Criminal Justice

Located within the sociology department, the criminal justice major will prepare you for a future career in law enforcement and related professional fields. You’ll be trained to think critically about the criminal justice system and to understand and implement evidence based practices. You’ll also be encouraged to apply these skills toward the pursuit of restorative justice as you live out your calling.

The criminal justice major is designed to assist students in entering an area of expanding need for professionalization and better prepared personnel in law enforcement, the court system, and in diverse areas in the corrections system. This major is also good preparation for graduate school, providing a knowledge and understanding of theory, social organization, methods and techniques. An internship of one semester is part of the major in order to provide additional practical experience in the field.

Sociology and criminal justice department homepage

Major requirements

SOC 202 - Social Problems
A discussion of myths and facts leading toward an understanding of many social problems, such as sexual deviance, drugs and alcohol, health care and illness (physical and mental), crime and delinquency, violence, wealth and poverty, inequality of opportunity, work, aging, sex inequality, racial minorities and discrimination, education, family problems, war, pollution, ecology and population. Emphasis is placed upon difficulties in defining, critiquing and proposing meaningful solutions.(4 credits)
SOC 218 - Deviance & Social Control
This class focuses on a sociological understanding of deviance. We will explore how both culture and structure may shape the prevalence, definition and reaction to deviance. Various theoretical perspectives will be examined and discussed to see how deviance may be both understood and even perhaps predicted. Finally, a number of more "concrete" areas will be examined, to both see how the theory holds up in real life, and to deepen the understanding of deviance and attempts at social control of deviance. (4 credits)
SOC 220 - The Criminal Justice System
This course provides an introduction to the criminal justice system. Theprimary goal of this course is to develop a general understanding of thecriminal justice system’s response to crime in society. It is important tonote the general theme of this course involves the delicate balance betweencommunity interests and individual rights that criminal justice decisionmaking requires. This theme is explored by examining the criminal justiceprocess in some detail, focusing on how the system is structured to respondto crime. This requires an understanding of the core elements of thecriminal justice system: police, courts, and corrections. (4 credits;alternate years, consult department)
SOC 304CC - Ethnicity, Power, Identity
(4 credits)(IGE option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) This coursedevelops a sociological perspective on ethnicity, power, and identity.Sociologists frequently seek to balance an emphasis on both the generalpatterns that we observe across social phenomena and the uniqueness ofeach specific case. The primary goal of this course is not simply learnthe characteristics of specific historically marginalized populations.Instead, this course will seek to answer the question: What is therelationship between power, ethnicity, and identity? Our readings anddiscussions will shed light upon this question from differentperspectives. Along the way, we will also draw upon learning materialsthat address the unique historical situations of specific groups as theyendure and struggle against power imbalances (for example, the AfricanAmerican Civil Rights Movement).
SOC 305 - Policing & Law Enforcement
This course will provide an introduction to policing and law enforcement andwill include a history of policing, police-community relations, policeoperational and administrative practices and an examination of importanttrends, issues, and limitations issues facing law enforcement today. Thecourse will also examine police behaviors and attitudes, police culture, andhow officers exercise discretion. (4 credits; alternate years, consultdepartment)
SOC 307 - Corrections
Evolution of and debates concerning community and non-community based correctional programs, relationships between correcting, reforming, rehabilitating, and punishing, tensions between protection of public safety and rights of the accused, evaluation of incarceration, probation, parole, diversion, alternate and restorative justice programs, issues in "proactive" and "reactive" debate. Prerequisites: SOC218 and 303. Recommend general education writing requirement. (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 broadrange of issues related to criminology. Topics include the theoreticalunderpinnings of criminality, how we measure criminal acts, the developmentof criminal careers, the various typologies of offenders and victims, and acritical analysis of public policies concerning crime control in society. (4credits; alternate years, consult department)
SOC 340 - Sociological Research
A comprehensive introduction to sociological research methods with emphasis on survey research. An opportunity for sociology majors or others to apply this methodology in the conduct of major research in an area determined in consultation with the instructor. Finished research reports will be considered for presentation at various sociological association meetings. Prerequisites: SOC101 or equivalent. Recommend general education writing requirement, (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
SOC 410 - Restorative Justice
This course focuses on restorative conceptions of justice related to thecriminal justice system. It places justice in the context of social healthrather than only in relation to punishment or criminality. Prominent is theconcept of restoring social rights and order threatened by harm to victims,society, and offender. A key goal of restorative justice is to repair harmand restore relationships broken by crime and other wrongdoings. It alsorecognizes the perspective of the survivors of various crimes and seeks tobring about healing through attempted reconciliation. Crucial conversationsare core to the change process through both victim offender dialogue andmotivational interviewing. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
SOC 417 - Internship
(4 credits may apply toward the major)


PSC 101SS - American Government
(4 credits)(IGE option under Self and Society) A broad survey of the major political and governmental institutions in the United States, this course examines how citizens attempt to influence their government and how the government responds. The course also develops the foundations for a biblical perspective on the role of government and the task of citizens.
PSC 225 - Intro to Law
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. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department) (American politics)

Total Credits Required: 48