Bachelor of ArtsCriminal Justice Studies

Students outside UDH

Prepare for a career in criminal justice with our Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Studies.

An interdisciplinary degree, the B.A. in Criminal Justice Studies offers a variety of courses that give the student a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and prepares them for leadership roles in this career area.

Why earn your Criminal Justice degree at Bellarmine?

In addition to applied and experiential classes that provide practical and “hands-on” knowledge, selected humanities courses in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and philosophy provide interpretations of issues involving crime and society that can only be found in a true liberal arts education. Faculty in the program have been selected because of their vast experience in the criminal justice field, from criminal profiling to police and correctional administration and law.

Community-Based Learning: Increasingly, classes in sociology, criminal justice studies, and anthropology are seeking to involve students in projects outside the classroom where they can engage the diverse communities that make up Louisville. These reciprocal relationships allow us to move beyond textbooks to learn about social, cultural, economic, and political issues, while making meaningful contributions to our city.

Read our Racial Justice Statement >>

Program Highlights

The Criminal Justice Studies program emphasizes a social justice perspective on the understanding of crime and society. Coursework prepares students for careers and graduate work in the field of criminal justice by grounding their education in a broad liberal arts background. In addition to giving students research skills, theoretical insights, and practical experiences where these skills and insights can be applied, the program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding crime. A required internship experience helps ground students in the real world of criminal and legal issues.

Criminal Justice students
Tucker Ciessau

“The Criminal Justice program at Bellarmine helped shape my life and career path to being a cybersecurity consultant. The amazing professors taught me everything I need to know about the industry, instilled an amazing work ethic in me, and helped me get my dream job at 24.”

Tucker Ciessau ’17
Cybersecurity Consultant, Revolutionary Security

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the biological, psychological, and sociological origins of criminal behavior.
  2. Students will identify connections between theory and research in the construction of scientific knowledge.
  3. Students will demonstrate proficiency with fundamental data analysis.
  4. Students will be able to express sociological ideas, as they apply to criminal justice issues, clearly and coherently both in writing and in oral presentations.
  5. Students will demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge, skills and professional behavior in an internship experience.


An important component of the Criminal Justice Studies program is a requirement that all majors complete at least one internship. This semester-long experience allows students to step into their career area of interest and gain valuable professional knowledge and skills. Additionally, students make contacts useful for graduate school or employment in the criminal justice field. Some students have been hired by agencies with which they held an internship. Past placements have included law enforcement agencies, at both the local (e.g. LMPD, Coroner’s office) and federal level (e.g. FBI, Secret Service, ATF); with the offices of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges; with correctional agencies (e.g. prisons, halfway houses, probation and parole departments); and with various social service and non-profit agencies (e.g. restorative justice, family and youth counseling). A faculty coordinator helps students arrange placements, and monitors each internship.

Research project on homelessness and substance use disorder

Bellarmine faculty Heather Pruss, Ph.D., and Chelsey Franz, Ph.D., and Bellarmine senior Katie Stamper discuss an innovative collaboration to document the stories of men experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder.

Careers in Criminal Justice

On-Campus Experiences

Criminal Justice, Sociology, & Anthropology (CJSA) Student Club: The purpose of CJSA is to provide a forum for students to provide networking opportunities and to better prepare themselves for a career in the Criminal Justice, Sociology and Anthropology fields. The club's goal is also to provide a space for interactions between students in these majors, and opportunities to learn about the fields in various environments. Past club events have included hosting trivia night at a local substance use disorder recovery center, writing empowering notes to youth with an incarcerated parent, and organizing a career roundtable with professionals in the field.

Full-Time Faculty Profiles

Heather Pruss

Heather Pruss, Ph.D.
Heather Pruss earned her BA and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. She has taught courses on a wide variety of topics, including (Introduction to) Criminal Justice, Criminological Theory, Research Methods, Courts, Capital Punishment, and Law & Society. At Bellarmine, she hopes to develop new courses focused on pertinent social/criminal justice issues, such as wrongful conviction or defending the accused. Broadly speaking, Heather’s research focuses on how oft-marginalized individuals experience the United States court system. She has done work on how capital jurors make life or death decisions, how indigent clients perceive their public defenders, and how family members and friends of homicide victims navigate case adjudication. Heather looks forward to engaging with students and community members through her research agenda and has a strong interest in experiential approaches to pedagogy.

Heather enjoys spending time outdoors, especially with her partner and their animal pack. She grew up in nearby Santa Claus, Indiana.

502.272.8241 • • Office location: Pasteur Hall 108A

Dr. Ainsley Lambert-Swain

Ainsley Lambert-Swain, Ph.D.
Originally from Louisville, Ainsley Lambert-Swain earned her B.A. in sociology from Morehead State University, followed by a M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati. She joined the faculty at Bellarmine University as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in 2018. Ainsley teaches several sociology courses at Bellarmine, including: Introduction to Sociology, Social Inequality, Contemporary Social Problems, Race and Ethnicity, and the introductory course for the African and African American Diaspora Studies Minor. Her research interests include racial and ethnic inequality in the U.S., critical race theory, and racial identity processes, including how racial identities are negotiated in interaction. Her current research examines how partners in interracial relationships understand and navigate racial meanings across racially segregated spaces. At her previous institution and during her time here at Bellarmine, Ainsley has dedicated herself to creating an inclusive campus, serving on university committees and leading workshops on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is a member of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. When she is not teaching or doing research, Ainsley enjoys traveling to new places, trying new foods, and spending time with her family.

