FPU begins degree completion program in criminology, restorative justice

The new criminology program at Fresno Pacific University stands out for several reasons:

  • FPU's success in helping working adults complete bachelor's degrees.
  • The focus on restorative justice that involves victims as well as offenders.
  • The moral and ethical foundation.

Starting in the fall of 2007, FPU's criminology and restorative justice studies major will allow qualified adults to complete a bachelor's degree in a field with many openings for employment and a strong need for ethical leaders. In Fresno County alone, nearly 4,000 people are employed by the probation department, sheriff's office, Fresno and Clovis police forces and the region's California Highway Patrol.

Employees in criminal justice need bachelor's degree to advance. Employers have long recognized FPU's abilities in degree-completion education. Agencies have asked the university to devote cohorts--groups of students who go through the program together--to their employees.

The university will offer a criminology, rather than a criminal justice, major. Criminology focuses on the study of criminal justice practices, rather than the implementation of law enforcement. Students will learn about crime and society, restorative approaches and social and psychological theories of crime, criminals and society. The program is part of the FPU School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences.

Instruction is informed by theology and the principles of victimology and restorative justice. Victimology examines the needs of all criminal justice participants, including victims, offenders and the community. Restorative justice provides accountability for the offender and compassion for the victim. FPU has been on the forefront of these practices through its Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies.

The program is intellectually challenging, spiritually stimulating and practically attuned to the working adult. Classroom work consists of 11 courses that meet one night a week. Students stay together throughout the program, supporting one another and getting to know their professors. A practicum provides hands-on experience and a project allows deep study on a problem or research question.

Qualified students have been out of high school at least two years and earned about 60 units of college or university credit. The length of study is 60 class weeks, or about 14 months. Some employers offer tuition assistance.