Though degrees in international criminal justice are not nearly as common as those focused solely on American law enforcement and criminal behaviors, they are a growing part of the criminal justice field and one that will become increasingly important over time. Even at schools where an international degree is not offered, criminal justice majors often have the opportunity to choose a concentration in international criminology that can help them master the nuanced laws of international prosecution, jurisdiction, and other advanced matters that make it easier to solve crimes without borders. When looking into internationally focused programs in criminal justice, there are a few important things to look for.
First, Don’t Confine a Degree Search to Domestic Programs
One of the best ways to learn about the international nature of criminal justice is simply to pursue a degree in the field from an international university. Some of the best international degrees and concentrations are actually offered by European universities that provide a unique perspective on the relationship between national borders and criminal justice. With so many countries so close to one another, learning about criminal justice from a European institution is inherently international and focuses, by default, on how laws between countries can be used and leveraged in pursuit of criminals.
Another option is simply to look for American programs that feature a strong international component. These programs often have an international focus with at least one required residency in a foreign country. Typically, that residency does take place in Europe, lasting anywhere from one week to several months. This is perhaps the best way to learn about international justice and to get hands-on experience coordinating with local officials, simulating an international manhunt, and applying criminal justice procedures to wide-ranging crime of international scope.
Consider a Concentration in International Justice Studies Instead
It’s understandable that many students won’t have the financial or geographical ability to pursue an international degree program or a study-abroad classroom that focuses on international justice. The good news is that there is a strong alternative for many students, even at schools where an international focus is not offered as a major. Many schools offer a concentration in international crime, multinational coordination, international justice policies, and much more. Elective credits in this area of concentration, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, will help to prepare students for a criminal justice job that transcends national borders and works with law enforcement agencies from around the world.
This concentration can even help students land a domestic internship or job placement with agencies like Interpol, where an international focus on criminal justice is both required and inherent. The concentration can also prepare students to enter into a liaison role with federal, state, or local law enforcement after graduation, giving them the skills they need to bridge the international divide and serve justice to criminals.
An Excellent Opportunity for the Internationally Minded
International degree programs in criminal justice, whether as a major, minor or concentration, allow students to understand how American justice relates to similar principles and procedures abroad. No matter where, when, or what level this type of degree is offered, students will find that an international criminal justice program puts them far ahead of the competition for jobs with state and federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, and several other positions that depend on a broader international viewpoint.