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The Department of Sociology offers numerous courses that offer graduate students the opportunity to get quality training and knowledge in criminology and criminal justice. In these classes, students learn to apply sociological theory and methods to real-world research and policy issues at the local, state, national, and international levels. Graduate courses cover seminal topics including the history of the American criminal justice system from a sociological perspective, and leading contemporary theories of crime and criminal justice. Furthermore, the Department offers several upper level undergraduate courses that could be taken for graduate credit with a graduate advisor’s approval. The classes cover a variety of contemporary topics, such as juvenile delinquency, criminal organizations such as gangs and the mafia, and homicide. See below for the list of Sociology courses. For their final requirement of the MA degree in Sociology, students have a comprehensive exam option in criminology or a thesis option of conducting an independent research project in a topic of criminology and criminal justice.

As an alternative to what Sociology Department offers, the Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology (MCJC) is a joint program offered by the School of Public Affairs in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, with support from the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Letters. The program offers students a unique opportunity to integrate knowledge from sociology, criminology, and criminal justice by combining research expertise of faculty members from both disciplines. Please check out their website.

For more information on all the courses in criminology and criminal justice offered in the Department of Sociology see below:

Graduate Sociology Courses in Criminology or Criminal Justice

SOC 543. Police, Courts, and Corrections: The Sociology of Crime and Punishment (3)
Prerequisite: Sociology 101.
Historical sociology of the American criminal justice system. Development and functions of police, criminal courts, prisons, parole, and probation. Theories and ideologies of punishment and rehabilitation. Review of contemporary research.

SOC 743. Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice Theory (3)
Prerequisites: Graduate standing, 12 graduate units, Sociology 401.
History of criminological theory and review of leading contemporary theories of crime and criminal justice with focus on interconnection among social context, policy making, and methodological implications of theories.

Undergraduate Sociology courses in Criminology and Criminal Justice

SOC 442. Homicide in America (3) 
Prerequisite: Sociology 101.  
Characteristics and distribution of murder, including historical and cross-cultural comparisons. Social psychological, structural, cultural and situational explanations of causes and consequences of juvenile, gang, domestic, mass, serial and sexual murders. 

SOC 443. Crime and Society (3)  
Prerequisite: Sociology 101. 
Social origins, forms, and functions of criminal law. Sociological theories about causes and consequences of crime. Measurement and distribution of violent crimes, property crimes, victimless crimes, white collar crime, and their impact on communities and society. 

SOC 444. Juvenile Delinquency (3)  
Prerequisite: Sociology 101. 
Sociological theories about causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency. Social origins of juvenile justice system, with attention to methods of control and prevention at community and national levels.

SOC 445. Sociology of Deviance (3)  
Prerequisite: Sociology 101. 
Conformity and nonconformity; the relationship between individual liberty and social control; stigma and the labeling of deviant behavior such as prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction, and crime. 

SOC 446. Sociology of Criminal Organizations (3)  
Prerequisite: Sociology 101. 
Major criminal organizations that operate in underworld across time, space, and socio-cultural context, including Mafia, Yakuza, Triads, and transnational drug traffickers and human smugglers. Explore their social organizations, operations, roles, and identities.