WhitmanWayfinderGovernmentAndLawCareers in law and criminal justice typically fall into one of two categories: law enforcement or legal. Law enforcement refers to the practice of criminal justice, like policing and dealing with the causes of criminal behavior and society's response to crime. Legal focuses on providing legal services to individuals and businesses as a legal representative or as a public official in the courts.

Whitman has no separate pre-law major. However, lawyers need many of the skills that a liberal arts education can cultivate: excellent writing, reading, critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as a basic understanding of the human experience. Common undergraduate majors for future Whitman lawyers include economics, English, history, philosophy, and sociology, but law schools look with equal favor on students who have excelled in other rigorous fields of study.

The Pre-Law Advisors at Whitman--Professor Patrick Frierson (frierspr@whitman.edu), Professor Jack Jackson (jacksoje@whitman.edu), and Associate Dean Noah Leavitt (leavitns@whitman.edu) --can offer direction and advice to students about their plans for law school.

There are many clubs on campus that will allow you to explore your interests, stretch your skills, and make an impact in an area about which you're passionate. Contact the ASWC Club Director at aswc_clubdir@whitman.edu to learn more about current clubs or start your own.

Action for Animals

This club collaborates with local institutions to better the lives of animals through service and advocacy, which can include working on animal rights legislation and engaging with regional and state governments. 

All Students for Consent (ASC)

All Students for Consent helps the community support survivors of sexual violence and combat rape culture through education.

Almighty Ink

A slam poetry group, Almighty Ink welcomes any student interested in writing and speaking poems. The club meets weekly and sometimes travels to competitions. 

Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC)

The term ASWC refers both to every student currently attending Whitman and to the student government comprised of elected officials who voice the concerns, support the projects, and fuel the passions of the student body.

ASWC Nominations

This committee of appointed and elected members interviews and selects students to hold positions on college committees and governing boards as well as campus media organization leadership. 

ASWC Oversight

Charged with ensuring that ASWC follows its own bylaws, this committee of appointed and elected members requires students to run fair, democratic elections and evaluate ASWC personnel without bias.

ASWC Student Affairs

This committee, comprised of elected members of the ASWC senate, responds to student concerns by writing legislation that clarifies the bylaws, allocates money, or demonstrates the position of the student body to the administration. 

Beyond Borders Club

Beyond Borders fosters global awareness. This educational and culturally-focused club hosts screenings, lectures, art displays, and other events, such as the Internation Celebration.

Black Student Union (BSU)

Black Student Union is a safe space to discuss topics of race. The club serves as a support group for students of color, but any student can attend. 

Border as Method

It is the mission of Border as Method to promote awareness of the intersectionality of immigration to our community.

Campus Climate Coalition (CCC)

Campus Climate Coalition is the umbrella organization for various environmental campaigns and groups at Whitman. Its goals shift depending on which issues galvanize the campus that year. 

Club Latino

Club Latino is a group of students of any ethnic background who seek to educate themselves and the community about the history and culture of the Latino population, especially that of the United States, Mexico, Central, and South America. 

Council on Student Affairs

Five students (and at least two alternates) work as a disciplinary body to make rulings on student infractions of school policy.

Diversity Governing Board

Two students sit on the Diversity Governing Board, where they engage in frank discussions about creating a learning environment that attracts and embraces a more diverse community. These students represent their peers in meetings with the Whitman College Board of Trustees.

Drama Club

Drama Club supports the student theater season by ushering and selling concessions at shows. The group also plans the annual Drama Rush, College Cabin visit, Ashland trip, and Drama Banquet.

Feminists Advocating Change and Empowerment (FACE)

FACE supports marginalized groups and advocates for a feminism that includes people of various backgrounds, genders, races, etc., rather than limiting their efforts to a particular "kind" of woman. 

First Generation/Working Class Club (FGWC)

Sometimes FG/WC students struggle to adjust to Whitman; this club aims to help them overcome potential obstacles by providing a network and advocating for resources on campus.

