit for internship classes is based on number of contact hours spent working with the partner agency and the successful completion of accompanying academic assignments.

  • 1 credit hour = 50 hours of contact
  • 2 credit hours = 100 hours of contact
  • 3 credit hours = 150 hours of contact

CJSS Academic Catalog >

Note: Students are allowed more contact hours, but will receive no more than the above-mentioned credit hours.


What is Service Learning?

Service learning in the Criminal Justice and Security Studies Department is community-engaged learning. The aim is to have CJSS majors and minors use or apply their knowledge, ideas and skills in creative ways that help address social justice or ethical problems in the community or that contribute to the overall health and well-being of individuals.

Service learning integrates community service, reflection and civic responsibility. Students can expand knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and experience personal growth by participating in projects that impact the local, national or international community.

Students are eligible to earn credit for service-learning after meeting the following:

  • Registered as a CJSS major or minor.
  • Completed at least 15 semester hours of study. A minimum of 15 hours completed at the University of Dayton.
  • Have met with the CJS experiential learning coordinator to discuss service-learning goals.
  • Have an approved service-learning placement.
  • Working with court involved youth in the community
  • Working with at-risk youth on art projects in Dayton
  • Mentoring youth in the community
  • Providing assistance with programs in a social service agency
  • Working with a mobile food bank in the Dayton community

Students will enroll in CJS 497 for service-learning credit. Students will work with their academic advisor and the experiential learning coordinator on how best to incorporate service-learning into their academic plan.

CJS 497. Service-Learning Experience (1 hour)

Supervised community research or service experience that complements a specific upper division course in Criminal Justice Studies. No more than three semester hours of Social Science 497 credits can count for graduation. Repeatable up to three semester hours. 

CJSS Academic Catalog >


Course credit for service-learning class is based on contact hours working with partner agency and the successful completion of accompanying assignments.

  • 1 credit hour = approximately 30 contact hours

Each service learning experience will be evaluated by the coordinator of experiential learning.

Students may repeat CJS 497 up to three semester hours for 1 credit each semester.

CJSS Academic Catalog >

Note: Students are allowed more contact hours, but will receive no more than the above-mentioned credit hours.


For more information, contact

Lecturer and Coordinator of Experiential Learning

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