Undergraduate: Administration of Justice


Our undergraduate major in Administration of Justice (AOJ) began in fall 1978. It was part of a comprehensive program effort of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Howard University to examine various institutions that impacted upon the African American community.

The AOJ major is organized essentially around the concept of liberal arts education, while at the same time providing career-specific educational training. Students must, therefore, satisfy all general education requirements established by the College of Arts and Sciences, in addition to those specified in the major program.

Underlying the program is the assumption that successful careers in the justice field require broad basic educational preparation in the humanities, and social and behavioral sciences. Such preparation involving classroom instruction affords students a better understanding of the complexities of human conduct, as well as an appreciation of some of the problems associated with human social life. Theoretically-based instruction is combined with practical experience to give students more comprehensive knowledge of the criminal justice system and its linkages to the larger institutional structure.

Since Howard University is a historically Black institution of higher learning, the AOJ program places special emphasis on examining relationships between people of color and components of the criminal justice system. The interface between minority offenders, crime causation factors and treatment strategies designed to deal with criminal and delinquent behavior, represents the central theme in the program’s development and implementation.

Goals and Objectives

The following goals are related to these key purposes:

  • Offer a curriculum that provides extensive opportunities to ground students in 
    Administration of Justice theories and scientific methods, and prepares them for research in academic and applied settings
  • Provide a diverse program of conceptual and experiential learning to prepare them for graduate school, law school and careers in administration of justice
  • Offer a curriculum that provides scientific training and substantive coursework within and outside of the Department, along with research and teaching experience in academic and applied settings
  • Increase the graduation rate of Administration of Justice majors
  • Strengthen the research and publication capability of research faculty and students
Consistent with Howard University’s mission “to assist, through full utilization of its research resources, in the development of solutions to human and social problems,” the AOJ program has the following goals:

  • Bring together teaching and research capabilities of the Department, College of Arts and Sciences and University, which enhance understanding of complex interrelations within the criminal justice system and between it and the community;
  • Apply scientific and practical knowledge to bear on the preparation of students for careers in the criminal justice system;
  • Instill in students a love for research, teaching and practice;
  • Prepare students for leadership positions in both domestic and global communities;
  • Increase the numbers of African Americans in administration of justice, sociology, anthropology and other professional fields;
  • Ground all students in these disciplines by requiring them to progress through a series of introductory, middle-level and practical courses, as well as courses in statistical and qualitative methods;
  • Develop in students a high level of writing proficiency;
  • Develop in students a critical perspective and provide opportunities for in-depth analysis of issues and methodologies;
  • Encourage students to synthesize and integrate information gained from other departmental courses, other disciplines, and topics and issues that are personally meaningful;
  • Offer practical experience in field schools, out-of-classroom projects and internships; and
  • Recruit and maintain a faculty who remain at the cutting edge in research in their respective fields and transmit that knowledge to students.


AOJ’s primary objectives are to:

  • Introduce students to an integrated core of sociological and criminological knowledge and  concepts related to the criminal justice system;
  • Provide students with a thorough grasp of knowledge relevant for the AOJ field, as well as an appreciation for the careful analysis of the structure of the criminal justice system;
  • Provide students with the educational background necessary to assume important decision-making roles in criminal justice and in related service areas;
  • Encourage students to understand, apply, and revise where necessary, the variety of approaches designed to deal with problems of the administration justice in society and
  • Provide students with the analytic and conceptual skills necessary to understand and to formulate solutions to the unique problems of minorities in relation to the criminal justice system.


Program Coordination

As a major program in the College of Arts and Sciences, ultimate coordinating responsibility rests with the Dean of the College. More specifically, however, operational decisions concerning the program fall to the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology, and the Program Coordinator, whom the Chair may designate. 
Policy matters affecting the program are funneled through appropriate departmental committees and to the departmental faculty. Like other departmental major programs, recommendations pertaining to various facets of the AOJ program may originate with any faculty member and/or committee of the Department. 

The role of Program Coordinator is defined primarily in terms of the following responsibilities:

  • Coordination of student counseling and advisement;
  • Monitoring student progress through the program;
  • Establishing and directing procedures for the smooth operation of an internship program; and
  • Making recommendations to the Chair concerning overall program structure and operation.

Together with the Departmental Chair, the Program Coordinator will have responsibilities for systematic evaluation of progress, development and implementation.