Global Awareness House (Glo-Ho)

Glo-Ho residents raise awareness about world issues such as hunger, population, and human rights. Up to five students and one resident assistant can live in this interest house.


A chapter of the national non-profit, GlobeMed at Whitman educates the community about issues of global public health through discussions, events, films, and a close relationship with Burma Humanitarian Mission (BHM). BHM supports grassroots education, community-based backpack medics, and refugee collaboration projects in Burma. 

Indigenous People's Education and Cultural Club (IPECC)

Both Native and non-Native students comprise IPECC, a group that shares the diverse traditions of Native culture through entertainment, speakers, educators, and activities.

Mixed Race Club (HAPA)

HAPA responds to the modern world's continual blurring of the margins of "race" by creating a community for multiracial students and educating others about identity development.

South Asian Students Association (SASA)

SASA promotes interest in and awareness of South Asian cultures in the Whitman community by hosting festivals, film screenings, lectures, and performances. 

Story Time Project

Story Time volunteers travel to classrooms and daycares throughout Walla Walla to read stories to children each week. Bilingual volunteers, especially those fluent in Spanish, are welcome.

Student Life Governing Board

Two students sit on the Student Life Governing Board, where they work with the dean of students, provost, faculty, and president of the college to address the quality of life on campus. These students represent their peers in meetings with the Whitman College Board of Trustees.

Student Registrar Committee

Four students advise the Registrar's Office about course schedules and registration.

Varsity Nordic

Varsity Nordic is an improvisational comedy group composed of five to ten students who perform regularly throughout the year and host a 24-hour fundraiser in the spring. Students must audition to participate. 

Whitman African Students Association (WASA)

WASA supports African students on campus and teaches about African culture and issues.

Whitman Teaches the Movement (WTTM)

This program trains students to teach about the 1960s civil rights movement in local schools. Using curricula developed by the Walla Walla Public School District and the Southern Poverty Law Center, WTTM increases tolerance and anti-discrimination education.

Community involvement helps students understand a broad range of issues and is becoming increasingly important in the eyes of many employers. For more ways to connect with local organizations, contact the Student Engagement Center in Reid Campus Center.

Spring Break Service Trip

Spring Break Service Trips are week-long volunteer trips that allow Whitman students to focus on a particular social issue outside of the Walla Walla community. Each trip's service, education, and reflection opportunities are arranged around a theme, giving students a greater sense of their impact and role on that issue.

Participants volunteer with a primary social organization throughout the week, in addition to visiting and working with nonprofits to gain an understanding of the issues that affect a broader community. Students also have a chance to explore the city or area they are visiting because they are typically housed at local churches and cook most meals together.

Trips destinations and themes can vary from year to year but some of the previous examples include: Refugee & Resettlement in Seattle, WA, Environmental Conservation in Arcata, CA, Urban Education in Portland, OR, and Relief & Rebuilding in New Orleans, LA.

Green Park Bilingual

The Greek Park Bilingual Program takes volunteers to the Green Park Elementary School where they help students in the classroom by acting as a safety net for the students who are transitioning from learning in Spanish to learning in English. These volunteers are expected to be able to teach a range of subjects such as math, reading, writing, and science while only conversing in Spanish.

Green Park Bilingual volunteers offer academic support to ELL students in K-3 classrooms with students working on both math and literacy fundamentals. Spanish language proficiency is a prerequisite for this opportunity. 

Fellowships and grants afford many students the opportunity to continue their learning beyond graduation in high-impact programs. For more information, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Grants in Reid Campus Center.

AAUW Selected Professions Fellowship
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Selected Professions Fellowships are awarded to women who intend to pursue a full-time course of study at accredited U.S. institutions during the Fellowship year in one of the designated degree programs where women's participation traditionally has been low. Applicants must be pursuing or intend to pursue a master's degree in the fields of architecture, computer science, engineering, mathematics, or statistics. However, in the areas of business administration, law, and medicine, the Fellowship is only open to women who are ethnic minorities.

Carnegie Junior Fellows Program
The Carnegie Junior Fellows Program selects 8-10 graduating seniors to serve as research assistants to senior associates-academics, former government officials, lawyers, and journalists from around the world to work on international affairs issues at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, DC.

