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 Major
Located within the sociology department, the criminal justice major prepares students for a future career in law enforcement and related professional fields. Its instructors train students to think critically about the criminal justice system and to understand and implement evidence based practices. The department encourages students to apply these skills toward the pursuit of restorative justice as they live out their calling.
The criminal justice major is designed to assist students in entering an area of expanding need. The need is 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.
|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 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
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) 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.
|SOC 304CC - Ethnicity, Power, Identity
No course description available.
|SOC 305 - Policing & Law Enforcement
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) 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.
|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.
|SOC 310 - Criminology
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) 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.
|SOC 340 - Sociological Research
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department) 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.
|SOC 410 - Restorative Justice
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) 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
|SOC 417 - Internship
(4 credits may apply toward the major)
|PSC 101SS - American Government
No course description available.
|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.
|Total Credits Required: 48