Sociology - Criminology Specialization

The specialization in criminology explores a range of sociological theory and research about law making, law breaking, law enforcement and the consequences of law enforcement. This knowledge base prepares students to confront the social policy issues associated with crime control and furnishes the background for productive careers in criminal justice occupations.

Required Courses

The following courses have been designed to provide the criminology student with the basic skills, concepts, and information necessary to
becoming effective consumers of applied sociological and anthropological knowledge.
Introduction to Sociology (SOC 100) OR Social Problems (SOC 110)

The History of Social Theory (SOC 310) covers the classic sociological theorists (Durkheim, Weber, Marx, Mead) who formulated the theory and methodology that guide the modern study of crime.

Methods of Inquiry (SSC 332) deals with measurement, research design, and data analysis.

Statistics (STA 100) provides training in the analysis of quantitative data.

Distinction: Race, Class, and Gender (ANT 321) explores the implications of the recognition that basic differentiations among groups are culturally and socially constructed.

Senior Seminar (SOC 493) is a capstone experience that allows students to explore a particular criminology topic in depth. A criminologist teaches the Senior Seminar annually.

Criminology Courses

Criminology students should take five criminology courses. We recommend SOC 351, SOC 314, SOC 450, SOC 451, and SOC 455. We also encourage students to consider taking courses from among the department’s offerings in social services and anthropology to create a program of study that addresses particular interests.

Sociology of Crime (SOC 351) explores the nature and prevalence of street crime and white-collar crime; the problem of measuring crime; research on the career criminal; research about race, class, age, gender and crime; victimization theory and research; and theory and research about he impact of arrest and punishment on crime rates.

Sociology of Deviance (SOC 314) critically assesses major approaches to explaining law making, law breaking, law enforcement, and the consequences of law enforcement.

Chemical Dependency (SOC 350) investigates the nature and causes of chemical dependency, rates of drug use, objective and subjective approaches to understanding drug effects, the acute and chronic effects of drugs, the link between drugs and crime, and social policy toward drugs.

Sociology of Corrections (SOC 450) analyzes contemporary sentencing reform and the reliance on incarceration to achieve retribution, deterrence, incapacitation or rehabilitation, examines the problems associated with pretrial release, parole, felony probation, prison conditions and constitutional rights of prisoners, and applies conflict theories to the critical analysis of these issues.

Sociology of White-Collar Crime (SOC 452) presents the nature and scope of white-collar crime and critically evaluates major theories of occupational and organizational crime and approaches to the control of white-collar crime.

Sociology of Law and the Courts (SOC 455) considers the meaning and functions of law, the organization of law and the courts, the relationship between law and social change, prominent theories of law and the strengths and weaknesses of theoretical
perspectives on legislative lawmaking, judicial law making, and defacto law making (under enforcement).

Research & Practice Options
We recommend that criminology students wishing additional skills and exposure to a criminal justice setting give special consideration to
the following options:

Ethnography (ANT 460) presents the
essential elements of participation observation and writing in
anthropology, including the opportunity to conduct a field of study in
a criminal justice setting.

Practicum in Sociology (SOC 495)
integrates academic and practical experience. It involves performing supervised tasks in a criminal justice setting, a weekly meeting with
other practicum students, and the execution of an applied research project.


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