Overview of Law and Criminal Justice
Professionals in Law and Criminal Justice (including law enforcement) focus on analyzing crime and criminal behavior and on investigating, arresting, preventing, adjudicating, and/or ensuring justice for victims and those individuals who are accused of or commit crimes.
Get Career Ready for Law and Criminal Justice
Find out what it takes to land a career in Law and Criminal Justice
Earn a Degree
To work in the field of Law or Criminal Justice, it is recommended to have a strong background in conflict resolution, deductive reasoning, decision making, writing, and research. Majors, minors, and degree information can be found in the Mason Catalog.
In addition to your degree, the following can increase your employment options in the field of Law and Criminal Justice. Here are a few:
- Establish or maintain a strong GPA (preferably 3.5+), particularly if you are interested in doing national security work for highly selective agencies (e.g., CIA, FBI) or going on to law school
- Prepare for the law school admissions process through the Patriot Pre-Law Program
- Join Mason's Clearance Ready program to learn about the background investigation and security clearance process
- Become a certified a Paralegal
- Become a credentialed victim advocate
- Participate in the William D. Clarke Diplomatic Security Fellowship https://careers.state.gov/interns-fellows/foreign-service-fellowships/william-d-clarke-sr-diplomatic-security-fellowship/
Employers are expecting candidates to have at least six to twelve months of related experience to be competitive for full-time positions. Gain experience while you are a student at Mason.
Here are the types of experiences most valued by Law and Criminal Justice employers, and where to find them:
- Community Adjudication Board
- Mason Honor Committee
- Mason Police Cadet Program
- Get involved with a Victim/Witness Assistance program or become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children who have been abused or neglected.
- Jobs in Restorative Justice (Indeed search)
- Legal Aid Justice Center
- United States Courts
- Spend a shift observing the workday of a police officer. Contact local police departments to inquire about doing a ride-along.
It is important for you to be able to clearly communicate the knowledge, skills and experiences you have gained in and outside of the classroom.
Career ready Mason grads have gone on to work for Law and Criminal Justice employers, such as:
ACTS (Action in the Community Through Service)
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
U.S. Patent and Trade Office
Covington & Burling LLP
Prince William County Police Department
U.S. Secret Service
Fairfax County Government
U.S. Department of Justice
Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
Fairfax County Police Department
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Wiley Rein, LLP
Join the Law and Criminal Justice community
Get involved with academic and professional societies to grow your network while you're still a student.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences
- American Probation and Parole Association
- Association of Legal Administrators
- Fraternal Order of Police
- Loss Prevention Industry Professionals Association
- National Association for Legal Professionals
- National Association of Legal Assistants
- National Criminal Justice Association
- National Organization for Victims Assistance
- Virginia Victim Assistance Network