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Criminology provides a pathway to pursue careers in policy evaluations, program evaluation, justice focused non-profits, law enforcement, political think-tanks, law school, and federal agencies.

Why Criminology? 

Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in behavioral and social sciences and the humanities. The study of criminology is informed by the disciplines of sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, statistics, and social service. This major is designed for students interested in studying crime and criminal behavior and working in criminal justice or public service or attending graduate or professional schools will find this major of interest.

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Our students will be invited to curate justice-oriented ways of thinking about race, class, gender, sexuality, capitalism, crime and the environment in the field of criminology. This is what will set us apart from other programs.

Roksana Badruddoja, Ph.D., Department Chairperson and Professor of Sociology

The Perspective

Criminology, as an interdisciplinary major, builds on the strengths of the social sciences and humanities, and ties together the Department’s areas of interest, including qualitative and quantitative methods of research (mixed methods approaches), economics, gender, class, critical race theory, social movements, crime, terrorism, social service, anthropology, and geography. The major focuses on contemporary empirical issues like policing, mass incarceration, cybercrime, drugs, and comparative criminal justice.

Program Objectives

The criminology program objectives are threefold:

Criminal Etiology

Students in the degree program will learn criminological theoretical foundations to objectively determine root causes of criminal and socially deviant behavior in terms of extraneous factors, including behavioral, social, sociological, cultural, and economic.


Students will develop evidence-based, effective, and humane/socially just means for analyzing deviant behavior and understanding culturally appropriate responses to crime and criminality.

Sociology of Law

Students will examine how laws are made and enforced.

What Will You Learn?

The program covers a range of exciting, important, and timely criminology topics that will challenge preconceptions and broaden perspectives through a wide variety of courses, including electives such as Modern American Gangs, Contemporary Policing, Criminal Justice Ethics, and Mass Incarceration and Collateral Consequences.

As a criminology major, you will:

  • Analyze the U.S. class structure and how class status affects one’s life
  • Learn the logic and skills of social scientific research
  • Gain first-hand experience collecting and analyzing data
  • Survey major sociological theories, tracing contemporary approaches to classical sociologists
  • Complete a capstone project based on original research

Requirements for a Major in Criminology

All majors must complete the following 33 credits with a minimum grade of C for all courses in the major:

Criminology Core

SOC 253 Crime Mapping 3
SOC 270 Criminology 3
SOC 294 Gender, Crime & Justice 3
SOC 307 Research Methods (taken Fall of Junior year) 3
SOC 416 Seminar in Sociology (taken Spring of Senior year) Prerequisites for criminology majors: SOC 270, SOC 307, and Structural Inequalities 3

Criminology Electives

SOC 273 Mass Incarceration and Collateral Consequences 3
SOC 275 Issues in Contemporary Policing 3
SOC 308 Juvenile Justice 3
SOC 310 Sociology of Deviance
(Course Variance: PSYCH 257 Forensic Psychology)
SOC 313 Family Law 3
SOC 317 Anthropology of Drugs 3
SOC 323 Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers
(Cross listed: POSC 323)
SOC 326 Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties
(Cross listed: POSC 324)
SOC 327 Power and Conflict (New Title: Philosophy of Punishment) 3
SOC 361 Criminal Justice Ethics (Correction: Criminal Justice Administration) 3
SOC 362 Modern American Gangs 3
SOC 364 Law and Society 3
SOC 366 White Collar Crime 3
SOC 367 Criminal Justice Ethics (Cross listed: RELS 399) 3
SOC 369 Current Issues in Criminal Justice 3

Structural Inequalities Distribution

SOC 290 Codes of Gender (Fall) 3
SOC 295 Capitalism (Fall) 3
SOC 296 Introduction to Human Geography (Spring) 3
SOC 302 Race and Resistance (Spring) 3
SOC 304 Social Inequalities (Spring) 3

Criminology majors interested in Geographic Information System (GIS), e.g. crime mapping--create, manage, analyze, and map crime data, may choose to pair the major with either a concentration or minor in Geography and requires departmental advising and approval by the Department Chair Dr. Roksana Badruddoja. A double major in Criminology and Sociology requires departmental advising and must be approved by the Department Chair Dr. Roksana Badruddoja.

The Department strongly recommends that all students in the criminology major complete a faculty-supervised internship for elective credit in a local social service agency: Sociology 475. Internship (3 credits). Assistance with locating a suitable placement is available with the Director of Criminology Dr. Madeleine Novich or at the Center for Career Development.

What Will You Do?

There are a vast number of career trajectories and opportunities for students graduating with degrees in criminology. The program prepares individuals aiming to pursue careers in policy evaluations, program evaluation, justice focused non-profits, law enforcement, political think-tanks, law school, and federal agencies, to name a few. Many criminology students choose to pursue graduate work, including law school.

This program is ideal for students pursuing careers in:

  • Law enforcement
  • Law
  • Corrections
  • Criminal justice advocacy
  • Nonprofit organizations

What Does a Career in Criminology Look Like?

 Some students pursue graduate programs and law school, while others consider careers in federal agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Other alternatives include both local and federal law enforcement and nonprofit agencies that focus on criminal justice and inequality.