Public Justice


Our Public Justice major is a multidisciplinary liberal arts program with special emphasis in the social and behavioral sciences, leading to a bachelor of arts degree. You can study administration of justice, corrections, court and judicial administration, juvenile delinquency, law enforcement, probation, parole, community-based rehabilitation programs, private security and pre-law.

The Public Justice title indicates our program's concern with matters beyond the confines of the criminal justice system. Our field of study encompasses the origins, missions, goals, policies and methods of the civil and criminal justice systems, as well as the human services system. Courses focus on history, public policy, ethics, and social and political organization. We deal with the way laws are made, applied and enforced; with policies and goals that inspire those laws and for whose accomplishment the laws are a vehicle; and with public service and public institutions that are a part of maintaining order in society and, to an increasing extent, responsible for distributing entitlements to the public.

Our goal is to examine the way this public enterprise does -- and should -- interact with its constituents. To achieve this goal, majors combine a broad-based liberal arts education, in-depth research on topics in which they have a special interest and supervised fieldwork experience. Students are taught by public justice core faculty, faculty from supporting departments and adjunct faculty with specialized knowledge and experience.

Majors and Programs

Our Public Justice major is an interdisciplinary bachelor of arts program based in the liberal arts with special emphasis in the social and behavioral sciences.  The degree requires 36 semester hours of core requirements and 21 semester hours of required electives.

The interdisciplinary Public Justice minor is based in the liberal arts with special emphasis in social and behavioral sciences. The minor exposes students to multiple facets of the public justice system, including civil and criminal legal processes and human services. Students augment the required core courses by drawing from a list of elective offered in a variety of disciplines. The public justice minor requires nine semester hours of core requirements and 12 semester hours of required electives.

The Forensic Science minor is an interdisciplinary program developed jointly by the chemistry and public justice departments. Students planning a career applying science to law take courses in criminalistic chemistry and forensic science. A number of alumni work for the FBI and other forensic laboratories. The program consists of 10 semester hours of chemistry and nine semester hours of public justice courses.

Student Opportunities

This is an exciting time to study public justice at SUNY Oswego. The field is changing rapidly, and our programs offer great hands-on experiences. Features of Oswego's program:

You'll work with great teachers. Many of us are former practitioners or currently active in the field and we use lots of hands-on, interactive teaching methods.

You'll get experience. The Public Justice Practicum course provides a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience in an occupation of interest, make professional contacts and prepare for future careers.

You'll be ready for your next step. With great advising and internship opportunities, you'll follow in the footsteps of our accomplished alumni. Or you'll be ready to blaze a new trail.

The Public Justice Club bonds students who share common goals and interests, can learn more about public agencies and the community, and explore ways to serve our community. The club has a variety of different events and activities planned, which include guest speakers, ride-alongs and trips to jails/prisons. The club is always looking for new members and new activities in which to take part. 


Core faculty are full-time professors who teach public justice core and elective courses, advise students and help  the planning and operation of the department. Other full-time faculty from cooperating departments teach and advise public justice students. These faculty come from departments such as Anthropology, Chemistry, Counseling and Psychological Services, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. This enhances the multidisciplinary character of the program.

Full Time Faculty Adjunct Faculty
Karel Kurst-Swanger,Ph.D Daniel Cantone, Esq.
Omara Rivera-Vazquez, Ph.D Prof. Thomas Ingram
 Margaret Ryniker Caren Avery
  Michael Walsh
Visiting Full Time Faculty  

Diane Brand, M.A.
Christopher Kopacki

Carolyn D'Argenio, M.S. 

Department Secretary
Michele Fischetti

After Oswego

Our programs open a range of employment possibilities for graduates. Our public justice graduates work in law enforcement, law firms, the armed forces, corrections, probation offices, education and other fields. Learn more on our alumi website.