Message from the Interim Chair

Dr. Claudio Vera Sanchez


Claudio Vera Sanchez, Ph.D.
Interim Deparment Chair
Associate Professor


Welcome to the Department of Justice Studies at San José State University, one of four schools and seven departments in the College of Health and Human Sciences. 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. A constant throughout these changing times is our commitment to academic excellence, social activism, and policy-relevant research.

As we see it, "justice studies" is a multidisciplinary area of inquiry that focuses on interrelated criminal and social justice concepts through the lenses of humanities, law, and behavioral, social, and natural sciences. The Department has programs in Criminology, Criminal Justice Studies, Forensic Science, Legal Studies, and Human Rights. 

Our expanding department currently has 14 professoriate faculty, 30 lecturers, and over 1,000 majors. The justice studies major is the 5th largest by headcount at SJSU. Faculty in our department are widely recognized and well respected teacher-scholars. In addition to mentoring and teaching students, they conduct research on DNA and crime, human rights, immigration, migration, border violence, criminalization of migrants, Japanese-Brazilian transmigrants, Caribbean criminogenics, violence against women, punishment, conflict processes, terrorism, sex offender behavior, policing, effects of policing on Latino and African American neighborhoods, victimology, gender and crime, family violence, youth violence, deviant behavior, reentry of formerly incarcerated persons, self and identity, and postmortem physical changes.

Students in our department are highly active in numerous student groups (Alpha Phi Sigma, Chi Pi Sigma, Forensic Science Students Group, JS Graduate Students Association, and the Justice Studies Task Force), and participate widely in the community and university. Our Department offers the following degrees:  MS Justice Studies; MS Criminology - Concentration in Global Criminology; BS Justice Studies; BS Justice Studies - Concentration in Criminology; BS Forensic Science - concentration in Biology or in Chemistry; Minors in Justice Studies, Forensic Studies, Legal Studies, and Human Rights; and Certificate in Collaborative Response to Family Violence.  

Our curriculum supports understanding through praxis as well as traditional scholarship. Through internships, service learning, the award winning Record Clearance Project, the CSI Summer Camp, Themis—a student research journal, and their own 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 in probation and parole, corrections, 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. I hope you enjoy your visit with us!


Yours truly,



Claudio Vera Sanchez, Ph.D.
Interim Department Chair
Associate Professor

JS Logo