Sociology and criminal justice programs
As a sociology/criminal justice major, you’ll study people in groups: peer and family groups, political parties, religious groups, minority groups, and entire societies. You’ll investigate and debate social problems like poverty, war and crime—all in an effort to understand how people might relate to one another in a way that promotes restoration and reconciliation.
Our department's mission is to train you to think critically about the social world, help you develop skills for conducting social research, and engage you in exploring the diversity of the human experience. We want our sociology graduates to apply their skills to the pursuit of justice as they live out their calling in careers and communities around the world.
Criminal Justice Minor
|SOC 218 - Deviance & Social Control
(4 credits) In this course, we are going to explore a number of questions about the boundaries of acceptability within societies. Instead of just taking such boundaries for granted, we will look at how the creation of normality and deviance is a process of social construction. We will examine how society can influence or constrain people to live within or outside of the socially constructed boundaries. As we explore this subject, we will be challenged to reexamine our own understanding of what is deviant and what is normal, to reflect on how definitions of deviance shape our identities and values, and to wrestle with how definitions of deviance and attempts at social control affect others.
|SOC 220 - The Criminal Justice System
This course provides an introduction to the criminal justice system. The
primary goal of this course is to develop a general understanding of the
criminal justice system's response to crime in society. It is important to note
the general theme of this course involves the delicate balance between
community interests and individual rights that criminal justice decision making
requires. This theme is explored by examining the criminal justice process in
some detail, focusing on how the system is structured to respond to crime. This
requires an understanding of the core elements of the criminal justice system:
police, courts, and corrections. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
|SOC 310 - Criminology
This course is a survey of the field of criminology. It examines the nature,
location, and impact of crime in the United States by exploring a broad range
of issues related to criminology. Topics include the theoretical underpinnings
of criminality, how we measure criminal acts, the development of criminal
careers, the various typologies of offenders and victims, and a critical
analysis of public policies concerning crime control in society. (4 credits;
alternate years, consult department)
|Choose one course
|SOC 202 - Social Problems
(4 credits) This course is about learning to critically think about society and various problems in society. This course will examine a number of social issues as we wrestle with how we can decide if an issue is a social problem, decide which social problems might be more significant than others, and evaluate potential solutions for social problems. We are going to wrestle with some challenging questions with the goal of helping us to think deeply about how we might seek justice on an individual level and within society.
|SOC 304 - Ethnicity, Power, Identity
(4 credits) This course examines and develops a sociological perspective on ethnicity, power and identity. The primary goal of this course is not simply to learn the attitudes or behaviors of specific racial groups. Instead, this course will seek to answer the questions: Where do social groups come from? What social dynamics emerge when one group of people has much more power than another? Our readings and discussions will shed light upon these questions from different perspectives. Along the way, we will also discuss the unique historical situations of specific groups as they endure and struggle against power imbalances (for example, the African American Civil Rights Movement).
|Choose one course
|SOC 305 - Policing & Law Enforcement
This course will provide an introduction to policing and law enforcement and
will include a history of policing, police-community relations, police
operational and administrative practices and an examination of important
trends, issues, and limitations issues facing law enforcement today. The course
will also examine police behaviors and attitudes, police culture, and how
officers exercise discretion. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
|SOC 307 - Corrections
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) This course offers students the opportunity to learn the role of community-based corrections in the criminal justice system. The course will address all aspects of probation and parole supervision, the current prison systems, and evidence based practices in working within the criminal justice system. Critical thinking, reflective decision-making and collaboration will be emphasized.
|Choose one course
|PSC 225 - Intro to Law
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department) (American politics) This course briefly surveys the landscape of the American legal system. Most of the course, however, is devoted to examining significant constitutional issues, such as government powers, civil rights and civil liberties.
|SOC 410 - Restorative Justice
This course focuses on restorative conceptions of justice related to the
criminal justice system. It places justice in the context of social health
rather than only in relation to punishment or criminality. Prominent is the
concept of restoring social rights and order threatened by harm to victims,
society, and offender. A key goal of restorative justice is to repair harm and
restore relationships broken by crime and other wrongdoings. It also recognizes
the perspective of the survivors of various crimes and seeks to bring about
healing through attempted reconciliation. Crucial conversations are core to the
change process through both victim offender dialogue and motivational
interviewing. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
|Total Credits Required: 24