Carrollton native first student to receive B. S. in criminal justice

When Jason M. Counts of Carrollton received his diploma on May 10, a bit of history was made at The University of Mississippi. Counts became the first individual to complete requirements to earn a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice.

The new degree was approved in spring 2002 by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. Before, students who sought academic preparation for criminal justice careers received a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with emphasis in criminal justice.

"Criminal justice is a good program and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to pursue a career in law enforcement," said Counts, the son of Thomas and Vellie Counts of Carrollton. He also complimented his professor, Dr. Chester Quarles. "I wouldn't have made it through the program without him."

Counts plans to pursue a career as a federal game warden.

The Bachelor of Science in criminal justice is one of two new degree programs offered by the Department of Legal Studies in the School of Applied Sciences. Students can also pursue a Bachelor of ParaApplied Sciences.

"We sought approval of this new degree as a result of what both


current and former students told us was needed," said Dr. Linda Chitwood, dean of the School of Applied Sciences. "They expressed the desire for a degree that would identify the specific course of study they had pursued."

Dr. William Oliphant, associate provost and interim chair of the Department of Applied Sciences, added that the criminal justice program at UM has the "potential for becoming one of the largest majors in the School of Applied Sciences." He anticipates that the faculty will continue to grow with the program.

"We believe that with Dr. Quarles in place and new faculty members coming to join him, we will begin to see the criminal justice program emerge not only on this campus but in the field as a whole," Chitwood said. "In addition to excellence in the classroom, we want both research and service to be cornerstones of the program."

Criminal justice courses are also offered at the Southaven branch of The University of Mississippi.

The School of Applied Sciences encompasses disciplines that emphasize professional training, service and scholarship, and human health sciences and includes the departments of Communicative Disorders; Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management; Applied Sciences; and Social Work.


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Jason Counts receives his diploma from Professor Chester Quarles.