Critical Language Scholarship (U.S. Dept. of State)
The Critical Language Scholarship institutes provide a fully funded, group-based, intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experience for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate, master's and Ph.D. students. This program is part of a U.S. government interagency effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.
The levels that are available for each language include: Arabic, Persian (advanced beginning intermediate or advanced level); Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu, Swahili (Beginning, intermediate or advanced level); Chinese, Japanese, Russian (Intermediate or advanced level). The countries that are available to study in include: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Russia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, or others where the target languages are spoken.


To learn more about working on campus, visit the Student Employment page. We have general job search resources here. For employers committed to diversity and opportunities for minorities, visit workplacediversity.com, nemnet.com, and blackcollegian.com.

Industry Job Boards & Resources

Internships and on-campus employment are excellent for accumulating work experience, developing your narrative, and broadening your network. Note that the list below is not comprehensive. Check sites such as vault.com and internships.com for more opportunities.

To see what Law & Criminal Justice internships Whitman students have held in the past, check out the Whitman Internship Database and search "Law & Criminal Justice" or "Government & Law".

Studying away from campus is a fantastic way to learn more about the world, as well as an excellent experience upon which you'll draw throughout your academic and professional career. For more information, contact Off-Campus Studies in Memorial.

AU Washington Semester Program
Whitman students who wish to learn about the U.S. government and national policy or engage in community organizing in the heart of the nation's capital may apply to attend American University's Washington Semester Program. Students obtain hands-on experience by participating in an internship as well as enrolling in a seminar course, which is often taught on location taking them behind the scenes in D.C. Washington Semester students also will choose location to conduct an in-depth research project project to enroll in an elective at American University.

Mexico Solidarity Network (MSN)
The Mexico Solidarity Network introduces students to the ideas and people involved in autonomous, community-based, organizing in Mexico. Students spend six weeks in Chiapas learning Spanish and the history and ideas behind the movement before spending the rest of the semester in homestays in Tlaxcala and Mexico City. The final two weeks of the program are spent at the Centro Autonomo in Chicago.

SIT: Serbia Peace & Conflict Studies in the Balkans
Through the SIT: Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosova - Peace and Conflict in the Balkans program, Whitman students can gain firsthand knowledge of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, and the struggle for human rights in Serbia, Bonsnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo.The program is based in Serbia, but students take educational excursions to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

The Philadelphia Center
Qualified Whitman students interested in a professional development experience in the historic city of Philadelphia may elect to participate in THe Philadelphia Center program. Participants on this program will intern on a field of their choice for 32 hours a week. The Philadelphia Center offers more than 800 internship options to choose from with organizations such as the Environmental Protection Association, Philadelphia Zoo, arden Theater Company, and the District Attorney's office. In addition to the internship, students will enroll in a weekly City Seminar and one elective course.

DIS: Copenhagen
The DIS Copenhagen program, students can take a variety of courses in English while experiencing immersion in Copenhagen, Denmark. This program provides students with an academically challenging environment where students can take over 200 elective course that are all taught in English. There are several cultural engagements opportunities like course-integrated study tours, DIScovery Trips, housing.

Here are some possible post-graduate degrees pursued by people in law and criminal justice. Contact Noah Leavitt at leavitns@whitman.edu for additional information.

  • Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD)
  • Master of Legal Studies
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice-Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Criminology
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Ph.D. in Business Administration-Criminal Justice
  • Ph.D. in Psychology: Criminology and Justice Studies


To subscribe to the Law listserv, which offers a steady stream of news, advice and trivia about (nearly) all things law school and law-related, please send a blank email message to law-subscribe@lists.whitman.edu.

Useful Links

Alumni in the Field

Log in to LinkedIn or Whitman Connect to learn about Whitman alumni with jobs in law and criminal justice.

Potential Job Titles

CIA Officer
Federal Policeperson
Law Clerk
Pro Bono Legal Aid Provider
Public Defender
Tax Analyst