502.272.8172 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 108C

Frank Hutchins, Ph.D.

Frank Hutchins, Ph.D.
Dr. Hutchins is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Bellarmine. He earned his BA from the University of Kentucky, his MA from the Patterson School of Diplomacy at UK, and his PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on cultural change amongst indigenous peoples in the Amazonian and Andean regions of Ecuador. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, and continues to do research and work there as director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Field School in Ecuador for the Study of Language, Culture, & Community Health. At Bellarmine, he teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Introduction to Human Geography; Anthropology of Mind and Body; Anthropology of the Supernatural and Sacred; Anthropology and the Environment; and Theory and Methods in Anthropology. Dr. Hutchins also serves as coordinator of the IDC 301 courses. He is the co-editor, along with Dr. Patrick Wilson, of Editing Eden: A Reconsideration of Identity, Politics, and Place in Amazonia (University of Nebraska Press, 2010). He is a native of Bardstown, KY, and he and his wife, Christine, have one daughter, Anna.

502.272.8393 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110A

Part-Time Faculty Profiles

Nicole Carroll, MA

Nicole Carroll, MS
Nicole Carroll, MS, is the Director of the Victim Services Unit at the Louisville Metro Police Department. She has provided support and advocacy services to victims of crime for 12 years. In 2016, the Louisville Metro Police Department hired her to establish the Victim Services Unit in order to ensure the fair, compassionate, and sensitive treatment of victims and witnesses of crime. The Victim Services Unit supports crime victims and witnesses by helping them to navigate the criminal justice system and by responding to their emotional, physical, and financial needs. The Victim Services Unit guarantees that victims and witnesses of crime are treated with respect and dignity and afforded rights and services designed to address the specifics of their victimization. These services are available to help victims cope with the trauma and the aftermath of victimization and to lessen the inconveniences often associated with participation in the criminal justice process. Nicole received her Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Tiffin University. She taught our Introduction to Criminal Justice course.

502.272.8342 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110

Bill Curley

Bill Curley, MA
Bill Curley holds a master's degree in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University. He is currently an adjunct faculty member teaching Criminal Profiling, Organized Crime, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Global Terrorism and a course on Careers in Law Enforcement. He has taught at Bellarmine since 2004 and previously was an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University, where he taught for five years. He is a retired Federal Agent having served for over 25 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, retiring as the Special Agent in Charge of the states of Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. He also taught and developed courses at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located in Georgia. He specialized in investigating Arson For Profit cases and traveled nationwide developing Arson Task Forces throughout the country. Bill was also a Team Adam member for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for a five year period, responding to stranger abducted children cases.

502.272.8342 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110

Sabrina Farris, MA

Sabrina Farris, MA
Sabrina Farris, MA, is an Assistant Supervisor with Kentucky Probation and Parole. She has taught our Corrections course.

502.272.8342 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110

Deanna McGaughey-Summers

Deanna McGaughey-Summers, Ph.D.
Deanna McGaughey-Summers has a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition, MA in Sociology, and MS (and BS) in Administration of Justice. She has been teaching college students for over twenty years, including in our Criminology and Juvenile Delinquency courses.

502.272.8342 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110

Demiche Sewell, MBA

Demiche Sewell, MBA
Demiche Sewell serves as an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice Studies at Bellarmine University. He earned his B.S. from the University of Louisville in Justice Administration and his M.B.A. from Indiana Wesleyan University. Demiche is a nine-year veteran in law enforcement currently working as a Sergeant with the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD). Demiche has worked in patrol, recruitment, background investigations, and most recently in the professional standards unit. His professional accomplishments include being elected to serve on security detail for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration and in 2018 he was inducted into the Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonels. Demiche’s professional passions are focused on operations, functionality, compliance, training, and leadership development within the police department. He is a profound supporter of diversity and inclusion efforts in society and in his own daily practices. Demiche enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. His favorite hobbies are playing flag football, video games, and watching anime.

502.272.8342 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110

Justin Turner

Justin Turner, Ph.D.
Justin Turner earned his Ph.D. in Criminology from Old Dominion University. He has taught a variety of courses covering the expanse of the criminal justice system, including Introduction to a Sociological Perspective on Criminology, Culture of Punishment, Juvenile Justice, Research Methods, Criminological Theory, and Sociology of Punishment. At Bellarmine he is developing new courses on the history and expansion of the modern police force, taking a critical approach to how these developments have impacted society across gendered, racialized, classed, and abled lines. As for research, it is the complex interplay between state power, violence and everyday life that draws Justin’s attention, particularly of how these forces tend to collide under the auspices of criminal justice. Intentionally far-reaching, his research agenda includes research on the cultural weight the death of a police officer is given when developing US criminal justice policy, the larger economic force of neoliberalism and how it rationalizes problematic and predatory ways to handle youth in confinement, and a broad focus on how the technologies and equipment now in the possession of the police have expanded the nature of “police control” high and wide. Beyond academia, Justin enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

Thomas Whetstone, Ph.D.

Thomas Whetstone, Ph.D.
Thomas Whetstone is a former police officer and current training consultant. He teaches our Crime Scene Investigation course.

502.272.8342 • • Office: Pasteur Hall 110


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