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Welcome to Justice Studies! We offer a distinctive major that focuses on all aspects of justice. We ask questions about injustice, and examine how institutions, including the criminal justice and legal systems, are involved in promoting justice and injustice. We focus on issues in the Chicago area, but we also look at the whole world, examining immigration, human rights, housing, homelessness, gangs, the media and culture, policing, prisons and jails, and all kinds of violence.

Why Justice Studies?

The Justice Studies major will prepare you with a deep understanding of why injustice exists, and along way you will learn the stories of peoples’ struggles for a better world. This is why our graduates go on to work in a variety of different jobs: policing and corrections; homeless shelters; programs serving homeless youth; immigrants, refugees, and women who have suffered domestic violence; and various government and not-for-profit agencies, such as the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children). Our graduates also go on to law school and to many different graduate programs at other prestigious universities.

What are the classes like?

The success of our graduates is directly related to our welcoming environment and challenging, well-taught, small classes, in which you get personalized attention. Student success is also a function of our excellent internships. All majors do an internship in their senior year which is a great opportunity to apply the knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom to your chosen career. The success of our graduates is also attributable to our very caring and dedicated faculty, who have advanced degrees in various fields including sociology, criminology, law, political theory and theology. Several of our faculty have been honored with Northeastern’s most prestigious awards for teaching and research. Many of our faculty also teach in Northeastern’s interdisciplinary programs, namely African and African American Studies (AFAM), Latino and Latin American Studies (LLAS), Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies (LGBTQ), and Child Advocacy Studies (CAST).

As a Justice Studies major, you will have opportunities to participate in hands-on learning. In addition to your internship, you may work in the tenants’ rights clinic, or visit prisons and courtrooms, or drop in on homeless shelters. Or you may get involved in prison reform, lobbying, and investigative reporting through our Stateville Speaks prison newsletter. There are also opportunities to travel with your professors, to present at conferences, or do research in other countries (including South Africa, Mexico and Venezuela).

Justice Studies department also offers minors in Social Justice, and in Criminology. We are also home to Northeastern’s new Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) minor, the first of its kind in Illinois. CAST trains professionals to work with children, youth and families who are suffering from violence, neglect and poverty.

If you would more information, please call the Justice Studies Department at (773) 442-4790 and make an appointment to meet with me.

Dr. T.Y. Okosun
Interim Chair
Justice Studies Department

Justice Studies Minor Programs

The Justice Studies Department offers two minors of its own, and a third in conjunction with other departments.  All of these minors consist of six classes totaling 18 credit hours.

  • Social Justice Minor. Inequality and injustice are powerful and harmful forces in society, but they are often invisible to us. The Social Justice minor, a mini-version of the Justice Studies major, arms students with both extensive knowledge about these forces, and the skills needed to combat them in the United States and throughout the world. Read more.
  • Criminology Minor. Which acts should be labeled as "crime," and how should society respond to criminals? The Criminology minor is designed specifically for students interested in careers in law enforcement. In it, you will critically analyze competing theories of the causes of crime, different models of criminal justice, and the roles of the media and inequality in shaping these views. Read more.
  • Child Advocacy Studies (CAST).  he Justice Studies Department houses this interdisciplinary minor offered in conjunction with the departments of Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work. The minor's goal is to prepare students to work effectively within various systems and institutions that respond to children's concerns. Justice Studies may do a CAST minor, and should begin by taking JUST 323/CAST 301 Introduction to Child Advocacy StudiesRead more.


Every Justice Studies major is assigned an advisor to help understand the curriculum's requirements and make choices about selecting courses. Justice Studies advisors are very knowledgeable about our curriculum fits into the "big picture" of your studies at Northeastern, and want to help you be efficient in sequencing your courses and getting the most out of the major, based upon your interests and goals. 


Because the Justice Studies curriculum examines issues of justice, injustice, and social harm, it provides an excellent introduction to key issues and concepts that are used by lawyers, and is a logical stepping stone for students who plan to go on to law school. Read more.

Student Clubs

Getting involved in students clubs is a great way to meet people with similar interests, and also provides a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge, and to prepare for life after college. For this reason, the Justice Studies Department works closely with several student clubs focusing on social justice, criminal justice, and promoting peace and equality around the world. 


The focus of the Justice Studies major at Northeastern is not limited to criminal justice concerns. It examines the historical, legal, and social obstacles to creating a more just society. Therefore, students earning a bachelor's degree in Justice Studies can avail themselves of a wide variety of fields that include government agencies, legal institutions, and community service and not-for-profit organizations that examine social and legal justice practices.  The curriculum provides academic and experiential training for students to pursue careers in a variety of areas.  

Justice Studies at El Centro

Starting in the fall of 2014, the Justice Studies Department began offering its full major at our new El Centro location, located at 3390 N. Avondale Avenue in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood. All courses required to complete the major are be offered at least once every two years, plus we offer at least seven different electives every two years.

At El Centro, students will be able to declare Justice Studies as their major or declare any of our minors, and will have access to advising specific to the Justice Studies curriculum. Read more.

Stateville Speaks

Stateville Speaks is a newsletter written by and for incarcerated individuals, their families, those working in the correctional system, policy makers, and other interested citizens. 

Since 2009, the Justice Studies Department at Northeastern has served as the institutional home for the newsletter, and since that time we have integrated the publication into our coursework as an approved internship placement for Justice Studies Majors. 

Justice Studies

Contact Justice Studies

T (773) 442-4790

F (773) 442-4537

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