School of Justice and Social Sciences
PoliceAll School of Justice and Social Sciences students begin their freshman year with a strong, broad-based liberal arts core curriculum grounded in the principles of the Catholic tradition. After the sophomore year, students choose a major and begin an in-depth study of their profession in conjunction with the core curriculum. In the junior and senior years, advanced coursework is designed to run concurrently with community field placements so that students have the opportunity to observe and work alongside professionals in the community. Field experiences are integral to most programs, and each student’s placement in the community is chosen to reflect his or her interest and to provide a comprehensive, hands-on, team approach to learning. The
GavelCollege’s programs are built on solid relationships with public and private schools, business and trade associations, private research firms, the criminal justice system, and various government agencies, hospitals, and community treatment centers for children, adults, and the elderly in Central Massachusetts.  
In the classroom, professors emphasize the student’s understanding of the dignity of human life, the importance of developing the compassion to free people from poverty and ignorance, and the need to cultivate the awareness of just and ethical practice. There is a strong emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach among disciplines within the School. In addition, each School of Justice and Social Sciences degree program incorporates theory, research, and clinical/educational techniques to create well-rounded professionals. Upon graduation, Anna Maria College alumni receive support and guidance from their academic advisors/mentors for job placement.

School of Justice and Social Sciences Majors and Minors

The School of Justice and Social Sciences offers the following professional bachelors’ degrees in the social sciences:

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

The criminal justice major provides students with an interdisciplinary perspective on criminal justice that balances both theoretical knowledge and practical application. It prepares them for the criminal justice/human service professions and provides a solid foundation for graduate or professional studies. Courses develop a sense of global awareness and a commitment to social justice and responsibility while promoting respect for the dignity of all persons involved in the criminal justice system. Small classes promote the interchange of ideas between students and faculty members, all of whom bring practical experience to the learning environment.

Minors/certificates offered through the criminal justice program are:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Victimology and Victim Studies (minor and certificate)
  • Forensic Studies
  • Teacher of Students with or without Disabilities (PreK–2) teacher preparation licensure track to complement the Bachelor of Arts degree (see School of Education)

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Criminology

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Criminology

The major in Forensic Criminology provides students with a specialized examination of the criminal justice system from both sociological and scientific perspectives. While Criminal Justice aims to study the breadth of criminal activities and its control through policing and corrections, Forensic Criminology explores the depth of crime, its causes and criminal motivation to address legal and investigative questions. Forensic means the application of science to the law. Through a focus on evidence and process, students are challenged to assess systemic and societal responses to various criminal populations and case studies.

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Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Human Services

Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Human Services
The Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Human Services provides students with a broad-based and interdisciplinary education focused on the preparation of individuals who seek a career in a wide variety of professional settings in education, human services, social services, and related fields. The major is specifically designed to encourage students to self-design their major field of study while also completing a core set of courses in the liberal arts and in the interdisciplinary field of Human Development and Human Services. In keeping with the mission of Anna Maria College, students are required to take courses that integrate the College's commitment to liberal and professional education that fosters critical and integrated thinking, technological and quantitative literacy, scholarly and personal exploration of religious faith, the Catholic tradition and the meaning of human existence, ethical conduct, scholarly and professional knowledge, and an appreciation for the diversity of human cultures and society.
Minors offered through the human development and human services program are:
  • Human Development and Human Services (HDS)
  • Early Education and Care (birth–8 years) – for HDS majors
  • Out of School Time (5–13 years) – for HDS majors
  • Early Education and Care Leadership – for HDS majors

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
The psychology program has as its primary goal the preparation of students for graduate programs and work in the human services field. The curriculum includes introductions to the basic concepts of psychology, the evolution of the field, theories of normal and abnormal psychological development, experimental psychology, and an internship in a community setting. At the beginning of the senior year, students who have maintained a 3.0 QPA may apply for the fifth-year program in psychology. This option allows students to complete the master of arts degree in counseling psychology within one year of the completion of the baccalaureate degree.

Students who elect psychology as their career choice will find Anna Maria's program to be both exciting and personally enriching. In light of the demands of an increasingly complex world, the psychologist of tomorrow must be a well-rounded individual with a broad knowledge base and also be knowledgeable within the discipline of psychology. The program has the dual goal of preparing the student for a graduate program and work in the human services field and of helping the student develop an understanding of the central place of religion and values in life, as well as a solid sense of self, a caring about others, and the ability to think analytically, communicate clearly, and live a productive life.

A minor in psychology is offered through the psychology program.

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
Accredited at the baccalaureate level by the Council on Social Work Education, the Bachelor of Social Work program at Anna Maria College is dedicated to preparing social work students for further education and employment. Because of the program's multidisciplinary approach, Anna Maria College social work graduates go on to a variety of careers in public and private social work agencies.

Following professional tradition, the social work program prepares baccalaureate-level students for generalist practice and uses a holistic approach and person-in-environment (the family, community, organizations, and broad social systems) framework that simultaneously focuses on strategies and guidelines for ethical practice, advocacy skills, and respect for human dignity. Specifically, students focus on the development of professional social work competencies including the development of critical thinking skills, an appreciation for diversity and difference, an understanding of research methods and theoretical frameworks informing human development, an ability to advance social justice and influence policy, and an ability to effectively assist clients using a variety of interventive techniques. Faculty members, who have significant professional and academic experience, provide students with a comprehensive foundation for the practice of social work in fulfillment of the College's mission to educate the whole person.

A minor in social welfare is offered through the social work program.
Students interested in a Liberal Studies or a Self-Designed Bachelor of Arts degree are encouraged to contact their faculty advisor to discuss these options.


Fifth-Year Option
Students who wish to pursue graduate or professional study can complete the requisite coursework through courses offered in the School of Justice and Social Sciences and the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. Through the Fifth-Year Option at Anna Maria College, advanced students may also earn up to two courses in advanced placement graduate credits. Students are encouraged to discuss fifth-year option programs with their academic advisors. 


  Chris Holmes-webDean of the School of Justice and Social Sciences
Christine Holmes, Ed.D.
(508) 849-3418

Dr. Christine Holmes has been associated with Anna Maria College since 1999. As Director of Education Programs, Dr. Holmes has infused AMC’s educator preparation programs with rigor and excellence, helping to produce professional teachers and educators who have been recognized in their fields. Respected by her colleagues both on and off campus, Dr. Holmes was promoted to full professorship in 2011 and received the AMC Excellence Award for academic year 2011–2012.
A graduate of Fitchburg State College, Dr. Holmes received her M.S. from Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts, and earned her Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her background and experience in the areas of human development and education complement her ongoing research that focuses on college teacher beliefs and conceptions about teaching and learning, preservice teacher preparation, inservice and mentor teacher training, affective learning, and ways of teaching and learning both face to face and online.
Dr. Holmes is cofounder of the Center for Teaching Excellence and serves as its Director as well as a faculty mentor. In this capacity, her work focuses on faculty development and developmental supervision.