Our Department


Welcome from James Lee, Department Chair, Fall 2013- present.

Welcome to the Department of Justice Studies at San José State University, one of four schools and seven departments in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. Established in 1930, our department is the oldest degree-granting program in Criminal Justice in the United States. Starting as a Police School with an emphasis on professionalizing policing, over time it matured into its current form with multiple programs that take differing approaches to justice. We have programs in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Legal Studies, and Human Rights. A constant throughout these changing times is our commitment to academic excellence, social activism, and policy relevant research.

Our expanding department currently has 11 full time faculty members, 16 lecturers, and over 700 majors. Faculty in our department are widely recognized and well respected scholars and researchers, as well as innovative, effective teachers. In addition to mentoring and teaching students, they conduct research on human rights, immigration, migration, border violence, violence against women, political economy of punishment, criminalization of migrants around Europe and the United States, Japanese-Brazilian transmigrants in Japan, life course of sex offender behavior, immigrant perceptions of the legitimacy of authority, policing, effects of policing on Latino and African American neighborhoods, victimology, family violence, violence again women, youth violence, deviance and criminology, life course criminology, self and identity, gender and crime, and developing DNA profiles from degraded samples.

Students in our department are highly active in numerous student groups (Alpha Phi Sigma, Chi Pi Sigma, Forensic Science Students Group, and the JS Task Force), and participate widely in the community and university. Our Department offers the following degrees:  MS in Justice Studies; BS in Justice Studies; BS in Forensic Science with a concentration in Biology or Chemistry; Minor in Justice Studies; Minor in Forensic Studies; Minor in Legal Studies; and Minor in Human Rights.  

Our curriculum supports understanding through praxis as well as traditional scholarship. Through internships, the award winning Record Clearance Project, the CSI Summer Camp, and research projects, our students engage in service, advocacy, legal assistance, creating new knowledge, and educating the public. Upon graduation, students  are very well prepared for graduate studies, law school, or careers in justice related professions such as at nonprofits, in probation and parole, in corrections, in law enforcement, and in crime labs.

Our alumni are among the most prominent professionals in law, policing, corrections, nonprofit services, and other related fields. I am very proud of our department, and as you explore more, you will see why. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

James Daniel Lee, PhD

Department Chair