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10+ Criminology Summer Programs for High School Students

If you’re considering a career in criminology, it’s good to get a head start in high school. A pre-college program can prepare you for a heavier workload in your future academic endeavors, and ensure that you leave knowing whether you’re suited for the discipline of your choice.

Many of the programs listed below offer hands-on experience in the field of criminology, including crime scene investigations and evidence documentation, which will build your practical know-how. Additionally, these programs can open a world of future possibilities while serving as a significant addition to your resume. 

In this blog, we've highlighted 11 great criminology summer programs for high school students.

The Criminal Justice Summer Camp is a day camp organized by the College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP) at the university, which offers students the opportunity to learn about law enforcement and the functions of police in society. 

The camp’s application-centric structure allows you to apply scientific theories in criminology by undertaking forensic investigation and examining mock crime scenes. The course also involves a tour of the FBI crime lab which is otherwise closed to the public, as well as a first-hand look at the San Antonio Police Department’s Fusion Centre. 

Cost: $300 registration fee

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors who are at least 16 years old by the start of the camp are eligible.

Location: UTSA Downtown Campus, San Antonio, Texas

Application Deadline: Spring 2024 (to be announced). Students are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s best to apply early!

Program Dates: The camp offers two week-long sessions in the summer to choose from, typically in June or July.

Offered by the SPS High School Academy at NYU, the Career Edge Summer School Program focuses on upskilling high school students and mid-career professionals over the course of several week-long sessions.  Their course, Criminal Justice: From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom…and Beyond, ensures that you gain a holistic understanding of the inner workings of the US criminal justice system through rigorous theoretical and critical engagement with case studies based on current events. You will leave with thorough knowledge of the various processes of criminal investigation, including evidence analysis and crime scene investigation, and receive an NYU transcript with your grades for the course upon its completion. Although Career Edge does not offer college credits, it is highly recommended for its industry-oriented approach that prepares you for both further studies and a career in your field of choice. 

Cost: $2495 per course. This does not include the weekly $607 housing and dining fees for residential students. No financial aid, scholarships, or discounts are available.

Eligibility: High school students who have completed grades 9, 10, or 11, or their equivalent for international students are eligible.

Location: NYU Campus, New York City

Application Deadline: June 2024 (exact dates to be announced)

Program Dates: Typically held over  5-6 sessions from July to August.

FAU’s Summer Camp for Future Justice Seekers promises an exciting, action-packed, and hands-on experience where students get to watch bomb squad, SWAT, and K-9 unit demonstrations. If you’re interested in knowing more about the FBI’s Most Wanted and Death Row, then this is the program for you. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate, which can prove useful when putting together college applications.

Cost: $800 registration fee, inclusive of breakfast and lunch on weekdays and transportation during camp hours.

Eligibility: Open to students entering grades 9 to 12 in Fall 2024.

Location: FAU Campus, Boca Raton, Florida

Application Deadline: Spring 2024 (exact dates to be announced)

Program Dates: Summer 2024. Applications can choose between the June and July sessions.

The second in-person session at Marist’s Summer pre-college program offers an Introduction to Criminal Justice module. This module is an immersive experience where you can interact with Marist alumni who work in diverse areas of the criminal justice system. The course also incorporates guest speakers from different fields of law enforcement. It's an opportunity to solidify your role as an informed citizen and be better able to contribute to society in a meaningful way. As part of the program, you will also work on an individual project for deeper study. You will receive three transferable college credits at the end of the course.

Cost: $3,500, including housing and meals, field trips, and course materials. Travel expenses are not included.

Eligibility: While preference will be given to rising high school juniors and seniors, rising sophomores and graduating seniors can apply as well.

Location: Marist College Campus, Poughkeepsie, NY.

Application Deadline: Rolling. Students can apply until all the seats are full. 

Program Dates: July 14-27, 2024

Summer@Brown is the university’s largest summer program for high school students, where applicants can choose from more than 300 non-credit courses and between various program durations on-campus, hybrid, or administered entirely online. You’ll be a part of workshops, activities, and events aimed at broadening your scope of learning by engaging with mentors and peers removed from the pressures of a formal grading system. Although their course catalog for 2024 has yet to be released, their 2023 listing included courses such as Forensic Science – CSI Providence and Inside The Mind of the Criminal THrough Psychology, Forensics, and Neuroscience. You can expect courses along these lines to be part of the 2024 session. Be sure to check their website on January 17 for the updated list of courses on offer!

Cost: $3406 to $9870 for the on-campus/ hybrid residential program, $2816 to $8100 for their commuter versions, and $3094 to $5998 for the online program. 

Eligibility: Students completing grades 9 to 12, typically 14 to 18 years of age by June 16, 2024

Location: Brown University campus, Providence, Rhode Island

Application Deadline: May 10, 2024

Program Dates: Depends on the program duration, mode of instruction, and course you choose. The program will be held from June 17 to July 28, 2024.

