An Elmhurst education is about much more than courses and credits. Our focus on the real-world application of what you’re learning helps you prepare for a meaningful and rewarding career.
Independent Field Work
Working with a faculty member and a partnering agency, students may design field experiences that enable them to work directly within an organization while closely studying its structure. Some examples of students’ field experiences:
- Working with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to improve community relations and policing
- Organizing case information for the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Illinois Department of Revenue
- Helping investigate cases of alleged child abuse and family dysfunction with the Department of Children and Family Services in Aurora
- Training as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children
For an independent research project, students design and execute a formal research proposal using questionnaires, interviews, field observation, content analysis, available data, or an experiment to answer specific hypotheses. Students have the opportunity to present their research at the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area Student Research Symposium, the Elmhurst College Research and Performance Showcase, and to submit it for publication in Investigations, the College’s journal for student work.
This type of study primarily involves library readings on a student-selected topic or issue and may include observation of or interview with persons who are involved with the issue (supervisors, therapists, workers, victims or participants). The work is an extension of a topic from a previously completed criminal justice course.
Social Science Honor Society
Elmhurst maintains an active local chapter of Pi Gamma Mu, the national social science honor society that encourages excellence in the social sciences. The society not only recognizes scholarship achievements, but also offers enrichment opportunities through service projects, publications, scholarships and lectureship grants. Junior and senior criminal justice students become eligible to join when they meet the following criteria: upper 35 percent of their class, a grade average of B or better, and 20 semester hours completed in social science courses.
Some courses incorporate a service-learning component through which students acquire academic knowledge through service, critical reflection and discussions in groups. Past service projects include tutoring at-risk grade school students, helping Cook County Jail inmates complete their GEDs, teaching English to new immigrants, helping severely disabled children in developmental programs, and working in homeless shelters.