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Criminal Studies

Dr. Kimya DennisThe Criminal Studies program offers both a major and a minor. The program combines criminology and criminal justice to examine the correlates and patterns of crime and deviance, social costs of crime and deviance, and criminal justice and legal procedures. Through an understanding of theory and research, students will learn the information and skills necessary to evaluate theories and research of crime and justice and to critique aspects of criminal law and criminal justice processes. In gaining this knowledge of the complex structure of crime, deviance, and social control students will be prepared for a range of career paths and graduate school. The program offers both a major and a minor.

Your Program

Criminal Studies 4-Year Plan
The Criminal Studies major and minor combines criminology and criminal justice to examine the social construction of crime and deviance, correlates and patterns of crime and deviance, and social costs and social control mechanisms. 

Your Experience

You will learn the skills necessary to evaluate and critique theory, research, and policy, which will lay the foundation for potential opportunities in a variety of academic or career paths including graduate school and corrections.  In addition, through theory and research you will learn the ways in which social inequalities including race, socioeconomic status, and gender influence crime commission, criminal victimization, and criminal justice processing.

Your Faculty

Professors in this field are dedicated to giving you a wide ranging understanding of the world of criminal studies. The faculty members are respected as experts in their field and they have done extensive research on issues such as suicidology; the study of homicide and other forms of lethal violence; and correlates of gender, social class, and race and ethnicity.

Criminal Studies Major (B.A.)

The Criminal Studies major requires ten courses: a seven-course core and three major electives.

Criminal Studies Minor

The Criminal Studies Minor requires 6 courses, the 4 core courses listed below and 2 electives from among other Criminal Studies courses, appropriate Special Topics courses and other courses with the approval of the Department Chair.

Criminal Studies Courses (CRST)

100. Introduction to Criminology One course

This course examines crime and deviance from a sociological perspective. It looks critically at correlates of crime, the prevalence of crime, and crime control. This course provides a greater understanding of theoretical and social explanations of crime, how crime is measured and studied, the social costs of crime, and solutions to the problems of crime. Cross-listed as SOCI 270.

110. Introduction to Criminal Justice One course

This course is an introduction to the practical application of theories and research of crime and punishment. Crime control will be examined as it relates to law enforcement and crime scene investigation; the court system; and the corrections system. This course will also take a critical approach to the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system and the process of exiting a life of crime.

150. Deviance One course

This course will examine theories and perspectives on deviance and criminal behaviors and how informal and formal social control mechanisms attempt to address such behaviors as suicide and self-mutilation, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, and adult criminality. This course will also discuss the construction of norms and values and the constructed boundaries between behaviors that are considered normal or moral and behaviors that are considered deviant. Prerequisites: CRST 100 or 110 or permission of department chair.

160. Juvenile Delinquency One course

This course will examine theories and research of juvenile delinquency in terms of status offenses and non-status offenses. The relationship between juvenile offending and adult offending will be assessed in relation to the juvenile and adult corrections systems. Policies of crime prevention for youth and young adults will be examined in terms of their effectiveness in keeping youth and young adults out of offending populations.

170. Crime and Punishment One course

This course examines schools of thought regarding punishment and the social and political context of laws and punishment. The complexities of crime and punishment will be examined with an emphasis on the foundations of criminal law, the criminal justice process, and contemporary issues in the criminal justice system.

200. Independent Study in Criminal Studies One course

Independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to students with a 2.0 cumulative average and permission of the chair of the department. Independent study may take the form of readings, research, conference, project and/or field experience.

201. Criminological and Criminal Justice Theory One course

This course will examine the development of criminological and criminal justice theories and how contemporary theoretical perspectives shape the fields of criminology and criminal justice. Emphasis will also be placed on the practical applications of theory and research to such issues as crime causation, crime control, and punishment. Prerequisites: CRST 100 or 110 or permission of department chair.

220. Special Topics in Criminal Studies One course

Contemporary issues in criminal studies. This course consists of intensive study of current topics in the field of criminal studies. Offered as needed.

270. Internship in Criminal Studies One course

An opportunity to use the knowledge and skills the student has learned in coursework to solve problems in a real work setting; the apprenticeship aspect of the internship implies that the student has some base of knowledge and will increase her knowledge and skills by direct contact with an experienced, knowledgeable mentor. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors with a 2.0 cumulative average; admission by application only.

290. Honors Independent Study in Criminal Studies One course

Advanced independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to juniors and seniors with a 3.5 average in criminal studies, subject to approval of the chair of the department. Honors work may be taken for a maximum of two courses.

380. Senior Seminar in Criminal Studies One course

The senior capstone course. Requires a major research paper. The course provides an integrative experience which reinforces prior coursework in the criminal studies major. Requires senior standing or permission of department chair.

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