Criminal law and procedure

The moral and physical force of the law is nowhere more evident than in criminal law. It is here that the law authorizes the government to take a person’s property, liberty, or even their life. The law must both empower government to protect its citizens from lawless behavior and also protect citizens from the wrongful or mistaken application of the ultimate governmental power. In a nation dedicated to the rule of law, the law demands that government define and prove crimes with specificity and that it exercise its power within strict constitutional limitations.


Among the required first-year courses is Criminal Law (B511). For further study in this area, students may select from a broad range of offerings, including several clinical opportunities.

Other related courses

Student activities and opportunities

  • The Inmate Legal Assistance Project provides the opportunity for students to work under attorney supervision on intra-institutional problems of federal prisoners at the Terre Haute penitentiary.
  • The Protective Order Project brings together law students, members of the bar, and a local shelter for abused women to assist victims of abuse in obtaining protective orders from the courts. Students and attorneys represent clients in civil cases.
  • The Trial Competition Team is part of the law school’s comprehensive litigation curriculum. It is made up of third-year students, selected on the basis of their performances in the School’s trial tournament. The team participates in several competitions each year, including the annual intercollegiate competition sponsored by the American Association for Justice.

Related programs at Indiana University — Bloomington

Indiana University's Department of Criminal Justice has grown to one of the nation’s foremost research faculties in criminal justice and law and society. Faculty research covers important developing areas that bridge the study of crime with the study of law, culture, race, and gender. In addition to major components of the criminal justice system and the causes and distribution of crime, faculty members conduct research in community justice, dispute settlement, violence, cross-cultural studies, and critical theory.