why hartwick?

Study Criminal Justice at Hartwick College and you’ll focus on the interdisciplinary complexities of this timely and important field. By analyzing theories and gaining real-world experience, you’ll develop a deep understanding of how justice is assessed, interpreted, and enforced in the 21st century.

Also interested Sociology, Social Work or Forensic Science? You’re in the right place. At Hartwick, Sociology, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Social Work faculty collaborate and teach across the disciplines, so they’re ready to help you develop your FlightPath.


A Hartwick Criminal Justice degree gives you the perspective and the tools to see that justice is enacted for all people, whether your personal Flightpath takes you to law enforcement, social services, or a career practicing law.

Core courses on policing in a democratic society, quantitative analysis, and juvenile delinquency will allow you to address the practical elements of law enforcement.  Elective classes such as white collar crime, deviance and social control, and race and ethnicity will help you build knowledge in your particular areas of interest while you build your distinct Digital Resume. 

As a junior, you’ll test-drive your skills with immersive work experiences, and in your senior year, you’ll work with  your Faculty Advisor to complete a thesis project on 21st-century topics ranging from cybersecurity concerns to the future of policing. Along the way you’ll discover courses and experiences that complement your major. You might also build your credentials with a minor in legal studies, social work, psychology, peace & justice studies, women & gender studies, or another of the many options available to you at Hartwick.

Program specifics and major requirements

please contact Department Chair Elena Chernyak at chernyake@hartwick.edu


As a Hartwick student, you might take to the streets with Oneonta police and firefighters, work alongside advocates for victims of domestic violence or child abuse, or intern in the courts system. No matter where you’re headed, your Career Coach and Alumni Mentor will help you choose among internship opportunities and other real-world experiences, allowing you to test and apply your growing understanding of criminal justice. It all becomes part of your Senior SOAR Capstone and Digital Resume, proof to future employers that you’re ready.


From the start of your Hartwick career, you’ll look at law through theoretical, practical, and social justice lenses. You’ll graduate with a deep understanding of why laws exist, who is impacted, and how you can effect change.
Working with your Guidance Team, you’ll be encouraged to personalize this interdisciplinary major with courses across the curriculum. Courses in psychology and political science, for example, can broaden your understanding of complex legal systems and the people within them.



Like Nadja Pope ‘20, a Legislative Aide in the US House of Representatives working for Congressman Paul D. Tonko (NY-20). A Criminal Justice and Sociology double major, Nadja had two internships as a student, one with the Albany Public Defender and another with the Albany District Attorney’s Office. She studied biology in the Bahamas during a J Term and was a leader of Hartwick’s Orchesis dance club.

Social Work

Like Rebecca Lelles ‘20, now working on her Master’s in Social Work at Syracuse University. A John Christopher Scholar, she fed her passion for social work by talking with social work administrator and Alumni Mentor Michelle Brown ’87. Becca’s real-world experiences included two internships, one on campus at Hartwick’s DisAbility Center, and another with the Literacy Volunteers of Otsego and Delaware Counties. 


The Hartwick College Institute of Public Service is dedicated to strengthening democracy across the region by serving as a hub of collaboration and innovation between state and local government, and through civic engagement and legal studies.

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Elena Chernyak

Associate Professor of Sociology and Department Chair

Ryan Ceresola

Associate Professor of Sociology

Cheryl Johnson

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Amber M. Kerwin

Professor of Practice in Criminal Justice

Michael Branch

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Zachary McKenney

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program

Ready to move faster? Get the complete criminal justice education and the full Hartwick experience in three-quarters the time at three-quarters the cost.

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