If you’re interested in getting an exclusive glimpse into the inner workings of the criminal justice system, what better way than to be a part of it? The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office offers a six-week internship where interns get the opportunity to engage in different workshops and discussions related to topics of police brutality, criminal justice, civic engagement, and leadership. Interns are required to log 35 hours of work per week and participate in a series of presentations to better understand how policies are developed and implemented. Applicants must submit a 300-word essay on what piqued their interest in criminal justice along with their resume.

Cost/Stipend: $175 per week. There is no cost to attend.

Eligibility: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors who attend school or live in Manhattan can apply.

Location: Manhattan, NY

Application Deadline: March 8, 2024 

Program Dates: July 8, 2024 –  August 9, 2024 (Monday-Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm).

The Harvard Division of Continuing Education offers multiple programs as part of Harvard Summer School, of which their exclusively on-campus, two-week-long pre-college program is ideal for its choice of over 30 courses. You may also participate in multiple courses if interested since the program is conducted over three separate sessions. Enrollment in a pre-college course only takes place after you have been admitted to the program, but you may find courses relevant to criminal justice. For instance, their 2023 summer catalog included courses like Democracy, Development, and Violence: An Introduction to Comparative Politics, the Origins of Mass Incarceration, Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, and Racism, Law, and Justice, among others. You can expect similar (or the same) courses in the 2024 session!

Cost: $5550 + $75 non-refundable application fee

Eligibility: Students graduating from high school in 2025 or 2026 who are at least 16 years old by June 2024 and younger than 19 years old until at least July 31, 2024.

Location: Harvard University Campus, Cambridge, MA

Application Deadline: February 14, 2024 by 11:59pm EST

Program Dates: Between June 23 and August 2, 2024, depending on which session you sign up for.

The Terp Young Scholars program is well-suited for students who want to earn college credit and explore their interest in criminology. With a competitive admissions process, and an official UMD transcript that is a part of your student record, the program ensures that you have the necessary discipline to follow through with the three-week commitment. Their 2024 listing offers a preliminary immersion into the subject through the course Introduction to Criminology. The fully online course examines criminal behavior and methods of its study, also looking into causation, criminal typologies, and correction and prevention of crime among other salient topics. Note that if you sign up for this course, you will not be able to avail of other in-person courses in the program.

Cost: $1500. A limited number of partial scholarships (not more than 30% of the program fee) are also awarded each year, based on funding availability.

Eligibility: Students who will be in grades 10-12 can apply. Graduating seniors may also apply!

Location: University of Maryland Campus, College Park, MD

Application Deadline: May 1, 2024. Scholarship applications close on April 1, 2024.

Program Dates: July 8-26, 2024

The United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York offers multiple unpaid internships to bright students. Among the placements available are Library Legal Information, Automated Litigation Support, Library Legal Information and Resource Center, and Paralegal Legal Studies. For those with a complementary interest in pre-law, this opportunity can prove insightful to contextualize criminal justice and community crime prevention.

Cost/Stipend: There is no cost to attend. The internship is unpaid.

Eligibility: Rising seniors from an accredited high school can apply.

Location: Brooklyn and Central Islip, NYC

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis till April 5, 2024..

Program Dates: June 3, 2024 – August 9, 2024 (10 weeks)

An open-enrollment course that guarantees practical immersion, the University of New Haven’s Crime Scene Investigation Academy is a good choice if you’re interested in the investigative side of criminal justice. The 4-day-long camp is a chance for you to learn about the history of policing, investigations, and constitutional law. Participants will upskill themselves by performing tasks such as writing a search warrant, processing evidence for fingerprints, casting footwear impressions, and collecting and packaging evidence. Presentation of your findings to a panel of real investigators towards the end of the camp acts as a gauge for how wide the gap between you and professionals in the field is, which is useful especially if you want to make a career in this field.

Cost: $600 (commuter) $1150 (residential, on-campus)

Eligibility: Students entering grades 10-12 can apply.

Location: University of New Haven Campus, West Haven, Cincinnati, OH 

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program Dates: July 2024 (exact dates to be announced)

Waynesburg University’s CSI Camp focuses on teaching students lab and forensic techniques that you might have seen on TV. From DNA profiling and analysis to conducting a county search and tactical rescue, from excavating burial remains to learning the fundamentals of fingerprinting, you will be thoroughly engaged. If you’re curious about the technical aspects of forensic investigation, this camp has more than enough to keep you occupied. Note that applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and since the number of seats for the camp is limited, apply early if you’re keen to attend this camp!

Cost: $500 registration fee, with a $100 non-refundable deposit. This includes meals, housing, and course materials.

Eligibility: Rising 11th and 12th graders, and 2024 graduates, can apply.

Location: Waynesburg University Campus, PA

Application Deadline: May 2024 (tentatively, based on previous years). The scholarship application deadline is typically a month before the application deadline.

Program Dates: A week in June 2024.

Bonus — the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in criminology, law, policy, or other related subjects, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, over 4000 students applied for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Harvard seal


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